As bishops around the world start sending Rome their responses to the questionnaire for the Extraordinary Synod on Pastoral Challenges to the Family, local bishops' conferences should publish their responses, writes Fr Bill Grimm.
In many countries, bishops have taken the unprecedented step of inviting the participation of the entire local Church in formulating the response.
The bishops of the German-speaking countries have recently attracted international attention because their reports make it clear that while the People of God in their countries are committed to the Church, they do not fully understand or accept various teachings that touch upon sex, especially those concerning birth control, remarriage after the failure of a previous marriage and cohabitation before marriage.
As more responses are submitted and made public, we will probably find that the same is true of Catholics in many countries, certainly in the West, though increasingly elsewhere as well. It may be that the Spirit-infused sensus fidelium (consensus of the faithful, laity as well as clergy) is calling for a reexamination of the ways in which we live as sexual people in the Church, even though some of those ways are ancient.
The Synod will have to take these attitudes into account, even if ultimately the bishops reject them in part or in toto. Readers of ucanews.com will, of course, be interested in knowing what our bishops in Asia are presenting to Rome in preparation for the Synod.
But, will we know? While at least some of Asia’s bishops have already sent their responses to Rome, I am not aware of any bishops’ conference from Asia that has published those responses. It would be a mistake, bad manners and even an injustice not to do so. After all, the bishops are speaking as leaders of local Churches, speaking about those local Churches.
They are presenting to the other Synod participants a picture of the reality faced by the People of God in their various countries. Surely those people have a right to know what is being said about them and on their behalf.
Telling them is simply good manners. Reading the bishops’ summary of the situation in any country can, if accurate, give the people of that place an organized, thought-out overview of their own lives that will become matter for reflection, discussion and prayer. As is often the case, we do not really know important things about ourselves until someone points them out to us.
Read full article: What are Asia's bishops telling Rome? (Ucanews)