Responses to Pew Foundation survey suggests huge differences in opinion on moral questions between Catholics from different continents, writes Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith in The Catholic Herald.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious. The excellent Sandro Magister does this in his latest piece, highlighting the results of a survey done by the Pew Foundation on moral questions across a wide spectrum of countries. The results of the survey can be seen here.
There is nothing in the survey that should surprise us, though there is much that is shocking. A staggering 47 per cent of French respondents thought that abortion was not a moral issue, for example. A statistic like that reveals what we know to be true: when morality decays it is replaced not by immorality (or at least not for long) but by amorality.
The overall impression given by the survey is that there is a huge difference between traditionally Catholic countries in Europe, and countries in Africa and Asia. Many of these African and Asian countries have considerable Catholic populations, and many of them, one notes, considerable Muslim ones.
But this, as I say, is something we know already. What is interesting is that Sandro Magister applies it to the discussions that will dominate the upcoming Synod on the family. He seems to be saying that we ought not to be listening to the Germans and the French when it comes to morality, but rather to the Filipinos and the Ghanaians. His conclusion is stark:
'If, as Pope Francis tirelessly preaches, the Church’s mission is not to close itself off in its old geographical and cultural perimeters but to open itself to the ‘peripheries’ of the world, it is evident that the Catholicism of Germany cannot be – as is happening to some extent – the universal parameter for changing the teaching and practice of the Church in matters of family, Communion for the divorced and remarried, and same-sex marriage.'
Indeed, the implication is that the Synod should not concern itself with what could be considered ‘first world problems.'
There is something else to be learned here.
FULL STORY Africa and Asia provide us with an inconvenient truth (The Catholic Herald)