Pope Francis has sent out a survey for Catholic families, seeking their input, insights and modern-day beliefs about a range of topics, including same-sex marriage and divorce.
NBC reported that the survey is shocking in some aspects — specifically, that it seeks information on the very topics the Catholic Church traditionally deems off-limits to discussion, and that it seeks it from the average believer.
"It's fascinating," said Thomas Groome, a Boston College theology professor, on Newsmax. "To my knowledge, it's the first time in the history of the magisterium" in which the church has reached out to the Catholy laymen for such a controversial discussion.
NBC reported some of the questions: One was, "What pastoral attention can be given to people who live in ... [a same-sex] union?" Another: "In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?" And a third sought reaction to the statement, "In cases where non-practicing Catholics or declared non-believers request the celebration of marriage, describe how this pastoral challenge is dealt with."
The survey does not necessarily mean that the pope is mulling changes in the church, the Vatican was quick to point. Rather, one church official said on Newsmax that the Vatican plans to be loyal "to the vision of the family where a man and a woman join together and procreate children."
But the pope is concerned about the "culture of non-commitment" and the trend toward people living together without marrying, and he wants to delve deeper into the family issue, The Mirror reported.
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