A friend commented on a similar story that the Pope is unlikely to change any doctrine or dogma of the church, while only seeming to shake things up in asking these pastoral questions. Maybe so, maybe not. But he has to start somewhere, and asking these questions is the right place to start. To bring about any of said changes, he would be working in some cases against over one thousand years of dogma.
Pope Francis asks bishops: How can the Church help same-sex couples? [and other queries]
By Agence France-Presse Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:45 EST
The Vatican on Tuesday launched an unprecedented worldwide consultation on the new realities of family life including gay marriage as part of Pope Francis’s efforts to reform the Catholic Church.
A questionnaire has been sent to bishops around the world asking them for detailed information about the “many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care”.
“Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation… to same-sex unions,” it said.
Referring to gay couples, one questions asks: “What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?”The 39 questions are unusual because of their non-judgemental, practical nature in what could be a signal of greater openness and increased pastoral care regardless of a believer’s background.
“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?”
On remarried divorcees, who under the current rules are not allowed to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic church, the questionnaire asks: “Do they feel marginalised or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?”
On divorce and separated couples in general, it asks: “How do you deal with this situation in appropriate pastoral programmes?”
The initiative is part of preparations for a synod of bishops next year and another in 2015 that the Vatican said will formulate “working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family”.