Archbishop Cupich asks for your participation in an important consultation on the family. You may have been aware of some media attention last October on part one of the Synod on the Family in Rome. In anticipation of part two this fall, Archbishop Cupich is giving a report to the National Conference of Bishops and is asking for consolidated feedback to be sent to his office. There are five questions. He also wants it to be made clear that this is not a voting process on what we want, or an opinion poll“but rather a part of a larger process of discernment. In other words, the Church is trying to understand where God is moving and calling us in this moment with regard to family life.”
The questions are pretty straightforward:
- How has family life been a grace or a blessing from God for you?
- In what way does our American culture at this historical moment help or hinder our families from being the families that God wants them to be?
- In your experience, what are the main challenges that families face today?
- How can we as a church respond to those challenges?
- Can you suggest ways that parishes can include and be more available to those who might be overlooked when we consider family life, for example, single people, the widowed, single parents, divorced or separated, those who identify as gay or lesbian, and others?
You can submit your response online HERE. Or you can re-produce these questions on a separate sheet of paper. There are two conditions forsubmitting your responses: (1.) you must TYPE your answers and (2.) you must constrain yourself to one side of one sheet of paper. Remember these responses will be summarized for the Archbishop by our staff and submitted to his office on one sheet of paper. Your response should be sent to the Parish Center and thedeadline is by Monday March 9.
In some ways all the questions can be reworded to ask: “What would you like to say to the bishops about family life and the church?” You’ve heard me talk before about how every institution you can name is under tremendous stress today. The institution of marriage has been under enormous stress for some time. With rampant corruption and greed the economic institutions of the world are as fragile as a house of cards. What has been the bedrock of society since time immemorial, institutional religion, is convulsing due to the stresses of our time. The institution of the traditional nuclear family has been pushed, pulled, stretched and redefined beyond the most previously commonly accepted definitions of family for some time now. This is hardly news.
What is news, in some ways, is that the institutional church is at the point where it can begin asking questions of how to respond to these stresses and demands on human institutions. It has also learned over the last 30 or 40years that there is much wisdom and holiness in the people of God. It can even begin to ask for feedback and input on how to address these issues. One of our strengths is that we are a worldwide church. It is also one reason why simple answers are most inadequate. The earth is filled with great diversity as our loving God created it to be. Don’t miss your chance to add your two cents to the solution.