Global survey on family, gays, won't change doctrine -Vatican

Tue Nov 5, 2013 10:44am EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Catholics should not expect quick changes in Church rules against divorce, contraception and gay marriage even if most of them express dissenting views in a global survey, Vatican officials said on Tuesday.

The Vatican has sent a 39-question survey to dioceses around the world before an extraordinary meeting of bishops, known as a synod, on the theme of the family, scheduled for October 2014.

For the first time in preparation for such a meeting, the Vatican has asked bishops to share the survey widely with parish priests and for them to seek the views of their parishioners.

The questions touch on themes such as homosexual marriage, artificial birth control and how Catholics who have divorced and re-married should be treated in the 1.2 billion-member Church.

"We don't have a desire to re-open all the discussion on Catholic doctrine," the synod's Hungarian coordinator, Cardinal Peter Erdo, told a news conference called to present the survey.

"It is not a question of public opinion," he said, adding that the synod would discuss how to find solutions to difficult pastoral situations "within the doctrine that we already have".

The questionnaire, however, tackles once-taboo issues such as how to include adopted children of gay couples in the Church.

It also has sections on "unions of persons of the same sex", "the education of children in irregular marriages" and "the openness of the married couple to life".   Continued...