PERTH Catholics responded eagerly to the Holy Father’s request to complete a questionnaire on the Church and the family recently, with more than 600 online responses being submitted in just a few weeks.
Director of Catholic Marriage and Fertility Services Derek Boylen told The Record he was pleased with the response.
“It is heartening to see that over 600 people logged onto the online version of the survey,” he said.
“Many responses were also received by email and mail. It shows that people in our Archdiocese are genuinely concerned about the challenges of marriage and family life and want to seriously explore how we can respond in a pastoral way.”
Doubleview parishioner Kevin Susai coordinated a group submission to the questionnaire, and said it was a challenging process that required a significant amount of time.
“One of the first things we discovered was they were fairly complex questions,” he said. “We would have preferred to have a bit more time to do some research and to canvass other opinions from members of the parish on certain questions, but we did put in a reasonable response to most of the questions.”
Mr Susai and seven others from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish met to discuss the questionnaire before individually compiling responses, which Mr Susai collated just before the deadline.
He said while the questions were complex, they were excellent discussion-starters and made participants “think outside the square”.
“The questionnaire referred to documents that are not normally discussed at church such as Gaudium et Spes,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone in the group knew anything about it.
“These were questions which are not normally discussed at parish level… but it was refreshing to note that the questions were about controversial issues that are real to the public and need to be addressed.”
Responses to the questionnaire were due for submission by December 9, and will eventually form part of a national response the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference sends to Rome.
“At this stage we are still collating the responses and at the start of the long process of reading all the submissions,” Mr Boylen explained.
The information collected from the questionnaire will form the basis of discussion at an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops next year.