That title is truth. Pope Francis asked for my opinion!
I didn’t give it to him, though.
Why? It’s not because I was too overwhelmed by his holiness (lowercase as in a characteristic, not capitalized as in a form of address). It’s not because I don’t have an opinion on the issue. It’s not even because I didn’t start formulating an answer.
I didn’t give him my opinion because I forgot he asked for it until it was too late.
As is being noted by secular and Catholic media outlets alike, Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary synod of bishops. This is kind of like having an intervention for the world. The topic is the “Pastoral Challenge to the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” which is excellent because the family as a concept is in sore shape these days. In common terms, it’s a big meeting (a synod) on marriage and the family. There will be an ordinary synod later, but the extraordinary one starts on October 5. As part of the preparation for this synod, Pope Francis asked each bishop to conduct a survey of his parishioners for their opinions about the topics that the synod will cover.
God bless Bishop Joe for trying. He is a fine bishop, and he actually asked all the parishioners in the diocese to offer their opinions. He even collected them with SurveyMonkey: a clear step up from the old-school parish registration card. The publicity just wasn’t great. The only mention I saw was in the diocesan e-newsletter, the E-Pistle, which you have to opt into receiving (as you should). Even the board of Austin CNM only got wind of it a few days before the submission deadline in April, and with the particular administration of the survey, that just wasn’t enough time. I heard about it right away and was very excited, but I spent my time elsewhere and only got to composing my answers the night before the deadline. Then I almost fell asleep typing and decided my energy was better spent going to bed.
So everything I said was true: Pope Francis asked for my opinion, and I didn’t give it to him. But I wish I had.
Conveniently, I have a blog! I occasionally even have readers (thanks, guys!), but I blog for the sake of my own memory, too. This provides the perfect opportunity to remedy my egregious error.
This post is the beginning and anchor for a series about my opinions on the ways that the message of the Church about marriage and family life reaches (or doesn’t reach) the people, those in the Church and those outside her. To my knowledge, this is the first time the people have been asked to offer their opinions to the pope, at least in the modern era. I doubt mine will ever make it up to Pope Francis because this is not the usual channel, but I will at least get to express myself. At the same time, I can share the questions from the survey, and you can figure out what you think, too.
Tune back tomorrow for the first installment: whether I think people know what the Church and the Bible say about the family.