England and Wales parishes to be consulted before next synod

The bishops’ conference of England and Wales plans to launch a wide-ranging consultation of parishes and clergy ahead of next year’s synod on the family.

The bishops would like a period of spiritual reflection in each parish.

They would also like to hear the experiences of clergy on the main “pastoral challenges” they encounter with families.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said that material would be sent out to parishes and clergy after Christmas.

The period of reflection should go on until June or July of next year ahead of the synod in October 2015.

“It is not so much a request for opinions as a request for testimony,” Cardinal Nichols said.

He hopes the material to be prepared will reflect the same sense of balance as at October’s synod.

The aim is to support marriage and the family as well providing appropriate pastoral responses in difficult situations.

The cardinal said he saw no reason why the reflections in parishes and by clergy should not be made public.

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