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Bishops of England and Wales canvass youth opinion ahead of 2018 synod

Cardinal Vincent Nichols speaks to young attendees at the Flame Congress earlier this month (mazur/

The bishops of England and Wales have released a survey ahead of next year’s synod on youth.

The “Youth Poll on Life, Faith and Vocational Discernment” invites answers from 13-29-year-olds of all religions and none. It is anonymous, though participants must enter their email address.

The bishops say the responses “will be used in a report that will be sent to the Vatican” ahead of the synod, which is scheduled for October 2018.

The poll asks people to say how their lives are, ranging from “horrible” or “stressful” to “good” or “great”, and asks them to name the best and most difficult aspects of their life.

The survey asks young people to rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much the believe in God, how close they feel to Jesus, and how often they experience God’s presence in their lives.

It also asks them to explain how events, activities or individuals have helped their spiritual lives.

A seven-point scale, meanwhile, is used for questions about how the Church has “helped you to make good life choices” – for instance, through groups which allow one to discuss important decisions, or by “giving me the opportunity to help others”.

The survey is open to those of all religions, and participants are asked what they like most about their religion – for instance, its sacred writings or “Developing a sense of purpose”.

They are also asked how much they think the Church is interested in their life, and how much they would like the Church to “tell you how to live well”, “inspire you to expect more from life”, or “help you make good life choices”.

Ahead of the 2014 synod on the family, bishops’ conferences around the world sent out similar surveys, which were widely criticised for being overly complex and difficult to understand. The Youth survey, by contrast, can be completed in less than half an hour.

Young people can contribute to the poll here. It ends on June 5 2017.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Synod of Bishops, has said the synod will not be a vehicle to discuss priestly celibacy or female deacons.