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16,500 respond to survey on family ahead of Extraordinary Synod

Pope Francis announced the extraordinary synod in October last year (CNS)

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) has received 16,500 responses to their survey on ‘Pastoral Challenges in the Family,’ but a spokesman for the Conference said that details of the responses will remain confidential.

“In accordance with the wishes of the Holy See, the summary of the responses sent to the Synod of Bishops is confidential,” said the spokesman.

“However, the statistical information shows a high level of engagement in the consultation process. Summary reports were received from all 22 Dioceses in England and Wales, as well as reports from the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Apostolic Prefecture of the Falkland Islands.”

The spokesman revealed that diocese received emails, letters and online forms from Catholics across the country, ahead of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which is due to take place at the Vatican in October.

The spokesman said: “Analysis of 12,266 online responses indicates that 80% of respondents were laity, 69% were married and 38% were parents. 20% of respondents were in positions of responsibility within the Church as priests, chaplains, catechists, teachers, deacons, seminarians, or pastoral assistants.

“At least 6% were active in voluntary roles as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, readers, musicians, governors of schools, members of diocesan commissions, parish councils or as members of parish organisations. Nearly 1% of respondents identified themselves as either a lapsed Catholic or a non-Catholic.”

69% of respondents said that they were married while 6% said that they were divorced.

The spokesman added that “distribution across the age ranges was fairly even though weighted towards the older generation” with 24% aged up to 45 years and 30% aged 65 and over.

He continued: “An additional 1,163 responses were received from 57 other countries which were forwarded to the local dioceses and episcopal conferences of those countries.”