WASHINGTON -- The Vatican has asked national bishops' conferences
around the world to conduct a wide-ranging poll of Catholics asking for their opinions on church teachings on contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce.
Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops, asked the conferences to distribute the poll "immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received."
While Baldisseri asks in his letter for wide consultation on the questions, an accompanying letter sent with the U.S. version of the Vatican document does not request the American bishops undertake wide consultation in their dioceses.
That accompanying letter, dated Oct. 30, is sent from Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, the general secretary of the U.S. bishops' conference, and only asks the U.S. bishops to provide their own observations.
In contrast to the Americans, the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has set up an online survey that Catholics in their countries can use to respond to the Vatican questions.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.