Synod on the Family

The Catholic Church is engaged in a process of deep reflection and discussion about the family in the modern world. In October 2014, bishops met in Rome for an Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which prepared the way for a year of prayer, dialogue and discernment in anticipation of the 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family. A questionnaire distributed in advance of the 2014 Synod was circulated widely and answered by many thousands of Catholics around the world. A second questionnaire is now being distributed in advance of the 2015 Synod. Once again, Catholic organisations, parishes and individuals are encouraged to engage with a range of searching questions about what it means to be a Catholic family today. What are some of the challenges that we face in the context of changing values and expectations with regard to issues such as human love and sexuality, the role of women, the place of young people in the Church and society, and the impact of poverty, violence, war, unemployment and migration on family life? Added to these are the issues that arise in the context of a global Church which embraces many different cultures, each with a different understanding of what it means to be a family.

The Church is asking these questions at a time when the international community is faced with the challenge of articulating new long-term policies with regard to population and development, as both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Programme of Action adopted by the 1994 UN Cairo Conference on Population and Development come to an end. The Holy See and related NGOs play a crucial role in such UN discussions. By linking the Synod on the Family with this wider context, the Catholic Network on Population, Parenthood and Development seeks to be a resource for the promotion of social justice and human well-being by putting our collective experience in research, policy and advocacy at the service of the wider community.

With this in mind, we have decided that our most valuable contribution over the next few months is to develop a resource for Catholics seeking to engage with the issues and debates surrounding the Synod on the Family, as well as providing a source of information for those in wider society who seek to be better informed about the questions currently being discussed among Catholics. We have prepared a guide for those who seek to understand more about the questions asked in the questionnaire and how these relate to church teaching. We shall also be publishing a selection of responses to the questionaire as a resource for parishes and groups who might wish to organise workshops or study sessions to help in answering the questionnaire. If you are willing to share your responses, please go to this link to download a Word version of the questionnaire, which you can complete and send to us as an attachment at

We intend to cover a wide range of perspectives, representing the diversity of Catholic views around these issues. Members of the Network have different interpretations and positions and we do not seek to impose any particular point of view on those using this site. Rather, we hope that whatever positions people hold, this will enable them to come to a better understanding of church teaching and current debates as to how this teaching is to be interpreted in the context of the challenges and changes facing the Church in the world today.

2015 Synod on the Family - Lineamenta and Questionnaire

Download Word document to fill in the Lineamenta questionnaire. If you are willing to share your responses, please send the questionnaire as an attachment to

Website of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales Reflections on Marriage and the Family

Online questionnaire prepared by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Download Word document to fill in the Bishops' Conference questionnaire. If you are willing to share your responses, please send the completed questionnaire as an attachment to 

For a full list of links and resources, please go to this link.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, has asked that all feedback be submitted to Rome by 15th April:

Synod of Bishops
Palazzo del Bramante
Via della Conciliazione, 34
00193 Roma