Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Archdiocese offers survey online for local Catholics

By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published December 5, 2013

ATLANTA—Archdiocesan Catholics can join people around the world in sharing thoughts about their real-life experiences of marriage and family life and the Catholic faith, particularly areas of difficulty, with their bishops and ultimately the Vatican.

Pope Francis recently announced plans to convene an extraordinary Synod of Bishops next October on the theme of “The Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”

Part of the synod preparation asks Catholics to answer questions about their experiences.

The information is being sought in different ways in various dioceses, but in the Atlanta Archdiocese, people are being invited to respond using a survey posted online.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory announced the availability of the online survey, which was posted on Nov. 29 at the archdiocesan website,

Responses to the 10-question survey will be accepted until Dec. 15. The survey is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

“Pope Francis is deeply concerned about the social and spiritual crisis that now exists in many marriages and families,” said Archbishop Gregory in a video message. “He recognizes the challenges and seeks to gather information on real-life situations faced by families throughout the world.”

The questions deal with the religious formation of couples; challenges to marriage; natural family planning and the understanding of church teaching on contraception; cohabitation before marriage and non-married couples; same sex unions; as well as sacramental preparation and religious formation of children in these disparate family circumstances.

In his recorded message to the local Church, the archbishop said that the synod will offer the pope counsel on pastoral care for families and marriages, particularly those who are experiencing difficulties and undergoing adversity.

“I invite you to participate in this consultation for Rome,” said the archbishop. “From the heart, I thank you in advance for your contributions to this consultation. You and your family are in my prayers.”

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, an advisory group to the archbishop representing a cross-section of the archdiocese’s people, was consulted about how the questions would be made available here.

Deacon Dennis Dorner, chancellor of the archdiocese, emphasized that the responses will not be published in any way. The first survey question asks the respondent to identify his or her role in the Church, but no other identifying information is required.

The survey includes a link to the Vatican’s preparatory document on “The Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” Participants can study the document prior to answering the questions, if desired.

The document outlines the Church’s mission of continuing to preach the Gospel to all creation.

“The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community,” reads the preparatory document. “Never before has proclaiming the Gospel on the family in this context been more urgent and necessary.”

The Archdiocese of Atlanta’s survey uses the wording of questions posted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Deacon Dorner said the plan is to  “compile the answers so that Archbishop Gregory can review and respond to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by the end of the year as requested.”

The USCCB will then be compiling the responses from the American bishops and submitting them to the Vatican.

The survey is posted at