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Vatican to survey dioceses on marriage annulment, treatment of homosexuals

St. Peter’s Square

Vatican City, Dec 9 (EFE).- The Vatican intends to consult Roman Catholic dioceses about the possibility of making the marriage annulment process free of charge and eliminating “unfair discrimination” against homosexuals, with a survey whose contents were made public on Tuesday.

The questions included in the survey are addressed to episcopal conferences worldwide, in preparation for next year’s Synod of Bishops, to be held between October 4 and 25, 2015, under the title “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.”

The answers to the questions are to be communicated to the Synod’s Secretariat before April 15, so that they can be included during the preparation of the Instrumentum Laboris, the document that will serve as blueprint for the bishops’ discussions.

The questions arose after the conclusion of the extraordinary Synod on the family and its challenges held in October, where many discrepancies between the bishops could be observed and matters were tabled for further study.

The episcopal conferences of each country should ask these questions to all components of the Church, academic institutions, organizations, movements and other ecclesial bodies for comment.

“What pastoral attention can be given to people who live in these types of (same-sex) union?” and “In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?” are the two questions dealing with the topic of homosexuality.

Another question addresses ways of making marriage annullment procedures more accessible, possibly even free.

The issue of divorcees is also tackled: “Do (the divorced and remarried) feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?”

The questionnaire makes a passing reference to “different forms of union,” as well as a question on how to help a couple find the courage and confidence to “reach the fullness of Christian marriage.”