Boston Archdiocese Asking for Your Input Toward 2015 Synod

For readers wanting to give input toward the 2015 Synod on the Family, the Boston Archdiocese is asking for our input.

In view of the mountain of evidence that the synod is under the control of people at the highest levels of the Catholic Church who want to change Church practices around the indissolubility of marriage while pretending to not change doctrine, many readers may think they should just throw up their hands in frustration and not bother responding to the input survey. BCI suggests you still take the time to complete the survey and do either of two things with it: a) Give it to your local parish pastor, or b) Send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at

Below is a message from Catholic Citizenship about the opportunity to give your input. It points folks to the synod questionnaire, which you can download here.

 Archdiocese Inquires with Laity before 2015 Ordinary Synod

Dear friends,

Cardinal O’Malley has asked pastors to send a questionnaire to parishioners for the upcoming Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and contemporary world this October.  Pope Francis will convene an Ordinary Synod with Cardinals and Bishops around the world to discuss how the Church can better articulate Catholic teaching about the family.

The questionnaire is composed of 15 sections and 46 questions which highlight the anthropological, social, cultural and ecclesiastical understanding of the family.  This document is designed to help facilitate discussion about the Church’s teaching and how it may be effectively taught.

It’s important that the church hear from individuals who support its traditional teachings, as those who wish to alter them will surely make their voices heard.

Furthermore, the Boston Archdiocese has developed a mini-site which contains short videos on the following topics: evangelizing the family, how to better reach young people, encouraging cohabitating couples to marry, ministering to divorced Catholics, and pastoral care for those with homosexual tendencies.

Please visit the website to download a copy of the questionnaire and view instruction material at:

Thank you.

Editorial comment from BCI.  We wanted a few of the videos by Fr. Mark O’Connell. We found them mostly disappointing. They talk about how to have a cordial “dialogue” with those committing grave mortal sin (e.g. cohabitating outside of marriage, self-identify as homosexuals), but he avoids mentioning the grave state of sin in which those people place themselves and the consequences of that for their own salvation.  When and where does that get mentioned?

Once again, BCI suggests you take the time to complete the survey and either give it to your local parish pastor or send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at

15 Responses to Boston Archdiocese Asking for Your Input Toward 2015 Synod

  1. Ginny K. Allen says:

    Aren’t we talking adultery?>

  2. D Paul says:

    The entire process is under the control of liberals. O’Malley is one of the “Council of 9” immediately around the pope. The decision has already been made. This is a thinly guided attempt to create a computer generated “enemies list” to be slotted for reeducation a la Vietnam. I was a teacher in a Midwest Catholic High School in the 80s. The reform minded Archbishop John May brought in his people to run the schools. They brought questionaires to all of the schools for the teachers to fill out and then used them to “reform” or jettison teachers. I was jettisoned. The reform brother at my high school was offering personal trust sessions with leading students to ascertain their resistance to the reform. He would use hypnosis in private one on one sessions. He evidently would drug the water. The students became disoriented and confused. Around 1990, this particular brother was indicted on 40 counts of sodomy in 3 different states, Missouri, Texas, Colorado. This is an agenda which is cold and calculating and very devious. This is not a situation where we just “count hands”. This is where moral leadership should come into play. Compassion is one thing. A preset agenda is another.

    • Chris Whittle says:

      If the decision has already been secretly made, then why bother filling out a survey? Surveys are not the way to handle this. The surveys before Synod 2014 asked how many people believe in church teaching, and only Africa had the most orthodox responses.

  3. Ebba Holland says:

    I did send a note back to Chanel and received an answer back from a gentleman who wanted me to continue sending my thoughts to them, which I said I would do. We need to speak out loud and clear of our objections to changing the definition of marriage to suit a few. I also work with Brian Camenker on these very issues.

    Ebba Sent from my iPhone


  4. Tom Finnerty says:

    In the January issue of First Things, George Weigel wrote a piece that reduced my concerns substantially. In his response to a couple of letters to the editor appearing in the March Issue, I was convinced that he was convinced of the Pope’s orthodoxy, but I still worry about who is running the Synods. I have great confidence in the orthodoxy of George Weigel and I pray that he is correct.

  5. tonymangini says:

    How has the church asked for input?     Have not heard not seen any parish notice in this regard. PS:  having read the “lineamenta”, i’m somewhat confused as to how a layman can address the 46 questions with a sense of accomplishment.   most questions are extremely difficult for lay answers. Perhaps a series of seminars at the parish level conducted by a diocesan representative can better be a vehicle for obtaining suggestions or answers to some of the questions in a dialogue format.    we need guidance in all of these deliberations.    left to our own devices, i fear that these questions will go unanswered by the majority of Catholic laymen.  

  6. j says:

    The reduced and simplified questions the RCAB is providing to parishioners is here , and the site is here . It should be noted, and is a legitimate criticism, that they have NOT updated the dates for Regional meetings, several of which were cancelled due to snow.

  7. Faithful Boston Catholic says:

    There is a Town Hall session at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross tonight at 7pm. I would suggest everyone go who can make it.

  8. tonymangini says:

    i guess i missed your response

  9. Concerned Parent says:

    Msgr. Paul V. Garrity of St. Catherine of Siena Parish who previously stated that “Every family is different and this means that we need to broaden our understanding of family life beyond TV sitcoms and applaud the virtues of family living wherever we find them: two parent families, single parent families, blended families, families with two mommies or two daddies and adoptive families” has already weighed in regarding the marriage discussion:

    “…There are also some very serious ecumenical questions about our understanding of marriage. Jesus’ statements in the Gospels of Matthew (9:3-8), Mark (10:2-9) and Luke (16:18) are the foundation of the Roman Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. And while the sacramentality of marriage is seen to be rooted here, it was not until the 12th century, at the Council of Verona, that our current understanding of the sacrament of matrimony began to develop. At the same time, over the centuries, most other Christian denominations have read the same Scripture passages and come to a very different place. Many Protestant groups do not regard marriage as a sacrament…”

    “…The fact of a divorce should be proof enough that something essential was missing in a marriage or that the marriage has died. To insist that a person who is happily married for 25 years to a second spouse is still, in fact, married to the first spouse flies in the face of both reason and experience. When we think of the complexities of the current annulment process, we really should be asking: Is this what Jesus intended? For many of us who pastor parishes and try to shepherd God’s people, the answer is a resounding no.”

  10. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus is related to family catechesis.

    Cardinal Raymond Burke approved Fr. John Hardon’s error

  11. tonymangini says:


  12. There is no change in our understanding of the strict interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus unless an irrational premise is used .This would be a common error among the participants of the next Synod.
    The Church needs to indentify the error and correct.

    What was Fr. Hardons error that Cardinal Burke approved?

    What was Fr. Hardons error that Cd. Burke approved? Just trying to keep up.

    Fr.John Hardon’s error was that he made an irrational inference. He assumed that being saved in invincible ignorance or with implicit desire referred to personally known, nameable cases in the present times.This was a false inference.This then became a false premise for him. Since he concluded that these cases of persons saved, this category of people, now in Heaven, were explicit exceptions to all needing the baptism of water, in the present times.They were exceptions to all needing to enter the Catholic Church for salvation. So based on the wrong premise, he wrongly concluded that every one did not defacto, in the present times, need to enter the Church for salvation. He used an irrational premise ( the dead-saved are visible on earth) which resulted in an irrational conclusion ( everyone does not have to defacto enter the Church).

    Since he assumed that salvation in Heaven is explicit for us, those saved with the baptism of desire and in invincible ignorance, became exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. So for him every one did not have to become a formal member of the Church, but only they had to, who were not in invinciblle ignorance.While those who knew about Jesus and the Church and yet did not enter were on the way to Hell.So he changed the original teaching which said all with Original Sin need the baptism of water.

    This was the original mistake made by the Holy Office and the Archdiocese of Boston in 1949 when they assumed that a category of people now in Heaven were objective exceptions on earth to the strict interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Fr.Hardon wrote an article on outside the Church there is no salvation in which he repeated this mistake.Also as a consultant to the Holy See on the Catechism of the Catholic Church he let this error pass conspicuously in CCC 1257 (The Necessity of Baptism) and with confusion in CCC 846 (Outside the Church No Salvation).

    Cardinal Raymond Burke approved this article by Fr.Hardon. Cardinal Buke also recommends the Catechism of the Catholic Church which incorporates this confusion while he has never affirmed the traditional strict interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    This is also observed in Cardinal Raymond Burke’s criticism of Vatican Council II. Salvation in Heaven is an explicit exception to the traditional interpretation of the dogma. So LG 16,LG 8, UR 3, NA 2 etc refer to visible in the flesh cases in 2015. Vatican Council II contradicts the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the Syllabus of Errors for Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. It is a break with the traditional teaching on other religions and Christian communities.This was also Fr.John Hardon’s mistake.

    If salvation in Heaven was not explicit, seen in the flesh for them, then there would be nothing in Vatican Counicl II to contradict the ‘rigorist interpretation’ of the dogma on exclusive salvation in the Catholic Church.Vatican Council II would be Feeneyite.It would not contradict the traditional teaching on non Catholics needing to convert into the Church to avoid Hell. Since the ecclesiology would still be traditional.-Lionel Andrades

    March 4, 2015
    Cardinal Raymond Burke approved Fr. John Hardon’s error

  13. JRBreton says:

    For your information, here is my answer to the Lineamenta questions proposed by the Archdiocese:

    Synod of Bishops
    XIV Ordinary General Assembly
    The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World
    Questions for Discussion
    based on the “

    It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that the basic unit of society is the family, such that “The well-being of the person and of human and Christian society is intimately connected with the healthy state of the community of marriage and family.”
    Gaudium et spes. “Promoting and supporting families is the remedy to fixing the ills of human society. Within the family, the individual best learns how to love and work faithfully with generosity and selflessness, and about sexuality open to life. The Lineamenta for the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops asserts this basic principle and yet recognizes that for many reasons there are wounded families that are not being supported to live as God intended them to. It asks,how can the Church promote healthy families and reach out to families in need?

    Comment A. The absence or denigration of fathers has been proven a significant cause of marital decline. In practice, the Church has abetted this decline by a soft view of feminism. Many, many priests and religious, especially women religious, espouse and often champion a kind of feminism which denigrates fathers of families, and even ecclesiastical fathers.
    The Synod could reverse this parlous state by defining closely and explicitly the heresy of modern feminism. It could also explain how the soft feminism espoused by so many church people hurts families.

    Comment B. The Synod would do well to look honestly at the workings of marriage tribunals. From my investigation into the process, I have concluded that the tribunal here in Boston is corrupt, not as a juridical process, but as it is practiced. A common complaint is heard of priests pressuring one of the parties not to contest the proposed annulment. Or again, how may settled cases does the tribunal reopen when evidence is produced of perjured testimony? Every false finding by the tribunal is a great offense to families, especially those struggling and in need.

    2. The Synod document asks what is working in terms of programs and catechesis to help form our people in promoting families. It also asks what the Church should be doing in terms of catechesis, in terms of raising our children in the faith and reaching out to the neediest in society and supporting them by supporting families. “Proclaiming the Gospel of the Family is urgently needed in the work of evangelization. The Church has to carry this out with the tenderness of a mother and the clarity of a teacher.” How can the Church, here in this day and age better catechize and evangelize specifically with regard to the importance of families?

    Comment A. The criticsm that priests approach the catechesis of engaged couples from a narrow juridical viewpoint has validity. Important issues of personality, economics, commitment are not stressed enough. Marriage preparation might well be a team effort, wherein not all the members of the team are beholden to the priest. What might be the outcome of a case wherein the juridical requirements are met but an independent marriage counselor determines the union has little chance of lasting?

    Comment B. In this Archdiocese, and very possibly elsewhere, there is a scandalous emphasis on fees, enough to drive couples to marry elsewhere. Every parish should offer the option of a completely fee-less marriage. Our present practice borders on simony.

    Comment C. A significant cause of marital distress (some 10%) is mental illness in one party. Yet not one priest in a hundred can deal with these cases. Nor do they seem interested. Ecclesiastical pronouncements about tenderness and clarity sour in the face of such apathy.

    Recommendation: One-year, five-year, and ten-year follow-ups should be made of church marriages. These would provide opportunities for intervention if needed. Also priests who allow pro forma marriages could be identified and urged to mend their ways.

    3. The Synod document asks that we pay particular attention to engaging young people. How can the life-giving message of Jesus Christ and the importance of families compete with the many messages that our young people are receiving from society? How can the Church point to the dangers of an individualism above the family and the idea that one’s own ideas are absolute rather than the teachings of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ. What can the Church do to break through to all generations with respect given to their values but also with a clear and attractive invitation to what the Church offers through Jesus Christ?

    Comment: Look at Jesus’ example. The job is not ours so much as the Holy Spirit’s who speaks to individuals. We cooperate with Him by speaking to individuals. This is not so much a matter of technology. Pope Francis urges his priest to get out of the “comfort zones.” It is also important for us to be counter-cultual, offering clear alternatives, rather than aping the secular culture.

    4.The Synod document acknowledges that there exist alternative forms of committed relationships outside of marriage as defined by the Church; namely merely civil unions or couples living together without marriage. It urges great respect for people in these situations but at the same time it states, “When a union reaches a particular stability, legally recognized, characterized by deep affection and responsibility for children and showing an ability to overcome trials, these unions can offer occasions for guidance with an eye towards the eventual celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage.”“How can the Church help couples to recognize that God is calling them to see the value of his Grace in Marriage as the logical purpose or outcome of their existing relationship with each other?”

    Comment: What are we talking about? Baptized Catholics? Hindus? Muslims? People living in invincible ignorance, or people knowingly leading sinful lives?
    How can one comment on such a confused question?

    5. The Lineamenta raises the issue of the many divorced people among us. The document says that those who are divorced and not remarried give great witness to the Sacredness of Marriage and it urges mercy towards those who for whatever reason are in new relationships outside of Marriage in the Church. It asks if anything at all can be done within the theology of Marriage as defined by the Church to allow some or all in this situation to receive Holy Communion. At the same time it recognizes that there may not be a theological solution that can open the door to all people, but asks, how the Church still can be merciful to those in this situation by working on how Tribunals function and by promoting Spiritual Communion.

    Comment: It appears that the relaxation allowed by Pope Benedict XVI is about as far as the Church can go without disavowing marriage as sacramentalized by Jesus and in effect apostatizing.
    Where no theological solution is possible, the Church need to preach sin and hell strongly, vociferously and ubiquitously. It would be a great mistake to infantilize these situations; imitating Moses, people should be given the hard choice: choose God and His Church or reject them–their choice.

    The tribunals, especially in this Archdiocese need to defend the bond much more strongly and add measures for quality control.

    Spiritual communion requires a disposition of grace.

    6.The third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2014) has raised the question of those in homosexual unions. The Synod urged great sensitivity and respect to those in these unions but stated that “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” God’s plan for marriage and family includes both a man and a woman whose conjugal relationship is open to life within the very act. How can the Church truly be sensitive and respectful to homosexual Catholics and non-Catholics yet speak about Marriage as something different and not analogous?

    Comment: Nothing is so disrespectful of persons with homosexual tendencies than to obscure the differences between good and bad, light and dark. Nothing could be so hurtful to such persons as to accommodate the idea that they are not responsible for their actions. An irresponsible human being turns into a monster. So the Church should preach heaven and hell, responsibility, and willingly endure the martyrdom she will endure because she stands for what is right. She must be resigned to the probability that such actions will save some, not all.

    General Comment: The last three questions were not approved by the Synod, but were inserted into the Lineamenta by papal request. The choice of these to be inserted into paring of the 49 questions into six for local discussion argues strongly that an ideological agenda is being pursued here.

    More profoundly, it confirms, again, that that Archdiocese of Boston is a corrupt institution. By this I mean not so much that some personnel in the Archdiocese. its bishops, priests, employees, are corrupt (an evident conclusion of anyone who has eyes to see), but that the institution no longer has the vigor to fight off the corruption. A healthy body is always assaulted by corruption, but has the vigor to fight it off. A dying body no longer can muster the effort.

    Every priest of the Archdiocese has vowed to transmit the whole truth of Catholic doctrine to the faithful. A large majority appear to have decided to omit preaching the hard issues (like contraception, the obedience due authority) for a fat living. That, dear Father, is corruption.

    I ask you to join with me in begging the Holy Spirit to send us saints to purify us of our corruption. That, indeed, is the answer to all your questions.

  14. Ginny K. Allen says:

    Why bother with marriage as a sacrament at all if this is the answer?
    My husband walked out on me almost 20 years ago. I tried getting assistance from three different priests in Massachusetts and in Maine to no avail. Later I learned that all of these men had issues of their own. No one in my parish would help me when I asked. As you can see from my posts…I am outspoken so certainly I MUST be the problem. My husband was invited to be a Eucharistic Minister and Grand Knight after he left. My teenage son and I began going elsewhere for Mass. Neither of us has ever sought a divorce so no annulment either. Intimacy is not a given. Some marriages must abstain because one partner is ill or is away for an extended period of time or is serving our country.
    If being able to receive communion while in an invalid marriage is approved…why would anyone bother to marry in the first place?. When two older or younger people shack up without a valid marriage why not let them receive as well.
    Just last week a Jesuit told me he didn’t believe in …so what!!!
    Marriage is very sacred to me. Sometimes there pre exists a cause which will invalidate the marriage. If so, go through the process of annulment. In many cases people simply grow out of love…grow up!!
    Please be a help to your friends who are having marriage difficulties…walk with them…show them the way….help them learn to communicate and have their marriage be mutual. If your friends are now single don’t just agree with them if you believe the marriage will not work. At least you have done your part.
    For 75 years I have been faithful to the teachings of my church and I intend to continue in obedience.
    I was the first one to comment when this forum began. Non valid second marriages without annulment are ADULTERY.
    P.S. I have offered to pay for several people to have an annulment and they turned me down…guess $$$ is not always the issue.

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