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 The survey was provided to bishops Oct. 30 with the directive to share it immediately and as widely as possible. A report based on responses to the survey and the observations of the Ordinary is due to Office of the General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by Dec. 31. The summary of dioceses in the United States is due to the Synod of Bishops a month later.

 “Your insights will be so very valuable in providing an accounting of our diocese and what further steps we can take to help strengthen the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the family home,” Bishop Gerald Barnes said in a message inviting ministry leaders to participate in the survey.

 The Diocese of San Bernardino administered the survey primarily through its web site, using the SurveyMonkey platform. It was posted to the diocesan web site November 15 and participants were given until December 10 to respond. A total of 667 people submitted responses to the survey by the deadline.

 “We are so grateful to all who took the significant time required to reflect on the survey questions and submit thoughtful responses,” said diocesan Chancellor Sister Sara Kane, C.S.J., who coordinated response efforts along with Father Rafael Partida, Episcopal Vicar of the Riverside Pastoral Region. “These valuable insights will enrich Bishop Barnes’ report to the Synod and help us to strengthen our ministries in family and marriage.”

 Some early media reports characterized the survey as an attempt to gauge lay Catholics’ opinions on the doctrinal position of the Church on hot button marriage and family issues. In fact, the topics of the questions center on the diffusion of the teachings on the family in sacred scripture and the Church’s Magisterium, marriage according to the Natural Law, and the pastoral care of the family in Evangelization.

 Other topics addressed in the survey are pastoral care in certain difficult marital situations, the union of persons of the same sex, the education of children in irregular marriages, the openness of the married couple to life, and the relationship between the family and the person.

 While wide distribution of the survey was encouraged, the preparatory document and questions required familiarity with teachings outlined in Papal Encyclicals, Apostolic Exhortations and other Church documents. Some questions probed how well these documents are taught and understood amongst the faithful. 

 One question, for example, asks - Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today?

 Still, other questions seemed more directed at families, themselves.

 In the current generational crisis, how have Christian families been able to fulfill their vocation of transmitting the faith?