ACTION ITEM! Is the “Vatican survey” being hijacked? Fr. Z says, “¡Vaya lío!”

You know that there is a survey out there, at the Vatican’s behest, in anticipation of the upcoming Synod of Bishops which will discuss the family.

While surveying people ahead of time is not new, when I heard about this the first thing that flashed through my mind was “What could possibly go wrong?”


Do you remember that the catholic Left organized to distribute the survey and then collate the results? HERE Again, “What could possibly go wrong?

This weekend I saw that the ultra-liberal, dissenting Ass. of Catholic Priests, in Ireland, has helpfully rewritten this survey… just to help out, don’t you know.  HERE

Now I see this tweet:


If you go to that link – HERE – you find the list of organizing groups:

This project is sponsored by the following members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR):
American Catholic Council
Call To Action
Federation of Christian Ministries/Roman Catholic Faith Community Council in the Church
New Ways Ministry
Roman Catholic Womenpriests
Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference
Voice of the Faithful
Women’s Ordination Conference

Co-sponsored by:
Catholic Church Reform
Fortunate Families
WATER: Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual

Sound okay to you?

Don’t get me wrong.  The survey is probably fairly meaningless.

Still, maybe we need to chime in?

Whaddya say?

How ’bout some active participation?

¡Vaya lío!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity, POLLS, Semper Paratus and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mike says:

    … and no doubt sponsored by sponsored by Fishwrap?

  2. ppb says:

    The survey website says that they will forward the results to the hierarchy “after independent review.” Does that mean they’ll edit out any comments that don’t fit with their agenda(s) first?

  3. Lisa Graas says:

    For the record, I LOL’d at ppb’s comment. I think the answer is probably “yes,” by the way.

  4. Eriugena says:

    I don’t want to accuse anyone of perversions they’re not guilty of, but isn’t “DignityUSA” the group in favour of sodomite Priests?

  5. wmeyer says:

    Gave ’em an earful. Not that they will pay attention, of course. My comments will simply be culled in that “independent review”.

  6. majuscule says:

    I LOVE filling out surveys! Especially “essay” questions!

    It might be better to cut and paste the links if you are going to a survey from a link on this blog. They are probably monitoring where people are arriving from!

    (Though when I go to the Fishwrap website I love using a link from this blog just in case they ARE tracking!)

  7. Supertradmum says:

    I have been asking people on my blog to take the survey. If the traditional, orthodox Catholics do not take the time, we have only ourselves to blame for the results being taken over by the liberals, who are more organized (all that grassroots, Alinsky organization-type mind-set).

    It took me awhile, as I had to do it over twice because of troubles with the Net. But, please do it.

  8. Lepidus says:

    Just engaged in a little “lio”. Put in a bunch of answers regarding sin, confession and helping them see the error of their ways and return to communion with the Lord. :-)

  9. I’ve done the survey :), I’ve made a joyful noise…

  10. depeccatoradvitam says:

    I have done the survey. It was very slanted and heavily pushed the “couples” of homosexual relations and never once mentioned the individuals. It also pushed the edges of “Catholic acceptance” as if to make the Church bend for those defiant.

    It has been a while since I let it out publicly, but they had a lot of comments that will probably hit the floor if not discount my entire survey. As Joe above said, I too made a joyful noise and feel as if I have been on a box a Piccadilly espousing Church teachings. Felt good. Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Supertradmum says:

    depeccatoradvitam, Did we do the same survey? The language was mostly objective, but asking for specific pastoral opinions. Actually, if one read the piece printed before the survey on Catholic Church teaching, one could get answers from there.

    Thankfully, some of us have been up on Church teaching, but I am sure many Catholics would find it too long and too academic. Not many people read, sadly, even the CCC.

  12. majuscule says:

    I filled out the survey. I’m sure glad there were places to comment because the check box items were certainly not inclusive of the spectrum of (my) opinion.

    I kept myself in line until around 75% done and then told them I thought one of their loaded questions was insidious. (How can a more open attitude toward reproduction be fostered in the Catholic Church?)

    I’m glad I’m retired and have lots of time.

  13. wmeyer says:

    Supertradmum: Did we do the same survey? The language was mostly objective…

    Not the one I took! “Marriage equality” as a synonym for same sex unions is hardly objective.

  14. kpoterack says:


    I fully agree. I did the “liberal version” of the survey. It was terrible. All that talk about “marriage equality.” I called them on it saying “that is like calling falsehood ‘truth equality’.” As Fr. Z said, the survey is probably meaningless (i.e. it won’t go any where), but it was good to speak up.

  15. MuchLikeMartha says:

    I filled it out too and had the liberal version as well. Talk about loaded questions and all that “marriage equality” stuff. They definitely got an eyeful.

    #47 really spoke to me: What critical situations in the family today are neglected in Catholic pastoral care? Only the ones manufactured by the media and liberals.

    I suppose that was mean, but that question about the more open attitude toward reproduction combined with the choice of “hostile and condemning” regarding “marriage equality” kind of got my Irish up.

    It seemed that it would have been a sin of omission not to correct some of their incorrect assumptions and implications.

  16. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    The survey is highly problematic to begin with. First, responders are self-selected. Second, the language is highly technical and opaque. Third, it is far too complex. These factor among others make it an easy target for hijacking.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    A church that changed anything by polling except “which kind of toilet paper should we buy” is not a church I’d have much confidence in.
    I can’t fathom anyone in our church putting out a poll like this. It only provides incentive for further discussion on the same old incendiary topics. If it isn’t a look-see to check out popular sentiment then what the heck is it for?
    If there is no intention on using data on the hot topics then it is almost cruel to ask the questions.
    If there is intention on using the data then we are in trouble for sure. It’s a no win.
    It’s all unsettling, but then, what isn’t these days.

  18. Fr. Thomas says:

    Why no option for vowed celibates on the “What is your relationship status?” question? Leaving out the sisters again?!?

  19. Precentrix says:

    Fr Thomas,

    Wouldn’t ‘professed religious’ cover that? Except, obviously, it wouldn’t deal with consecrated virgins.

  20. Precentrix says:

    I did the England/Wales version. There were not tick boxes except on the first page (general personal information). The questions were the original questions so the language was so opaque to some of my friends that I actually went to the trouble of paraphrasing them all to enable other people to respond.

  21. chantgirl says:

    Filled it out. The questions were pretty loaded. I will repeat this until I am blue in the face- marriage equality already exists. Any single man is able to marry a woman who consents and is not related to him. The same goes for women. NO ONE has the right to an impossibility. Same-sex couples are not able to marry each other. And since we are talking about a Catholic context, God does not call everyone to marriage and sexual relations, just as He does not call everyone to Holy Orders and celibacy.

    I’m pretty disgusted that the USCCB would have anything to do with the groups sponsoring this survey.

  22. Bea says:

    I didn’t do the survey because I strongly suspect that “unwelcome” comments will be deleted.
    Has anybody out there made a REAL survey for REAL Catholics to respond to?
    Why can’t somebody that is savvy on what is going on in the Church create a real survey?

  23. Praying4Mercy says:

    Whoa…what a survey! Indeed the language was definitely skewed. Did the USCCB come up with this? Sadly, I would not be surprised. Tediously long – most Catholics would never complete such a survey. It takes us zealots on one side or the other to bother. The Church hierarchy continues to dismay me by and large. It appears that it will continue as such for some time to come. We are in a mess! Thank God for the basics: Holy Mass, the Sacraments, Adoration, the Rosary, and the Magisterial teaching – lost without them.

  24. DavidR says:

    Gave my opinions, politely, I trust.

    Last comment was “Do you think that preaching Doctrine might help to fill the pews?”

  25. The Cobbler says:

    If I’ve read Fr. Z correctly, the USCCB survey is the overly technical one (and, if what I heard in the combox of a prior entry is right, is intended for pastors and not laymen, so that may explain that), whereas the obviously liberal/dissident survey has been put forth by these dissident groups in such a way as to sound as though it were related to the USCCB survey even though it’s actually not. Classic deceptive advertising — the kind of thing trademark was invented to prosecute.

    Of course anyone could have told them that only in academia can “survey” mean “gather data by word from a body of people” and not “opinion poll” with all its democratic connotations. Just another reason they need somebody to be “the guy”.

  26. MikeD says:

    I spent half my time actually answering their questions, and half my time deriding their tendentious phrasing. There was one question that mentioned the “official Catholic Church.” To which I asked: “Do you mean like the one in China, or is there some unofficial catholic church I am not privy to that endorses the homosexual agenda?”

  27. ConstantlyConverting says:

    Sent mine in. Pretty sure they will hate it.

  28. Fr. Bryan says:

    Answered the Action Item call. Did the survey on the USCCB site. It’s easy to see how it can be hijacked. I did see an article somewhere (sorry I don’t recall where) that the majority of responses were from liberals. If this is the approach that is being taken, then it is crucial that faithful Catholics, who know the Faith, and live it, respond.

  29. Oddly, for a Catholic survey, “Vowed Religious,” or “priest” are not given in the relationship status. Does our opinion not count?

  30. Rich says:

    The makers of that survey seem to be pretty biased, what with how they use such terms as “marriage equality”.

  31. I completed it, but I may as well not have bothered. The survey – administered via SurveyMonkey in our archdiocese – went to someone called ‘derek’ in the Archdiocese who will ‘aggregate’ responses and then send them to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

    That august body will also ‘aggregate’ these responses, and then forward them to Rome.

    I think ‘aggregate’ may be a euphemism for ‘a good long cycle in the public relations washing machine, a brisk spin, and then pegged upside down on the line so that they assume the correct shape’.

  32. smittyjr63 says:

    I beg to differ.
    I don’t think this survey is “meaningless”. I do believe there is some ulterior motive for it. Why would the Vatican take a poll of people’s beliefs? What are they going to do? Announce, “Well the majority believe in allowing such and such….so we’re going with the majority.” I mean seriously, why are they worried what “we” think on these subjects, when what is important is what Christ and the Church thinks about these subjects, not us. The Vatican should teach us through the Church what Christ thought about these subjects. Can you picture Jesus asking you, “What is your attitude about gay civil unions?” LOL!!! Why are they asking us questions about same-sex couples? Hello! Didn’t we just hear a couple weeks back that Catholics shouldn’t “obsess” about this topic? If ultra-liberal Catholic folks write in complaining the Vatican is hung up on same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion, why would the Vatican care (because you know that’s what alot of ultra-liberals taking this poll are going to do).

    Lastly, how are they going to have the time to read through all these responses, and how many will be tossed if what is said offends? And I’m talking the more traditional Catholics offending the progressives.

  33. A.D. says:

    I completed the survey. I was very serious with each of my answers. And very orthodox! Probably gave someone a stoke!

  34. Mike says:

    What they said. Dove in. Had my swim, probably upstream. Climbed out.

    Storming Heaven on behalf of the surveyors, that they may return to the Faith.

  35. Fr AJ says:

    Our Bishop gave us the actual Synod document with it’s 39 questions to answer and hand out to the laity for them to answer if they wished. I talked about it and a few were interested in answering some of the questions.

  36. Heather F says:


    “The Vatican” is not taking a poll of people’s beliefs. The Vatican sent out a questionnaire aimed at the diocesan/parish level asking about things like how well do people seem to understand and follow the Church’s teaching on various family-related issues, particularly to do with the Below The Belt stuff. How common are irregular marriage situations etc. What are some of the pastoral challenges that arise from these irregular family situations and how are they handled. And so on.

    Some dissenting groups have taken this opportunity to present their own agenda-loaded opinion poll as if it were actually a lay-oriented edition of the Vatican questionnaire, from which they will forward the responses that best match their agenda to “the hierarchy.”

  37. kelleyb says:

    I filled out the survey. I called some of the questions gobbletigook.
    It was designed to push an agenda, in my opinion. I am sure my answers will be deems hateful and divisive. I stressed the need to actually teach the treasury of faith to our families. Many do not understand natural law, or how to discern. CCD teaching by my generation created lots of good Protestants. I have noticed our youth are hungry for truth. When Truth is taught we create Holy people. My generation has much to answer for when we face the Lord.

  38. kevinm says:

    I just added my 2 cents though I suspect my reponses will be disregarded.



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