Mgr Marcus Stock has defended the decision not to publish respondents' answers

Bishops’ conferences that have released their responses to the family synod questionnaire are defying the Pope’s wishes, the general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales has said.

In a letter to members of the Church reform group, A Call to Action, (ACTA) General Secretary to the Catholic Bishops Conference for England and Wales,(CBCEW) Mgr Marcus Stock said: “It was Cardinal Baldisseri who wrote to the President of the Bishops’ Conference requesting that the summary, resulting from the responses of the various dioceses, not be made public. My understanding is that a similar request was sent to other Episcopal Conferences around the world. To the best of my knowledge, of the 85 or so Episcopal Conferences who had responded to the consultation by February 2014, only four have published the summary which they sent to the Holy See.

“As the consultation was instigated by and is clearly very dear to the heart of Pope Francis, and given that Cardinal Baldisseri has been the Holy Father’s chief collaborator in developing the framework and the process of the consultation, I am sure that you and the majority of the Catholic faithful would agree that it would not be appropriate therefore for this Bishops’ Conference to take any steps in respect of the consultation process which might betray the trust of, or go against the expressed wishes of, the Holy Father.”

Mgr Stock was replying to a letter from the leadership team of ACTA.

In their letter to the CBCEW requesting that the questionaire responses are published, they write: “It would surely be very much in line with the approach of Pope Francis if the CBCEW were to decide, after all, that statistics gathered from the people, about the people, should now be in the public domain. Such an action would demonstrate that the bishops trust the Catholic laity and wish to inform and energise them in a spirit of collaboration and dialogue.”


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