23 thousand filled-in questionnaires have been sent back to the Swiss Institute of Pastoral Sociology. "A number – reads a release from the Swiss Bishops Conference – that largely exceeds all expectations". A successful turnout is the result of the consultation promoted by Pope Francis in the run-up to the forthcoming Episcopal Synod on the Family, which questions the particular Churches about some key family pastoral issues. The staff at the Swiss Institute of Pastoral Sociology will be entrusted with the delicate job of reviewing all the questionnaires and put together an exhaustive report. "We find – comments Arnd Bunker, director of the Institute in charge of reviewing the questionnaires with the help of the Swiss Bishops Conference – the first few signs of a deeper culture of dialogue about marriage, family and married life pastoral issues". In the release, the Swiss bishops state: "the pastoral consultation is a success: it opens up a new form of communication between the devotees and the Swiss Church leaders. We find that the Church has lost contact with its faithful about many social issues. This initiative helps regain their confidence". "Many devotees – director Bunker points out – say they have been favourably impressed by the fact the Pope took an interest in their particular situation".” “

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