Young people across Australia are being called to share their views about life, faith, and their experience of Church through an online survey published today by the Australian Bishops. The survey seeks to capture the opinions and perspectives of young people as part of a national consultation process that will inform an international conversation in Rome next year. Pope Francis will lead the international conversation at the Vatican.
Representatives from all over the world will be invited to Rome to share their experiences and views at a meeting in October 2018. Australians aged between 16 and 29 years are encouraged to complete the survey. The questions cover a range of topics including: the experience of being listened to, using social media and technology, friendships and influences in today’s world, opportunities for engagement with Church activities such as, outreach programs, youth masses, community leadership or parish events. At a recent gathering of young people in Rome which has informed and helped to prepare this process, Ashleigh Green, a young social worker from Sydney said, one of her hopes for the Church in Australia is that ‘we can better engage our most disadvantaged and marginalised young Australians’.
‘I hope that we can use the common yearning for social justice as an avenue to engage youth and I hope that we can create new spaces for community within the Church,’ Ms Green added. This is a unique opportunity for young people to have their voice heard on a range of topics. The Australian bishops see the potential of young people; they seek to listen to young people and they recognise that sometimes young people struggle to find their sense of place and purpose. Young people are encouraged to tell their friends about the survey or share the link with their networks. Pope Francis has called young people to join this inclusive journey saying that the Church ‘wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities’.
He stressed, ‘Every young person has something to say to others…all of us need to listen to you!’, and he added ‘even young people who consider themselves agnostics, even young people whose faith is lukewarm; even young people who no longer go to Church; even young people who consider themselves atheists’. Developed by the Pastoral Research Office in collaboration with the ACU Ethics committee, the survey can be completed online https://www.catholic.org.au/youthsurvey.
It will run for four weeks, the closing date for responses is midnight on Sunday, 2 July 2017.