A recent survey by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso suggests many Catholics would like to see the church be more flexible on this sacred celebration, stating it is causing people to leave the church… …The findings are part of a 25-question survey by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso at the request of Pope Francis. The survey, offered in March, came after a meeting of Catholic bishops with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss topics related to family and evangelization in October 2014… “I want to emphasize that this is first time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church that the hopes, desires and aspirations of the ordinary people in the pew were ever surveyed. And this is tremendously important not only for the responses we get but also to help lay people understand it is their right and duty within canon law to speak up on these issues,” said Jean Soto, interim assistant director of the Tepeyac Institute, which conducted the survey. “And it shows the willingness on the part of the bishop and the church hierarchy to listen to the lay people,” Soto said. “As a church, we benefit when there is this kind of dialogue.”
Out of 1,383 English-language surveys, 76 percent of respondents expressed a desire for the church to permit divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist. In their responses, some expressed that civilly remarried couples should be able to receive the Eucharist because “God forgives, welcomes all,” and that the church is losing members due to this issue. Seventy-five percent also wanted divorced or remarried Catholics to be able to be godparents and 80 percent would like them to be able to serve in ministries such as lectors. One respondent wrote, “I am a divorced Catholic living with my (new) spouse and I feel that my talents are being wasted because I am not included in my church.” Spanish-speaking respondents, however, in follow-up comments, were more interested in keeping the discipline of the church concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage. Soto said the response is a sign of the high value placed on marriage and family by this group.