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Vatican issues unprecedented global survey on modern families

Under the leadership of Pope Francis, the Vatican is asking Catholics worldwide what they think of Church policy on gay marriage, divorce and other issues affecting "modern families."

Pope Francis September 2013Enlarge
Pope Francis waves after his general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on September 18, 2013. (Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images)

What do you think about gay marriage? Pope Francis wants to know.

The Vatican on Tuesday launched an unprecedented global survey to gauge how Catholics really feel about Church policy on divorce, birth control, same-sex marriage and other issues affecting "modern families."

The 39-question survey was sent to dioceses worldwide in advance of a rare meeting of bishops on the theme of "the family" next October.

Religious watchers say the questions are unusual because of their practical, non-judgmental nature.

Referring to gay couples, the survey asks: "What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?"

It continues: "In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?"

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And on remarried divorcees, who currently cannot receive Holy Communion in a Catholic church, the questionnaire asks: "Do they feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?"

Some are hopeful the survey could lead to greater openness in the Catholic Church and maybe even reforms.

But the Vatican was quick to say that change, if any, in Church policy would come slowly and that Pope Francis would decide what to do with the survey results, Reuters reported.

More from GlobalPost: Pope Francis: Catholic Church can't 'interfere' in lives of homosexuals

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/world-religion/131105/vatican-issues-global-survey-modern-families