Vatican watchers say Francis' polling attempt is extraordinary on two levels: first, because it seeks input from rank-and-file Roman Catholics and second, because it touches on issues that might have been considered off-limits in past papacies.Read the rest here.
The document sent to every nation's conference of bishops notes that the ancient church and its members are grappling with "concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago."
Same-sex unions, mixed marriages, single-parent families and surrogate mothers are all mentioned in the prelude to a list of questions that get into the nitty-gritty of 21st century life:
"What pastoral attention can be given to people who live in these types of [same-sex] union?"
"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?"
"Do [the divorced and remarried] feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?"
"In cases where non-practicing Catholics or declared non-believers request the celebration of marriage, describe how this pastoral challenge is dealt with."