The 38-question survey asks national bishops' conferences around the world to make sure they get responses from rank-and-file Catholics in parishes and deaneries of neighboring parishes, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri says in a "preparatory document."
The responses will be used in preparation for a global meeting of prelates Oct. 5-19, 2014, Baldisseri says in the Oct. 18 document, made public Tuesday.
The "Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops," called by Pope Francis last month, is to focus on "Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization," document says.
Baldisseri is the Synod of Bishops secretary-general.
A synod is a global bishops meeting usually devoted to a theme and often dealing with doctrine or an administration issue.
Archbishop Bruno Forte, named by Francis to be the synod's secretary, told reporters at the Vatican Tuesday the upcoming synod would have a "pastoral slant" and would not debate "doctrinal questions."
He said the questionnaire was part of a "broad and deep process of listening to the life of the church and of the most pressing challenges posed to her."
Among the document's questions:
-- "Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same sex and equating it in some way to marriage?"
-- "What pastoral attention can be given to people who live in these types of 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 [people who are 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."
The questionnaire also asks what knowledge rank-and-file Catholics have about the church's 1968 Humanae Vitae teaching by Pope Paul VI that reaffirms the traditional Catholic teachings about married love, responsible parenthood and the rejection of most forms of birth control, including artificial contraception.
"Are they aware of how morally to evaluate the different methods of family planning?" the questionnaire asks in a follow-up question. "Could any insights be suggested in this regard pastorally?"
The survey and preparatory document can be found at tinyurl.com/UPI-Vatican-Survey.
Baldisseri told reporters the survey seeks "to initiate the process of consultation ... with the aim of obtaining concrete and real data on the synodal theme."
He said pastors were expected to provide summaries of the views and experiences of parishioners and the findings would be "channeled" through national bishops' conferences for synod consideration, the National Catholic Reporter said.