The Vatican has launched a global survey asking about local views on gay marriage, divorce and birth control ahead of a meeting of bishops.
The questionnaire on the new realities of family life has been sent out to Catholic clergy around the world.
It is part of the preparation for the extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops next October.
Correspondents say it shows a greater interest in issues previously considered taboo.
“The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelising mission concerning the family,” the Vatican survey says.
Among the “many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care”, it lists single-parent families, inter-religious unions and changing attitudes to marriage.