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Vatican polls Catholics on gay marriage, contraception, divorce ahead of major meeting

The Vatican is taking the unusual step of conducting a worldwide survey on how parishes deal with sensitive issues such as contraception, divorce and gay couples.

The survey asks how priests minister to same-sex couples and their children — and to men and women living together outside of marriage.

The poll was sent in mid-October to every national bishops conference with instructions to get the widest possible response. The information is for a major meeting on the family that Pope Francis plans next year.

The National Catholic Reporter was first to report the survey Thursday. A U.S. bishops' spokeswoman told The Associated Press the document is authentic and each bishop will decide how to get input.

In England, bishops posted the survey online asking church members to participate.

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