In preparing for a meeting of bishops next year, the Vatican is surveying local views on issues surrounding the family.

The October, 2014 meeting, known as a synod and themed “Pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization,” will focus on the role of Roman Catholic Church teachings as they relate to the family.

Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops, sent the survey on October 18 to Catholic bishops around the world. Distribute the questionnaire “immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received,” Baldisseri wrote.

The National Catholic Reporter posted the questionnaire and supporting documents on its website on Thursday.

An introduction to the poll reads: “Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation … to same-sex unions between persons, who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children.”

Among the questions asked on the issue of gay marriage – which is referred to as same-sex civil unions – are, “Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same-sex and equating it in some way to marriage?” and, “What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?” and, “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?”