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Pope Francis Calls For Unprecedented SurveyUnder Pope Francis, the Vatican has just done something unprecedented.

The vicar has called for a survey “to discuss the family to find out what Catholics really think about its teaching on marriage and family life,” according to a new report from the BBC.

The news site reported that Pope Francis is calling bishops to Rome next October to “discuss possible reform that considers modern social realities,” including how Catholics feel about premarital cohabitation, birth control and gay marriage as well as certain practices of the church towards those who file for divorce.

“The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family,” the survey stated.

It also touches on “many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care,” and lists single-parent families, inter-religious unions and the common practice of filing divorce papers, all of which the Church has looked at controversially in the past.

Mounting Pressures

BBC notes that the still-new Pope faces pressure from church members across the globe to revisit bans on contraception and refusing to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to take Communion.

The survey is a major preparation move for next year’s meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will reportedly focus on the subject of family.

“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,” the questionnaire states.

Pope Francis is largely seen as more progressive and has actually gone on record in the past by accusing the Catholic Church of being too tied up in “small-minded rules.”

What The Coming Survey Could Mean For Same-Sex Couples

The coming survey could see a fundamental shift in how Catholicism looks on same-sex couples. In the past, the church has not only refused to recognize such relationships, they’ve outright condemned them.

Regardless of the shift the church makes, they are likely to lose followers. While support for same-sex unions has grown to a majority in the last few decades, the margin is still very small, and in the United States, very few states have allowed the practice through voter action.

An acceptance of the lifestyle would certainly win the seal of approval from many citizens, but it could also cause greater fragmentation with the faith’s traditionalists.

It will be interesting to see how Catholics feel about these issues in the coming year. We’ll keep you posted!

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