Surveys commissioned by the Vatican have shown that the vast majority of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland reject church teaching on contraception, sexual morality, gay unions and divorce.
The Vatican took the unusual step of commissioning the surveys ahead of a major meeting of bishops that Pope Francis has called for October to discuss the family.
This week, German and Swiss bishops reported the results. They were surprising in the near-uniformity of responses that the church's teachings on sexuality, morality and marriage are rejected as unrealistic and outdated by the vast majority of Catholics who nevertheless are active in parish life and consider their faith vitally important.
Also surprising was the eagerness with which the bishops publicized the results.
Despite the findings, moral theologians warned that church doctrine won't change.