The Association of Catholic Priests here has circulated an edited, and what it calls a more user-friendly, version of the Vatican's questionnaire on challenges facing the church in its work with families.

The association omits a question on how an increase in births can be promoted and adds one about attitudes to marriage equality.

The Irish Bishops Conference has not commented on the new document but has rejected the Association's criticism that it has failed to take any action to make the official version available.

It is a month since the Vatican issued its ground-breaking survey to find out what Catholics worldwide think about the Church's approach to issues such as contraception, premarital sex, divorce and same-sex partnerships.

Now the Association of Catholic Priests, which welcomed the move, has published what it calls a "simplified, more user-friendly version" of the 39 questions on its website saying the official survey is "difficult to understand and complete".

While the Vatican's questions are open-ended, the association frequently provides a standard multiple-choice format to guide respondents.

However, the association also leaves out some of Rome's questions, notably one that asks how an increase in births can be promoted. It also adds a question asking respondents how important marriage equality is to them.

A spokesman, Fr Tony Flannery said the changes were not significant and that it would not be possible to re-edit the survey because of time pressures.

The official questionnaire was circulated to the heads of national bishops' conferences including Cardinal Seán Brady last month and a spokesman for the cardinal said that, in line with Rome's instructions, he had sent them to diocesan bishops here who had set deadlines over the next fortnight for parishes and deaneries to return responses.

The spokesman added that each bishop will then synthesise the results and forward them to Rome to inform preparations for a world Synod of Bishops on the family next October.

In Britain, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who heads the Church in England and Wales, published the Vatican survey early this month in a Catholic newspaper.