Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said Catholic teaching on marriage and the family is poorly understood and poorly accepted in his dioceses.

He said that it is disconnected from the real life experience of families.

Archbishop Martin said these views were not confined to younger Catholics.

He was providing the first account by an Irish bishop of responses to the Vatican's unprecedented questionnaire on family life.

He told a meeting of priests and parish councils in the capital's North City deanery this evening that the answers received do not come as a surprise.

"What should surprise us is the fact that we have not been developing a strong pastoral response to these questions over the years," he said, according to supplied speaking notes. 

He added that the diocese should not have had to wait for a questionnaire from Pope Francis to address these questions.