Synod on the Family
Robert Mickens writes (NCR 12 October 2015) about Synod procedures and makes the following comment, which is worth reflecting upon.
Without a doubt, the pope has many allies, even among bishops, who are trying to help him reform the mentality, procedures and structures in the church. But when it comes to the Synod of Bishops, even many of them are still thinking with the old status quo rather than by creatively and more profoundly plumbing the church's tradition.
It is disappointing and disturbing how many among them -- or anyone in the church -- do not even have a correct understanding of the nature of the synod.
For example, it's neither correct nor helpful to refer to the "synod on the family" or "this year's synod." This only reinforces the erroneous notion that the synod exists only for those few weeks whenever the pope explicitly calls the bishops to Rome.
No, the Synod of Bishops is a permanent institution. The gatherings, like the one currently taking place in Rome, are called assemblies or sessions.
Synod15 - the fourth general congregation:
This morning, during the fourth general congregation of the XIV General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the reports of 13 small language groups were presented to the Synod. These groups convened between 6 to 8 October to reflect on the introduction and first part of the Instrumentum Laboris in the light of contributions made in the Synod hall during the first three plenary sessions.
Here are the texts of the Reports by the 13 Small Groups for this first working
The following article is a reworking of a talk given by Dr Gillian Paterson, Research Fellow, Heythrop College, University of London at the ACTA meeting on The Synod and the Modern World. Dr Paterson was in Rome for the beginning of the Synod, and was a panelist at the symposium to launch the book 'Catholic Women Speak'.