The synod is an assembly of bishops of the Catholic Church from all over the world and that brings together the main responsible of the Catholic movement : the Pope or bishop of Rome. The purpose of a synod is to reflect together on issues relevant to the good of the church and humanity.
There are two types of synod, those that have an ordinary character and those that are convened in an extraordinary manner. The first ones take place periodically, but without a fixed norm, while the extraordinary ones are convoked in an exceptional way. In any case, synods take place in the Vatican on most occasions.
A clarification on the word
From the point of view of the etymology of the term, synod comes from Latin and literally means to walk together (the Latin word sinudus comes in turn from Greek). Although ancient Greeks used the term as a synonym for meeting or shared action, this word was used in the context of political debates, with the rise of Christianity and adapting to ecclesiastical terminology. Because of this, in addition to the religious context , there are no synods, but assemblies, forums and congresses. Synod
General considerations about the synods
The Catholic Church has a universal vocation (the word Catholic means precisely universal) and the most responsible of Catholicism understand that synods are necessary to share experiences through various perspectives and from them draw conclusions that may be useful. It should be noted that the Catholic Church needs to have shared and clear criteria in order to avoid other interpretations on the issues.
The bishops are the protagonists of this type of meeting and the majority is proposed by the Pope, although it is also proposed by other entities, such as the episcopal conference of each country. However, it is the Pope who presides over the synod during the time of the commissions and the working day.
The synods deal with various subjects, such as the priesthood, evangelization, catechism, pastoral activity and the role of the family .
Although synods as a forum for debate have a remote origin, their current version is situated in the context of the Second Vatican Council, when after the death of Pope John XXIII, his successor Paul VI promoted the institution of the synod of bishops with the aim of Catholic Church could face the challenges facing the whole of humanity.