The Catholic Church is having a Synod on the Family this year, from today to the 25th. It's more or less a continuation of last year's synod, with a lot more people attending.
For a long time now, people have been trying to hijack the Synod and change the agenda, so it focuses on their particular issues. Common topics people keep bringing up are divorce, adultery, polygamy, gay marriage, birth control, and...yeah, mostly things dealing with sex. People seem preoccupied with getting the church to change its rules on sex.
Last year, the first week of the Synod was an open discussion with everyone, and there were many presentations. They wrote up a midterm report over the weekend. The second week, they broke up into small groups, based on language, and discussed the midterm report / made changes to it. In the end, everyone voted on what the report would say. I believe this is the final copy of the report, although, it's obviously going to become outdated later this month.
This year, they're going to have an open discussion on Monday/Tuesday, with small group discussions for the rest of the week. Each small group will write observations/summaries, which will be released publicly. They will repeat the process for three weeks in a row, tackling a different theme each week. I wonder what the themes will be!
In the end, everyone votes on the final document, paragraph by paragraph.
There will be 13 different small groups. We know German, English, Spanish, Italian, and French are five of them. I couldn't find anything which said what the other 8 languages groups will be. In the past, the Church avoided language barrier problems by doing everything in Latin. It's a shame they're not doing that now, because I can kind of understand Latin.
Last year's synod was kind of messy, in that there was an ineffective media ban. Also, someone robbed the Vatican mail office to prevent Synod attendees from receiving books. The media ban has been partially lifted, in that Bishops are now free to talk to the press at the end of each day. And we're getting more regular reports, so that's good. The discussions are still going to happen behind closed doors, so it's not completely transparent.