I followed last year's Extraordinary Synod very closely and have maintained contact with the issues that arose from it. It has since occurred to me, however, that Synods produce documents. The definitive document a Synod produces is a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation. Let's face it, documents don't necessarily produce results, especially ones that only seek to exhort.
Probably the two best known post-synodal exhortations since Bl Pope Paul VI inaugurated the Synod of Bishops after the Second Vatican Council are Pope Francis' Evangelii gaudium, which was the exhortation after the Synod on the New Evangelization, which took place while Benedict XVI was still pope, and Pope St John Paul II's Familiaris consortio, the exhortation following the 1980 Synod on the family. In any case, I am very doubtful that the exhortation following these synods will improve on Familiaris consortio, but we'll see.
The dirty little secret is that in many dioceses and parishes marriage preparation is minimal to non-existent and ministry to married couples with children is pretty rare, at least in my experience. But, hey, it's only the future of the Church in each place we're talking about. I suppose we can always just hang our hats on the Lord's promise not to abandon the Church. But we should be well-aware that there are places where Christianity formerly thrived that the Church now either exists only very minimally or does not exist at all, even as the Church Universal remains. It seems to me that every diocese in the United States should be taking pastoral challenges to marriage and family very seriously.
It would be nice if this year's Synod was not dominated by discussions and debates about further weakening the bonds of holy matrimony and other issues that only fall tangentially within the scope of the Synod. I read where on Canadian bishop took the opportunity to make an intervention on ordaining women deacons. He's a bishop who was invited to participate and so I guess he can speak about whatever he wants. I will grant that in the lineamenta, the preparatory document for the Synod, women in ministry was mentioned. Now I am not saying that what His Excellency brought up isn't a topic worthy of discussion, it is. But it struck me as a bit beside the point given the enormity of the challenge that needs to be addressed.
In a recent interview with Billboard Stevie Nicks confirmed that her song "Sara" was about aborting the child she conceived with Don Henley. She said that if she had married Henley and given birth to a girl she would've named the child Sara. I am pretty sure that one of the ways women who have had abortions are encouraged to heal is by naming the child. So, I hope this song was something that helped her heal from her abortion. Women are told a lot of lies about abortion and many who believe them wind up crushed.
Our traditio this week is Fleetwood Mac's "Sara"-
Never change, never stop
And now it’s gone
All I ever wanted
Was to know that you were dreaming
(There’s a heartbeat
And it never really died)