Raymond Cardinal Burke in his book on the Eucharist, which I have been sharing this week, nicely explains what a synod of bishops is in the Church.
Here are his words:
"The Synod of Bishops is a solemn meeting of the Roman Pontiff with representative bishops from throughout the world to receive their consultation on questions of concern for the Church. The Synod of Bishops takes one of three forms: ordinary, extraordinary and special...An 'ordinary' assembly of the Synod of Bishops is convoked by the Holy Father 'to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and the bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world.'"
Cardinal Burke continues, "A meeting of the Synod of Bishops is 'extraordinary' when it is called 'to treat affairs which require a speedy solution.'"
"A meeting of the Synod of Bishops is 'special,' if it is made up of members of a particular portion of the church.'"
The upcoming meeting in Rome of the assembly of bishops, in October, is an "extraordinary" Synod.
We should all be praying and fasting for the success of this Synod.