Pope Benedict XVI has called the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme, “The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church,” to be held at the Vatican, October 5th – 26th, 2008.
The announcement was made through a communiqué of the press office of the Holy See, this morning.
This newly announced Assembly of the Synod will be convened three years after the last one, which occurred October 2nd- 23d, 2005 on the subject of the Eucharist.
The Synod is group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and who, according to cannon law, “meet at declared times to foster a closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and the bishops, to offer the Pope with their counsel in safeguarding and increasing faith and morals and in preserving and strengthening ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions concerning the Church's activity in the world.”
In a Synod the gathered bishops exchange ideas and share particular experiences with the common objective of seeking pastoral solutions that have universal validity and applications.
The Synod of Bishops became a permanent institution created by Pope Paul VI in 1965 “in response to the desire of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council to keep alive the spirit of collegiality engendered by the conciliar experience.” However, although it is a permanent institution, the Synod meets and operates only at the invitation of the Pope.