Pope Francis has called bishops from around the world to Rome for two meetings, in October 2014 and October 2015, to talk about pastoral challenges to Catholic families. Discussions included hot button issues such as contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce. The first meeting, called an Extraordinary Synod, was attended by 190 bishops and 38 lay experts. After ten days of spirited discussion, the agenda was set for the second meeting, an Ordinary Synod, which will involve about 250 bishops and will last for three weeks.
“May we all, then, pray together so that ... the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.” Pope Francis, Letter to Families, February 2014