It won't matter a whit. Why? Because the Synod will still do a faceplant unless something drastically changes.
That something is a frank acknowledgment that the shepherds have failed the Faithful.
An unreserved mea culpa and vow to do better.
A firm purpose of amendment, if you will.
The most galling thing about the "midterm report" isn't the slobbering over modern relationships: it's the mindset that suggests the confusion of our time is some kind of natural disaster of which the bishops were helpless spectators. It was something that happened on the other side of the world, and it made them sad.
Really--read it. It reads like a spiritual police report--something the bishops found when they arrived on scene, unable to do anything else. Really, they just noticed this stuff. What can you do?
To a man, they have failed to evaluate their own role in this mess. There's not a hint of "Wow, did we ever drop the ball since we last talked as a group about family problems. No, we didn't execute this well. And we're sorry, deeply sorry for our failures here."
The current Synod fathers are acting like divorce and cohabitation just fell from space like an asteroid since 1981. Yet, according to the 1981 Synod report, they didn't. Honest.
Huh--and back then, they even made some recommendations regarding cohabitation right there in paragraph 81:
The pastors and the ecclesial community should take care to become acquainted with such situations and their actual causes, case by case. They should make tactful and respectful contact with the couples concerned, and enlighten them patiently, correct them charitably and show them the witness of Christian family life, in such a way as to smooth the path for them to regularize their situation. But above all there must be a campaign of prevention, by fostering the sense of fidelity in the whole moral and religious training of the young, instructing them concerning the conditions and structures that favor such fidelity, without which there is no true freedom; they must be helped to reach spiritual maturity and enabled to understand the rich human and supernatural reality of marriage as a sacrament.
Sounds like a good, pastoral and charitable plan. Did any of that happen? No? Then why not? Was it too hard? They don't say, because they don't say. Instead, the new Synod is aching to lower the bar and celebrate the good in what the Church said they should work hard to address and prevent 33 YEARS AGO.
IT HAPPENED TIME AND AGAIN, OVER AND OVER, IN THEIR SEES, ON THEIR WATCH. AND THEY COLLECTIVELY JAMMED THEIR THUMBS UP THEIR BUTTS IN RESPONSE.
And they can't bring themselves to acknowledge it, so they pretend instead that so very, very much has changed in the modern world since the Who's last tour--er, never mind. So much for Vatican II's timeless insights into the modern world, grumbles your blog host...
Ultimately, no. Expect nothing from this Synod, even if it's yet another impressive bit of orthodoxy from the Church's Department of Paper Proclamations. Not unless it comes with something resembling an apology at the top.