Second, I wonder at the modern mentality in the Magisterium which seems to view itself as a kind of Church congress which is perpetually in session and needs to make continual declarations and reaffirmations of things. The Councils of Constance and Basel tried to impose a permanently sitting Council in the Church, which of course was rejected by the Popes. However, we seem to have adopted this position in the modern Church without stating so explicitly. Traditionally, Synods and Councils (even regional ones) were called to resolve doctrinal or disciplinary problems, which they did by the promulgation of decrees of canons, such as the Synod of Whitby on the submission of the Celtic Church to the Roman rite, or the Spanish Council of Toledo which gave us many valuable canons on the Trinity that are quoted in the CCC.
What is the purpose of this Synod? According to the document, "The Synod's purpose is primarily pastoral and missionary, namely to thoroughly examine the topic's doctrinal teaching and, in the process, spread and strengthen the practice of encountering the Word of God as the source of life in various areas of experience" (II.4). Interesting. I agree there are times for pastoral statements, but it seems to me that in the past several decades, the word "pastoral" has been so overused and beaten into the ground that for me it is a codeword for "We are issuing a document that really does not need to be issued just for the sake of appearing like we are doing something." It seems to me that the current Magisterium (since Vatican II) has taken to the idea that it needs to periodically make statements about things just for the sake of making statements, almost like the Constance-Basel idea of a permanently sitting Council that would continually work. Zenit reported that the Pope has already assembled the Bishops who will organize the next Synod, though they do not even have a topic selected yet! Perhaps I am drawing too tenuous of a connection here, but it seems to me that the more "pastoral" a document tends to be, the less effective.