As the church prepares for the 2015 Synod on the Family, one of the newly-named advisers to the synod of bishops' general secretariat is a scholar from the John Paul II Institute on marriage and the family — representatives of which were notably absent during last year's gathering on the same subject.

Vice-president and professor of sacramental theology at the JPII Institute, Fr. José Granados, was listed in a Mar. 14 Vatican statement as one the advisers — known as “consultors” -- tasked with advising the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. 

Representatives from the pontifical institute were absent from the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” noteworthy for the fact that marriage and the family are at the core of its study. 

JPII institute scholars have openly opposed proposals made by some to grant reception of Holy Communion to divorced persons who have remarried without obtaining an annulment, a topic which received much media attention during the 2014 Synod.

This year's Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25, will be the second and larger of two such gatherings to take place in the course of a year. Like its 2014 precursor, the focus of the 2015 Synod of Bishops will be the family, this time with the theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world.”

A preparatory document for the Synod on the Family, formally known as the Lineamenta, was sent to bishops' conference in Dec. 2014.

The 2014 synod has been criticized in some circles for a lack of transparency, because in previous synods the interventions, or speeches, of the participants were made public. Last year's gathering, overseen by Cardinal Baldisseri, did not publicly release the texts of the interventions.

Founded in 1981 by St. John Paul II, the Pontifical JPII Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family is centrally based at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University. It also has institutes in twelve other cities worldwide, including Melbourne, Australia; Changanacherry, India; and Washington, DC's Catholic University.

Consultors are tasked with assisting the various Vatican departments — formally known as dicasteries — in their work.