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Work of the synods has just begun
June 7th, 2016
By Alex M. Saunders, MD

It is hoped that one may respectfully agree and disagree with an article written by one’s archbishop in Catholic San Francisco (“Survey results indicate need for ongoing formation,” May 26). Here are the simple points.

1. The work of the two synods on family life is not concluded; it is now barely begun. Pope Francis has made it clear that the church must now respond to the needs of the people. We in San Francisco should take example from Bishop McElroy who plans a diocese-wide synod as a next step in San Diego. It would give an opportunity for 99.9 percent of San Francisco Catholics who never had a chance at an earlier input.

2. The online survey as summarized below the archbishop’s article was never presented to parishes, if “parishes” means the people of the parish. Being alert to the pope’s questionnaire I continuously searched for an opportunity to have a voice in our archdiocese. In time I obtained the pope’s questions online and sent my answers to (then-San Francisco auxiliary) Bishop McElroy. But after repeated requests at the local parish level there never was information about this survey whose answers are also published by CSF on May 26. If our parish answered this survey it is assured that it was not a summary of the people’s voice. Nor was it taken as a teaching opportunity in the parish.

3. One important issue in the survey results deals with formation of conscience. People say the church teaching is clear, and yet have ignored the teaching in practice. Archbishop Cordileone recognizes this in his conclusion that more formation is needed. If he means adult faith formation one certainly has to agree with that conclusion!

Since the questions of the survey presented in CSF are now made public, perhaps it is time to perform a true, archdiocese-wide, answer by the 450,000 Catholics who all should have an opinion on these matters. I respectfully ask that the archdiocese give that opportunity.

Alex M. Saunders, MD
San Carlos


From June 9, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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