There is hope that the synod of bishops on the family will help people understand how to be good Catholics in their daily lives, says Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles.
In today’s synod briefing in the Holy See Press Office, the US archbishop expressed this, noting how important it is to have this sense of mission to bring the Good News to everybody as the synod soon draws to a close.
Also speaking were Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Tonga’s Cardinal Patita Paini Mafi, who agreed that even if bishops don’t think exactly the same on every issue, they all are being enriched by the synodal experience and its dialogue.
Cardinal Gracias summarized the synod’s aim, namely: “How do we face the challenges today with doctrine remaining the same, with faith remaining the same?” With this at its center, he said, “I don’t think we have seen the solutions yet, but at least we have begun to speak about the problem.”
Cardinal Gracias added that it is a joy to be here, and each time it’s a new experience, truly one of “walking together.”
“For all of us,” he said, “it’s been a spiritual experience, trying to see how we can help the Holy Father and to see how we can go ahead in our pastoral work.”
The bishops “are interested in helping families in difficulty find a way forward,” he said, “but we also want to help good families become better families. This has been a focus of our meeting and has really been the experience for each of us.”
Archbishop Gomez, who, as Fr. Lombardi pointed out, has Hollywood within his diocese, explained what he finds to be the three great challenges for his people and potentially for many Americans.
The first, he expressed, is related to spirituality. “The hope is that this synod can help people find new ways to be an active part of the Church, to have a strong spiritual life,” especially given how much society has changed and how people often say they are too busy to practice their faith.
The second has to do with unity, which is especially and important to us in the States, he said, given how often people move around. In this respect, he observed, “social media has been a big help, as people move around the country and how it’s so important for the family to be united.” Immigration, he noted, is a reality, given how many people are entering the country — “11 million without documents.” So many have been deported, he added, saying: “one of every four was part of a strong family.”
Along with that, there’s the concerns of economic challenges, poverty, violence, which we have to address, he said.
Archbishop Gomez also talked about how important it is for women to be respected, with equal rights and responsibilities in the teachings of the Church. He said, “Women have great positions of leadership in my diocese,” noting, “We are all created equal and are all children of God.”
Saying it has been an extraordinary experience to be part of this Synod and to be with the Holy Father, he said, “It’s a special grace for all of us to be together.”
Recalling that today we remember St. John Paul II, Archbishop Gomez quoted the Polish Saint, reading to those gathered, “Our God, in His deepest mystery is not a solitude, but a family.”