I disagree with him on two counts. Firstly, the letter should be judged primarily on the merits of its arguments, not the number of signatories. Of course we wanted a decent showing, but the real question is: is the argument correct?
The second point is that I disagree that 500 is a small number in the context of that letter. ACTA has been organising for years; it claims a membership with groups in every diocese. It has a dedicated website, a mailing list, and several organisers with time on their hands. For some time they have been promoting a 'Survey on the family' doubtless to try to bolster their heterodox agenda with some semblance of popular support. So far they have just over 150 responses, and are hoping (and working hard) to try to get that up to 200, as I learn from this, which somebody sent me, having been emailed it yesterday.
(I have to admit that I was tempted to contribute to their survey, but that involved joining ACTA, which involved stating that I agreed with their aims, so I resisted the temptation. I suspect, however, that others of like mind have contributed, which would mean even their 150 are not all ACTA supporters...)
Whereas Mark and I had no database of email addresses of supporters, no organisation, and precious little time on our hands (it was the Easter holiday, and both of us prefer to spend time with our families to lobbying...). Nonetheless, thanks to the willing support of other Catholic bloggers, and the readiness of their readers to sign up, we collected over 500 signatures between the launch of the blog campaign at noon on Palm Sunday, and its close on Easter day.
That seems to me to suggest the relative weight on the side of orthodoxy is pretty substantial.
Thanks to all who signed: names are continuing to come in (we are now up to 527 - I will publish an updated list soon).
We are also planning to suggest further ways in which ordinary lay people can prepare for and contribute to a successful outcome of the Synod. More later...