Archbishop Timothy Dolan on Realizing the Seriousness of Sin
The Christian should not wait for others to speak of his sin; we should confess it simply, repent sincerely, and be forgiven quickly!
We need to be shocked by our sins, as the Holy Father says, and also be shocked that Jesus keeps us in His hand. The Sacrament of Penance accomplishes this in a supreme way. We prepare for confession by examining our consciences - looking hard, as it were, at the wretchedness in our heart. Then we receive absolution of those sins, and through the ministry of the Church are invited once again to be shocked at the mercy of God!
Archbishop Timothy Dolan
NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - Readers of Catholic Online know of my deep respect and admiration for Archbishop Timothy Dolan. This is a Bishop who loves the Lord and the Church with an infectious enthusiasm borne of a sincere, living faith. Anyone who has been around him for any period of time experiences the obvious, he is filled with the joy of the Lord and an evangelizer, to the bone. He is a man comfortable in his own skin, at ease with the use of the media, filled with the Holy Spirit, and eager to share the Gospel, as it is found in its fullness within the Catholic Church.
No matter where an attack or a challenge comes from, this gutsy but gregarious Bishop goes out to greet them and does not back down. He is fearless. He is also willing to fight the enemies of the Church, but does so with velvet gloves! He confounds his opponents with Truth and wins them over with the Love of God, often making them friends. Wherever he has served he has been dearly loved by his priests and deacons. That is because he has a pastor's heart and knows the importance of a Bishop's relationship with his clergy. He is also a dynamic and inspiring communicator and solid teacher of the truths as taught by the Magisterium of the Church.Finally, he is a true leader, naturally and supernaturally.
When Archbishop Dolan was elected to the office of President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops I called it an historic turn of events and a sign of the Lord's continued guidance of the Church in the United States. I wrote "Truly, God has not forgotten His people in the Church in the United States.This is a day for rejoicing!" I also said then - and repeat it now - the United States of America has become mission territory. The Catholic Church in the United States is in need of the "New Evangelization." Archbishop Timothy Dolan is a wonderful instrument of this New Evangelization, a trumpet in the hands of the Lord.
The Catholic Church and the message of authentic freedom which she proclaims is the only hope for this age being ravaged by a hungry darkness. In the wake of the absolute tragedy of the President of the United States, Barack Obama, unilaterally deciding on February 23, 2011 to no longer defend marriage, I awaited what kind of statement would come from our Bishops, now under the leadership of this great man, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.It was strong, clear and clearly written. Under his leadership, the Bishops have taken a strong posture in this vital defense of marriage and for that we should all be grateful.
In an age when too many are focusing on the few clerics who have committed egregious sin - and some have - too few are focusing on the extraordinary gift of faithful Bishops, priests and deacons. One such extraordinary gift is Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the New York. Here is one excerpt from his St Patrick's Day post on his weblog, "The Gospel in the Digital Age", entitled "Saint Patrick's Day Pastoral Letter to the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of New York." This section is subtitled "Realizing the Seriousness of Sin". The entire teaching can be found here
Archbishop Timothy Dolan is obeying the clear direction of the Holy Father to all Clergy to use the digital media in their ministry. In essence, his "blog posts" are the equivalent of an encyclical from a Bishop in the early church. Those handwritten letters of the successors of the apostles were circulated on foot, carried from town to town. "Encyclical" means "circulating letter". This is precisely what we are doing in making this wonderful teaching available digitally for all of our readers during this season of Lent:
Realizing the Seriousness of Sin
Archbishop Timothy Dolan
If the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance are at the very heart of the Christian life, why is the latter neglected? It is a lamentable characteristic of the Church's life in our time. Almost thirty years ago, soon to be Blessed Pope John Paul II convoked a Synod of Bishops addressed to the very topic of Reconciliation and Penance in the Mission of the Church. The penetrating analysis of the Holy Father's subsequent apostolic exhortation retains its force today. He wrote in 1984 that, in an age when God is pushed to the margins, the awareness of our need for forgiveness will diminish, for "the loss of the sense of sin is thus a form or consequence of the denial of God: not only in the form of atheism but also in the form of secularism."(Venerable John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 2 December 1984, #18).
We do not only observe a diminishing sense of sin in the secular culture around us. We find it in the Church herself. Perhaps it is an over-reaction ...
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