• Jason Roebuck
    March 17, 2011 Reply

    I got half way through your post today and thought that it was a little too much to follow, but I understand after reading to the end that it was all necessary and I do need to be more faithful to the Sacrament of Penance. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us…God bless you!

  • Dick and Terry Boldin
    March 17, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan, may Jesus and Mary bless you abundately for reminding us all of the gift of God’s mercy found in the sacrament of Reconciliation where each of us encounters personally Jesus Christ in the sacrament of His Mercy. Our Lord waits lovingly for each of us to answer the invitation of the Heavenly Father. Indeed, as Pope Benedict XVI stated in the United States in 2008 in Washington DC: “To a great extent, the renewal of the Church in America and throughout the world depends upon the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that sacrament both inspiries and accomplishes.” The most wonderful words anyone can ever hear are those loving and merciful words of absolution in confesesion. Thanks again Archbishop for reminding us!

  • Susan Cole
    March 17, 2011 Reply

    How can we as members of the Church Jesus Christ instituted not but thank every priest for the service they provide us in bringing us Jesus Himself in the Eucharist as well as His Mercy in the Confessional? How can we not pray that the Holy Spirit shines His Light on the path laid out for each priest as well as the young men being called to the priesthood?
    Sometimes when I say thank you to a priest for their service I see surprise in his eyes. i suspect that means he does not hear “thank you” often enough.

  • TeaPot562
    March 17, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, Archbishop Dolan.
    A compelling and worthwhile meditation on this Sacrament.

  • Frank Herron
    March 17, 2011 Reply

    Thank you Archbishop for this wonderful letter on the Sacrament of Penance. It is so needed today in our society and in our church.

  • Meghan Kate
    March 17, 2011 Reply

    Wonderful essay, Archbishop- thank you! Sadly, my own pastor (in NYC!) has told us that the sacrament of reconciliation is not important, that God forgives us no matter what. He has personally discouraged me from coming to the sacrament more than twice a year. While I see his point, I wish more priests themselves would be welcoming and encouraging about the sacrament. God bless you in your work always!

  • AndyP/Doria2
    March 17, 2011 Reply

    Excellent, excellent article. Nice and long, just the way I like them. It covers it all. Since the 1970’s, confession, sin and hell almost disappeared from most pulpits in favor of “we are fam-i-ly,” holding hands and sing cumbayaa sermons.

    You said it yourself Your Excellency when you wrote “But whatever problems existed in the 1950s are now a half-century in the past, and subsequent generations have grown up without any knowledge of whatever excesses may have existed. They have indeed grown up without what belongs to them as part of the patrimony as Catholics – the liberating, joyful experience of God’s mercy in the sacrament of penance.”

    That’s because we were never taught.

    When John Paul II The Great wrote – “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.”

    He hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head. Prophetic he was. It happened just like he said it would. Confession is virtually a non entity in most parishes.

    Like I said when I met you at the Polish Community Center in Yonkers Your Excellency. Education – EDUCATION, APOLOGETICS, CATECHISM STUDIES (The Catechism gathers dust on most rectory shelves).

    I have no degrees and no fancy letters after my name but I have been studying apologetics for almost thirty years and teach it to whomever will listen. Our Church is sorely lacking in these departments.

    One good example is the absolutely atrocious New American Bible which IMO is more Protestant than it is Catholic what with calling our Blessed Mother “O highly favored one” at the Annunciation in Luke and now the abominable change recently publicized that “A young woman will conceive and bear a child” instead of “A virgin will conceive and bear a child.”

    There are too many other troublesome parts to list here but I will mention one more. The one you quoted in your exhortation. The line “My brother priests, we should never lose our amazement and our gratitude at this gift. The Spirit called down upon us at our ordination is the same Spirit who hovered over the waters at the dawn of creation.”

    That Spirit that hovered over the waters was changed to “a mighty wind” in the NAB. The uninitiated wouldn’t have a clue as to what that means.

    My humble advice?

    Deep six the NAB. Order the new Scott Hahn Bible with commentary from Ignatius Press. It’s the best modern (for lack of a better word) Catholic Bible out here and make it mandatory in all schools.

    What the Archdiocese of NY orders can affect the whole country. You can start a revolution in Bible study nationwide.

    Look into Dr. Warren Carroll’s 6 volume set about the history of the Catholic Church. It should be required reading in all Catholic secondary schools and colleges.

    They are

    The series of books is:
    * The Founding of Christendom
    * The Building of Christendom
    * The Glory of Christendom
    * The Cleaving of Christendom
    * The Revolution against Christendom
    * The Crisis of Christendom (forthcoming)

    You have been chosen Excellency, not only as leader of one of the largest and most influential Sees of the world but selected by the Holy Spirit Himself as national leader. You can reverse a half century of poor catechetics and be the most influential shepherd of this new century.

    Become the shepherd you were meant to be. I don’t care if the censors do not post this but I pray that this note gets to your eyes on the wings of the Holy Spirit.

    Help us!

    AndyP/Doria2 Yonkers, NY HOSEA 4:6

  • Reverend Doctor Victoria A. Howard
    March 18, 2011 Reply

    I have to be so careful in everything I say and do because I can rarely get to confession. I find that my vocation as an anchorite helps; I am removed from many occasions of sin. I don’t watch television or movies, and I read only prayer books. I keep silence most of the day and I don’t linger in bed. Sin has to be on purpose to be sin, so I make no plans to sin and I do very well. But when I had confession, I learned a lot about being sinless. I don’t think I willl ever sin again.

  • msgr michael p.a. flanagan
    March 19, 2011 Reply

    Thank you Bishop, I needed that. I will share your thoughts with
    my congregation.

  • Dawn Eden
    March 20, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency, thank you so much for stressing the importance of this sacrament. How true that “we have shied away from words like penance, repentance, contrition – even the basic reality of sin.” I am thankful that you are encouraging priests to preach about the sacrament and to be more willing to spend time hearing confession. The recovery of a sense of sin–and the corresponding understanding of our need for grace–is key to resolving what you have aptly called “the first vocations crisis” (the decline in Catholic marriages).

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick
    March 20, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan needs to be reminded: Until he obeys Canon 915, he is scandalizing the entire Church. Canon 915 is not a suggestion; it does not present an OPTION that a priest or bishop may take; it presents a STRICT AND GRAVE OBLIGATION. Those are the exact words used by Cardinal Raymond Burke, concerning the obligation to deny Communion to people who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin.

    The bishops of New York recently announced that they will not obey Canon 915.

    A priest or bishop who obstinately refuses to obey Canon 915 is himself acting scandalously each and every time he celebrates Mass, because he is himself obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin.

    Cardinal Burke leaves no stone unturned, no nail unhammered, in this article, which he mailed to every bishop in the United States:

  • joe perez
    March 20, 2011 Reply

    You should be the leader to open up the investigations regarding sexual abuse……all the cover ups that go on, and the pope saying nothing but a slap in the hand….to many, its a joke, you need God to help you more than us in order to make good in this sick society…….work harder!……

  • Cephas
    March 20, 2011 Reply

    After re-reading this beautiful letter, and finding new graces and inspirations of God in it, I am struck by the similarity to the letters in the New Testament, written by Bishops of another time, but filled with the same Spirit and the same sollicitous pastoral concern, full of love for all those entrusted to his care. May God grant Archbishop Dolan many years of faithful, fruitful service in his vineyard among us.

  • Rob
    March 21, 2011 Reply

    Airport Encounter is so obviously a made up story.

  • Maria
    March 23, 2011 Reply

    John Hardon SJ told this story to the Missionaries of Charity: Priest and penitent converse:

    When did you say the last time you went to Confession was?”

    “Two weeks ago.”

    “Are you serious?”, the priest asked. “Come around when you’ve got something to confess.”

    Father Hardon said: I think I’ve told you, haven’t I? I’ve gone to Confession to priests that I hadn’t known. Go to Confession. Tell my sins. Then I wait for absolution. He does not know the formula. I think I told you this, didn’t I? More than once I tell the priest, “Repeat after me.”

    This problems attaches not only to penitients, but to priests, who no longer believe in the Sacrament and have convinced several generations, now hopelessly lost in sin and despair , that it does. not. matter.

  • Angela Santana
    March 24, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency,

    I just found this today, as I am in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and I just wanted to thank you for these words. Thank you for shepherding your archdiocese and our U.S. Church. You have my love and support.

  • Deacon Ed and Pat McCarthy
    March 27, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan,

    We met you in Green Bay at Bishop Ricken’s installation, rejoiced when you were elected president of the U.S. Bishops and then heard you speak in Denver three weeks ago! No treading water, you said. We came home and played your beautiful presentation on The Four Pillars in the Papacy of John Paul II for people in our parish, Our Lady of Fatima in Casper. They loved it. Thank you for this letter. So many want to hear what you have to say now. We will share it on facebook. Thank you for being filled with joy and for being humble and vulnerable with all of us and with the poor man at DIA. We know you brought him healing.

  • Michelle
    March 29, 2011 Reply

    Confession! The sacrament of Joy, as the saints refer to it. I remember once being in line for confession one day and the scripture passage “I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance” came to mind. And immediately I thought of the celebration in heaven every time someone came out of that confessional. And then I thought what an amazing gift our priests have been given, since they are the instruments of that joy!

  • Robert Fox
    April 6, 2011 Reply

    I must say this is excellent dear Arch Bishop. I only had a chance to read it now because I have been so busy writing on other topics. Anyway, I will leave you with this:

    There is NO greater work of charity then for a priest to hear a man or woman’s confession, help make sure it is a good and thorough confession, and give that person the absolution that only Christ can give through His sacred minister.

    Please remember though that for us to not wish to dishonor our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we must see our bishops doing the same when it comes to canon 915. Otherwise it just becomes “Do as I SAY but not as I DO” from the hierarchy.

    Ave Maria!



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