Archbishop Dolan to Pope Benedict: Grace and mercy still abound

New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan greets Pope Benedict XVI

ROME — Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York addressed Pope Benedict Saturday on behalf of the bishops of New York state, telling the pope that God’s grace and mercy are as abundant among Catholics today as they were in the lives of past saints. His remarks came just before the pope delivered the first of five speeches he will give to groups of U.S. bishops making “ad limina” visits in coming months.

Here is the text of Archbishop Dolan’s talk:

Holy Father:

On Thursday, we in the United States celebrated our grand national feast of Thanksgiving.  For us bishops of the State of New York, to be here with you is indeed an occasion of thanksgiving! We praise Jesus for your ministry as successor of Saint Peter.

To visit you is more than a duty of canon law; for us, to borrow a phrase from one of our own, Dorothy Day, whom we hope one day will be a saint, it is a “duty of delight.”

We need not repeat to you statistics and reports, as these are carefully detailed in our required quinquennials, and in our pleasant conversations with you in the last two days.

Instead, we bishops come to you, as did the apostles to Jesus, to report with praise to God about all that His Word continues to accomplish in the eight dioceses of the State of New York. God’s grace and mercy are as abundant now as they once were in the lives of New Yorkers in the past whom we revere as saints or future saints.

The work of evangelization goes on, as it did centuries ago in our state through St. Isaac Jogues, John De Brebeuf, and the North American Martyrs. Our catechumens, children, young people and adults still respond to the invitation of Jesus to conversion of heart and the call to holiness, as our own Blessed Kateri Tekawitha and Father Paul Watson once did.

Our priests, consecrated religious, and faithful people continue to feed the poor, heal the sick, clothe the naked, and house the homeless as our hopefully future saints such as Pierre Toussaint, Monsignor Nelson Baker, Sister Rose Hawthorne, Mother Marianne Cope, Monsignor Bernard Quinn, and Dorothy Day did in the past.

Our children still learn about “the way, the truth, and the life” in excellent Catholic schools and programs of religious education, taught today as they once were by our own St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Our priests continue to preach, serve, and sanctify, bolstered by the example of predecessors such as Felix Varela, Isaac Hecker, James Walsh, Thomas Price, Vincent Capodanno, Fulton Sheen, and Terrance Cooke, all of whom we hope one day to venerate as Saints.

Immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, welcomed by the Statue of Liberty and Mother Church, are embraced now as once they were by Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini.

Holy Father, we have difficulties and worries galore. We have spoken to you about some of them over the last two days. The Church has had them since Pentecost; New York has had them since the first Catholics came three-and-a-half centuries ago. They do not crush us, but only prompt us to trust in Jesus and his promises, to rely on our faithful and generous people, zealous priests and deacons, indefatigable religious women and men.

They only move us to seek a blessing, and a word of hope from you as we commence Advent this very evening.

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14 Responses to Archbishop Dolan to Pope Benedict: Grace and mercy still abound

  1. Joel Peddle says:

    I hope for the best. I take a minor exception to Archishop Dolan’s remarks regarding Catholic Education in the USA. My sense is that we are too accomodating to the culture of death, ill preparing the young for apologetics, and failing to teach tradition, whether in the arts or humanities. Some Catholic schools are latitudinarian. If John Henry Newman saw what I see going here, he would submit a remonstrance calling for a renewal based on the Holy Spiriti working through the Patristic fathers who labored to save the Church from heresy. Did you know that teachers at Catholic schools sometimes miss great teaching moments and worse, misconvey key facts about the Crusades, Sola Fides, Sola Scriptura, the French Revolution, evidence (2nd Law of Thermodynamics) that challenges Darwin, etc.

    No wonder Nietzsche wrote, God is Dead. By that he meant, in part, gnostic beliefs, have simply replaced traditional belief.

    Everywhere the Church is assailed, and the Archbishop is too sanguine just now.


  2. Conor McDonagh says:

    Did the Archbishop visit Card. Law … to sip wine while in Rome? Wonder why the pews are half-empty?

  3. Carla Kendall says:

    The Catholic church is the world’s largest pedophile protection program. They have protected, hidden, and mobilized hundreds of pedophile priests in the Boston area alone, and tens of thousands worldwide.

    These pedophile priests now live in your communities, and you don’t know who they are, thanks to O’Malley and other bishops like him. These pedophiles are Jerry Sandusky’s age, with nothing to do all day, and they see your child out the window.

    Parents – keep your children away from Catholic priests, if you can even tell where they are anymore….

  4. Sergio M. Rivera says:

    @ Carla, not all priests are pedophiles! That’s a very horrible generalization and completely untrue! I know and am friends with a few priests and they are excellent human beings as well as excellent priests!

    One of the things that would be great for Archbishop Dolan and the other bishops would be to address one of the fundamentals of Catholic Social Teaching, the huge and widening gap of the 1% vs the 99%. This is a huge and glaring problem, one that is part of Catholic Social Teaching, yet the bishops have been completely silent on.

  5. Wes says:

    Your bitter and hateful lies are intolerable. The Catholic Church is and always was the safest place on Earth for minors. A child under the age of 18 is more than likely to be assaulted by a government school official/teacher or athletic coach than a Catholic Priest. Get your facts straight …

  6. Carla Kendall says:

    Catholics, get it straight.

    I didn’t say all priests were pedophiles. However, according to their own John Jay report of 2004, 4% were, and they skewed the statistics. The real number was 10%, and that doesn’t include all the ones that didn’t get caught.

    Next, the Catholic church as a higher percentage of pedophiles than anywhere else. The comments that it is higher elsewhere just aren’t true. If you’re using the Shakeshaft study, it mixed sexual harassment cases with actual sex cases, whereas the John Jay report showed only actual sex with priests.

    Parents now know enough to save their kids, and they should.

  7. wes says:

    You honestly have no clue about what you’re talking about…the John Jay study did mention sex with priests…and the numbers weren’t skewed – 4% is factual – and the majority of cases were NOT pedophilia, they were innappropriate homosexual encounters with post-pubescent young men. Stil wrong, but not as media-frenzied and mind-blowing as child rape (pedophilia). It’s a scandal, and it is gross…but call it what it is – a scandal of homosexual encounters; not pedophilia! Children are more safe in the Catholic Church than anywhere else. You’re seriously more than 100x more likely to be molested as a pre-pubescent boy/girl in a government-run institution than you are the Catholic Church. I’m not defending these sick-minded gay priests one bit. They deserve to be punished for their disgusting behavior. But facts are facts and the Catholic Church has the BEST track record for the safety of children than any other institution in the history of the world. You just don’t hear about it on the news as much – because a story about a man who has taken a counter-cultural vow of celibacy; denouncing all that this culture stands for (sex-any-way-you-like-it-as-long-as-it’s-not-in-the-context-of-TRUE-marriage) and then breaking that vow with a minor is a much juicier headline than some creepy guy – whom everyone knew was probably already molesting kids, but since they weren’t THEIR kids, didn’t care. This country, people like YOU and this awful culture of death ruled by the dictatorship of moral relativism turned a blind eye to the disgusting things going on next door. Now you all look to the priests to blame. This is not about pedophilia…it’s about a bunch of homo’s that were allowed to be ordained priests (whoever thought THAT was a good idea has A LOT to answer for in the next life). Quit looking to your local parish for creepers, and start seeking salvation – because He’s right there in every Tabernacle in every Catholic Church throughout the world…Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Stop looking to the source of our Salvation (The Holy Catholic Church) and start looking at YOUR own culture, mindset, heart & actions, and then you can tell me what parents should know about protecting their kids.

  8. Carla Kendall says:


    I know more than you about this, and … you got your lies from someone else.

    The John Jay study showed 72% of those priests were pedophiles, but they dropped the cut off age for pedophilia from the number recommended by the world’s definitive authority, the American Psychiatric Association, so that Catholics wouldn’t hear “pedophile priest”. To do that, they had to cut the number from 13 years old to 10 years old. Also, don’t call it “homosexuality” if the child is 14years old. It’s child rape.

    Your “100 times” number is also a Catholic lie based on the Shakeshaft study.

    God gave us the internet so that the truth would be permanently available, and bishops would be proven to have repeatedly lied to the congregation.

    I believe in God, and I believe in the truth. You believe in bishops. Re-read the first commandment, and wait til you meet God, surrounded by 100,000 children raped in His church while you supported the “false idols” that took over His church. …

  9. Isac says:

    “Next, the Catholic church as a higher percentage of pedophiles than anywhere else. The comments that it is higher elsewhere just aren’t true.”

    Please, show some proof. Don’t just refer to different studies without explaining why I should believe one over the other. As for myself, I believe that the numbers are MUCH higher elsewhere and have seen NO evidence to the contrary. Yes, I have looked, thank you.

  10. Isac says:

    Also, “nothing to do all day”? Oh, for the love of…! A priest is required to do the following: Pray the Divine Office, celebrate the Mass, perform administrative tasks for the parish, and visit those who are in need of his help in any way. Sounds pretty busy to me. Of course, some priests ignore their duties, just like some police officers, some lawyers, some programmers and what have you, but “nothing to do all day”? Someone has an axe to grind…

  11. S.C.T. says:

    While it is true that most priests have not sexually abused children and or vulnerable adults, it is also true that many have and that many bishops and other priests are aware of it. It is also true that the abuse continues in many incidences and that the priests which abuse are still being passed around to other parishes and between diocese. It is also true that there is a conspiracy of silence within the heirarchy of the church. The protection of the organization’s bottom line is paramount to the protection of the children. They are acceptable sacrifices in the eyes of the church. The Bishops who continue in their cover-up of these cases are, in effect, aiding and abeting criminals(a crime punishable by time in prison for the rest of us). If a secular person commits these offenses in the church, justice is swiftly administered(as it should be). If a priest commits these offenses, well, he is forgiven and transfered to another location. Until the church becomes truely just and transparent in the handling of these cases, this mistrust of the hierarchy will continue. I am a devout Catholic. I love my church. I have a God given responsibility and duty to challenge my church leaders when I see them participating in injustice. I know many good priests. They keep silent because of …?… you name it. I close with a quote from a famous Archbishop; “Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious.” Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, before the Knights of Columbus, June of 1972.

  12. matt25 says:

    While I will not enter directly into a debate about studies and statistics I do want to acknowledge the pain and suffering caused by those that did such terrible terrible things. I pray often for the precious victims of abuse as well as for the success of the efforts being made by the church to see that it happens no more. May God have mercy on us all and guide us into a world where children are safe whether they be in church, school, sports, scouting, family settings, or any other activity.

    To comment on the Archbishop’s published remarks we must keep in mind that they are only a small sliver of what was said over a span of days and were intended to illustrate the positive foundation on which the local churches of NY state will build toward the future. There were other times, alluded to near the end of his remarks, in which to address problems.

    To see that the ecclesial culture has changed, and continues to change, as it seeks to legitimately engage the issues of the day, one needs only to read the remarks of the pope to the bishops of region 2 (Dolan et al… found at where he recalled his pastoral visit to the USA in 2008 and in which he said, among other things:

    “…the seriousness of the challenges which the Church in America, under your leadership, is called to confront in the near future cannot be underestimated. The obstacles to Christian faith and practice raised by a secularized culture also affect the lives of believers, leading at times to that “quiet attrition” from the Church which you raised with me during my Pastoral Visit. Immersed in this culture, believers are daily beset by the objections, the troubling questions and the cynicism of a society which seems to have lost its roots, by a world in which the love of God has grown cold in so many hearts. Evangelization thus appears not simply a task to be undertaken ad extra; we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization. As with all spiritual crises, whether of individuals or communities, we know that the ultimate answer can only be born of a searching, critical and ongoing self-assessment and conversion in the light of Christ’s truth. Only through such interior renewal will we be able to discern and meet the spiritual needs of our age with the ageless truth of the Gospel. ”

    As a father, a husband, and a Catholic Permanent Deacon I too seek a blessing and a word of hope. I seek to be re-evangelized through ongoing self-assessment and conversion in the light of Christ’s truth. I trust in my God (not my bishop) to provide that grace as I seek to serve his people under the leadership of my bishop and the pope. May the Word made flesh change us all again and forever as we prepare our hearts for His coming. <

  13. Dante says:

    We had enough of homosexuals infiltrating and betraying Holy Mother Church. We are getting over that dark stage, and are emerging as strong as ever. Long live Jesus and His Holy Church!

  14. Holly J. Harrington says:

    I have a little story to tell. I was asked to teach Christianity/Catholicism by Sister Mary Agnes at one of our Parish’s. I didnt know at the time this was relevant. I hedged Sister. Big mistake. You never hedge God through one of His Ladies. She wondered why I didnt call I barely had an anwer for her. Well God works in strange ways. Im sorry I didnt follow up with Sister but my humble hope is that I have a laywoman’s teaching blog for many of you out there.

    Please if you know of anyone who needs to know their faith please start with my blog: Jean’sBistro2010’s which should be typed in on websearch as I have it here. I have many links and some examples of Catholic teaching for all. If your interested pass this onto someone. I hope I have fulfilled my teaching of Christ to many? May our Lord bless all of us. Humbly Jean’sBistro2010’s blog.

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