Click here to advertise on

American hierarchy must revive love for Church, Archbishop Dolan tells USCCB

Catholic World News - November 14, 2011

In his first presidential address to the members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York said that the greatest challenge facing the American hierarchy is “to renew the appeal of the Church, and the Catholic conviction that Christ and His Church are one.”

In a powerful speech to open the USCCB meeting in Baltimore, Archbishop Dolan reminded his colleagues of an exhortation to bishops by Blessed John Paul II: “Love for Jesus and His Church must be the passion of our lives!” He underlined the need to remember—and to tell the world—“that the Church is the bride of Christ, that the Church is the Body of Christ, that Christ and His Church are one.”

The secular world resists the message of the Church, the archbishop said—except on one point. He suggested that “the world wants us to forget every Church-teaching except for the one truth our culture is exuberantly eager to embrace and trumpet: the sinfulness of her members!” Without denying the need for repentance and reform, he said, the Church must continue to proclaim her message. He observed:

It is always a risk for the world to hear the Church, for she dares the world to “cast out to the deep,” to foster and protect the inviolable dignity of the human person and human life; to acknowledge the truth about life ingrained in reason and nature; to protect marriage and family; to embrace those suffering and struggling; to prefer service to selfishness; and never to stifle the liberty to quench the deep down thirst for the divine that the poets, philosophers, and peasants of the earth know to be what really makes us genuinely human.

To preserve the integrity of the Gospel message, Archbishop Dolan said, bishops should first “resist the temptation to approach the Church as merely a system of organizational energy and support that requires maintenance.” Second, he said, they must keep in mind that “since we are a spiritual family, we should hardly be surprised that the Church has troubles.” However, he said, the recognition of sinfulness should only confirm the need for the Church’s sacramental life. The Church, he said, points beyond the weakness of her members to the promise of her Savior:

Founded by Christ, the Church had her beginning at Pentecost, but her origin is from the Trinity. Yes, her beginning is in history, as was the incarnation, but her origin is outside of time.

Later in the opening session of the USCCB meeting, the members heard Bishop William Lori, the chairman of a newly created committee on religious freedom, address the growing problem of aggressive secularization in the political world. American Catholics, he said, must counter the efforts of those people whose goal is “establishing un-religion as the religion of the land and granting it the rights and protections that our Founding Fathers envisioned for citizens who are believers and for their churches and their church institutions.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our July expenses ($33,493 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,507.00
96% 4%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Nov. 15, 2011 12:23 PM ET USA

    Once again the Bishops have fulfilled the old saying; a day late and a dollar short. Lord Jesus Come.

  • Posted by: claire5327 - Nov. 15, 2011 12:32 AM ET USA

    "It is sick who need a doctor. I come to call sinners!" The Church is build for sinners by the Body and Blood soul and Divinity of Christ to raise up through the Sacraments of the Church. Only Jesus and Mother Mary are Without Sin. All of us need to LOVE Christ with our lives for the sake of all of our salvation. The Bishops must be FEARLESS roll models who are not afraid of offending men but God! The collective sins of Omission is the cause of our problems of day. Fear only God's rejection!

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Making Moral Progress? 5 hours ago
Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision July 2
Political battles vs. sacrificial service: The Brooks paradox revisited July 2
A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear June 30
'Helpful' advice for social conservatives: ignore causes, deal with effects June 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15
Cardinal Kasper: Pope never approved my proposal CWN - June 4