Cardinal O’Malley: Catholics should not be ‘overwhelmed’ by sin

Cardinal Sean O'Malley and Archbishop Jose Gomez with members of CALL in San Antonio
Cardinal Sean O'Malley and Archbishop Jose Gomez with members of CALL in San Antonio

.- Last weekend, Archbishop of Boston Seán Cardinal O’Malley led a three-day retreat for the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL). Saying Catholics should not be “overwhelmed” by sin, the cardinal spoke about confession and recounted his father’s advice to confess every time one is ready for a haircut.

At the CALL retreat, held at the Mexican American Catholic College and Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, the cardinal gave three extended homilies on topics concerning prayer, reconciliation and a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist.

Speaking about the parable of the Prodigal Son, he said that the true Catholic attitude is “not to be overwhelmed by sin no matter what our situation, because it is so clear that the Father of the Prodigal Son is not merely willing, but anxious to forgive.”

“The Father never imposes himself, but waits longingly, scanning the horizon for a glimpse of us, and upon spotting our return in the distance, rushes to meet us.”

Cardinal O’Malley recounted how his father was “very clear” about how often to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation: “When it was time to get a haircut, it was time to go to confession.”

He also advised people to be forgiving of others and not develop what he jokingly called “Irish Alzheimer’s,” defining it as “an unpleasant condition where you forget everything but your grudges!”

As a young Capuchin Franciscan friar, Cardinal O’Malley had earned a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese literature from the Catholic University of America to prepare for service in Latin America. His religious superiors asked him to serve the growing Hispanic community in the United States.

He taught at Catholic University and founded the Centro Católico Hispano (Hispanic Catholic Center) in Washington, D.C. The center provides educational, medical and legal assistance to immigrants.

Archbishop of San Antonio José Gomez, Episcopal Moderator of CALL, also addressed the group of Latino leaders, saying that more and more people are living “without an awareness of God and their Christian identity because of the strong influence and pressures of the secular culture.”

“How can people meet Christ if we do not show them the way? We must ask ourselves, how is what I do leading people to Jesus Christ?”

The retreat closed with a Father’s Day liturgy and the presentation of a “spiritual bouquet” to Cardinal O'Malley and Archbishop Gomez in thanksgiving for their leadership.

The website of CALL is at

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