Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan said Sept. 11 has become somewhat of a “holy day” for many Americans, filled with “powerful memories and towering dreams,” and one that triggers the “resilience” of people in New York City and across the nation.
“The Bible tells us two things that are innate to the human person – memories and dreams,” Cardinal Dolan said in an interview with Fox News. “We need both of them.”
Dolan said that Sept. 11 has “almost become a holy day.”
“Jews and Catholics have holy days sprinkled throughout their days, and while it is not yet on the Jewish or Catholic calendar, it really has become a holy day for many people as we remember.”
Dolan said memories of 9/11 are “somber and sad, as we remember with reverence of those people who lost their lives,” but added that they are also “in solidarity with the friends and families who are naturally and beautifully mourning them.”
“But it is also, it’s tough to explain, but it is also memories of gratitude,” Dolan explained. “Gratitude from the way this community rallied, gratitude for first responders, gratitude for an entire nation, and even the world, which came in solidarity with New York City.”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan speaks during the traditional Ash Wednesday service, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York, Feb. 17, 2021.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan speaks during the traditional Ash Wednesday service, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York, Feb. 17, 2021. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)
“And gratitude for a city and a nation who stood tall,” Dolan said. “It is a day of mixed emotions.”
But Dolan said the day that brings “almost as dominant of memories” is Sept. 12.
“That’s the day we began to renew and rebuild,” Dolan said. “9/11 becomes a Good Friday – the city was darkened, the earth shuttered, like that first Good Friday when Jesus died on the cross.”
“But all of a sudden, the rebuilding, the renewal, the resurrection, the recovery kicked in,” Dolan said, describing Sept. 12. “It triggered the resilience of people in New York City and the nation.”
“9/11 is a day of powerful memories and towering dreams, as we sort of saw the worst in humanity, and the best in humanity,” Dolan said.
“The sadness still continues,” Dolan added. “And as we compound that with the natural disasters, hurricanes, wildfires, Haiti, political tension, Afghanistan, we’re threatened.”
Dolan said many want to “stay in bed in the morning and cover our head in fear and somberness.”
“But we can’t,” he said. “I think we often realize, and I don’t have any political or military answers, but I can return to the wisdom of God, and the Bible assures us, ultimately, all work together for the good for all who believe.”
Dolan said that “even though the darkness seems to dominate,” with God’s “vision,” there “will be good.”
“He can bring life from death,” Dolan said, noting that is “the message of Passover and of Easter.”
“We need that,” Dolan said. “We need a little Easter right this moment.”
Cardinal Dolan shifted to the coronavirus pandemic.
“You would see crushing news reports of people suffering, and all of a sudden, you’d get an uplifting report,” he recalled. “Of medical personnel, of communities, pitching in.”
“And there it was again,” he said. “Dying and rising. Death and life. And God choreographs all of this.”
He added: “We’re lucky if we know what we’re going to have for lunch, but God has that eternal vision, where, ultimately, life and goodness and grace will triumph, and we keep that eternal vision in mind.”
Returning to 9/11, Cardinal Dolan said that “we never forget.”
“That is not obsessive, or pacifist or depressing for us,” he said. “We don’t forget, we remember the pains of the past, not only because we owe it to the people who suffered, but because we don’t want to see it happen again.”
“Memory is important,” he said, pointing to “biblical wisdom of memory and dreams.”
“We continue to dream, and the dream will never die, as the Bible tells us,” he said. “That gives us resilience and hope – those are the dreams of what humanity can do, the memories of what humanity can do.” Cardinal Dolan told Fox News he is currently reading a book on Winston Churchill and former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saying that the two leaders were “mired in the realism, and at times, desperation, getting through war.”
“They never stopped dreaming of how to rebuild and reunite,” Dolan said. “And that’s what we need to do.”