Though Dimmesdale tells the people he is the biggest sinner in Boston, the people continue to love him. They imagine that their beloved reverend could not be the sinner he claims to be and feel if he sees himself as a sinner, they must be worse. Dimmesdale is upset by this reaction. He wants to tell his secret; he wants to confess, but the words do not come and when they do the people do not hear what his intended message is.
The fact that his sin makes Dimmesdale such a strong minister is another way of Hawthorne showing the connection between people. Because he has sinned, he can recognize it in others, and can make his sermons apropos to their situations. While this does not cleanse his guilt, it does continue to make him a better, and more popular minister in the community.