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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Stoned to Death for Adultery

Today’s news included the story about a stoning of an adulterous couple, 20 year old Sadiqa and her lover 28 year old Qayum. Qayum had left his wife for her and the two were caught at a friend’s house by the Taliban. This past Sunday, before a crowd of 150 men, they were stoned to death in the Kunduz providence of northern Afghanistan. Before the fall of Taliban rule such stonings were common. Such brutality shocks us but it speaks volumes about the mentality of the enemy and their brutal religious beliefs.  (Take note, we are are told that such is a distortion of Islam.)

Despite dark moments in history, by contrast, right-minded Christians would censure wrongdoing but pay heed to the witness of our Lord.

Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” (John 8:2-11)

Our nation seems to have moved to the opposite extreme, excusing all sorts of sexual depravity and the violation of the marriage bond. Adultery, fornication and sodomy were once universally regarded as crimes. Half of the 50 states of the U.S. still regard adultery as a criminal offense. Not in your state? Last I heard it was illegal in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. However, along with the other immoral acts, it is rarely prosecuted. Adultery is still a violation of the military code of conduct and can earn a court martial.

Adultery was defined in some states as actual sexual congress and in others, like Virginia, as “lewd” or “lascivious” associations. I recall a few years ago the authorities used a fornication charge to get a court order to raid a house of a suspected drug pusher— sneaky! Possible penalties for adultery are as severe as a life sentence (Michigan), two years imprisonment (Pennsylvania) or in my own state of Maryland, a $10 fine. Given the money problems in the state, I am surprised the fine is not raised and the law enforced. Just as with the speed and red light cameras which catch offenders for hefty fines, could we not place discrete anti-smooching cameras in parks, near pools, at bars and maybe even in bedrooms? Charging per each offense, I would suspect given the lifestyle and lack of commitment today, the money would come flooding in!  [I hope you guys know that I am kidding.]

How far must we go to insure public morality?  Who determines today what is right and wrong? 

What are your thoughts about all this?