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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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Something About Fatherhood

Every year we have a secular celebration of Father’s Day. While our culture finds much sentiment, expressed in verse and song for mothers, it does seem that fathers are sometimes cast to the side. The most noble of men find no insult in this, particularly in their children’s devotion to their mothers, because it confirms their good fortune and judgment in finding a companion for life. However, it does behoove us to spend a moment pondering upon the value of the man’s role in the family.

I overheard a woman once say to her friend, “What do I need a husband for, I got my babies and that’s all I wanted.” The statement startled me; it even made me ill inside. The man was reduced to a good time boy or to a sperm donor. What a monstrous notion! Many good and loving women know the true joy in having a special friend in their husbands. Spouses can share their lives, with all their joys and sorrows, knowing that they are not alone. They can also be helpmates in becoming saints. Together, they can raise a family. There are too many fatherless homes. Some cities have made it the rule and the complete family, the exception. A mother is the heart of a home. Is it so terrible that a father might be its head? The fragmentation of family life continues. How can we possibly teach young people about the fatherhood of God if such a role is not modeled in the home and in our society? Fathers are special people and are not dispensable.

Big Brother programs came into existence precisely because there was a need for a fathering role among the young. Some fathers die, and we need to know that their love and prayers are not diminished by death. Some are cast out, and we need to be sympathetic to men denied their rights as parents. Other men run away from their responsibilities, impoverishing their families and denying themselves the joy of participating with God and their wives in nurturing the fruit of marital love– children. The role of St. Joseph as foster father to Christ, chaste husband of Mary, and protector of the Church may be a religious corrective in this regard. Let us esteem and cultivate the prophetic courage of fathers that shows us something of the face of God.

For more such reflections, contact me about getting my book, CHRISTIAN REFLECTIONS.

2 Responses

  1. If this link works, in my opinion this is the fruit of your attitude, Father, in real life.

    FATHER JOE: My attitude? Certainly not!

  2. Fatherhood is an anachronism, sadly, but accurately, I fear.

    What am I, but a sperm donor, when my wife and her lover are accepted as husband and wife openly, in all public and Church functions, save a Church wedding, which they will receive as soon as my corpse is cold?

    If you accept that the Church is knowingly part of the problem, regarding all things related to marriage, then your eyes will open more, Father Joe.

    Unless their is a fundamental change in the attitude of the clergy toward marriage, the decay will continue. Rome is burning, our classically trained musician-Pope is fiddling around.

    FATHER JOE: We have discussed something of this before. I believe the Holy Father has been very proactive in reminding us all about the permanence of marriage and to be more circumspect or guarded about annulments. I cannot speak for the deliberations of all tribunals, but if I recall correctly, there was no annulment in your case. The Church does not have the power to force spouses back together or to watchdog their actions in adulterous situations. The Church has even less authority over the human heart. In other words, I can neither take the anger from you nor compel your estranged wife to love you and restore the family. As always, you remain in my prayers.

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