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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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The Issue of Heresy

Galatians 1:8-9: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

These are pretty serious words. Paul is speaking about the early oral tradition of the Church. Paul says that he offers what he himself has received. He speaks as an Apostle of the one true faith, of the one fold of Christ. Sometimes anti-Catholic critics try to use this verse, out of context, against Catholics; however, it will not wash. Like a boomerang it flies back into their faces. They are the ones who discount the role of this oral tradition and the Church that safeguards it. Separated from this living tradition and the true Church, Protestantism has fractured into thousands of sects, each claiming the Bible for their own.

2 Timothy 4:3: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

Titus 3:10: As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Romans 16:17: I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.

2 John 10:11: If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting; for he who greets him shares his wicked work.

This is precisely what happened. Heresies afflicted the Church, almost from the very beginning. Nevertheless, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church has grown stronger in the face of opposition and has defined her beliefs with deeper insights into the Gospel. The breakaway churches have no safeguard to insure their fidelity in the truth. Indeed, people shop around for a church and minister that fits their tastes. Usually, this means a congregation that fails to challenge its people on basic elements of the Good News. Even fundamentalist Protestant churches, so quick to take stands against Catholicism or issues like homosexuality, can be quite liberal on matters like divorce and artificial contraception. As for the topic of abortion, that attacks at the very heart of the mystery we call the incarnation, there is, and more so than not, a deafening silence in most Protestant churches. Some of their teachers go to ridiculous extremes in order to attack the Catholic faith and our practices. One minister maligned priestly celibacy as unnatural and perverted, something that would necessarily lead to all sorts of immorality and abuse of others. Only later did his words return to haunt him when his own child became pregnant and threw his words into his face; after all, she said, “I am just doing what comes natural.” Lost in the debate was the possibility of self-control and the wonderful gift that is celibate love— something praised by St. Paul. It should be said that this same MARRIED minister later got into his own mess of trouble with an adulterous affair. His glass house was shot full of holes! The so-called bible-alone method fails again and again. Without a history and a teaching Church, ministers quickly allow their own pet ideas and ambitions to cloud their proclamation. Some are afraid that the truth will forfeit their congregations; so they change the truth and convince themselves that they are right. Others are as befuddled as those who seek them out for guidance. Liberal Protestantism has taken such a path as far as it can go, straight into agnosticism and a loss of belief altogether. We need to pray for all such lost souls.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.

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