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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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Preference for Single Celibate Priests

Many younger men shared the Pauline preference for both celibacy and the single life. They were distinguished from the married men upon whom special rules were given. One might wonder as well if Paul did not already infer something of his marriage analogy in the life of celibate ministers. Christ was the bridegroom and the Church was his bride. The man ordained to Christ’s priesthood was called to regard the Church as his spouse. He embraced our Lord’s spousal love. He had to be willing as was our Lord to lay down his life for her (see 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Ephesians 5:22-32). Over time, there was a tendency to see a priest’s wife as “the other woman.” While it was not strictly the case, the Western Catholic sentiment came to regard the priest with an earthly wife as living in spiritual adultery. One must be very careful about promoting such views today in that they unfairly malign good married priests in the East and Anglican returnees in the West.

We know that Peter was married and there is ample evidence that episcopoi (bishops), presbyters (priests) and deacons also had families (see Mark 1:29-31; Matthew 1:29-31; Matthew 8:14-15; Luke 4:38-39; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6). This pattern extended into the patristic period.