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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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Responding to a Catholic Hater # 2

EVETTE: In Acts 20:28, Paul speaks on the role of preachers and ministers to “…feed the church of God….” He didn’t say the Catholic Church; but feed the Church of God.

FATHER JOE: The word “Catholic” means worldwide or universal. St. Ignatius of Antioch used the word “katholikos” in his epistle to the believers of Smyrna written around 107 AD. The context makes it clear that the word was used for the Church as far back as the last quarter of the first century in the Christian era. This is the one-and-the-same Church as established by Christ and led by the Apostles.

EVETTE: Furthermore, there is no place in the bible where we are instructed to pray to Mary or any of the saints of old.

FATHER JOE: Asking saints to pray for us is no different than my praying for you. The saints are alive and they intercede for others; it is very simple and logical. The mystery of the resurrection means that mortal death does not bring an end to our existence and caring for others. Turning to Mary, the fact that many people open their hearts to her in prayer was prophesied at the Presentation in the Temple. “The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’” (Luke 2:33-35).

EVETTE: Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We are to cry out to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; all others are idols. The word admonishes us to “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14).

FATHER JOE: Our Lord takes upon his own shoulders the yoke of sin so that we might know healing and forgiveness. Jesus is indeed the Prince of Peace. Catholicism has a central devotion to Christ; however, the Lord does not dismiss the corporate dynamic of faith, either. Jesus, himself, did not do everything alone but called to himself his apostles and disciples. He shared with them the truth and extended to his apostles something of his authority. Jesus teaches us how to pray and gives us the OUR FATHER. He also sends his HOLY SPIRIT upon the Church and we also pray, “Come, Spirit, come!” Would you reduce the other divine persons of the Sacred Trinity to idols? As I have explained many times, all prayer has as its proper object, almighty God. However, we can ask our brothers and sisters, living and dead, to pray for and with us. Just as a person might speak to a deceased spouse or parent while visiting a grave; we call upon the saints as members of our spiritual family. They are not worshipped and they are not false idols. Depictions of the saints are no more idols than a photograph of your child kept in the wallet.

EVETTE: Roman Catholicism is full of poison. In the Church of God, there is NO SIN. Can you say that about the Catholic Church?

FATHER JOE: The offers us the saving sacraments.  The Eucharist is the antidote to all the poisons of hate and selfishness.  The Church gives medicine for the soul, not poison.  The Church is holy because Christ is holy. Church members are sinners who seek the mercy of our Lord. Jesus called sinners not the righteous (Luke 5:32). The Church does the same. Do you regard yourself as perfect and without sin? If so, then I would suggest that you look at yourself closer in the mirror. The self-righteous Pharisee thought he was justified too, but he was wrong. He was also quick to condemn others. We read:

“He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. ‘Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted’” (Luke 18:9-14).

To be continued…