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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 #3

EVETTE: The ones who are supposed to be so called mediators or intercessors for the people are child molesters. I thank God for the Church of God! I thank God that I can live a life free from sin at 30 years old. Since repenting of my sins 4 years ago, God has given me the grace each day to live sin free in a sin filled world. That’s the God I serve!

FATHER JOE: Hum, well this discussion is going quickly to mud-slinging. Most priests are good and holy men. You do them and the priesthood a great disservice with your slur. It is hardly a Christian attitude, dare I say even sinful? And yet, you still insist upon your own righteousness, despite such an unchristian manner. Christ is the Mediator and men ordained to his ministries participate in his one priesthood. As for intercession, it is true that priests pray for their people, indeed, all Catholics are expected to pray for the welfare and good of others, living and dead. I guess you pray for no one except yourself. The parameters for your private faith allow no room for anyone else to get in. Beware; it may even shut out Jesus. You say thank God for his Church and yet you attack his Church, the Catholic community of faith, the Mystical Body of Christ. You might not believe this, but instead of claiming a share in his “church” by faith and baptism, you want it all for yourself. The Catholic faith would pray for you, even forgive you. Your response to the Catholic Church is condemnation and hatred. That is not from God. I am not sure how you define sin, but despite your protestations to the contrary, I just do not believe you. You might avoid many of the more visible and egregious sins, but you can also commit transgressions in your thoughts and in your heart.

EVETTE: I don’t have to lie anymore, fornicate anymore, cheat and deceive anymore.

FATHER JOE: Are you sure you do not lie “anymore”? If so, then what we are dealing with here is either ignorance or self-deception. You say you do not “fornicate” anymore and that is well and good; but you would condemn me as a priest, even though I still cherish an unbroken virginity that I dedicated to the Lord many years ago. I am a celibate priest, like most priests, who lives out a single-hearted love of God, a love that expresses itself in worship and service. You may have accepted Jesus Christ four years ago as your Lord and Savior. You might have invoked the blood of the Lamb to wash away your sins. But it still matters what you say and do and think. Faith is not a club with which to beat others over the head. Faith is surrendering our lives into the hands of God and divine providence. The difference between sinners in the Church from those outside is that a believer is a sinner forgiven. I hear none of that in your arrogant witness.

EVETTE: 1 John 3:5-10, “and ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinners not: whosoever sinners hath not seen him, neither known him. Little let no man deceive you: he that forth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinners from the beginning. For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever us born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that Loveth not his brother.”

FATHER JOE: Okay, I fixed of couple of typos, but I fear that it still is not an entirely accurate rendering of the KJV. Let me offer the New American Catholic translation for clarity sake (the translators were Catholic, Protestant and Jewish):

“Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God. In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother. For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another” (1 John 3:4-11).

We belong to Christ and this is distinguished against the “lawlessness” that belongs to any who oppose Christ (antichrist). We are not hostile to Christ but love him. Christians might not escape sin but they are aware that it damages or severs their friendship with God. Catholicism speaks about this as either venial or mortal sin. Those who remain in their sinful manner of life show that they really do not belong to the Lord. That is why we are called to be faithful. Such a state is sustained by faith and the abiding grace of God. The sacramental life and God’s mercy in the Church is a way for believers to maintain the “seed” or life in the Spirit. In other words, Christ is alive in them. It may be you read the wrong message in the Hebraic way of speaking, because such here does not support the notion of “once saved, always saved.” Faith can sour. Such is the terrible truth that has been realized, among the ministers and congregants of all the denominations, ecclesial communities and churches. Of course, as long as there is the breath of life, a repentant sinner can come home again.