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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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Faith Formation: The Challenge Ahead of Us

Sharing a few personal thoughts…

We must not fool ourselves. The challenges we face are tremendous. Too long have we allowed the parameters of religious debates or the understanding of the Church, herself, to be defined by those who either hate the Church or who have a greater love for the world. Our voyeuristic society is enamored with  the shocking, scandalous and inordinate pleasure. Look at all the nonsense and analysis that was given to the Pope’s resignation. It did not matter that the Pope had a bad heart, was blind in one eye and was having mobility issues common to 85 year old men. The news anchors gave long discourses on the pedophile scandals that devastated the Church. They pointed fingers to the document leaks in the Vatican and problems with finances. Others closed their eyes to his many incredible accomplishments and argued that his was a failed papacy because he refused to bend on married priests or women priests or same-sex marriage, or divorce and remarriage, or on contraception and abortion, or because millions of Muslims still want holy war, or on what have you. They droned on and on. They are the blind who say they see but are really blind. Indeed, they are the blind leading the blind. We cannot surrender the formation of our people’s faith and values to these fools! We are surrounded by all sorts of voices. Many of these voices are shouting. Most of them are lying or have mixed truth and falsehood to the point that they cannot be unraveled. We have to do all we can to open the ears of our people to the whispering of Christ, the real Christ, not the popular false portrait of a passive and tolerant “wimp Jesus” who makes no demands and has no power to save. We have to help our people to see beyond the false presentations and rationalizations to the perennial faith and values which emerge from the sacred deposit. This is the challenge we face in every element of faith formation through proclamation, catechesis, evangelization and witness. We must fight to reclaim the reins of faith— defining for ourselves by the light of God’s grace and the apostolic legacy— the faith and the real issues that confront us.

We need more than a catechetical policy that would give prudential and organizational guidance. Rather, the proposed policy and much else during this Year of Faith should reach beyond a failed “business as usual” mentality to make something old ever new again, the message of mercy, life and unity in Christ. We need a manifesto for faith formation that will reach beyond rules and administration in becoming a clarion call for the New Evangelization?