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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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Priestly Celibacy – A Preservation in Holiness

Some critics of celibacy felt bolstered by the scant references to married clergy in the New Testament, and yet such evidence was hardly conclusive. Were the children of priests conceived before or after the men were ordained? There is growing historical evidence that married men, in agreement with their wives, set aside a sexual life for the sake of the faith community and in respect to the Eucharist. This might seem nonsensical to us today but the Church, early on, placed a significant meritorious value in celibate discipleship. It is the witness of the apostles who abandoned their families and earthly work to follow Christ. It is the realization of the calling given the rich man to sell all he has, to give it to the poor and then to follow Jesus. It is a level of sacrifice that the world does not want to understand. We must be honest.  Many of our own people, baptized Catholics, are more formed by the world than by the Gospel. That is why they fail to understand and thus undermine the great gift of single-hearted virginal love.

Celibacy was not inflicted upon the Church simply to make life difficult. It was composed to substantiate the best form of ministerial discipleship and to bring errant men back to a holiness of life. Celibacy was not a medicine against marriage, because matrimony was no disease. Rather, it was an antidote to divided hearts, mistresses, illegitimate children, and other forms of wrongdoing and/or sin. The resources of the faith community were being exploited by unscrupulous men and wrongly passed on to their offspring. Celibacy was the Church’s way of shouting, enough! Similarly today, the problem is not celibacy but rather the failure to remain faithful to this chaste way of loving. It is no wonder that the ire of Christ was most raised by the evil of hypocrisy.