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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 Wasted or Fulfilled Life?

I have heard the challenge to celibacy that it is not natural. This is, of course, quite absurd. Like marriage, it is perfectly within the range of properly oriented human conduct; although, it represents (in perpetuity) a road less traveled. What is sometimes at force in such charges is not any appreciation for natural law, because these same accusers might lobby on behalf of homosexuality, but rather a form of atheism. We all know that even self-acclaimed believers sometimes live as if there is no God. While they might temporarily support the “new celibacy” that abstains from sex and relationships for the sake of upward mobility and a business career; they resoundingly object to “Christian celibacy” that sets aside earthly pleasure and companionship for spiritual treasure and intimacy with God. We hear this mentality in slogans like, “Go for the gusto!” and “You only live once, so make the most of it!” Especially when a priest fails to keep up with his prayer life, he becomes subject to this attack. “Where is God? Does it matter that I have given up the chance to have a wife and children? Have I wasted my life?”

When I first started my seminary studies, it was with the Franciscan TORs. We lived at the seminary and commuted down the hill to their adjacent college, now Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. The young brothers had an interesting sense of humor and a few sang a made-up song on the bus one day that both shocked and amused me. We were all philosophy students and I guess the upper classmen were studying atheism. I still remember the refrain of their ditty, “Sorry, there is no God, you left your girlfriend for nothing.” If non-believers were right, the song brought home the absurdity of what we were about…forsaking a wife and family, all so that we might spread the cult of an imaginary deity. Of course, I am personally convinced that the atheists are in the wrong and for this there will be eternal consequences.