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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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Father Joe with Amanda Tapping at Shoreleave Convention

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Here is Father Joe with Amanda Tapping who plays Samantha Carter on Stargate SG-1 and Helen Magnus on Sanctuary.

Priestly Celibacy – Based Upon Christ

Discussions about priestly celibacy usually cite the universal catechism or Pope John Paul II or canon law or an elevated asceticism. Indeed, there are theologians who quote ecclesial laws as if they were Sacred Scripture. Do not get me wrong, our laws are important, but only in so far as they keep good order in the Church and safeguard essential truths. We do not follow the law for the law’s sake. The conditions for holiness are not limited to those who most renounce the world or who engage in the most rigorist of mortifications, penances and sacrifices. Marriage does not close the door to holiness and celibacy does not guarantee it as a merited prize. Ultimately, everything for the Christian comes back to Christ and everything is gift. Ours is not a religion of a book or of laws or a philosophy of life and meaning. No, the Catholic Christian faith, as complex as it may seem, still comes down to a personal and corporate faith in Jesus Christ. We follow a person, the eternal Word, the incarnate Christ, God made man. Jesus is Lord and Savior and Messiah. His is the saving name. There is no other way to the Father except through him. He is the one high priest. He is the pontifex or bridge from the mortal world of sin and death to the promised kingdom of salvation, eternal life and communion with God and the saints. Both the priesthood and celibacy find their measure in Jesus. Ordained men share in his priesthood. They act in his name. Priestly celibacy resonates in harmony with the virginal priesthood of our Lord. The Church deems this as having significant value and so she makes celibacy mandatory and absolute, at least for most of the presbyterate.

Celibacy is rooted in Christ’s life and witness; much of the rest is window dressing. While celibacy gives the priest a wonderful freedom and facilitates his charge as an agent of the Church, this is only a fruit of his sacrifice, not its cause. It is also not motivated by any desire to escape the ordinary cares of the world and the demands of the flesh. These side-effects may be overly emphasized, but he is not so much running away from the world as he is racing toward the kingdom. The Reformed Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, speculated that the sin of the fallen angels was that they “tarried” or hesitated to do God’s will. Ultimately, there can be no hesitation, either from angels or from men. We cannot look back. Jesus tells a disciple to let the dead bury the dead. While there is a degree of hyperbole, he says that he who would turn back even to assist family is not worthy of him. There is an urgency to the coming kingdom and the work that must be done. Celibacy, in Christ and in his priests, communicates this divine imperative.