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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 Hercules, Kevin Sarbo

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Father Joe with Kevin Sarbo at Shoreleave in 2010. Sarbo starred in Hercules and Andromeda.

Priestly Celibacy – Free from the Foolishness

Catholicism both applauds the handiwork of God and qualifies it with reference to original sin. Human sexuality is directly linked to divine creativity; and yet, the more sacred the gift and powerful the faculty, the more tragically it can be corrupted. The ancients of prehistory also seemed aware of the paradox. Human sexuality is exciting, wonderful and beautiful. But there is also something seriously wrong with it. Eve gave the forbidden apple to Adam, Delilah cut Samson’s hair and the sirens sought to beguile Odysseus and his crew. Women were often faulted but men had to accept the fact of their weakness, too. Sex was a weapon that no medicine could cure and no sword could defeat. We have all heard stories of “hen picked” husbands, acquiescing to every female demand to preserve peace and to pay the price of admission to the marriage bed. I even heard a woman joke about this to my face during counseling. “If he refuses to give me what I want then I keep from him what he wants, and we all know what that is!” The men who come to see me speak of constant sexual intimidation; when their wives get angry they get headaches and spurn every touch. While there will be times when married couples need to abstain because of health issues, responsible parenthood and practicality; it must be reflective of justice and mercy.

Wrongful deprivation of what is due to a spouse is a failure to fulfill a solemn duty. This is the matter of serious sin. Employing sex as a weapon from an arsenal damages the oneness and fidelity between spouses. Marriages fall apart over these sorts of shenanigans.

What the celibate priest gives up cannot be taken away from him or used against him. This gives the priest a freedom that is denied married men. He is solely responsible for his own actions. Married ministers must also suffer the scandal that sometimes stems from errant spouses or disobedient children. The celibate priest has both freedom for himself and an important level of control for what goes on around him.