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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 LaVar Burton & Kate Mulgrew

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Father Joe with LaVar Burton (Star Trek Next Generation/Roots/Reading Rainbow) and Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek Voyager/Warehouse 13/A Time for Miracles – Mother Seton) at Shoreleave in 2012.

Priestly Celibacy – Sex, Death & Homosexuals

Is there any reality about which we have as many mixed feelings as sex? There may be one– death. It is a consequence of sin and yet the death of Christ merits for us eternal life. We fight death with drugs, surgery and diets; at the same time, death is the doorway through which we must pass to see the Lord and enter into the heavenly kingdom. Just as our faith stamps sacredness upon marriage and the conjugal act, this same faith gives us hope and anticipation as we confront the dark mystery of death. The presence of sex and death permeate our world. Sex usually brings to mind the beginnings of life; but a contraceptive/abortive mentality is causing a collision between the themes of sex and death. Pregnancy is reckoned a curse and the child is regarded as a disease. They were traditionally viewed as blessing and gift.

The contemporary voyeurism runs against the stream of how human sexuality is usually treated and/or exercised.  The gay rights movement has also altered the scenario, with a segment of the population making sexual orientation the chief marker for their identity.  Most men and women do not parade around the fact that they are heterosexual.  It was just taken for granted.  This is no longer the case.  Also, while homosexuals can announce that they are gay, such announcements from heterosexuals are seen as offensive; they are viewed as a repudiation of any link to homosexuality. Since the celibate lives quietly without any external expression of orientation, it is in this environment that certain critics assume he has something to hide and that this something is likely homosexuality.  I think this is quite an illogical leap; but made up statistics about the numbers of gay clergy are routinely drawn from the invisible ether.  These same critics contend that the Church has emasculated her ministers to preserve discipline and to protect Church resources.  Their view of priestly sexuality is wholly one of denial, suppression, humiliation and ambiguity.  It is noted that while many women in hospitals will cover up when a man enters the room, even for a doctor; they will often remain exposed and ignore the priest as if he has no gender at all.  He is counted as different or less than a man.  Again, there are critics who interpret the priest as a gay man who hides his sexuality because he is ashamed and hates himself.  Behind the discipline of celibacy he can pretend to be like other men.  I cannot say there are no men like this; however, it is still my contention that most priests are heterosexuals who do not hate themselves and who are in touch with their sexual identity.  They remain true to the promise of celibacy and would expect those suffering from a disorientation to do the same.