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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: The Bond & Servanthood

There are men who flee marriage, not because of a love for celibacy, but because of a fear towards what they perceive as bondage. This does not necessarily mean that they avoid genital activity or sexual expression as men today neither fear God nor love virtue. We live in a world of single mothers and deadbeat fathers. Contraception gives some the illusion of freedom while breeching men and women from the fullness of a union intended by God. Abortion and broken hearts are the tragic casualties of this lethal escape from obligation and duty. Casual sex gives the illusion of freedom while damaging both the psyche and the family. Recreational sex without binding ties is not something for which men and women were made. Indeed, it is an insult to our persons and an affront to the marriage bed. We cannot find ourselves by impugning the quality of permanence in the institution of marriage and the family.

Might husbands and wives become slaves to each other and to their children? Yes, this is assuredly so. However, it should be reckoned as a joyous servitude. The married man is no longer his own man. He is responsible for his family. His immediate goal in life is to make his wife happy and to help her realize the vocation of motherhood. The whole direction or preoccupation of his life takes on a new compass setting. Similarly, the priestly celibate is a slave to the Church. He can know liberation from sin and freedom in Christ; however, like Christ he is called to fulfill his mission. Like the husband for his wife, he must take up the cross and lay down his life. Instead of running away from responsibility, the married man and the priestly celibate run toward it. They are real men, not the pale imitations who enshrine selfishness and lust at the cost of belonging, duty and love. No matter how fast we run, we cannot escape the specter of pain and death; the married man and the sacerdotal celibate courageously stare down these dark mysteries square in the face. Just as the obligations of a family will eat a man up; so too will the responsibilities of the priesthood utterly consume a man. We stand with courage and a level of real dignity. As believers, we are confident that no matter what this world takes away from us, we will receive many times over in Christ. In other words, no man need live in vain.