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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 Priest as MAN of God

Although he is celibate, the priest engages men and women in very masculine ways. Anything of the effeminate in his manner compromises his posture and undermines the vitality of his vocation. Because he signifies Christ, the new Adam and most perfect man; the priest must be wholly a man. The pattern of the male apostles and the exclusion of women from holy orders is a further guarantee of this basic quality in the Catholic priesthood. Jesus demonstrates to our over-sexed society that a priest can be very much a man and still remain chaste and celibate. The priest relates to men and women as father and brother. He sees his charges as spiritual children. He acknowledges that we are all adopted sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, brothers and sisters to each other, and kin to Christ. A father will do all he can to protect his family. A big brother will fight for his siblings, especially for the honor of his kid sister. Similarly, the role of father and brother is realized in the many duties of his ministry.

Real men keep their promises. This means that they are prepared to accept responsibility and take charge. They do not run away from obligation and duty. Accepting either praise or blame for their actions, they must be courageous. Cowards have no place in the priesthood. All the virtues, albeit in a masculine manner, should be actualized in priestly life and ministry. The priest is also a unique spiritual soldier. His celibacy resonates with this because an ordinary soldier would not drag his wife and children into battle with him; the priest will contest against the devil until his dying breath. Everyone is caught up in this conflict but it is the priest alone who can call God down from heaven in the Eucharist and make saints out of the damned through his Absolution. Every priest is an exorcist against the presence of the beast that seeks to devour souls. His celibacy along with prayer is his armament against the snares of the enemy. It is because of all this that people should pray for their priests, supporting them in the perilous work they do.