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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: Dealing with Tough Questions

1. Do all relationships between men and women have to lead to sexual intimacy and physical expression? If so, would this not compel men and women who do not desire such developments to select friends and co-workers of the opposite sex who are unattractive and sexually repellant to them?

2. Not desiring sexual congress, can and should one cultivate a mindset where gender distinctions are extracted or ignored in social interaction? Can the celibate honestly look upon the female segment of the world through the eyes of a spiritualized non-corporeal charity? Would not our theology of the body highlight such a posturing attitude as a fictional absurdity? Does this not reflect a prejudice toward a sexless, spiritualized preoccupation over the physical which acknowledges Eros? Would it not be better to recognize ourselves and others as sexual-embodied-beings?

I believe the first question exposes a fiction; the second one finds its answer in degree. Referencing these questions, our society’s wresting with these queries is illuminated by how we treat or mistreat children, today. Our society has so emphasized sexual interaction that we forcibly impose an adult archetype even upon small children. Little girls are dressed in sexy or provocative clothes. Certain responsible parents complain that they cannot find modest age-appropriate clothing for their daughters. Movies are also illustrative of the infection of Eros. Children are pictured as sexually active and/or develop romantic liaisons in elementary school. Grammar school boys and girls date and share passionate kisses. This is wrong. Everything around us is heavily sexualized, way beyond the necessary strictures of nature. This abandon has given us a voyeuristic world where everything and anything goes. While the Church is faulted for the scandals, it is popular culture that has given us a pedophile attitude that preys upon the innocent. The sexual appetites are so thoroughly expanded with abandon that they neither respect age nor the demarcations of gender. Everything that brought God’s judgment down upon Sodom and Gomorrah is present in full measure in our society. It is into this confusion that the Church would ask men and women to be chaste and moral. It is in this world that the celibate priest must find his way and fulfill his work.