• Our Blogger

    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.

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Adolfo on Ask a Priest
    John on The Sad Case of the Fatima…
    Lavell on Ask a Priest
    Kelly on Ask a Priest
    Jeff on Ask a Priest

Priestly Celibacy: The Issue of Loneliness

A priest’s celibacy faces challenges on many fronts. The most obvious is the issue of sexual attraction and yet that may not prove as great a temptation as that posed by loneliness. Rectories with multiple priests in the past are today frequently the home of only one. Priests become accustomed to a definite “aloneness” but there are times when his separation from most other men and his solitary life might truly be trying. Women are among the first to give comfort and support. But here is the danger. Even if no sexual indiscretion is ever committed, a priest could develop a friendship with a secretary, catechist or housekeeper that might be somewhat analogous to a husband-wife relationship. This can catch the man unawares. Then when the time comes for a transfer, he finds that there is a bond that holds him. The Church is well aware of such possibilities and so priests are generally reassigned every six to twelve years. He really has no home except the Church. It is vital that he knows this. Yes, even if he has living parents and brothers and sisters; he belongs first to the Church. My mother cried on my ordination day when my father spoke about this to her. She said, “He will always be mine!” Yes, she is right, to a degree, because a man’s mother and the Blessed Virgin Mary are the two closest women to a celibate priest. But there need be no contradiction; their motherhood is symbolic or expressive of Mother Church to which he belongs.

It is said that a priest who gets into trouble is a priest who has neglected his prayers. I would add to this the lack of continuing study and theological reflection. If there is a hole in his heart it is likely that a woman might begin to fill it. The only safeguard is to avoid a vacuum and to fill the space with the presence of God. Such a man will know that he is never really alone. The Lord is desirous of an intimate relation with his priests, so that he might satisfy as their treasure and sole passion.