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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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Abuse & the Fourth Commandment

Lynne asked questions about the fourth commandment, honoring your father and mother.  I offered a brief response.

1.  Father, can you kindly explain the fourth commandment in regards to parents who are abusive, not necessarily physically, but mentally or spiritually? 

2. How does one actually honor such parents?

If parents are honored then they must be honorable. No one can be obliged to suffer abuse or to be party to sin. While the commandment urges obedience to parents, it also demands that parents should be moral and nurturing in their relations with offspring.

Originally the commandment was addressed more to adults than to parents. God let his people know that we have obligations to parents as they grow older. Just as they cared for us, we should look to their needs when time and sickness should reduce their resources and abilities.

Mental and spiritual abuse should be regarded seriously, just as we would visible physical abuse. However, parents are within their rights to demand upright moral behavior and proper religious formation of the young. As long as offspring live under the roof of their parents, there is a certain level of subservience to them. That is why adults move out and start their own lives. Similarly, elderly parents who live with their children may have to tolerate how things are done differently in their homes.