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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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3 Responses

  1. To say that celibacy promotes solidarity with the poor is a joke. Most priests throughout the industrialized world live an upper middle class life, even those who take a vow of poverty.

    Living in a suburban rectory, living the life of a kept man, sometimes with a housekeeper and cook, is not solidarity with the poor. I wish the Latin Rite clergy would stop it with that nonsense.

    FATHER JOE: You really do not understand what I am trying to say. Not all priests are pampered and those who have help are freed to do the ministry that needs to be done. Poverty is about more than money or comfort.

    I would suggest to you that it is the young married or single women and men of the Peace Corps and Jesuit Volunteer Corps who have authentic solidarity with the poor.

    FATHER JOE: It is not a matter of one being good and the other bad. Both are wonderful ways for people to serve. However, the perpetual nature of the evangelical counsels all speak to being poor in spirit. Celibacy, poverty and obedience make possible a profound emptying so that one might be filled with grace in praying and working for others.

  2. “A man who has broken his promises is hardly a good authority to instruct men on keeping theirs.”
    Isn’t this somewhat harsh, Father?

    Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is divorced, and yet he is still deemed acceptable in defending the faith.
    Why an invalidation for those on the left but not on the right?

    Dinter, came to an honest decision in conscience to leave what he felt was a dysfunctional institution. It seems to me that such inconsistency undermines the Church’s credibility.

    Would matters change if Pope Francis were to reconsider the discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy?


    I would hold priests to a higher standard given the nature of their vocation. As for Bill Donohue, I was not aware of his background or the reasons for the broken marriage. Of course, marriages take two while the priest usually only has himself to blame when his calling crumbles. Orthodoxy is important and Donohue is on the record defending the Church and her teachings, even those about marriage. I have read Paul Dinter’s book and it has some important things to say. (And you are right that I may have been too harsh in referencing him as a “fallen priest.”) But I still would not raise it or him as a guidepost for potential seminarians.

    Given how priestly celibacy promotes solidarity with the poor and focuses his role as servant, I doubt we will see any reform of the discipline or a reduction to optional status by Pope Francis.

  3. How about The Other Side of The Altar by Paul Dinter? Surprised you didn’t have that one. Or The Changing Face of the Priesthood by Donald Cozzens; and also Sacred Silence. But alas, we wouldn’t want to suggest anything that would encourage critical thinking. The Magisterium should do our thinking for us.


    The books I listed are biographies or novels. The books you mention are something else. I have read them both.

    Dinter left the priesthood to get married. A man who has broken his promises is hardly a good authority to instruct men on keeping theirs. Like so many fallen priests who refuse to acknowledge their personal failings, he points toward the abuse crisis or argues against the wonderful discipline of celibacy. There are better and more accurate witnesses of the priesthood then this man and his friends.

    Cozzins’ book is critical of the status quo and he writes from the perspective of crisis. I am not sure I would agree with him about the sexual orientation of most priests. Cozzins wants institutional changes. In his favor, he loves his priesthood.

    The books I mentioned give us images of both good and bad priests, but hopefully also something inspiring. My list is not exhaustive but it includes the works that meant a lot in my formation as a young man discerning vocation.

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