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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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Disciplining Priests & the Current Scandal

downloadQuestion

I read that the Holy Father pardoned 2000 pedophilia clerics.  I am angry because I think they should have been defrocked.  I was a victim of pedophilia and know many other victims. Why has the Church been sluggish to bring these men to justice?  I do not feel that I can trust the Church. Should I take my anger and distrust to Confession?

Response

Let me first say that no one ever had the right to hurt you. It was wrong and anyone who would abuse a child should be both punished and psychologically treated. The problem in the past was compounded in the Church because of a fear of scandal. The Church leadership should have been more concerned about preserving the innocence and safety of our young charges. The Church like the world is composed of sinners. We should not hate the Church for what sick or evil or weak men do. We should love her as the mystical body of Christ— the one who is both the Divine Mercy and the Divine Justice. There is no sin in the pain and mistrust you feel. But it sounds to me that you have wounds that still need to be healed. I will keep you prayer.

FOX News reported, “Pope Francis acknowledged that the Vatican has a 2,000-case backlog in processing clerical sex abuse cases and says criticism of the slow pace was justified.”

First, not all of these cases are allegations of pedophilia. There are also charges of pederasty and of misbehavior with adults, both men and women. (Since they promised celibacy, priests who attempt marriage are automatically excommunicated and face the prospect of laicization.)

Second, there are numerous cases where we have discovered innocent men who were wrongly charged and/or disciplined. We cannot safeguard the rights of one class of people by dismissing the rights of others. That is why the process should not be rushed.

Third, the discipline of the Vatican to laicize clergy is distinct from any matter of charges, litigation and judicial proceedings in the countries where the clergy minister. Some critics have criticized the laicization process because the Church then wipes her hands of problematical priests and we lose track of them and forfeit any semblance of control over them.

Be wary toward a number of the so-called watch-dog groups. Their reports are often biased. They are quick to publicize priests who are charged but they rarely acknowledge false allegations or apologize for the wrong of destroying the reputations of good men. There is widespread hatred of the Church, even apart from this terrible issue. These apparent defenders of the innocent are often lobbyists for dissent and have lost the faith, themselves. Indeed, a number of them (particular those with an internet presence) or in collusion with “certain” lawyers have made a great deal of money by exploiting victims and the Church. They have fashioned the scandal into a business. They have turned on the Pope and question the motives of the Church. And even though our current child protection policies are second to none— they remain unhappy. Their ultimate goal is to discredit the faith and to put a cloud of distrust or an allegation over the head of every clergyman.

The many cases with which the Vatican is dealing were wrongly interpreted as absolution or as a dismissal of charges. Some of them include actions that purportedly go back a half century or more. The Holy Father clarified from the beginning that more staff was needed and was being added to the congregation charged with resolving the cases. He speculated that more of the work may be given to the regional bishops to help prepare the cases before they are sent to the Vatican. Remember now that we are talking about the whole planet. Back in 2013, there were approximately 415,348 Catholic priests on planet earth. Most of them are presumably good and faithful men.

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The Problem with IVF & Getting Pregnant

downloadQuestion

My husband and I struggled unsuccessfully to get pregnant.  I fervently prayed, begging God to give me a child. We decided to do IVF.  The first embryo transfer failed but it succeeded on the second try and now I am thirty-three weeks pregnant.  We were thinking of naming our child Giovanni (God has shown a favor). However, a friend’s mother-in-law dreamed that God wants me to give the name Samuel to our boy.  When I suggested making Samuel his middle name, the lady said no.  Am I disobeying God if I give Giovanni as a first name and Samuel as the middle name?

Response

If God were going to directly name your child, then either you or your husband would have had the dream— not the mother-in-law of a friend. She is deluded and I would pay her no mine. Name the child whatever you please. New Testament names, particularly saints in the liturgical calendar, usually take precedence over the Old Testament when it comes to Christians. Giovanni is the Italian version of St. John. That signifies a great patron saint.

St. John gives us a wonderful prologue in his Gospel from which we derive much of our theology about the identity of Christ and the meaning of the unity in the Trinity. The Word became flesh. God sent his only son into the world to redeem us. The Gospels of Luke and John speak in a powerful way about the meaning of the incarnation and the sanctity of human life, from the womb to the tomb. It may be fortuitous because of the manner by which your child was conceived. You may not be aware, but the Catholic faith forbids in vitro fertilization. While the Church permits various treatments against infertility, IVF violates a number of important Christian values. Read the universal catechism (CCC 2373-2379).

(1) The Church is very sensitive to the suffering of couples who want families but are struggling with infertility. The one reason most often promoted for opposition to IVF intervention has to do with the status of the embryos. Each and every conceived embryo has an immortal soul and is a human being. It is immoral to freeze and store them (most do not survive the process) and once an embryo is successfully embedded in the womb, remaining embryos are frequently destroyed. This is condemned for the same reasons that the Church opposes abortion.

(2) Should there be infertility, the Christian vocation of marriage is morally no less a covenant or blessed by God than those with children. Every child is a gift. Parents are entrusted with children but they are not property. No one can deserve or demand a child. IVF wrongly reduces the child to a commodity produced by laboratory technicians for a profit.

(3) There is also an issue with the acquisition of the sperm for IVF and artificial insemination. It is usually collected through masturbation which is an immoral act.

(4) Compounding the moral issues inherent in this approach is that eggs and sperm might come from outside sources. This adds the sin of adultery to the equation.

(5) Spouses are called to live out their baptismal vocation and that of marriage, their calling within a calling. Couples should cooperate with God in the creation of new human persons. They must always accept providence, both in an unexpected conception and when none takes place. Every child should be conceived in a loving and human way— the marital act. IVF and artificial insemination imply the intervention of a third party. This violates the immediacy of the couple in normative vaginal intercourse. We are talking about more than a physical or mechanical act. The marital act is a loving self-donation (as gift) of the spouses to each other. Every child should be conceived within this act of love and not in a test tube. A child has the natural right to be conceived in the marital embrace of his or her parents. IVF wrongly separates the unitive from the procreative element of human sexuality.

What is done is done. Children are innocent even when parents and others are at fault in how they were conceived. Go to Confession. Raise your child in the faith. Love each other.

 

You Can’t Overcome Biology

parentarights

Recognition of such couples as parents on birth certificates would be an exercise in utter delusion about the basic reality of human sexual reproduction. It would also further undermine the already imperiled biological parental rights and corresponding responsibilities of fathers.

Document on Parental Rights of Fathers

The Devil Dances on the Graves of Priests

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I have this mental image of the devil dancing wildly on the graves of priests? Why is this? Do the eyes of the soul see the true agent behind our many troubles? Within a lifetime we have witnessed a terrible collapse of the Church… almost unbelievable scandal, massive defection, the end of a society with Christian values and a priesthood that has gone from being deeply revered to widely scorned. The character John Adams in the musical 1776 sings, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see? … Come what may, come what may– Commitment!” Many good priests share such sentiments, albeit for the Church. We will continue to love and care for our people. We will pray for the children who were catechized and forgot us. We will do our duty.

The Rights of the Accused: Innocent Priests

tom

This is an insightful article that every priest AND BISHOP should read from my old friend Fr. Tom Guarino.

Rolling Stone, Alan Dershowitz and Catholic Priests by Thomas Guarino

The Conspiracy:  An Innocent Priest by Msgr. William McCarthy

Sacrificing Priests on the Altar of Insurance by D. Shaneyfelt & J. Maher

Slavery in the World Today

slave

I borrowed this link from a priest-friend. It is an incredible story. The article is written by the late Alex Tizon.  Human trafficking or slavery has reached historic high numbers.  It is estimated that almost 30 million people throughout the world are currently reduced to slavery.  As many as 60,000 people might be victims of secret bondage in the United States.