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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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Deceit in Marriage

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I was married two months ago in the Episcopal Church. While I thought he was truthful about finances I now find out that he owes over $20,000.  I am having a hard time forgiving him.  Although I am in my 60’s, this has forced me to take three jobs to try and pay it off.  I am so angry about his lies!  Can I get an annulment?  Please pray that I might find it in myself to forgive him.

Response

If you are a Catholic and got married in the Episcopal church without a dispensation, then (after a civil divorce) you could apply for a declaration of nullity because of a lack of canonical form. Catholics are required to get married before a priest or deacon. The documents required are as follows: baptismal certificate, copy of marriage license and divorce decree.  If you can make the relationship work then you should see a priest about a convalidation.

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Growing Up & Autonomy

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I am in my twenties and having a difficult time with my mother. She is increasingly not respecting my personal space in our home.  She comes into my room unannounced. It is particularly disconcerting when I am getting cleaned up or dressing.  I have asked her to knock and to request permission.  Although I believe I am only asking her to respect my boundaries, she has become offended and has resorted to calling me names. I depend on my parents for transportation and I am looking for someone to turn to for assistance— there are very few people I know.

Response

As a young woman, you are certainly entitled to your privacy; but, more so, you should be treated as an adult and not as a child. Your education and work opportunities should be directed toward a personal autonomy. Your parents should also focus on this. However, families are not perfect and sometimes there are hindrances to maturation and even faith within the home. You can try dialogue with your mother, but there is no guarantee about how others will act. Growing up and breaking out is rarely easy. I would suggest keeping yourself grounded upon Christian faith and values. This is important as even the culture can lead us in the wrong direction.

Married Outside the Church & Holy Communion

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I have had this discussion with several ladies at work and we all seem to have different answers. I am in the process of getting a convalidation. My husband and I were married in Las Vegas seven years ago. I told my co-workers that I do not receive Holy Communion because I am living in sin. One (Catholic) co-worker had a civil marriage (nothing in church) over twenty-five ago and receives Holy Communion. Another co-worker lives with her Jewish boyfriend and also receives Holy Communion. Which one of us is wrong?

Response

Some people receive the sacrament even though they are not morally disposed to do so. Priests are often criticized for administering the sacrament in these cases; however, the priest can do nothing externally that would violate the seal of confession, professional secrecy or the internal forum. While there is currently some debate about the discipline, nothing of Catholic doctrine has changed. The marriages of Catholics should be witnessed by a priest or deacon. Catholics who are only civilly married or cohabitating and sharing sexual intimacy are not invited to come forward for Holy Communion. Marriage outside the Church is a serious sin. Fornication is also serious, indeed sexual activity outside of marriage constitutes mortal sin. If we receive Holy Communion while aware of ourselves in a state of mortal sin (not spiritually prepared) then we commit the mortal sin of sacrilege. In other words, while one person receives grace and eternal life with the Eucharist, others receive their own condemnation or judgment. Thus, the long-and-short of it is this, YOU are RIGHT and THEY are WRONG. The couple that is living together should see a priest and receive the sacrament of marriage. If there be any prior bonds, then we are also talking about adultery. The other civilly married couple should follow your lead and seek out a convalidation.

Seeing Ourselves in Peter’s Denial

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I am a Lenten backslider.  There is so much I could have done but have failed to do, especially to help the downtrodden. As I think about my own spiritual failures I am reminded of Peter’s thrice denial.  Was his denial of Christ a mortal sin?  After he was forgiven by Jesus did he sin again?  Returning to myself, despite going to Confession I have defiled myself by my actions

Response

Peter’s denial of Christ was serious, but he was healed by the risen Christ on the beach when asked three times, DO YOU LOVE ME? Sin is ultimately a failure to love as we should. Regarding your life, I cannot speak to the gravity of sin without specificity, but it is true that we can sin by the things we do and by “the things we fail to do.” In any case, in light of Peter, remember that our Lord is merciful. We are all weak and sinful. Jesus heals us all the same.

Was Peter sinless after his encounter with the risen Jesus on the beach?  All we can know is that Jesus would always lift him up if he should stumble.  Such is the message that you must take to heart.

If past selfishness troubles you, there is still time to embrace a life of charity.  You have stumbled upon a profound truth, “Charity covers a multitude of sins.”

Our Lord would have us forgive as he forgives.  We read in Matthew 18:21-22:

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

This colloquialism or saying literally meant endless forgiveness.  God’s mercy is always available to those with contrite hearts.  Accept his forgiveness and share it with others.

Priests Vulnerable to Scandal

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I am a 19 year old girl currently on vacation with my uncle, with who I am very close. He is a Catholic priest. He has been acting very sneaky and deceptive lately . I went on his phone and found out that he is having an affair with a woman I once met. I do not know what to do. Should I talk to him about it? I am planning to go with him on a pilgrimage to Fatima in May. Others will be going as well, including this woman.  He only first met her last May. Should I do something about it now or should I wait? I am so anxious about it that I have trouble even looking at him.  I want to save his priesthood.

Response

Are you on a family vacation? Because of heightened propriety, priests are intensely vulnerable to scandal. Given your age, family or not, there should be a chaperone and/or others on vacation with you. You say that the two of you are close but then note that he is “sneaky” and lies to you. Is this negative judgment based upon the phone call you overheard? Priests are normal men who are pledged to celibate love and service. This does not mean that they write off friendships with half of the human race. We do not want priests in ministry who hate women. Might you be presumptuous of a few words of friendship or innocent love spoken over the phone? If they were having an affair, it seems unlikely to me that they would select a pilgrimage to Fatima as an opportunity for an illicit encounter. Given how you are affected, it is probably necessary for you to sit down with him to clear the air. Apologize first for invading his privacy. Next, share what is troubling you. You may find that you have misinterpreted the situation. If there is a problem, then it will wake him up and he can take steps to distance himself from the woman. Hopefully he will do what is right. Keep confidentiality and forgive him for being a flawed human being, as we are all weak and sinners. Ultimately, you cannot fix his priesthood. Only he can do that… by God’s grace.

Praying for a Wayward Son

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My wife and I pray daily.  Our son’s safety especially consumes our prayers.  Despite our prayers, last night he was arrested.  He is out on bail but refuses to accept God into his heart. He argues that God is not real. I feel that I have somehow let him down.  Maybe I did not do enough to raise him right?  Maybe I should have prayed harder?  I feel empty. He is twenty-two years old and this is his second drug arrest.

Response

Do not blame yourselves. I suspect he would have been arrested anyway, no matter how many prayers you offered. God hears our prayers but when it comes to others, they must be disposed or open to God’s grace and help. Keep praying for his conversion. Let him know that you will always love him. Do not despair. God’s providence is mysterious. We cannot know what the future holds. Hopefully, the day will come when your son will turn to the Lord and amend his life. Right now, he may not believe in God but let him see and know the “reality” of your love for him.

A Girl Doctor Who… Say It Isn’t So!

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I am fearful that one of my lifelong favorite television programs is about to be irrevocably ruined… something that even Steven Moffat’s blatant atheism failed to do.

drwhowoman

Doctor Who 1963 to 2017 Rest in Peace

Nothing against a time travel-monster-science fiction TV show with a woman lead, but I feel this will create too much discontinuity with the character. It will change how viewers will relate to all the other personas of the doctor. Most episodes for the past two seasons were poor anyway. This may be a final nail in the coffin for the series.

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What’s next… a female James Bond, too?

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gbI know, there are people excited about a female Doctor Who. Are they the same ones clamoring for a female but womanizer (lesbian) James Bond… or is that Jaime Bond? Enthusiasts are saying they are excited, that it can’t miss and that it is about time. Hum, did we not hear the same stuff about the all-female-cast reboot of Ghostbusters? The film company lost millions and it will go down as one of the greatest flops of cinematic history.

I suspect this is just another effort of the BBC to be PC… from atheism to multiple same-sex scenarios and now to gender-changing characters. Gads! I wish Doctor Who was still a TV show for kids. The program may gain an audience, but I suspect that millions like myself will walk away.

I don’t want an uncaring persona like this past season, unaffected even by the death of children. And I don’t want a sexy persona either.  Give me old grandfather, the hobo, the dandy secret agent, the clown with scarf and hat and big teeth.  Give me the sportsman with his lettuce or the fat guy with a temper or even the somewhat sinister but mysterious doctor who died in the first minutes of a movie.  As for the new series, they have been surprisingly good… at least until Peter Capaldi (who tried hard).  Give me jelly-babies, screaming companions and being chased by monstrous salt-shakers any day… that’s my Doctor Who, with maybe a funny scarf, hat or flute thrown in.

In a age when everything is in flux and public morality struggles with same sex unions and trans-gendered persons, could we have left Doctor Who alone… at least until the aging fans of Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and Baker had passed from this world?  But it is too late now… Doctor Who now wears stockings and high heels.

Oh say it is not so… let her be an impostor, or better yet…  the regenerated time lord (lady) Romana released from Gallifrey to give her old friend a companion like himself. Ah, I can dream, can’t I?

Doctor Who fanatics in meltdown after BBC reveals new female Time Lord

First woman to play ‘Doctor Who’ sparks backlash

BBC face furious sexist backlash after announcing Jodie Whittaker as first female Doctor Who

Doctor Who fans in furious online debate after Jodie Whittaker confirmed as first female Doctor

Doctor Who: ‘Man Babies’ Cannot Cope With Jodie Whittaker As The First Female In Lead Role

Doctor Who ‘should never be played by a woman’, says novelist AL Kennedy

Former Doctor Who companion Peter Purves ‘horrified’ by idea of female version of Time Lord

BBC backlash over female Doctor Who: ‘Politically correct rubbish’

Shocker: Not Everyone Wants a Female Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker Doesn’t Care

Merriam-Webster Trolls Anti-Female Doctor Who Fans

The New Doctor Who Is A Woman And Fans Are Losing Their Minds

Colby Cosh: Doctor Who fans welcome any kind of Doctor, except a woman

The Infuriating Reason Some Female ‘Doctor Who’ Fans Are Upset About The New Doctor

THE BBC EVIDENTLY LIES

No lady Doctor in the Tardis (for now): BBC writes to worried fan to ‘assure’ them that Peter Capaldi’s replacement WON’T be a woman