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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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Priests Vulnerable to Scandal

downloadQuestion

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.

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