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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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Spousal Corporal Punishment?

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Does the Church believe in husbands disciplining their wives? In other words, are they permitted to exact corporal punishment as a domestic discipline?

Response

Spouses are adults and should treat each other with an abiding respect. Corporal punishment is not an element of the husband’s marital headship. They are partners in life and in the pursuit of holiness. There is an equality of grace that must be respected. Past practices in various cultures (even Christian ones) did not always respect the woman’s rights and gifts. Spouses should dialogue and, if need be, correct each other. But while an argument can be made for a gentle spanking of a child, such is inappropriate toward an adult spouse. There is mutuality between the head and the heart of the home. The husband should have a protective and nurturing love for his wife. Similarly, the wife as spouse and mother constitutes in her person the very source of the home they share. They belong to each other.

The question here is really about the wrong of spousal abuse.  It is seriously wrong and criminal.

Dave Thomas Passes Away, Knight & Parishioner

Dave Thomas, a parishioner of Holy Family Parish and a long-time Knight of Columbus, passed away today. Keep him and his family in prayer. Dave delighted in jokes and magic! Rest in Peace.

  • Vigil at Beal Funeral Home on Sunday, July 16 from 1 PM to 4 PM
  • Funeral at Holy Family Church, Mitchellville on Monday, July 17 at 11 AM

davethomas

DAVID M. THOMAS

On Sunday, July 9, 2017 of Glenn Dale, MD, formerly of Johnstown, PA. Beloved husband of Mary Jane Harbrant Thomas (married 54 years); loving father of Michael D. Thomas and his wife Susan McGuirk Thomas. Dear brother of the late Mary Jane Thomas. Devoted grandfather of Justin and Kendra Thomas. Also survived by many cousins four brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law, and many dear friends. Family will receive friends at the family-owned BEALL FUNERAL HOME, 6512 NW Crain Hwy. (Rte. 3 South), Bowie, MD on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 1 to 4 PM. A Memorial Mass will be held Monday, July 17, 2017, 11 AM at Holy Family Catholic Church, 12010 Woodmore Road, Mitchellville, MD. Interment private.

1984840_profile_picHe passed away at Hospice of the Chesapeake, surrounded by his loving family. He was born September 5, 1937 in Johnstown, PA, son of Kenneth and Rose (Coco) Thomas. Preceded in death by his loving parents and sister, Mary Jane Thomas.

A member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchellville, MD, Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council, and charter member of three Knights of Columbus councils in MD, and the Bowie Magic Club.

Dave will be remembered as a caring, loving, faithful, and thoughtful son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He loved to entertain, do magic for children and at convalescent homes, and organize and MC local events.

Interment at St. John the Baptist Cemetery, New Baltimore, PA will be scheduled at the convenience of the family.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to For the Kids, Inc., a charity founded by Dave’s son, Mike, to benefit local children with serious medical issues. Donations may be sent to For the Kids, Inc., 1119 MD Route 3 North, #210, Gambrills, MD 21054.

 

The Depth of Mortal Sin

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I am having trouble understanding this requirement for a sin to be mortal, particularly the meaning of full consent.  What exactly does this mean?  Does it mean that you actually intend to sin?  I am still not clear about full knowledge either.  What does this mean?

Response

As a Christian we know certain things are right or wrong from the natural law, from divine positive law (Scripture), from Church law and from civil law.  Human laws might be flawed, particularly if they conflict with the laws of God and nature.  A Catholic takes guidance from the Church.  Unnecessarily missing Mass on Sunday through one’s own fault is mortal sin.  Most sexual transgressions are a matter of mortal sin.  Abortion is a mortal sin.  These and other actions are judged as both sinful and mortally so.  If you are aware of this as a Catholic then you have sufficient (a better word than full) knowledge.

As for consent, it really is not that difficult to understand. Giving sufficient consent to mortal sin means that you are in control of your actions and you choose to sin anyway.

Let me put it this way. If one were to really reflect upon it, the person committing mortal sin is essentially saying…

“Right here… right now… I choose to disobey Almighty God… no matter what the consequences!”

“No one… not God… not anyone… can tell me what to do!”

“I do not love God or neighbor in any way sufficient to avoid this sin!”

“My sins target Christ on the Cross!  Yes, I am a murderer of Christ!  And a part of me really does not care!”

When we strip false rationalizations away, this is the cold black-and-white of it.

Met Two Star Trek Actors at Shore Leave Convention 39

Here is a recent photo of me with Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi) and Michael Dorn (the Klingon, Worf).

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Afraid to Speak Up Against Sexual Sin

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Last night I went with a few friends for my roommate’s birthday. When we were all coming back, my good friend (a girl) wanted to spend the night and sleep with my roommate. They have been doing this for some time. She did not know how to approach him and so she asked me what she should do. Knowing that what they would do would be an immoral act, I wanted to directly respond but fear got the better of me.

She asked if she should directly inquire of his interest or whether she should just come upstairs in the hopes that he would get the hint. I really did not know what to do. She is a good friend and so I did not want to tell her no; so I told her just to come upstairs.

Now, I feel at fault because I helped to facilitate an immoral act. This is causing me much anxiety. Am I in a state of moral sin? Should I go to confession for this?

Response

Collaboration in sin can be mortally serious.  I cannot give an exact answer in this case. If there is any complicity in their sin, it seems rather remote and thus I would suspect that the matter for you is venial. Your friends are of age and their culpability is weightier. Could you have done better? Yes, most certainly you could have. Friends should be able to speak frankly about their values. If there is mutual respect then this should not be a major issue. Let them know that you love them and that you appreciate that they are old enough to make their own decisions. But do not be afraid to share your values about chastity, the essential link between sexual congress and marriage, and the dignity of persons. Do not hide your Christianity.

The Sin of Homosexuality

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Can you explain to me what specifically is sinful about homosexuality?  I do not understand why out of the six hundred and thirteen commandments Paul decided to focus on homosexuality.  Did Paul focus on it because some of the early Christians to whom he wrote letters were homosexuals?

Response

Judaism viewed sexual misconduct with great concern and severity. Sexual misconduct could result in stoning to death. Paul would reject such censures but he would urge those who had practiced various immoralities to change their lives. He actually argues for a preference toward celibacy but then relates that it is better to marry than to burn. He would no doubt argue for perfect continence. As the Church teaches, the disorientation is not sinful but the acts and lifestyle are wrong or immoral. The challenge today is how we as Christians can maintain this view and still both tolerate divergent views and welcome with love our brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction. Just as with pornography, the Church rejects homosexual acts for both Scriptural and natural-law reasons. Many Bible passages could be cited, and the Old Testament is particularly stinging. It may suffice to quote the apostle you mention.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Sexual sin is always serious because we are our bodies. Paul sees us as living temples of the Spirit. Sexual misbehavior corrupts the person at his or her core. Note that he associates it with the sin of false worship or idolatry. Remember that Paul is speaking to Gentiles in the Greek world. They worshiped false deities or idols. They were also known to be more tolerant of homosexuality. The Judeo-Christian dispensation would put an end to this.

The Sin of Pornography

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Can you explain to me what specifically is sinful about pornography? I realize there are two different acts we could be talking about: that of acting in a sex film and that of viewing a sex film. Further, I realize there is a difference between the desire and the action as well.

Response

First, the sin is a violation of Scripture or divine positive law.

Matthew 5:27-30 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.”

Pornography constitutes adultery in the heart and is a type of virtual prostitution. Second, pornography signifies a natural violation of human dignity. Instead of valuing another as a person or as a loving subject, the target of lust is objectified as a thing, literally reduced to meat.

Colossians 3:5-6 – “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.

God urges us to embrace purity. Disobeying God is the very definition of sin.

Suffering Because of the Sins of a Spouse

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I do not know what to do. It came to light about a year ago that my husband of almost 40 years stole money from an extended family member. Two of my adult children thought I was also involved, even though I was not. They are very angry. We lost our home and the equity in our home. He is currently paying restitution. Through prayer God helped me to be able to forgive my husband, even though my siblings and children could not understand how. I did get a legal separation to protect myself financially; however we still live in the same apartment. It has been a very difficult year. It has now come to light that he has stolen money from these two children as well. Worse yet, they think I am involved. I am deeply sick over this. They have written both of us out of their lives. Angry at my husband, I have no more respect for him.

We were married in the Church and I have always tried to be faithful to my vows. But now he has cost me my good name and my children with their families. I cannot stop crying. I want to leave, but then I think of my vows. It is clear that my husband has an addiction to spending. He says he is very sorry, but at this point, no one is listening. I need to hear some sound Catholic advice.

Response

Communicate honestly and clearly where you stand with everything that has happened. Given that you were unaware of your husband’s deception and larceny, express both your innocence and the pain that you feel as a wife and mother. Share your poignant words to me with them.

You cannot control their response. They are rightfully very angry and disappointed. The violation of trust is a wound that takes time to mend.  Even if they turn away from you, let them know that you will always love them. While your husband has sacrificed any earned respect, you are right about the vows. They were made “for better or for worse.” The worse is now upon you. The loss of home, family and security strips everything to the bare bones. Running away from him and the situation would not make matters any better. Our Lord was betrayed by Judas for the cost of silver. He was marked by a kiss and falsely charged. Jesus endured his passion and death to redeem us. Jesus never stopped loving or forgiving us. We are urged to take up our crosses and to follow him. I am sorry that there is no easy answer. I will keep you and the family in prayer.

The Need for Inclusive Catechesis

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I have been teaching catechesis for the past eight years. Recently I was requested to prepare a twelve year old boy with Autism for his First Communion.  I told my coordinator that I was not trained to teach Special Needs children.  I became upset because I do not have the confidence and knowledge of what to teach.  He insisted that I could do it and that I should pray and trust in God.  He said there is no one else and that I am the most suitable person.  I really do not feel I am able to do it.  This is making me feel very guilty.  I really do not want to disappoint my Parish priest and the family.  What should I do?  Should I go ahead and try to help the boy?

Response

One of my first ministries, back when I was a teenage seminarian, was to teach the catechism to intellectually challenged children at a facility in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. I had no formal training. I was fresh out of high school. First, I did not panic. Secondly, I sought advice and guidance from people who already did such work. Third, I assessed the various needs for each of the children (they were not the same). Fourth, I sought to form a friendly relationship with them. I used images and employed a great deal of repetition. I tried to make the learning fun, even turning the study into a game with cards. As a kid I loved comics— and I used a comic book about Jesus with one young girl. Her language skills were poor but she loved pictures. Some liked to draw and color. The bishop was generous and told us that the children could receive the Eucharist if they could identify Holy Communion as Jesus. That is where I placed the emphasis. I would show a picture of the host and then an image of our Lord. I did the best I could. That is all the Pastor is asking of you. Parishes that have special education teachers are surely blessed; but most church communities must do without. You have decided to be a catechist. That means that you are called to teach children— not just the kids judged smart or quick, but also those viewed as slow or who process information differently. These children have as much a right to the faith and to your services as any other. If you were a parent, would you neglect a special child for those deemed “normal”? Push yourself and show everyone that inclusion matters. Every child is precious and irreplaceable. Every child has something to share. Give of yourself so that the “special” child may make a gift of himself for you to know.

Simeon’s Prophecy About Mary

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At the presentation what did Simeon mean when he told Mary, “…and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35)?

Response

First, many had hoped in silence that the Messiah might come and liberate them. Jews kept this hope silent in that those who occupied their land might not respond well to such a promise of restoration. Her Son would have many come forward and proclaim him as the Messiah and Christ. Second, Mary is viewed by the Church as our greatest intercessory saint. While all prayer is ultimately directed to almighty God, we offer intentions, pray the Hail Mary and make many other orations to her as our spiritual Mother. This prophecy is fulfilled in the role that Mary plays in the Catholic faith.