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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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Toleration vs. Missionary Witness & Martyrs

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Seemingly in contradiction to the “Document on Human Fraternity,” (focusing on Catholic-Muslim relations) did not the Catholic Church and/or the leaders of Catholic states seek to impose the true faith in the lands discovered in the New World? Here at home I think about the North American Martyrs, Jesuits like the Holy Father, but men who did not hesitate to proclaim Catholicism to the most bloodthirsty among the natives of America and Canada. I think of the saints that died trying to bring the faith to the nations of Asia. Are we now to belittle their contribution? While certain elements of the faith might be enculturated; nevertheless, the kerygma brings about both individual and communal transformation. Idols are destroyed. Pagan rituals are replaced with the Mass. The immorality of non-Christian orgies is rejected and prayer and processions with the sacrament or statues to holy personages are substituted. Magic and superstition comes to an end or is suppressed. True faith and worship is given its place. The values of the Gospel will utterly transform and give a new meaning to the culture. Despite what this document says, many of us are proud of what Christianity has achieved and would make no apologies. This document seems to say that we are sorry for converting people and trying to change the world.

When speaking of good relations between the East and the West, it is stated that the Christian West can find in the Muslim East remedies for the “spiritual and religious maladies” of materialism. Given that we are speaking here about false religion, how would Islam help Christians to return to orthodoxy and the salvation of their souls? We certainly would not want to reduce the developed nations of the West to the status of third world countries. While Christians need the faith set aflame, I doubt the fanaticism of Islam is something that many Christians would want to embrace. Note while materialism is listed as the one fault of the West, it is compared to the “weakness, division, conflict and scientific, technical and cultural decline” of the East. Given all these faults, how is it that the East is supposed to help the West?

See also DOCUMENT ON HUMAN FRATERNITY.

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