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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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When is Freedom Not Freedom?

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As Americans the notion of individual freedom is very precious to us. But even we acknowledge that such liberty is not absolute. Further, one might speak about freedom but in action place an entire people in bondage (slavery) or strip the most vulnerable as having any rights at all (unborn children). People can believe as they want; however I suspect that there would be some friction if certain citizens decided to shake off the yoke of repression as an indigenous people and returned to the religion of the Aztecs, killing children as a sacrifice to their idols. (I guess the legal way around this would be only to use the recent kills from abortion clinics.) Christians understand freedom as the opportunity to work with grace and to do what is good in the sight of God. Fortunately, the deity of the Church is satisfied with the sacrifice of Christ and is not looking for other “physical” victims. In any case, who determines what is good or evil? Catholicism would argue that one is not truly free in committing evil. Such choices place one into spiritual bondage. Look at these freedoms closely. Is one free to believe that the world is flat and sits on the back of a large cosmic turtle? Would we not call this DELUSION? Atheists sometimes view any deity as ridiculous and promote the parody of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Is one free to believe that there is no God? The catechism speaks of atheism as a sin. How is true freedom promoted by sinning? One may have freedom of expression or speech but even civil law stipulates against crying out, “Fire!” in a crowded theater. The liberties of one should not run over the rights of others. This principle is violated in slavery as it is in abortion and the mistreatment of laborers today. Contemporary Catholicism speaks a great deal about freedom of conscience; however, conscience must be properly informed and rational. There should always be a connection to the objective and real. That is in part where the fight is today regarding sexual behavior. Catholicism argues both for natural, divine-positive and Church law. Islam contends for Sharia law. Secular society makes up its laws according to the fads and fashion of the day; it equates right and wrong with political activism as realized in legislative and judicial power. Today we see a usurpation of both the laws of nature and of God as in measures promoting abortion, physician assisted suicide and relativizing gender identity.

See also DOCUMENT ON HUMAN FRATERNITY.