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.
Hello, Father. I am having a difficult time with my mother, and I am hoping you have some insight on the situation. When we were having difficulties with our preferred living situations, my mom one day forced me into the family car and started driving down the street. She spoke in the deepest voice I have ever heard from her, almost demonic and frightening. She threatened to drop me off at what she called “a fleabag hotel”, which the closest hotel is not close to our house. She started cursing and calling me shocking names, even “sh-thead”. I was about to call 911, but I did not have a phone with me. I did not know what was going on, and, to survive, I came to an agreement with her. She drove me home where we lived with little conflict for a few months.
I have found for a very long time my mom would ask me permission for certain actions, and do them anyway. I am usually all right with her doing these things every now and then- it has just been happening to point where she is not respecting my personal space. A simple knock on the door, and she comes in when I could be getting dressed, or doing something that is my responsibility. Although I believe I am only asking her to respect my boundaries every now and then, she has become offended. She has called me the same name today. I have been feeling happy lately until now. For some reason my mom does not believe much information I tell her that she needs to know about, such as inappropriate sibling behavior towards me. Isn’t that a parent’s duty- to aide their children when they are in need of help? I’m scared that if she treated me this way that the same could happen to another person. P.S. 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). What can be done?
FATHER JOE: You are a young woman in her early twenties. Certainly, you are entitled to your privacy; but, more so, you should be treated as an adult and not 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 by Christian faith and values. This is important as even the culture can lead us in the wrong direction. Peace.
Father, I missed Mass last Sunday and need to know if I’ve committed a mortal sin. I had been sick that week from the middle of the week on. I had missed work and had also cancelled any appointments and activities Wednesday through Saturday. I did start to feel better and stronger late Saturday and was planning on going to an evening Mass on Sunday if I continued to feel better. That Mass was not in my town but about 45 minutes away. By mid afternoon on Sunday, the friend/sister I share a house with started feeling pretty bad. She asked that I stay home with her. At the time I thought it was the best thing to do but now my “Catholic guilt” is getting the best of me. This Saturday morning I am to be a sponsor for an adult being confirmed and receiving her First Communion. Of course I want to receive Communion but don’t know if my missing Mass has taken me out of the state of grace. The only way I could possibly go to confession before Saturday morning is to call a parish to see if I could find a priest available to hear my confession. If because of the circumstances i did not sin by missing Mass last Sunday, then I’m good to go.
I hope you answer rather quickly so I can either be at peace or manage to get to confession.
Blessings to you!
FATHER JOE: You mention a number of extenuating factors. Such can reduce subjective gravity to either a venial sin or no sin at all. Make a good act of contrition. Sponsor the person for Confirmation. Take Holy Communion. Go to Confession normally, when you can. Ask God to take away your anxiety. Peace.
I was married two months ago in the Episcopal Church. Before I married my husband (he) swore all was truth on everything. Now…in my 60’s, I find out he owes over $20,000.00 and never said a word. I am having a hard time forgiving this and at my age, took three jobs to help pay it off. I can’t do it and I am trying hard. I am sooo angry at his lies to me. Can I get an annulment and please pray for me to forgive him. I asked him three times before marriage of finances. He blew it off that it was nothing. Thank you and bless you!
FATHER JOE: 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.
Respected Father, I am a practicing Hindu but I have been worshiping Jesus for many years and have cross and his pictures installed everywhere at home. I worship him with same amount of passion and enthusiasm like I worship other gods. I do not discriminate and I respect all religions. I would like to know:
Is this a sin?
Is Jesus accepting my prayers?
Someone who is a converted Christian told me that Jesus will never listen to me or help me. I did not believe this! Thank you,Father!
FATHER JOE: Sorry, but one cannot be both a practicing Hindu and a Christian. Religious relativism and indifferentism are viewed as great heresies. You might call upon the Lord’s name, but you do not know him. God is one. The teaching of the Trinity is that there is one divine nature but three divine Persons or generations. Thus, Christians speak of Christ as the Son of the Father, the Redeemer who suffered the Cross and rose from the dead and as the one who gives us the Holy Spirit. False deities either do not exist or, as in the estimation of the early Church, are deemed to be demons. Separation of the images of Christian religion from genuine faith would corrupt them as idols. If you want to be received by Christ then you must turn away from false worship, repent of your sins, accept Christ with a faith that is realized in obedience and charity and formally join the Church that he established. If you want to embrace Christ you must accept what he taught. There is no middle-ground.
Does the church accept Christian domestic discipline where as the husband disciplined his wife using different punishments including spanking?
FATHER JOE: 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 a mutuality between the head and the heart. The husband should have a protective and nurturing love for his wife. Similarly, the wife and mother constitutes in her person the very source of the home they share. They belong to each other. This question is really about the wrong of spousal abuse.
My great grandmother was born in 1894. She passed away when I was 11 years old.
I recently had a dream. In the dream she gave me an open bible. In the margin was some Polish writing. I tried to memorize the writing even though I don’t speak or write Polish.
That morning I typed what I thought I saw into google translate. It came back with “Right barely has a word.”
This directly relates to a conversation I had with her as a child.
One day she tried telling me something but couldn’t find the words. I told her I know what you mean. She was super happy at that moment. She knew she succeeded in teaching me to be a good person.
Our small church in Poland was built in 1331. How many generations of family is that? The Catholic church is a common link across time.
One day I plan to visit and make sure no one forgets.
Dear Father Joe, I have an unmarried 40 year old daughter whom I learned got pregnant for the third time. The first two, I prayed for marriage but that never happened. I am totally speechless. Any advise on what I should say when she breaks the latest news?
FATHER JOE: I am at a loss as to what you can say to a 40 year old woman about a matter like this that would any difference. Instead of judgment, which she has no doubt heard before, let her know that you will be there for the child. The grandchild is innocent.
What are the similarities and differences between Jesus’ Baptism and Catholic Baptism?
Catholicism speaks of three types of baptism which emerge from Scripture:
(1) Baptism of Repentance and Preparation (John the Baptist baptized sinners in the Jordan, also the tradition of Hebrew ceremonial ablutions, etc.)
(2) Revelatory Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (One of three biblical theophanies [Ephiphany, Baptism of the Lord & Transfiguration] where the identity of Christ is made manifest.)
(3) Baptism of Regeneration in the Name of the Trinity (Christian baptism as commanded at the end of the Gospel of Matthew.)
Hello, and thank you for your time.
My question is, if the Sacrament of Holy Orders impresses upon the soul of the priest a permanent, ontological mark, then presumably this soul-become-priest will carry this mark of priesthood upon his soul for eternity, including in heaven after death and in the new kingdom after the general resurrection of the dead. If this is so, what do priests do after resurrection? Do they continue to carry out some priestly faculties, or do they carry the mark of priesthood, but not ‘use’ it?
Thank you, and God bless.
FATHER JOE: All Christians are configured to Christ by faith and baptism. Holy Orders impresses upon the priest a special character so that he might perpetuate the ministry of Christ… the forgiveness of sins and the celebration of the Eucharist. The priesthood is more than a job, it is a change in identity. The Church speaks a great deal more about purgatory than heaven. Why? It is because we have an awareness of our faults and bad habits that need purification. We are less aware of what it means to be perfectly holy. There is a mystery to heaven that we cannot penetrate until it is accessed. What does it mean to live within the Trinity for eternity? We trust that God will give souls the light of reason. But (as finite creatures) we will never fully exhaust the divine mystery. We will see God, but as his creatures. Faith and Hope stop at the doorway to heaven. But Charity will remain for ever. We will see and adore God. I suspect that ordained priests will experience a special awareness of their part and accomplishment as sharers in the eternal priesthood of Christ. This connection will not be lost but I cannot say how it will be experienced. Looking to Jesus, he is the eternal Lamb of God. But there is no Mass or oblation in heaven. The Lamb that was slain would in heaven not be a priest offering sacrifice but would be a priest consummated. (We must also delineate between when we are souls in heaven and how things will be when we are restored to our bodies, albeit glorified.)
Dear Fr Joe,
I totally forgot it was Friday today and tasted some chicken. Is this a mortal sin? Please answer as soon as you can. God bless you.
FATHER JOE: If you forgot then there is no sin. In the Archdiocese of Washington, Catholics were allowed to transfer the obligation or make other penance today because of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Thank you for the reply to my previous comment. We have set boundaries in our home. We have only “banned” the atheist due to that.
With the cohabitation do you think my wife and I are justified in not wanting to visit their home for the sake of not condoning the arrangement? They are still welcome in our home with our boundaries.
With the atheist we pray that we do not loose the relationship with our daughter…So far so good. But in the end I figure it is up to her to choose and we can only pray that God direct her. I can’t see us having a relationship with him. My wife, especially has been nothing but loving and supportive, hoping to let him see Christ through her. But he attacks her beliefs….Unprovoked. so we cut off the relationship as far as we are concerned.
FATHER JOE: Our Lord was charged for visiting the homes of sinners. He did so to bring prodigals home to God and to let them know that they were loved. Regarding your family, you have to decide what is right for you. I would not want to be intrusive into your family life. (As for atheism, there are many decent people who struggle with religious belief. Shared faith is always preferred. But the point that I emphasized was the belligerence and disrespect. Atheism or no atheism, such is not an ingredient in a healthy relationship.)
A twofold question or request of opinion. Having a child who is dating an atheist, who is openly attacking Christianity through snide remarks and even telling our daughter that she is weak because she prays has led my wife and I to reiterate our concerns about the relationship and advise her to get out of it. She has not, and we have made it known that he is not welcome in our home any longer. There is a definite feeling of unrest when he is there and I feel like it is inviting evil into our home.
Also, both children have talked about living with their respective boyfriend and girlfriend. We have expressed our objection to this and reminded them of their Catholic teaching about this and we just get the “that’s what everyone is doing” type response. We have let them know that if they do we would not be visiting their home as if they were a married couple. Of course we were condemned…..even reminded that Jesus ate with sinners and we were not being Christ like.
We pray for them, I even pray for all people who do not know Christ or reject Him. Are we wrong or are we correct?
You are right to be upset. First, your daughter who is dating a “militant” atheist should break off the relationship. Mocking her for her faith is a profound disrespect. Nothing good can come of this. Even though he does not have the gift of faith, if he truly cared about her then he would not act in this way.
Second, it is unfortunate today that many couples feel that fornication and cohabitation (mortal sin) is a prerequisite or substitute for marriage. You are within your rights to object. However, today it seems the world has done a more effective job than the Church in forming faith and values. Let your children know how you feel. Set parameters about what signs of affection can be displayed in your home but be careful that banning one does not cost you the relationship of the other.
You should also feel free to discuss how you feel with your son’s girlfriend. You might even bring her parents into the situation. Does your son respect and love this girl? Does he see her as a possible wife and the mother of his children? How much is he willing to sacrifice for her… to preserve her good name and reputation? What are her views about faith? Over half of couples who cohabitate and get married will also get divorced… why hurt the odds? Urge them to go to Mass and to pray together. If they ask for God’s grace and help, they will likely have a long, happy and fruitful life together. Tell them not to shortchange what they have.