• Our Blogger

    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.

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Father Joe on Ask a Priest
    The Lord's Place on New Constitution for Russia, G…
    CHARLES ROSE on Ask a Priest
    Gabriel's Girl on Ask a Priest
    Father Joe on Ask a Priest

Ask a Priest

Feel free to submit a new question or concern in the comment box below.  Various topics and questions are archived here for easy retrieval.  Please be courteous.  Comments are moderated so please be patient in waiting for them to appear and for any responses.  God bless you!

aboutfrjoe

NEW MESSAGES/HOMILIES   CHRISTIAN REFLECTIONS   DEFENDING THE FAITH

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS   MARY OUR MOTHER

NEWMAN COLLEGE OUTLINES

4,193 Responses

  1. To Charles Rose

    The confessor says, “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.” Given that there is genuine sorrow for sin, a firm intention for the amendment of life, and a good confession, then all sins mortal and venial are forgiven. There may still be temporal punishment due to sin. This may be remedied somewhat by penance. Sins forgotten are also remitted.

  2. When a priest gives absolution and he says:I FORGIVE YOU ALL YOUR SINS” DOES THIS MEAN THAT ALL SINS OF ONE LIFE IS FORGIVEN? BECAUSE I AM SCRUPULOUS I NEED TO KNOW THE ANSWER. IF I SAY AFTER MY CONFESSIONS FOR THESE SINS AND ALL THE SINS OF MY LIFE I ASK FOR ABSOLUTION

    BU SAYING FOR ALL MY SINS..WOUID THIS BE LIKE MAKING AN EXAM

  3. Thank you, Father Joe. That was what I needed. I did not mean to be rude in my last comment but I felt a bit like you were dismissing me as if my question and comment were unreasonable or petty. Now I know that’s not the case. I’m sorry if I hurt you.

    You have made me feel much better about the situation. Although we have been very careful to keep our relationship pure and good, I didnt realize the harm it may be doing to him. I guess I needed to hear from an unbiased priest what it’s like for my priest to be in this situation. It truly is not easy for me to go to another Parish as I live in a remote rural area but now that I know that I may be harming him just by being there and that it will hurt him less if I leave, I will switch Parishes.

    You are right that no matter what you say, it will hurt me. But this hurts less than continuing on thinking that I am protecting us both from more hurt by sticking around.. I needed to hear it from someone who actually knows. I really, truly do want what’s best for him and now I know for sure what that is.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond again. May God bless you. 🙏

    FATHER JOE: While I can speak of the priesthood, and echo your words… I am not close enough to make an exact assessment. In other words, I am speaking of generalities. You, your family and the priest are the ones who must reflect on matters and make decisions. No one can make them for you. Act prudently but not rashly. Speaking as a pastor, every parishioner is dear to me and each has an important role in the life of the parish. Peace!

  4. Re-edited Comment to Gabriel’s Girl

    I write: “The priest may be fond of you but that is not the same as a forbidden particular friendship or the enticement of romantic love. Evidently, nothing has been said and you are likely imagining what he feels for you.”

    You write: “Okay. Perhaps I didn’t do the best job at describing my situation but it is clear to me that you didn’t read my comment thoroughly either. I am married. I wasn’t looking for permission to lead my priest astray and just wanted some advice from you, as a priest, on how to handle my love for him.”

    I am hesitant to respond because anything I say will hurt you. I am sorry. You are correct that I missed the fact that you are a “married” woman in your mid-50s. I apologize for that but I read the comments quickly after coming in from a funeral and I was tired. However, my advice remains basically the same, even if you are dismissive and do not want to hear it.

    You may not be “a lovesick hormonal teenager” and I take you for your word when you say that you know “the difference between love and infatuation,” but LOOK closely at what you write:

    • “I have been in love with my priest for over eight years.”
    • “I have tried not to think about him but sometimes my mind and heart seem to be consumed by him.”
    • “It is far to another parish and to be honest I think he’d be heartbroken if I left. I know I would be.”
    • “I think he needs me to be close as much as I need him.”
    • “I really love him and want what’s best for him but I can’t bear to lose our friendship.”

    Married or not, you are way too much into him. Does your husband know? As for what the priest feels for you, there is nothing truly certain other than he likes you as one of his many parishioners. I would still insist that you are projecting that he feels for you as you do for him.

    You write that “After eight years I have no doubt in my mind that his feelings for me are far beyond fondness or a ‘particular friendship.’” This is likely a mistake but if it were true then he should immediately request a transfer to another parish. Note what you say in imagining or “discerning” what he feels for you: “I know he loves me too… not because he is leading me on or anything, but because of the way his face lights up when he sees me, etc.” You suppose that he would be “heartbroken” if you went to another parish. You suggest that he “needs you” as much as you “need him.”

    It is good that you have prayed that your feelings might subside over time. I cannot measure the conflict within you but if praying for strength fails then worshipping elsewhere would be a good option. Do not fool yourself about the “jeopardy” of such situations. Do not worry that changing parishes would “break his heart.” What you fail to understand is that priests are wounded healers. Our hearts are broken again and again. How could it be otherwise for men who are configured to Christ, the sacred heart that is pierced, surrounded by thorns and aflame? If he felt for you as you say, I would have thought he would have sought a transfer. Many priests have their heart-strings tugged. We are only human. The good ones make distance, not just because of possible sin, but to liberate priestly hearts to lovingly serve God in his holy people.

    There are certain women that remind priests of doors not opened and paths not taken. The priest is moved by a piety that complements his own. His mind strays to the truth that had he been like other men that she might have been his wife and the mother of his children. However, the heart of his home is Christ and the one woman who shares his spiritual intimacy in prayer is Mary. The door must be kept closed to certain relationships. There are some earthly friendships that cannot be pursued. A woman might feel hurt when a priest becomes distant and cold. She imagines that for some reason he does not like her. What she does not know, and what remains unspoken, is that he likes her too much.

    You and your priest are both married. He is married to the Church. Simple parochial friendship with a priest is fine. There are some elderly women in parishes that in a motherly way look at priests as their sons. This is sweet. There are men and women who become especially close and become family, albeit on the level of virtual brothers and sisters. But, as for anything else, no… it is not trivial… it is not safe… it is not good. Again, if your emotions for the priest are overwhelming then it may be best to find another parish. Most priests are happy with their lives. Find genuine happiness in yours.

  5. Hi again Father Joe,

    Okay. Perhaps I didn’t do the best job at describing my situation but it is clear to me that you didn’t read my comment thoroughly either. I am married. I wasn’t looking for permission to lead my priest astray and just wanted some advice from you, as a priest, on how to handle my love for him. I am not a lovesick hormonal teenager and I know the difference between love and infatuation. After 8 years I have no doubt in my mind that his feelings for me are far beyond fondness or a “particular friendship”. I also love him enough to not put him in jeopardy but also enough to know that if I simply change Parishes, it will break his heart.

    Never mind. Thanks anyway.

  6. To Mark

    What you write makes me worry that you might have mental health issues. Do you suffer from chronic anxiety and/or scrupulosity? The call to salvation is answered by a faith in Christ lived out with obedience and charity in the Church. Agonizing about improbable hurdles projected from your imagination is not healthy. Stop fantasizing and devote yourself to living as a true disciple. Dispose yourself for the graces that come from Christian discipleship and the sacraments. God loves you and he wants to shower you with his gifts.

  7. So my question is: Does Jesus call people into heaven while they are still on Earth? Is that even possible? I ask because I had a feeling that Jesus was calling me to come with him in heaven. I felt that he would come for my soul just i had to wait a bit. What I did after, I swore on Jesus and whole heaven with saints then immediately my heart beat extremely increased I was in fear like I lost my only chance for salvation as Jesus offered me heaven and with my sin (swearing) I kinda rejected him and now I feel like I will go to hell. Do you believe that Jesus called me in heaven? That is my biggest doubt. Thanks in advance!

  8. Hi Father Joe,

    I am a married woman in my mid 50s. I have been in love with my priest for over 8 years. I know he loves me too…not because he is leading me on or anything, but because of the way his face lights up when he sees me, etc. I have tried not to think about him but sometimes my mind (and heart) seem to be consumed by him. I hoped (and even prayed) after all this time my feelings would subside but they haven’t. It is far to another Parish and to be honest I think he’d be heartbroken if I left. I know I would be. I think he needs me to be close as much as I need him. I really love him and want what’s best for him but I can’t bear to lose our friendship. What can I do besides pray for strength?

  9. A friend of mine who is a catechist says that I cannot take communion until I get an annulment. I was told by a bishop and priest that I could accept communion so long as I did not get married again or enter a sexual relationship; but if I decided to get married again then I would have to get an annulment first. Does this catechist know more than the bishop and the priest? I have left the Church because of this. I would like an answer sent to my email address. Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: We sometimes speak of divorce as a sin, but as such it is usually associated with other wrongs like abandonment, adultery, deception, abuse, etc. While both parties may to blame, there are many instances where one is largely innocent and the other is guilty of grave wrong. Separation and divorce should be brought to confession. Marriages may not always be salvaged, but the sacrament forgives sin and brings the healing of divine grace. The problematical element to divorce or separation is that the guilty party deprives the spouse of the affection and benefits of marital intimacy and partnership. However, the Church would permit divorced people to receive the Eucharist so long as there is no adulterous relationship. Thus, as for your immediate question, the catechist is wrong. The bishop and priest are correct.

  10. To Blackwell…

    A few words about the value of clerical celibacy written for his old friend Cardinal Sarah in an upcoming book is hardly the stuff of betrayal to Pope Francis. The media really is nuts. Everything is given a spin. Confrontation (even when imagined) is the name of the game.

  11. What do you think about the following?

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/ex-pope-benedict-rejects-opening-priesthood-married-men-202354226.html

    Thanks for your time,

    Ed

  12. Never mind. It’s too late. My son has just refused.

    FATHER JOE: Sarah, I was confused when I saw this message. I did a search and had trouble finding the previous comment. Not sure why, but finally it was discovered in my SPAM folder. The issue may have been the email attachment.

    This is what you wrote previously:

    Can you please comment on this situation, and perhaps give some guidance?

    I am a Catholic convert, before my marriage. When my child was born, my husband would not allow him to be baptized. (And I was not allowed to practice either!) I did not know that I could have had him baptized without his father’s consent. (His father was and remains unbaptized and hostile to any religion.) Then I was lapsed and divorced. I am no longer lapsed, and am now right with the Church, in a state of grace— every “T” crossed, and every “I” dotted. My son is now an adult. Although he went to a Catholic high school, he was baptized. It is all my fault and I want him to be baptized. All of this is weighing on my mind terribly.

    My son has said yes to being baptized by me in private because he knows it’s important to me. So he IS consenting. But he isn’t interested right now in religion. Through our conversations though, I know he would be Catholic if he ever was interested. He’s told me, it’s the only “real” religion out there, and if he were to be religious, that’s where he would go. His words, not mine. I understand that if I do baptize him, with his consent, it is valid, but illicit. I understand that if he ever wishes to be officially Catholic, he would be conditionally baptized again. I am planning to baptize him and write a letter indicating that I baptized him, with the correct formula, with all the same intentions as when it is done by the Church. And I will contact the parish in which it was done to have it recorded. I am prepared for disapproval.

    But I have been going back and forth on this in my mind for a few years now. And I am afraid my window of opportunity might close as he becomes more independent and less interested in pleasing mom. He is not a believer (overtly), but I am. He does strive to live a good, moral life. And I believe that even an illegal baptism would open the door to his heart and allow the Holy Spirit to convert him. It is entirely my fault he is not baptized, but this is about his salvation, not my guilt. I am willing to take whatever punishment I get for doing this. If it opens the possibility for his salvation, I will throw myself on the mercy of Jesus, who surely understands a mother’s love.

    I do pray fervently for my son every day.
    St Monica, Ora pro nobis!

    Sarah, the Christian religion cannot be reduced to anything with the semblance of magic. A small child who has yet to reach the age of reason might be baptized with the consideration of parents who want to share their faith. They pledge themselves to assist that child in being raised in the faith and to receive the other sacraments. Adults are well into the age of reason and cannot be baptized against their will. Given your situation, your faith will no longer satisfy. This belief or saving faith is not a desire to please a guilt-stricken mother. His baptism must be an expression of personal faith in Jesus Christ as his saving Lord. Merely sprinkling water on him is insufficient. What you would try to do is not an “illegal” baptism; rather, it is no baptism at all.

    We have similar situations when a teenager says NO to being confirmed. We must respect the wishes of the candidate no matter how much the parents insist. Sacraments cannot be forced.

    Remember, that while baptism and membership in the Church is important for salvation; Catholics will also be judged as to what they know and how they live out their faith. A person can be a baptized Catholic and still be convicted of mortal sin for failure to worship God at Sunday Mass. If your son were to seek baptism in the Church to please you, but did not really believe or intend to live the life of a disciple, then the sacrament would be a grievous sacrilege. The sacraments that can save us also have the power to convict us in the eyes of God.

    What should you do?

    (1) Love your son and share how important your faith is for you. If he reads, make sure he has a bible and maybe an entry level catechism for adults. It will be his choice to pick them up or leave them on the shelf.

    (2) Pray daily for your son and trust that Jesus knows our hearts. His mercy is beyond measure and his justice is true.

    Blessings!

  13. Hi Fr. Joe,
    During the celebration of Mass, we as Catholic believe the veil between earth and Heaven opens. And during Mass, angels and Saints are present around the altar. This makes sense to me. But recently a priest made a comment about the souls in Purgatory also being present at each Mass. Why would we believe this to be true? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: The Mass is our earthly participation in the marriage banquet of the Lamb in heaven. There is a profound unity in Christ. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. While we as earthly pilgrims are not yet full sharers of the glory given the saints in heaven; nevertheless, the Eucharist allows us (as fellow members of the Church) to join in their celebration. While the saints in heaven have already benefited from the saving mystery; our participation gives glory to God and the fruits come to us and for those whom we pray, including the poor souls in purgatory. The Church as Christ’s body includes the saints in heaven, those in pilgrimage on earth and the poor souls suffering purgation. The poor souls unlike the damned in hell are not excluded. Of course, we can certainly speak to differing modes of presence and participation. While something of the divine mystery is veiled to us and likely so to the poor souls; the benefit is genuine. The saints in heaven share the beatific vision. The pilgrims of earth can only come into contact to the celebration through sacraments. We are not entirely helpless as we can join our priest through our earthly participation. The souls of purgatory cannot even do this. They can be recipients of the graces but they now approach outside time. They can neither directly participate like the saints or through the mediation of a priest among them (as we can). They are helpless. If their vision were entirely obscured they would be in hell. As it is they see the divine mystery albeit dimly. It is this element that heals or purges them as well as causes them pain. That which does not belong must be purified. The Mass along with our intentions and prayers slowly opens the veil to them.

  14. To Clarksism

    Humanity is privileged because of the incarnation; however, human beings are below the angelic in the hierarchical chain of being: God, angels, humans, animals, plants, and inanimate minerals (rocks).

    The notion of any transmigration of souls from one body to another is more like possession than reincarnation. The Church utterly rejects the notion. Each human soul is created immediately by God at the moment of conception. There is no heavenly reservoir where they are waiting and souls do not move from one body to the next, animal and human. The Church does not speak of soulmates or reincarnation. Rather, we speak about divine providence, the sacred dignity of human persons and how death does not destroy our identity. Among the many problems with reincarnation are the various conflicting theories, the absurdity of human souls in animals (St. Ambrose), the loss of self or identity and any maturation from one form to the next (Tertullian), the proposed forgetfulness from one life to the next (St. Irenaeus) and its conflict with the kerygma of faith given by Christ.

    I know that critics might complain that hypnosis has provided evidence of past lives. However, this is not reliable because the same hypnosis purports to also prove alien abductions. Despite what many assume, hypnosis is no assurance that one is telling the truth. The mind can be manipulated and confused. I would argue that such testimonies under hypnosis are merely instances of those who have lost a genuine grip upon reality.

    A traditional argument against reincarnation is that the population statistics are not stagnant. Our numbers continue to grow. This would be impossible if no new souls are created and they just pass from one dead body to a living one. The universal catechism teaches [CCC 366]: “The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God—it is not ‘produced’ by the parents—and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.”

    Each of us is called by God to a vocation of faith and holiness. It is within this that there are particular callings. Men and women make choices. Some fall in love and get married. Others love God so thoroughly that they embrace a life of celibate love and service. There is no fate. Divine providence will prevail but this is not an absolute determinism. Free will is real. The sacrament of marriage reflects human nature. As with Adam and Eve, men and women were made for each other. These relationships are directed toward the fidelity of spouses and the generation of new human beings. There are other forms of friendship but marriage is foundational to the formation of the family.

    God called a people to himself within the movement of salvation history. It is not a matter of favorites although there is a unique status for the Church and believers. There is a progressive revelation up until the death of the last apostle. God shows his face so as to make ready a new people for himself, the Church. As for salvation, it is a gift not a prize we can demand or earn. God loves us but he will not force us to seek forgiveness. We do not deserve to go to heaven. Indeed, the sacrament of encounter with Christ and his saving power is the Catholic Church outside of which there is no salvation.

    I do not know what you mean by a one-way intercom. God speaks to the souls of believers. He communicated through the Scriptures, the Church and prayer. There is even private revelation as with the apparitions of Mary. It may be that the problem is with you? Do you treat prayer as a soliloquy or as a conversational dialogue? Are you open to what God wants to say to you?

    I am also an INFJ although my “F” score is very close to “T.” The personality designation has nothing to do with what you believe in. Such profiles are helpful in understanding preferred prayer forms but little else. You are making excuses. Each of us is to take the faith we are given and to make it our own through study, prayer and service. While ours is a faith seeking understanding— faith always requires a leap given the divine mystery. All that we know is only the scratching of the surface of something that is ineffable but real.

  15. Is humanity the ultimate creation?

    Does believing in soulmates (both romantic and aromantic/platonic) also mean believing in reincarnation?

    Are women only created as partners to man? Like how Eve was created for to be with Adam.

    Why did He have his ‘chosen’ people, and why does He have his ‘favourites’ if He loves us all just and fair?

    Why is it that when He speaks to the guys back in the old days, He either speaks to them directly or thru angels where they literally talk to humans but now it’s only like a one-way intercom? Like we still have to figure out His mysterious ways.

    I am an INFJ. I feel like I can’t just believe something I don’t truly understand. I am a believer because I grew up in a Catholic household, but it’s different when I actually found and understand that “truth” not just because somebody else told me it’s the truth.

  16. Why did Satan want Moses body for?

    FATHER JOE:

    Look at the text in Jude 1:6-12: “The angels too, who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgment of the great day. Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Similarly, these dreamers nevertheless also defile the flesh, scorn lordship, and revile glorious beings. Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” But these people revile what they do not understand and are destroyed by what they know by nature like irrational animals. Woe to them! They followed the way of Cain, abandoned themselves to Balaam’s error for the sake of gain, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they carouse fearlessly and look after themselves. They are waterless clouds blown about by winds, fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead and uprooted.”

    While the confrontation over the body of Moses is apocryphal, this letter alludes to it all the same. Devils and men will face punishment and fire for their rebellion. The devil opposed any assumption of Moses and no doubt wanted to parade his corpse so as to damage faith and hope among God’s people. Notice that the devil is also operating behind the scenes in the Gospel against Christ. Christ’s body is brutalized by his passion and crucifixion. However, the flesh of Christ on the Cross will become a sign not of defeat but victory. The grave will not be able to contain Christ. He will rise by his own power and ascend into heaven. The body which is often regarded as weak and corrupted becomes the means of redemption. Moses would not enter the earthly Promised Land with his people but God would take him to the abode of the dead to await the descent of Christ. Christ would lead a new People of God not to a plot of earthly land but to the kingdom of God.

    Did King Herod really kill all those infants?

    FATHER JOE: Such murder of children was not unique. Remember the Hebrew children ordered put to death by pharaoh in Egypt? It is the Old Testament setting for Moses as the New Testament chronicles the effort of Herod to kill the Christ Child.

    History is written by the winners.

    FATHER JOE: I doubt that a secular world would interpret a crucified founder and subsequent three centuries of persecution and martyrdom as being among the winners.

  17. My sister-in-law was married in the Church after college, had four children and then divorced. She is currently going through the annulment process. She recently became engaged and plans to marry in the fall (outside the Church). She is doing this because (1) “she already did that” and (2) can’t get married in the Church because she does not have an annulment.

    My question is this:

    I have children whom I have been raising in the Church. Would supporting this marriage be sending the wrong message, not only to my children but to her children as well?

    The entire family is up in arms over this. Do we attend the wedding? We will always love her, but isn’t this living in sin if she gets married again and still does not have annulment?
    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Normally a Catholic cannot get validly married outside the Church even if single. Attempting to get married (civilly) while married to another in the Church is regarded as adultery. Families make many moral compromises for the sake of family harmony. However, speaking for myself as a priest, I could not in good faith have anything to do with the attempt at a second marriage. It will have no standing in the Church and is regarded as a sinful act. While I am hoping that no one wants to hurt your sister-in-law, Catholic family and friends are within their rights to make distance from this proposed ceremony. If the annulment is not granted then she will be entering a perpetually irregular state. I would recommend family members telling her that they would be glad to be present at a convalidation before a priest once the annulment has been granted.

  18. How could I make a report to the Church about abuse of my family life by a priest without using a circular court
    Does the Church investigate such issue itself?

    FATHER JOE: I am not sure what you mean by “family life.” If we are talking about an illegal act against a minor then I would urge you to go to the civil authorities. You can notify the Church as well but criminal acts should be reported to the police.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s