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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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4,496 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Last week these impure thoughts of another man just seemed to consume me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Almost as if I was being attacked. I was wondering can I confess to just having impure thoughts or do I need to say that the thoughts were of another man? I have never been with someone of the same sex.

    Thank you for your help

    FATHER JOE: The priest does not need a lot of details. Especially if fleeting, it is likely sufficient just to confess impure thoughts. However, if you were seeking spiritual counsel beyond the sacrament, more details might be helpful so as to get the proper advice or insights.
    Fred.

  2. I had a oppression on April 4 yesterday at 3am for abt 5mins the evil demon taken control of me then he took my to the rest room then dropped me my girl friend said dont the bible say demons run away once they see Jesus I dont remember anything I had a knot on my head I could see for a abt 10secs and my girl friend said before I collapsed my eyes tunred white

    FATHER JOE: If true you need to see a priest, not just ask advice from someone on the internet. You may also need psychological counseling. I wish you well.

  3. Is it okay to disobey parents if they’re being unreasonable?

    I should mention that I’m (almost) 22 years old and still living at home. I apologize for the frustration that might come from this post, I’m just feeling fed up with my parents right now.

    I’ve been going back and forth on this certain thing. I love my parents, and want to respect, be honest and obey their rules as long as I’m living under this household. However, there’s something that they’re not permitting me to do, and I think they’re being incredibly unreasonable.

    Some FYI – I haven’t hung out with anyone outside of this family within 6 feet / without masks for over a year now. I don’t go to restaurants. I never take my mask off indoors. I’m not even allowed to receive the Holy Sacrament of Communion, so I haven’t had this sacrament in over a year now. I’ve respected all their unreasonable rules.

    So, I have a boyfriend now, and I would like to hang out with him without masks and within 6 feet of each other. I’ve argued with my dad on this so many times, and he says we’re not going to “gamble the lives of this household” (my mother is more high risk than others). The thing is, my boyfriend’s parents are vaccinated, and he barely goes out because of COVID. He lives an hour and a half away from me in a town with 37 active cases. Last night, my dad said “go ahead – do what you want and kill us. I’m not having this discussion with you anymore.” I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to disobey him or lie to him but I’m so, so fed up with the fear mongering and guilt tripping. I suggested moving out, but my parents say I’d be immature to do that, and our “relationship would strain” because it’s me basically saying “I don’t want to see them until COVID is over”. It’s like I can’t win in any scenario.

    Would it be sinful to go ahead and hang out with my boyfriend in a closer proximity, and just lie about it? Are my parents even being unreasonable, and am I just being selfish and immature? My friends – also Catholic – think they are being unreasonable. What do I do?

    FATHER JOE: This is a tough question because your parents are afraid. I can appreciate this. I have close family members that I have not seen face-to-face in over a year, not just for my sake as one at risk but to protect congregants from anything I might contract. The vaccination is a step forward but there are no guarantees. Even if remote, it is possible that association with your boyfriend could result in COVID-19 transmission. If financially feasible, it might be time to get your own place. While it seems unreasonable, your parents have say over their home which you share as an adult.

  4. My husband and I were married almost 38 years. It was his second marriage of which he was divorced from his first wife after being married by a judge and later in the Catholic Church. Later after divorce, she passed away from illness. It was my third marriage, one by a preacher in his home and later divorced. The second in a church and divorced after almost 10 years. Seven years after divorcing of third marriage my ex husband passed away. He was Catholic, I am not. He was cremated and ashes buried in community cemetery between his parents. Even though we were divorced, can I be cremated and my ashes buried next to him or in same burial container for ashes?

    FATHER JOE: There is no absolute church prohibition about this— much depends as to who owns the urn and the internment location (grave) and the accompanying cemetery rules.

  5. Hello Father. I have a question about transgender surgery. what does the teaching about transgender surgery? Is it immoral according to the Church’s teaching?

    FATHER JOE: It is regarded as wrong and as mutilation of the person as made by God.

  6. Father,
    I understand that all 3 COVID vaccines have used cells derived 50 years ago from an abortion in their development and/or testing. Some Bishops have said if we are given a choice we should NOT get the Johnston and Johnston vaccine as it is more directly tied to abortion. However the Johnston and Johnston vaccine has less side effects and appears safer than the other two vaccines. I think if all 3 vaccines were equally safe then the one with the fewer ties to abortion is better, but all 3 vaccines are not equally safe. Would it be OK for a Catholic to deliberately decide to get the Johnston and Johnston vaccine or would that be a sin. I don’t want to get the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccine so if deliberately getting the Johnston and Johnston vaccine is a sin I won’t get vaccinated. Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Church authorities would prefer Moderna or Pfizer, even though all the vaccines seem to be morally compromised. The majority of people I know do not really get a choice. Most bishops are saying take what you can get so as to keep yourself and others healthy.

  7. Hello Father,
    My question is quick but I am assuming not simple. In Genesis they mention a lot of people who were born after Adam. Some of these people love 600 plus years. My question is, was time measured differently back then? I am trying to rationalize how those numbers came to be.

    Thank you for your time!

    FATHER JOE:

    How are we to interpret the many years of life attributed to the patriarchs of Genesis? This question must be discussed in context with the story of creation. It so challenges credulity, that there are authorities who would reject the inquiry as silly. Giving preference to evolution over the Genesis narratives, they would argue the entire business is fiction and contend that the numbers only serve symbolic purposes and certainly cannot be real. We take confidence in God’s sustaining creative power and that we would need a time machine to go back and see for sure about the longevity. The Church does teach that because of the primordial fall, death enters the world. This means either that Adam and Eve were initially immortal or that death as we know it did not exist, no more than opening a door and moving from one room to the next where they would continue to see and to live with God forever. Certain fundamentalists contend that the human lifespan grew shorter after the fall, especially following the deluge that destroyed the known world.

    We must be careful in our approach to such questions, neither to allow our belief in the supernatural to unreservedly color our assumptions or the current atheism to infect and poison confidence that ours is the God of the miraculous. Truth must be upheld and one form of truth complements another: scientific, religious and philosophical. Today, many of us are persuaded given the fossil evidence and DNA markers, that God brought forth humanity from lower pre-existing forms of life. When a proper body was prepared, God infused an immortal soul and we had the first man. A maxim popular in Catholic circles comes to mind: “The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” While the Scriptures contain myth and even Genesis has two distinct creation narratives, there are important truths that must not be lost. God creates everything freely from nothing.

    The creation of the first man and woman signified a decisive moment when self-reflective creatures with souls were called forth to respond in kind to the God who has made them in his own image. As the stewards of creation they could rightly love God back. God held out to them preternatural gifts left unclaimed and some of the Church fathers believed that the incarnation was imminent where the Lord would join himself to creation. However, our first parents rebelled against God.

    I often ponder that decisive moment that we call the fall. I can imagine Adam with his wife Eve by his side staring at the sunrise of what should be a new day. Suddenly they have a “eureka moment” and are filled with awe from a divine presence and clear sense of their high calling— seeing with the eyes of the soul something beyond this world. All they have to do is say YES, just as Mary did at her Annunciation and Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. But it all seems too much to bear. The devil directs them to turn away— a distraction that breaks the vision. As with the cli·ché, they “cannot see the forest for the trees” or at least for one forbidden tree. They might ponder the gifts of food, drink, pleasure and comfort— but wrongly claim the gifts while neglecting the giver. It is easier to play the part of the beast. Eyes that once gazed upward now turn to the ground. Arms and hands raised in priestly praise to heaven now fall to the earth. They and their descendants will trod as animals and totter when they seek to stand as men. Any prospect for the incarnation passes to the future and to a promise made to rebellious children. God tells them, “You have forgotten me but I have not forgotten you, and I promise, one day I will come searching for you so to bring you home.” Yes, God will enter the human family, not just to unite us to himself but to save us from ourselves and from the devil.

    Did Adam live to be 930 years old? Did Methuselah live to be 969? I cannot say. It is unlikely. However, God can do as he pleases. I have an aunt who passed away at 124. Unless I show the newspaper clippings from when she turned 117, most refuse to believe me and think I am pulling their leg. It must be admitted that the Semitic people liked playing with numbers and had an elaborate numerology. Even the letters of their alphabet had numeral values.

    Whatever the actual ages, the ancient peoples lived long enough to have children and to pass on their stories and their faith. God would call a people and prepare them for a Messiah who would mend the rift between heaven and earth. Our Lord Jesus would only live thirty some odd years in this world and his ministry would last a mere three years. However, in that short time he would accomplish his mission— redeeming us from the devil, raising the dignity of human nature by his participation, and bringing healing and the forgiveness of sins by grace. After his resurrection, Jesus descends to the dead and drags Adam and Eve by the hair into heaven.

  8. Touchy topic alert: Abortion.

    In cases of rape, we’re told that it’s wrong, unfair, and immoral to punish the child for the sin/s of the parent/s. But yet here we are, being punished for what Adam and Eve did! Why is this?

    We had no part in Adam and Eve’s actions, not to mention we weren’t even born yet! But nevertheless here we are, filthy and wretched sinners who must depend on Jesus to enter Heaven because no matter what we’ll never be good enough on our own…because of what Adam and Eve did, which we had absolutely no part in and weren’t even around for! How is this fair, moral, and loving?

    FATHER JOE:

    We are all connected. What we do has consequences for ourselves and others. I know a child that was born addicted to heroin because his mother was a user. The baby was innocent but paid a price for his mother’s wrongs. The injustice is on our side of the equation. God cannot be faulted for our misuse of human freedom and the violation of rights… that would be juvenile. Would you prefer to be a soulless ant or preprogrammed robot?

    Anyone who has ever committed a personal sin really cannot complain. You ratified the sin or rebellion of our first parents. It is in Jesus (the New Adam) and Mary (the New Eve) that we can change this trajectory. We can cooperate with grace and join ourselves to Christ. One tree brought pain and death into the world; the tree of the Cross makes possible redemption and eternal life. Look at the whole picture. The movement of salvation history has merited for us such a wonderful Savior!

  9. Dear Father,
    We live in a town with only one Catholic CHurch. As our daughter does not attend Catholic School (but we do teach her the Catholic Faith at home with Seton Homeschool Religion), we have a desire for her to be around other Catholic children to grow in the Faith. Right now she is an only child, and my husband’s entire family is Hindu (in India), and my own family w/ children her age is in other States, or doesn’t follow Catholic teaching anymore, and one cousin (and her family) who has children of a similar age, have become Orthodox. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, our Parish is down to only one Religious ed day and that is not a good day or time for her. She is age 7 and has not received First Holy communion yet. We are concerned that she will lose her Catholic Faith (or connection w/ any kind of Sacramental life) with this scenario. Another Catholic Church we attend a half an hour away is having a worse issue- cancelling all classes except Grade 2.. As she does have friends who are of the Orthodox Faith, and is actually interested in attending their Sunday School, is this ok to do? We would go to Mass on Saturday evenings. She tends to be very influenced by her peers and I feel that she will abandon all types of Sacramental thought without being able to connect with peers. Perhaps I could talk to the people in charge of the Orthodox Sunday school to make sure that nothing is being taught that is contrary to the Catholic Faith..(We have gone to their Vespers services, which I have asked my Pastor and he tells me this is ok., just can’t receive Sacraments from them…)
    But then this all leaves me to question what will happen next yr when she would be in second grade and ready to receive First Holy Communion in the Catholic Church…Our area is mostly Mormon and we also have a fair amount of Evangelicals and other Protestants…She is already telling me she wants to be “LDS” like her friends in our neighborhood, and that she is “not Catholic”-despite her Baptism and my Catholic influence-and this breaks my heart. THank you in advance for your reply.

    FATHER JOE:

    The child should be in a Catholic faith formation program. When you cannot attend the Mass watch it online and discuss it. The Seton program has good materials. There may be online or virtual catechesis to help you. Orthodox is not Catholic. Mormons are not Christian. The differences are important. The reason Catholics are persecuted in China has more to do with their loyalty to the Pope than their faith in Jesus. We should love, respect and work with each other; but transmit to your child that we should be more willing to die than to ever betray our Catholic religion.

  10. Hey Father,

    Recently I came across the argument that “Just because something is natural, does not mean that it is moral,” and I think that for the most part this makes sense. The argument was in specific reference to paedophilia, and the guy used it to draw contrast to homosexuality.

    Personally, I have some friends who are gay (not Christian), but who are good people at heart and I think for them it should be perfectly okay and moral for them to love somebody regardless of sex – however, I do not think paedophilia is okay.

    The problem arises that when asserting that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s moral, it points to the existence of an objective morality – in this case, God. And when the objective morality comes from God who says homosexuality is a sin and not moral, I come to a crossroads in my belief system.

    The closest I have come to an answer is that God said the greatest commandment of them all was to “love all”, and who am I to judge?
    I suppose I would just like to hear your opinion and thoughts on this.

    Thank you and have a blessed 2021,
    Benjamin.

    FATHER JOE:

    I would take issue with what you define as “natural.” Many actions might be possible but still be opposed to the laws of nature. That is the whole point of the Church’s judgment against the same-sex attraction as “disorientation.” Just because men can have sexual gratification through the wrongful exploitation of virgins, men, children and animals do not make such actions moral or according to natural law. Men and women can share the marital act and become co-creators with God with the conception and eventual birth of new human beings. The natural law is revealed in the proper use of certain human powers or faculties.

    My other reservation is with how we throw around the word, “love.” Too often it is used to devalue others for selfish reasons. Love is best understood in terms of sacrifice, giving and sharing. It raises up the beloved and never minimizes him or her as a commodity. A person’s body cannot be reduced to a toy for pleasure; but must be respected as the outward and immediate sign of a person with incommensurate worth and inviolate dignity.

  11. I grew up in a small strict Protestant church. I was taught that sex was a sin— period; and if you did it you were going to hell— period.

    Our Lady told us that most people go to hell for sins of the flesh. So there you have it. The only other sin of the flesh that I can think of is gluttony.

    It could be forgiven if you were doing it to have children but you still had to repent. Every time they talked about the unforgivable sin, I knew what they were talking about.

    Joanne in Ohio

    FATHER JOE:

    You were taught wrong. It is true that there are a few sects that label all sex as sinful; this mentality afflicted Martin Luther who at one point argued that even consensual sex between married spouses was venial sin. Catholics struggled with something of this mentality in the heresy of Jansenism. Let me correct you. God is the author of human sexuality and all that God creates is good. Human sin can corrupt or misdirect a good, but God is never the direct author of evil. Sex between spouses, the marital act, is a holy thing that consummates the marriage and makes possible the creation of new human beings into which God will infuse immortal souls. Lust is always a sin but the yearning and intimacy of holy passion makes possible marital fidelity and the family. It is because of the high place given this sacramental act or great mystery that the misuse of sex through abuse, contraception, homosexuality, pedophilia and adultery is so very wrong.

    Sex is not the unforgivable sin. Indeed, condemnation of the marital act as sinful might be regarded as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit— just as serious as those who accused Jesus of healing and working miracles through the intervention of demons. It is this blasphemy that is unforgivable for one cannot both embrace and reject the powerful mercy of God. While there is mortal life, there is hope; at death our state before the Lord becomes fixed.

  12. Monasticism (or priesthood) has been practiced for a long time; Wouldn’t be the end if every single person adopted priesthood (or Monasticism), females to be nuns and males to become priests, aiming to get close to God?
    Look forward to your kind answer.

    FATHER JOE: Not everyone is called to this life. So such will not happen.

  13. Hi Fr. Joe,
    Thank you for your generous gift of time, energy, and patience answering our questions. My question is about the Holy Spirit. Was the Holy Spirit present on earth in the same way before Pentacost as after Pentacost? What changed at Pentacost? I thought that the Ascension of Jesus was necessary so that He could leave behind for us the gift of the Holy Spirit as our intercessor. Does that mean that the world was void of the Holy Spirit before Pentacost? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: The Spirit of God hovered over the waters of creation. The Holy Spirit was always present. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit upon the infant Church. The Holy Spirit inspires the Scriptures, protects the Church, preserves the Magisterium in the truth and gives efficacy to the sacraments.

  14. Hi father, is the Charismatic Movement supported by the Catholic Church? I’ve been reading the prophetic words of prophets or intercessors on individual blogs or on sites like Elijah List or Spirit Fuel. The blogs I read usually make statements like “the words I heard in prayer this morning are…”. The blogs of prophets I do read don’t claim to be psychics (if they did I wouldn’t read it or anything related to the Occult. The prophet I am drawn to reading more says she feels call to share these words to help the body of Christ. Are there modern day prophets in the Catholic Church?

    FATHER JOE: The Charismatic Renewal Movement is alive in the Church and I would direct your attention to Dr. Ralph Martin: https://www.renewalministries.net/category/ralph-martin/

  15. I need some St Benedict medals blessed. Can I just pour holy water on them, or does a priest need to bless them? Thank you father

    FATHER JOE: You should find a priest.

  16. Jeff please do not do it. When we hurt ourselves we also hurt others . we may not realize it but it is very true and (we may not realize it in the midst of our on pain) Please listen to our Lord. Listen to others get help. I’ve been there.

  17. I hope you can find some help. Suicide is not the answer. Went we hurt our selfs we are really hurting others ( we just don’t realize that in the midst of our pain) just like when we hurt others we hurt our selfs. Please wait , get help. God is there listen to him.

  18. Father Joe, what are your thoughts about seeking psychic advice from a Christian pastor, who clearly professes faith in God and tells those who seek her advice that they should pray to God? She claims her gifts are from God.

    Seems similar to some of our Catholic saints who were psychics/mystics as well (e.g., Padre Pio)

    FATHER JOE: In my estimation it still smacks of the occult or outright deception.

  19. Hello Father, I am here as in my younger years I would say I was quite religious but not perfect. I lost lot of will to follow god when my grandparents passed away before their time. They were both good people and had never harmed anyone or anything. Other things followed which meant my belief diminished. People told me these things happened as they were a test from God. If they were a test of my faith then I failed my test. Although I no longer attend church or lead a particularly religious life style I find myself talking to God but not through pray but through general conversation. I have found myself asking him for forgiveness now and then if I feel I have done something wrong. I find I ask him questions of why he lets certain things happen but I get no response. Now this might sound crazy but at times I will ask him for help with minor things and they tend to happen and come through for me. We aren’t talking winning the lottery etc. Just minor Asks. I suppose my questions are why does the lord choose to test our faith. What is the reason for him doing so. If he loves us why does he sometimes make life so hard? Also I admit to fully failing my test of faith and not leading a fully Christian lifestyle ( I am still kind to others and help where I can) why does he still listen and answer my smaller prayers with results or are they just coincidence

    FATHER JOE:

    Life is not really a test. The point of existence is not to secure as many points as we can upon a scorecard. God wants to establish a real and saving relationship with us, both personally and communally. The latter points to the Church and to the communion of the saints (where your grandparents continue to love and pray for you).

    It is true that some seem to have a harder time than others. Indeed, millions of people cannot get out of the womb alive. Others suffer birth defects or tragic injuries or suffer losses of family and friends. You are right, life is hard. The faith tells us that we brought about this disharmony and struggle because of disobedience. Sin brought suffering, sickness and death into the world. This is the reality we face— all of us. The great equalizer is death. He comes for the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak. The promise of Christ is that he can restore everything that the world, the flesh and the devil can take away. Ours is a God who does not dismiss our sin or watch from a distance; rather in Jesus Christ the Lord has entered into a profound solidarity with us. He chooses to take upon himself the price of our sin so that the rift between heaven and earth can be healed— that sins can be forgiven— that we might have a place in his house where there is no more sickness, no more suffering and death— where all tears are wiped away. Our prayer to God must acknowledge this truth and how our greatest prayers of supplication have already been answered. Conversation with God is prayer. Sometimes he gives us what we want. Sometimes he says no and sometimes he says, not now. We need humility in accepting the providential will of God. It is within this acceptance that we can truly approach the Lord with prayers of praise, of thanks, of contrition, of supplication, and of loving reflection.

  20. Hello Father, I have a delicate question. I’m a young man who is interested in other men. Since I was young I’ve been interested in both genders. I’ve always seen myself ending up with a woman and raising a family but at the moment I’m single. My question is would it be so bad if I go on one date with another man? The most I would do with him is a kiss but even that worries me. I’m worried that me going forth with my date will resulted in going to hell. Thank you Father and I understand if you don’t want to answer.

    FATHER JOE: Avoid the near occasion of sin. If you are attracted to women then date or court a woman.

  21. I have been saying rosaries and novenas for my son Gabriel as was diagnosed with a brain tumor which was removed and now it’s a rare lymphoma. Prayed so hard that he would be fine and have prayed all my life to keep them safe. Why is God not hearing me and why are my prayers not being answered?

    FATHER JOE: I will add my prayers. God hears but his response and will for us is often a difficult mystery.

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