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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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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.  God bless you!

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2,872 Responses

  1. What happens if don’t love Jesus

    FATHER JOE: What happens if you fail to love God and your neighbor? You know as well as I do.

  2. Hello I was wondering if a Scapular is only legitimate if its wool or if I could wear a metal Scapular I have wool sensitivity.

    FATHER JOE: Some are coated in plastic. There are different types. But it is not a magic talisman. It signifies faith.

  3. If you deliberately leave out a venial sin, or a doubtful mortal sin in Confession, because you are embarrassed to say it, does that make your confession bad? I read that you don’t have to confess sins that aren’t certainly mortal, but what if you leave something out that you are not bound to confess? Is that a sin/sacrilege, because you are not confessing it due to embarrassment?

    FATHER JOE: The teaching is what it is… you are not obliged to confess every venial sin but you are encouraged to confess those venial sins that may grow into mortal sins. If you are embarrassed by the sin then the severity may be more serious than you think. Just do not overwhelm the confessor or try to hide mortal sin under a haystack of venial ones. Tell him what needs to be told, receive the proper counsel and penance, and then take advantage of the graces that come with absolution.

  4. Does God have a plan for our lives?

    FATHER JOE: Yes.

  5. I was visited by an angel who told me I am Mary the mother of Jesus. Could this be true?

    FATHER JOE: No, you are delusional.

  6. Father,
    This past weekend, my wife and I watched a Netflix marathon of Medici: Masters of Florence. If you’ve seen it, then you know there are several sexual natured scenes. Would watching the series be construed as pornography and a grave sin for us both? If not, is this something that should still be mentioned during my next confession? Sex scenes aside, we’ve both traveled to Italy numerous times and watched it for it’s historical value. Thanks in advance for your your guidance.
    Mario

    FATHER JOE: Sorry, I know nothing about the series.

  7. Good morning Father. I just want to ask you. Why do I feel guilty and dirty after doing masturbation? Is that psychological effect or what? Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: You feel guilty because you are guilty. You have committed a serious sin.

  8. Is appropriate dancing inside the church but not during a liturgy acceptable?

    FATHER JOE: When would you dance inside a church outside of liturgy? The question is culturally dependent. We do not dance as worship in Western Christian culture.

  9. Is it superstitious to keep your Bible open to Psalm 91 for protection?

    FATHER JOE: Yes, it is superstition. That is not the purpose or the value of Scripture.

  10. My boyfriend preaches to me a lot but last night he was drinking and gambling in a casino and also took winnings from a bet that wasn’t even his! Whenever I mention he is addicted to gambling he says a priest told him it was ok as he’s not hurting anyone or getting in debt (he is in debt)! We are engaged but I fear we can not get married as he gambles. I just want him to understand gambling is a sin?

    FATHER JOE: Gambling as a recreation is not intrinsically sinful. However, as with drinking, it can quickly become sinful and self-destructive. It can also become increasingly addictive. It sounds to me that it has passed this threshold for him and that would make any and all gambling wrong for him. Not only has he placed himself in debt, but he has resorted to stealing. He is gambling away any hopes the two of you might have for a happy and secure life together. Speaking as a priest who prepares couples for marriage in the Church, I would be reticent to witness the vows of a couple where a spouse suffers from such a problem. It may be hard to hear but I would suggest placing any marriage plans on hold until he can be weaned from his gambling problem. The two of you should be putting away savings for your life together as a couple and family, not squandering everything in the hopes of getting quickly rich or the thrill that comes with such an addiction. I will keep the two of you in my prayers today.

  11. Hi,
    I see an image of you holding the Eucharist on this website. Are Catholics supposed to do anything special when we see an image of the Eucharist, because it is Jesus?

    FATHER JOE: At church, Catholics are on their knees. But, of course, while our Lord is the sacrament, he is not a photograph. Religious images are treated with respect, but not worshiped.

  12. While working at the library, where what I shelve is sometimes inappropriate, should I push the books farther into the shelf and flip them around to hide them? This would be a form of disobeying my workplace, however, and perhaps a way of breaking a contract of obedience to them. I think I’ve gotten caught by coworkers for doing this in the past, as well.

    FATHER JOE: Just do your job.

  13. Is it wrong to listen to contemporary Christian music for entertainment?

    FATHER JOE: It depends upon the particular piece of music.

  14. I use a medication for a non-harmful skin disease. It’s uncertain whether the medication messes with fertility. Can I use this medication as long as I don’t directly intend for it to mess with fertility? There is another medication option for the disease, but it takes up more time and energy. Both medications have a small chance of causing skin cancer later on. Which medication should I take, if any?

    FATHER JOE: If you are not married and chaste then current fertility is inconsequential.

  15. If I don’t pray the Rosary or Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary every day, should I still wear my scapular?

    FATHER JOE: It is up to you but why wear a religious symbol if you are not going to pray?

  16. Is it superstitious to think that blessed or non-blessed medals protect you?

    FATHER JOE: Only if you think the object is magic, sacramentals invoke God’s intervention in our lives.

  17. Is it ok to raise your hands or hold them out in the Orans position in Catholic charismatic praise and worship settings?

    FATHER JOE: Yes, I would say so, but it is your choice.

  18. Is it ok to pray over people while holding out your hands as if blessing them?

    FATHER JOE: Personal blessings are okay but they are not priestly or Church blessings.

  19. I work at a library where I have to shelve some inappropriate material. Most people are saying it’s not a sin to shelve it because I have to for my job. However, I don’t financially need this job. I want to quit but my parents don’t want me to. Would it be wise to quit without my parents’ approval, or should I keep working there?

    FATHER JOE: I would say that you should probably keep working at the library.

  20. If spouses attempt the marital act but the husband turns to masturbation afterwards as a last resort, has he committed mortal sin?

    FATHER JOE: The subjective element of sin is between you and God, even though the material element is grievously wrong. The complication is that the act was attempted and passion was aroused. This affects judgment and self-control. When the will is compromised, many sins that would otherwise be mortal might become venial because of mitigating factors.

  21. If I don’t remember whether I promised God I would do something or just made it a goal, am I obliged to carry out the act?

    FATHER JOE: It all depends as to whether it is peripheral or constitutive to your overall discipleship.

  22. Father,

    My husband and I (both baptized Catholics) got married in 1996 in a Catholic ceremony but my husband never actually recited the vows to me. The priest said “repeat after me” and started with the vows ie “I, John, take you Jane” and my husband didn’t say them. And the priest didn’t prompt him either. Then when it was my turn next, I repeated the vows after the priest, and then my husband realized that he was supposed to have said them. He wanted to go back but didn’t feel like he could interrupt. My husband said he wanted to practice this part during the rehearsal the night before but the priest said it wasn’t necessary. And then after the wedding we were caught up with all the photos and celebrations and we never brought it up to the priest, who sadly is now deceased I have wondered about this for years and am wondering if our marriage is considered a valid marriage and if we are receiving the graces that we should have received? We have had and continue to have a very difficult marriage with past adultery, pornography and neglect of the marriage on his part, and I wonder if we have missed out on the graces we need for this marriage.

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: I hesitate to second guess what a deceased priest did or did not do while he was still living. Are you sure that your husband did not whisper the vows or substitute “I do”? Catholic priests do not perform weddings; rather they witness them for the Church. The Orthodox churches place an emphasis upon the priest, his blessing and the crowning. Roman Catholicism emphasizes vows that establish a covenant relationship (sometimes minimized as a contract). Both also place gravity in the consummation or the becoming one flesh— the union that is open to procreation. While there is growing disparity between the definition of marriage between the Church and the State, civil marriages follow the lead of the Western churches with an emphasis upon vows or promises. An argument might be made that the vows were implied. However, I had an annulment case many years ago that hinged upon vows made by an American in a Portuguese wedding service. He did what he was told to do and parroted words that he did not understand. He was not sure what constituted the vows. Here is a case where the words might have been unsaid. I have a hard time imagining that a priest did not get some form of consent, even if only a quick “I do” or “Yep.” In any case, if the marriage is hurting, then you should both seek healing. If the marriage is in any doubt, a convalidation would first require the repair of dysfunctional elements. You certainly married in good faith and I suspect the graces of God would reflect this truth. Couples marry themselves, and having fulfilled the ceremonial requirements of the Church and State, the union has been affirmed every time you shared your love and the marital act.

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