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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.  Comments are moderated so please be patient in waiting for them to appear and for any responses.  God bless you!





4,312 Responses

  1. xDear Father, I feel very upset because of the legalization of the killing of our unborn children. I know that some businesses and stores support Planned Parenthood and I do not buy from them but (because know I am a selfish person) I want sometimes out of convenience to shop there. Would it be wrong to do so?

    FATHER JOE: I suspect that it would be almost impossible to avoid all sorts of establishments. I think the effort to confront them on the level of the wallet is notable but such exclusion would not be absolutely binding. So you might patronize certain stores because of necessity. Know also that many companies and organizations do not advertise their support for PP or other organizations engaged in these or other egregious wrongs.

  2. Is it OK for the church to take money from me when I was forced by my government to give it to them? I am an atheist

    FATHER JOE: What is your country? To what is the money directed? I cannot answer without details. Years ago, President Reagan directed U.S. material aid (like food) through Catholic Charities in Africa because they were the only ones on the ground with an infrastructure and trucks that could be trusted to justly distribute the needed supplies. In such a case the “church and state” work together and thus government money (that comes from taxes) could justly be applied.

  3. xHi father I need your guidance and help, I have a selfish doubt that lingers my mind. I know it’s wrong but I’m scared of the thought because it lingers and can cause damage to my mind.

    Over the past few months I have found god in my life and I’m learning every day still but sometimes not constantly, i wish religion wasn’t real (only because OF hell existing) just so people who are good but never had faith and lived by gods and made word won’t have to suffer in hell in eternity possibly one day.

    It makes me feel depressed that I have loved ones who are atheists may suffer one day and even potentially myself… I’ve repented my past sins and I’m living my life for gods word now but I’m scared because of this thought.

    It’s a wrong and selfish thought, has anyone ever battled something similar? How did you Help them through it?

    I want to also mention me having this thought isn’t me rejecting the idea of god and his religion, i love god and the amazing things he has done for the world.
    I just sometimes think if there was nothing it would be a relief because no one would suffer after death.

    Could you please clarify if I am winning by having this thought? If I am what sin is it, so I can work through it.
    Thank you father.


    You say that you are not rejecting the “idea” of God but that you love him. An argument for God’s existence and the notion of a deity will (in itself) save no one. We are called to a relationship with the “person” of God and this is defined as a bond of love. Saving faith in Jesus Christ is measured by charitable obedience or fidelity. The proclamation of the Good News is an important part of our commission as believers. Hopefully those who hear this testimony and see our witness will be disposed to know and to love and to serve the Lord. Salvation is a mystery within God’s providence and we must trust to his will and plan for each of us. If there be any sin or weakness of faith to what you attest it is in respects to this trust or confidence. The prospect of nothing beyond the grave might be preferred by those who are wicked and mistreat others; however, the lack of a heavenly reward would be unjust for those who have taken up their crosses to follow Jesus. Many have sacrificed everything for the Gospel. Many good people through no fault of their own have known great pain and sickness in this world. The prospect of heaven is held out by a good God to let us know that he is just and has not forgotten his own.

  4. xI am an 18 years old Catholic, I got pregnant early this year and I just gave birth outside wedlock, can I receive the holy communion because I live with the father of my baby though we are not married ??


    First, while I cannot approve of sin I want to affirm your decision to keep your child and to give birth. Second, while I can appreciate the emotional and material reasons for cohabitation, the failure to get married is problematical. Third, if there is genuine love with the genuine desire and the ability to sustain a family, I would urge the two of you to speak to a priest about getting married in the church. However, only the two of you as a couple can determine if this relationship has what it takes to make a life-long and faithful marriage. You are very young but you say nothing about the man you are with and whether or not he is single— are we talking about fornication or adultery? While there is some discussion about the status of couples in irregular unions and the reception of sacraments, the usual answer is that such couples should refrain from reception given that they are apparently living in mortal sin. Sexual intercourse and cohabitation outside of marriage is a grievous moral wrong. A person in serious sin is not disposed to the graces of the Eucharist. Indeed, it brings down God’s judgment in terms of scandal and blasphemy.

    Contact the priest for the child’s sake so that you might have the baby baptized and then brought up in the Catholic faith. Peace!

  5. Is reality shifting a sin? A quick google search will give you the gist. I’ve been looking all over the internet and have nothing on the catholic church’s stand point… Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: Objective reality is fixed. Reality shifting is a mental delusion.

  6. Father
    Is it a sin to shoot nuisance squirrels that have overrun my yard?

    FATHER JOE: It may not be a sin, but it may be somewhat mean-spirited. Can they be trapped and released elsewhere?

  7. Hello father Joe, I hope you are well. I was baptized into the Catholic faith as a baby. However I was raised in the Episcopalian church. May I return to the Catholic Church and begin attending mass?

    FATHER JOE: Anyone may attend Mass, however you would need formation and the other sacraments before taking Holy Communion.

  8. xMy name is Kelly the question I have is very simple. I grew up as an Orthodox Greek. All my life I have loved animals. I feed the raccoons and squirrels. I cannot even kill a bug. But all I’ve seen over the years is people abusing and torturing animals. Given all the hurt I have witnessed I cannot believe there is a God up there. I lost my dog Olivia. I had her put down because she was sick. I feel very guilty about that. I cannot imagine God allowing these animals to go through hell over and over again. What kind of God would let that happen?

    Please explain what kind of God would allow animals to be physically tortured— for no good reason but for the sheer pleasure of it. I don’t know where my Livia is. I don’t know what happened to her. I don’t know if she’s crying and waiting for me in some dark corner. I don’t know anything anymore.


    (I had to heavily edit your comment so as to understand it.) Please know that God finds no pleasure in suffering. God loves us and he loves all that he has created, including the little animals. We live in a broken world where the harmony of creation is destroyed by original sin. Not only animals, but many people also suffer in this valley of tears that we call the world. I would not be tearful that your dog is suffering in some dark corner of the afterlife waiting for you. Dogs may be touched by the sins of men but they cannot sin. As a wondrous part of creation, your Livia has returned to God where there is only light. You let her go because you loved her and did not want her to suffer. Try not to feel guilty but trust that you did right by her. I cannot explain why so many treat their animals poorly. Maybe God put you here so that a few like Livia might know companionship, caring and love. God bless you!

  9. xFather,

    My husband and I were civilly married 7 years ago. We have 3 children together. He was previously married in the Catholic Church. We have come back to the Church, and I am working on my confirmation. He has started the annulment process. I am curious if us having intimate relations is considered a sin. If so, how should I word this in confession? Sorry, this is all so new to me. Thank you!


    Unless you are going to live as brother and sister, then absolution from the priest in confession would be problematical. Given that no annulment has yet been procured, the Church still understands your husband as truly married to his first spouse. After an annulment, the two of you would likely be free to have your bond convalidated in the Church. Given that you are both baptized, this would make it a sacrament. Catholics in irregular unions are usually asked to go to Mass but to refrain from taking Holy Communion until the bonds are regularized.

  10. Father I have a question for you. My last confession was back in June I believe. Yet I haven’t been to confession. I believe confession should be every 3 months. Now I am working weekends and sometimes during the week. I have heard that if you don’t go to confession you can still receive communion if you go to Mass and be there on time?

    FATHER JOE: The obligation for confession is when one has committed mortal sin. Avoiding such sin, you remain in good standing.

  11. Hello Father, so recently I have made a promise to God to wait to have sex until marriage because I wanted to remain pure for my future husband. But I just wanted to ask, is oral sex allowed when I am waiting for marriage?

    FATHER JOE: Any sexual activity involving the genitals is sinful prior to marriage. Legitimate sexual activity must be that type of act that is naturally directed to the transmission of human life. Single people should remain chaste and pure.

  12. May I send you a private e-mail about a situation I have?

    FATHER JOE: Anyone may email me.

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