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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!





4,267 Responses

  1. Sorry Father Joe this does not really answer the situatuion on what the Pope is quoted as as saying. The catechism has been changed before and can be again what assurance now a days is there that our Catholic Faith is secure like it once was ! Thank you for your answer Marcel


    The universal catechism came out under Pope John Paul II. The only changes or tweaks have been in regard to capital punishment. There are a number of factors at work. First, notice that this is not a creedal matter but one of social teaching. Certain social teachings are fluid because the Church must respond to changing societal and cultural traditions. For instance, kings and queens have largely disappeared. We have seen the emergence of democracies, communist dictatorships and Islamic theocracies. At least in the more developed world, it is argued that correctional procedures no longer require the death sentence. The American bishops also worry that justice may not be fairly administered, given that money and ethnicity have an undue influence. I suspect the late Pope John Paul frowned on the death penalty because it fostered a culture of death where the innocent and the unborn were also more likely to suffer. He also endured the persecution of Communism in Poland where even the political dissenter’s life was endangered by authorities. The movement we have seen is this: that the state has the right to take human life in certain circumstances to the less nuanced view of Pope Francis that capital punishment is universally wrong. Second, I would prefer words like “evolution” or “maturation” or “development” over change. This movement is not capricious. As with the question of slavery, tolerated in biblical times and in much of Church history, the popes came to discern that modern slavery reflected deep-seated prejudices where human life and dignity were maligned. The seed for this evolution was in the New Testament appreciation that in Christ there is neither free nor slave, male nor female, Jew nor Gentile— we are created with unalienable natural rights and our humanity is raised even higher by grace. No man or woman can be reduced to property just as no unborn child should be reduced to a disposable commodity. Pope Francis is highlighting the perpetual truth that all life belongs to God. A people that allow the murder of their innocent children have no moral ground to take the lives of those deemed guilty of crimes. While the latter is currently the cause of much discussion; the abolition of slavery finds no debate and is widely acknowledged as a case where we perceive the organic development of dogma. Revelation is a done deal. The faith grows with reflection upon the sources of revelation— our understanding intensifies. We may also apply old and trusted principles to new questions, like the morality of having or using nuclear weapons or cloning or IVF or whatever.

    The focus of your previous question was quite narrow and targeted the last things. You wrote: “Sorry Fr. Joe, I sent you unfinished comment on His Holiness Pope Francis. I have Parkinsons and it makes it difficult to type. I am concerned with recent reports that the Pope stated that there is no heaven, hell, or purgatory. Even Limbo after 800 years does not exist! Is there any truth to these reports or are they misquotes and misunderstandings. As a devout Catholic I am deeply concerned that the gates of hell may prevail against Holy Mother Church. Our Lady of Fatima is proof that there is a heaven and a hell and this been an approved apparition for over 100 years. Thank you!”

    My response remains the same: “There has been no change to the catechism so there must be a misunderstanding.” As it turns out, such was the case. Indeed, the Pope speaks a great deal about the devil and hell. As for limbo, it is only omitted from the universal catechism because it was taught as a credible theological opinion from the scholastic period. We are hopeful about the little children but I cannot say for sure whether there is a limbo of the innocents or not. Pope Francis has been quite stern to priests who would deny the baptism of babies, even when the parents have been unfaithful and are unmarried. This seems reflective of the older tradition that we should not delay baptism so as to insure the place of our children in the kingdom.

  2. Hi father, i forgot to give some bonus to one of my subordinates in 2009. In 2015 while she no longer worked for me i sent her the money. My question do we i have to pay her exact amount + inflation rate or just the exact amount?
    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: I would not know.

  3. Sorry Fr. Joe ,I sent you unfinished comment on His Holiness Pope Francis , I have Parkinson and it makes it difficult to type but I cannot write at all. I am concerned with recent reports that the Pope stated there is no heaven,hell, or purgatory even Limbo after 800 years does not exsist! Is there any truth to these reports or are they misquotes and miss understandings. As a devout Catholic I am deeply concerned that the gates of hell may prevail against Holy Mother Church. Our Lady of
    Fatima is proof that there is a heaven and a hell and this been approved
    apparition for over 100 years. Thank you!

    FATHER JOE: There has been no change to the catechism so there must be a misunderstanding.

  4. So they say suicide is a sin and u go straight to hell but is refusing cancer treatment to live longer the same thing as suicide

    FATHER JOE: Suicide is wrong but who says that one would necessarily go “straight to hell”? People may have good reasons for refusing certain cancer treatments.

  5. Hi Father,
    Due to the coronavirus in my country,we are only allowed to receive communion by hand.
    I’m wondering if I should lick my hand after receiving communion even if there doesn’t appear to be any particles…just in case.

    FATHER JOE: Do not lick your hand. The parvity of matter would generally make it inconsequential, especially if you cannot see or feel it.

  6. Hello i got a question my mom had a stroke she taking dyalisis and she has her ups and down and since we cant see her they say she loosing weight she eats sometimes Dr. says she suffering to stop her treatments and she can die in about 3 weeks but nursing home says she eats and does good on some days but her body getting fragile what shell I do? I cant take her life she is 90 but know she will never be the same.

    FATHER JOE: Keep her as comfortable as possible. As long as possible, provide nutrition and hydration.

  7. Father I have told a lie to my friends that I am able to speak a language I cannot, and I have not corrected their presumptions that I am a virgin. I lied because I wanted to build myself up in their eyes. I have since confessed these sins, and want to know- is it enough to simply avoid ever talking on those lies again to them, or should I reveal the truth to them?
    Before I came to faith I engaged in lots of different degenerate sexual things and I worry – will I be unfit to ever marry or be a parent because of this? Can I be fixed or should I avoid being in romantic love with anyone in order to avoid temptation?

    FATHER JOE: Avoid telling future lies and know that some matters are no one else’s business. If you should meet someone that you would like to marry, that may be a person to open up to about your past. But there is no requirement to go into all the prurient details.

  8. Hello Father Joe,
    I enjoy learning and reading about history. I was recently given a book as a gift for my birthday. It’s one that I had found online, read the reviews and forwarded to family. Anyway, I just finished reading the book, which contains a very brief history of Norse mythology. I suspect that whoever wrote the book was an atheist, wasn’t knowledgeable about the Christian Faith, or both. It contains several errors especially in regards to Truth, the existence of God and the origins of Christianity. Other than these issues I found the subject matter interesting.
    Is keeping the book permissible even though it contains such errors? I don’t usually write reviews, but should I write one pointing out the author’s errors? And lastly, do you enjoy mythology and history? If so can you recommend some books that might be good and informative reads? Thank you Father Joe.

    FATHER JOE: Keep the book. As for myself I love history and literature. I have a small library of books that focus on fairy tales, folk stories, myths and legends. While fiction they speak to the human condition.

  9. Hello Father,
    I hope that you are doing well during these difficult times. I would like your opinion on something that is causing some pain for us. My wife and I practice our Catholic faith daily and are very involved in our parish. Due to ongoing health issues, I am at high risk for the virus. My wife is healthy. Our bishop gave dispensation to everyone for the Sunday obligation during the early portion of the pandemic. Once the state began to reopen and Masses were allowed for 50% capicity of the building, the dispensation was extended for high risk people only. At that point, my wife returned to Mass and I continued to watch on TV. Now our state has spiked with new cases and we are now setting records for new cases and hospitalizations. At the same time, while the bishop has strongly recommended the use of masks while in the church, about 1/3 of those in attendance are not wearing them. My wife has also witnessed a lack of distancing. Two weeks ago, I witnessed one of our Extraordinary Minister’s on TV touch her face 3 times than hand out Communion. They are also still placing a hand on the forehead and head to bless those that are unable to receive Communion. Given these issues, we no longer feel comfortable with her attending for fear of bringing it home. We are concerned that this will cause her to fall into sin. Our state is very independent minded, and we opened up too early in my opinion. We have also had poor adherence to safety protocols. Now while much of the country is improving our state is going the other direction. This behavior doesn’t seem to be limited to our parish. I did email our pastor, a holy man that I respect very much, and his response was to simply attend a weekday Mass where the attendance is low. There are only 2 weekday Masses that fall outside of my wife’s work requirements and neither would excuse her Sunday obligation. Needless to say, this has caused pain and concern, especially since we recently lost a friend to the virus.

    FATHER JOE: Say your prayers and do what you need to do to stay safe.

  10. Thank you Fr Joe for the valuable insights! God bless. Mae

  11. MAE

    My father passed a few months ago and I have been praying fervently for his soul.

    May I ask if purgatory means purification to body and soul? It must be painful as per the pictures depict?

    Also how would I know if my father’s soul is already freed from purgatory and is already in Heaven? Would it be through dreams?

    If I don’t know, should Mass stipends/ offerings continue throughout?

    I am asking your kind advice, please.


    Please accept my deepest condolences on your father’s passing.

    The souls in purgatory have been separated from their bodies. The purification is a spiritual one. The poor souls have died in a state of grace but must suffer purgatory because of a tendency to sin or venial sin or temporal punishment due to sin. They are assured of their eternal salvation. They are on their way to heaven. This purification grants them the necessary holiness so as to enter into the joyous presence of God.

    While God might spiritually reveal that a soul has been freed from purgatory; for the most part, we cannot know and thus keep the deceased in prayer. If it should happen that the one for whom we pray and have the fruits of Masses applied is already in heaven then the graces attained would be granted some other poor soul who needs them and whom may have no one to pray for him. Our prayers and offerings might speed a soul to heaven; however, it is Christ that has saved the departed.

  12. EMMA

    I wondered if you could shed some light on marriage and blood covenants— pertaining to life after divorce. I find this a bit of a minefield to understand.


    The Jews practiced blood covenants with the slaughter of an animal and the sprinkling of its blood. For instance, a contract or agreement sealed with the blood from a bull cut in half would signify that if either of the parties broke the promise then what was done to the bull should be done to him. Often this was given a social and spiritual dimension and not an actual execution for those who broke contracts. A person who was not as good as his word would be ostracized as untrustworthy. He would be treated as if he were dead.

    The only blood covenant of Christianity is the New Covenant in Christ’s body and blood. Marriage is not a blood covenant except in a sacramental association with the covenant of Christ. A couple might have a priest celebrate the oblation of a nuptial Mass but there is no visible or physical blood-letting of the parties getting married. The Church forbids divorce as a sin but this does not mean that both parties are always equally guilty. Our Lord comes down hard on the one abandoning his spouse. There is an association with divorce with the possible sin of adultery. The Church often assists divorced people with annulments but some grounds must be found that would have invalidated the marriage bond from the beginning. A true sacramental marriage bond between a man and woman cannot be annulled or even dissolved by the Pope. Divorce or no divorce, a couple truly married in the eyes of God will be held to their covenant by God until the death of one of the parties.

  13. Wondered if you could shed some light on marriage and blood covenants. Pertaining to life after divorce. Found this a bit of a mind field to understand.

  14. Hi Fr,
    My father passed in few months ago and I have been praying fervently for his soul.

    May I ask if purgatory means purification to body and soul? It must be painful as per the pictures depict?

    Also how would I know if my father’s soul is already freed from purgatory and is already in Heaven? Through dreams?

    If I won’t know, mass Stipends/ offerings should continue throughout?

    Your kind advice please.

  15. TO BRADY

    It may not be a mortal sin (unless you intend to sicken your friends and kill your parents). Left open is the question as to whether it is stupid.

  16. TO ROSE:

    We are given few good choices about such matters in our world today. You need health insurance. Any involvement is indirect and remote. Priests even have Blue Cross.

  17. TO JEFF:

    There is nothing particularly smart about suicide. It is usually a sign of desperation, more of the emotions than the mind.

    Many of the ancient Jewish commentaries and later the saints viewed suicide as a sin due to the commandment, “You shall not kill.” (Exodus 20:13). God as the author of life has dominion over it. Suicide usurps what belongs to the LORD. “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him.by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him.” There are a number of pertinent New Testament passages like 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that speak of the body as a temple belonging to the Lord. While we can find such passages, Catholicism does not interpret Sacred Scriptural in a strict proof-text manner. Often our understanding of revelation must take in both the contextual meaning in the Bible and the role of Sacred Tradition.

    It may be the gravity for this prohibition for Christians is found with the suicide of Judas. Jesus offered his disciples the gift of an abundant life. Judas betrayed the Lord and chose death (Matthew 27:3-10). All those who commit suicide are associated with him. When Paul was jailed in Philippi he intervenes to stop his guard from killing himself (Acts 16:27-28).

    When it comes to euthanasia and pain, the Church would permit the use of painkillers but direct killing is always regarded as immoral and sinful. Indeed, such suffering can be associated with the passion of Christ so that we might spiritually offer ourselves with Christ on Calvary to the heavenly Father. Our Lord tells us to take up our cross and follow him, not throw it down and give up.

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