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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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NEW MESSAGES/HOMILIES   CHRISTIAN REFLECTIONS   DEFENDING THE FAITH

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS   MARY OUR MOTHER

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3,002 Responses

  1. I have a sister who had an affair with a married man. This man divorced his wife and children and married my sister. I have a problem with this. Isn’t their relationship wrong? Just because they married, it doesn’t make it right— does it? Am I wrong? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE:

    I sympathize with you. Married couples are called to perpetual fidelity (until death). The Catholic Church does not recognize divorce. Thus, given the few facts here, your sister is still living in an adulterous relation, despite the attempted marriage. Could additional facts complicate the situation? Yes.

    If the second marriage were in the Catholic Church and followed an annulment or declaration of nullity of the first, then the second marriage would be licit and valid. I had a situation of this sort years ago where the woman literally joked about stealing away another man’s husband. The man was a Catholic and the first bond was a civil marriage only. The Catholic Church does not recognize civil bonds for Catholics, although they are acknowledged for those outside the Church. The first bond was declared null-and-void from the very beginning and (after a civil divorce) this freed the man to have the sacrament of matrimony in the Catholic Church. I assisted them because they were within their rights; however, I could not hide my utter disgust for what they had done to this other woman and the children. It seemed to me that reprehensible acts were rewarded and the man’s non-Catholic “civil” spouse (who knew nothing of Catholic laws) was rudely victimized.

  2. Some places that don’t reserve the Blessed Sacrament require all that wish Communion to place wafers into a container to be consecrated. This “machine” might have done that.

    FATHER JOE: Starting in the 1970’s people might have placed host in a bowl-paten or ciborium. But there is no sliding tube for hosts. Unconsecrated hosts are sometimes sold in plastic tube like containers, but mostly they are boxed or bagged.

  3. Hi Father Joe, I’m a 53 year old male who has had a troubled past. My question is….why do I want to run off and join a biker gang. I’m married to a lovely lady and have a stepdaughter but it still doesn’t seem enough. Your advice would be most appreciated. Neil.

    FATHER JOE: It sounds to me that you should be satisfied. No matter what the impulses, remain faithful to your obligations. Peace!

  4. Fr. Joe,
    I have a part-time job I work each Saturday driving tourists around in a trolley to different wineries in the area. After a couple stops at the wineries, the tourists are dancing and singing along with the music on my trolley. They are obviously getting intoxicated, but people rarely get out of control. Am I contributing to behavior that may be offensive to God? Thank you for all you do. John

    FATHER JOE: I would say no, you’re just the trolley driver. Peace.

  5. When I asked if any saints were directly Martyred by Jesus I was thinking of St. Francis, he asked Jesus what his suffering was and Jesus killed him with disease, are there any others?

    FATHER JOE: Jesus did not kill St. Francis We suffer and die naturally as a consequence of Original sin. It is the human condition. We are mortal.

  6. FR. Joe, What does the church say about the three days of darkness whereas it has been prophesied by several different saints?

    FATHER JOE: The Church says nothing about it. I thought the so-called timeline for the three days of darkness passed years ago. I had friends who stocked food and water. They have long since dismissed such nonsense.

  7. My husband has been telling me to beautify myself just a little bit by having my hair fixed, nails polished, wear more presentable clothes. I refuse to do them as I find them unnecessary, a waste of time. Is it a sin if I refuse to follow my husband to make myself more presentable?

    FATHER JOE: You should want to be pretty for him. Are you asking if it is a sin to disobey or to dishonor your husband? What do you think? Is he not worth the time?

  8. Yes, I was wondering if there are priests who counsel online in private? Not confession. Just guidance and questions. I need to talk to someone who specializes in counseling who’s a priest.

    FATHER JOE: Most priests do not specialize in counseling. They prefer face-to-face.

  9. Can you think of any Saints that were directly martyred by Jesus?

    FATHER JOE: This is nonsensical. Martyrs are those who die witnessing to Christ.

  10. Is it a sin to use birth control if you take it for a medical condition rather than contraception?

    FATHER JOE: It is not wrong to take medications for illness even though there might be contraceptive side-effects. However, there might be certain medications that would make marriage impossible, as with those that would cause deformation to unborn children or that would impede the marital act.

  11. First, I would like to say that I am not crazy— I am not a religious fanatic— and nor am I a Catholic. I have chosen the Catholic religion to share this experience because of your open minds and because of your belief on the topic of purgatory.

    FATHER JOE: Not to worry you, but most crazy people start off by saying they are not crazy.

    I have taken a photograph of what I believe is the Archangel Azrael.

    FATHER JOE: Angelic beings have no bodies. They might take on a certain form for the mind’s eye, but there is nothing material for the camera to catch. Plus, how did you know his name? Even human beings do not walk around with name tags.

    When one zooms in, there appears figures too many to count— a realm of angel people, animals and some children. They seem to be suffering.

    FATHER JOE: Artistic depictions of this angel often include a monks robe and his carrying a scythe— very similar to the literary Grim Reaper, albeit without the wings. Catholicism tends to view St. Michael as the good angel of death. Others associate Gabriel blowing his horn to announce judgment and the second coming of the Christ. Are you saying now that you took a picture of an angel and the poor souls in purgatory? Sorry, but this would test my credulity too far. Are you sure you are not a religious fanatic?

    There are words but most I cannot make out. The ones I saw for sure were “help,” “joy,” “trust,” and “god.”

    FATHER JOE: Nice words but it is all gibberish without context.

    Now I have emailed many with no response.

    FATHER JOE: I am not surprised. They do not believe you. I cannot blame them.

    I have friends to whom I have shown this who mostly validate what I am seeing as real.

    FATHER JOE: If it were as you say, it would speak for itself. But note your qualifier. You state that they “mostly” validate what you see. This means that not all is affirmed. It may be that you go too far in interpreting certain vague images. It may also be that you have caring friends who do not want to hurt you, even if it means pampering a delusion. Really and truly— have others seen this angel and the words in your photo… or are you the only one who can really see them?

    They are scared and do not want to discuss it or help with it.

    FATHER JOE: I think they are worried about you. It would be best to give the matter up. Have any of your friends suggested help in terms of counseling?

    I need help with this. I am scared myself.

    FATHER JOE: If you are afraid then this matter is not of God. While it might possibly signify a demonic deception, it is more likely a mental aberration, perhaps in concert with a photographic distortion of some sort.

    When I am asked to help, I feel it is my duty to do so.

    FATHER JOE: Who asked you to help? How are you supposed to help? None of this makes any sense.

    If I do not hear back from you, I will just move on to the next.

    FATHER JOE: I would again urge you to put this matter away. You are making too much of it.

    This picture was taken by accident on the night of the blue moon. It is going to be of great value. It has to be put into the right hands because it could possibly change the dynamics of religion. Now you can believe me or not. I have the proof, I need someone to believe in me. All I want is a minute of your time, I promise this will not disappoint you. Sincerely, Tracey

    FATHER JOE: I am sorry, but I cannot give you what you want. Azrael appears in Hebrew tradition and in the Quran. The so-called “angel of death” does not appear in the Bible. The Church bans the veneration of angels who do not appear in the Bible. While angels like Michael, Gabriel and Raphael can intercede for us like any of the saints, the true Christian prayer is ultimately directed toward God. The Church would warn against any masquerade Catholicism that falls into superstition. The Church would also condemn the fascination of New Age religions with angel-based cults.

  12. I make mission rosaries with beads and knots. Are there any rules that you know of that recommend one color of cord over another? I’ve seen white or cream, but wonder why. Would it be wrong to use other colors?
    Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: Colors are your choice.

  13. Hi Father,
    I know the Catholic Church allows cremation but says the ashes are not to be scattered or divided. Why is this ? What about people who die in airplane crashes, fires or soldiers killed by IED’s …their remains will never be in tact, will they be denied resurrection of the body? How is that different from dividing ashes amongst loved ones or scattering them? Thank you for your time and consideration.

    FATHER JOE: Actually policies vary from place to place. Certain jurisdictions will allow scattering at sea. The issue is often a legal one. It is against the law in many places to scatter the ashes of the dead. Ashes are best interred so that we as mourners might have some place to go and to pray. Ashes should not be taken home or shared among relatives. This is not regarded as respectful as it treats the dead person as a commodity. Ashes in the home have also been known to open doors to ghostly happenings and such should be avoided. It has no impact upon the corporeal resurrection of the dead.

  14. Is saying “OMG” a sin?

    FATHER JOE: It depends upon context. I start off many prayers by saying, “O my God….”

  15. Honourable Sir, can you answer my queries about Catholicism? I mean no insult or ridicule by them.

    1. Are Roman Catholics Christians?

    FATHER JOE: Yes, Catholics are the first Christians and the bishops and Pope are successors of the apostles.

    2. If so why do they pray to The Virgin Mary and have statuettes to her?

    FATHER JOE: The formal object of all prayer is almighty God. Images are sacramentals and are used to remind us of holy personages. The figure of the Cross or Crucifix reminds us of the saving work and sacrifice of Christ. Prayer that invokes Mary and the saints is called intercessory prayer. We believe that the communion of the saints and the pilgrim Church on earth can pray with and for each other to God. We believe that John at the Cross was our emissary when Jesus gave his mother to the apostle. Thus, the Mother of the Redeemer became the (spiritual) Mother of all the Redeemed. If we are the (mystical) body of Christ, then Mary is the Mother of her Son wherever he is found. Just as with ordinary mothers, motherhood is a loving and perpetual vocation.

    3.Does The Word of GOD, The Holy Bible not say that,” There is no other name under heaven by which we Must be saved?”

    FATHER JOE: Mary always brings us back to her Son. Even her title THEOTOKOS or Mother of God was not to make Mary out as something other than a blessed creature; rather, the title defended Jesus as a divine Person when some denied the great mystery. This was crucially important because ONLY GOD could save us. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI upset some in the Jewish community when he reiterated the doctrine that JESUS is the SAVING NAME. There is NO OTHER PATH because JESUS is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. There is no other way to the Father. He is the bridge. HE is the Mediator. This is Catholicism 101.

    4. CHRIST JESUS alone is The WAY, The TRUTH and The LIFE. So why is HIS Mother seemingly more important and worshipped than HIM?

    FATHER JOE: Such is a misconception about Mary. Most of the mysteries of the Rosary are directly about Jesus. We show Mary special love and devotion but we do not offer her divine worship. Note in the Bible that even Mary acclaims the Lord as her Savior (albeit at the beginning of the Gospel). The primary worship of God (for Catholics) is the celebration of the Mass. We look to the sacrifice of Jesus where he died once and for all. We ask that as we bring up our offertory gifts of bread, wine and donations, that we might be transformed ever more and more into the likeness of Christ. We remember the passion and death of Christ even as we obey the Lord’s summons to take up our crosses and follow him. We must die with Christ if we hope to rise with him.

  16. This is a pretty difficult question…I am a person diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or more commonly, “lou gehrig disease.” This disease will put me in a state called “locked in syndrome” where my body will become a vegetable but my mind will be sound. I am fortunate that my progress is slow and may never even get to that point! Once a person reaches the locked in stage they can be kept, alive much like a coma patient, with machines ect. I don’t want to ever get to that point where my family/friends have to see that. I’m as good of a Christian as I can be. So the question I have is(if) in the situation I explained what’s the stand on suicide and not burning in hell for all eternity? (Sorry I make jokes to deal with this a lot). Or would it not be considered if I just chose not to do the feeding tubes,breathing tubes ect?

    FATHER JOE: The issue is really too complex for a short answer and must address a number of variables. Catholics are not obliged to use every available extraordinary means to survive. The Church insists that hydration and nutrition, even if through an IV or tube should not be denied. The Church would oppose any act of direct euthanasia (as with poisoning or smothering someone).

  17. After many months of lying, cheating, stealing, and homosexual activity, I finally found I need god in my life, will god forgive me if I really mean it? In the past I’ve denounced his name, said he wasn’t real, been disrespectful in a church and I feel awful, and I don’t think he will forgive me.

    FATHER JOE: If you are contrite for sin, God can forgive anything. Similarly, the priest can absolve any sin in Confession, given that there is sorrow for sin and a firm intention for the amendment of life.

  18. is it acceptable for a priest to have material from his website posted on another website that also features adult image links? is it morally acceptable for the priest to accept, defend and not remove the postings saying it’s acceptable as someone else posted the adult links?

    FATHER JOE: Do you mean pornography? No Christian should want any affiliation with such material.

  19. Dear Fr Joe,
    Sorry to repeat my question but I missed your response.
    Question- I have a problem controlling my thoughts. I think very negatively about people i know and strangers too. Am very nasty and hateful in my thoughts. It happens like automatically. I think I developed this many years ago to cope with low self-esteem while growing up.
    I want to stop this and be genuinely loving and think wholesome positive thoughts about others.
    I would much appreciate your suggestions.
    Thanks father for your blog ministry.
    God bless you.

    FATHER JOE: It is impossible to control every stray thought. If you think something negative about someone, then make a conscientious effort to say a silent prayer for him or her.

  20. My husband is cheating on me, but I don’t want to believe it. I love him and it’s painful to accept the truth. I make up excuses to help me pretend that nothing is happening
    Even though I know he is cheating, I can’t bring myself to face the truth.
    Is this a sin? Since I am lying to myself.
    What should I do because I feel trapped in this situation.

    FATHER JOE: First, are you really sure he is cheating? If not, then you might be wronging him. Second, if the matter is certain, then he must be challenged to stop. You have to get him to face the truth as to what he has done and to change matters. You do not need all the lurid details. But you are within your rights to fight for your husband and challenge him to fidelity. When I encounter such situations as a priest, I always admonish an end to the adultery. I also insist that distance must be made with the accomplice in sin. That means that neither of you can have a continuing active relationship with the “other woman.”

  21. Good evening father. I have a question for you that I have been wondering about for awhile. Many different teams across the many sports leagues of the world have adopted the nickname of the Devil for their team whether it be the Blue Devils, the Sun Devils or anything in between. Many of these teams got this name because of a myth or another similar nickname so I don’t believe any of the people who created these names were doing it to please Satan. I have to ask though, would you consider it a sin for a Catholic or any Christian to root for a team called the Devils?

    Thank you for your time, God bless

    Ross

    FATHER JOE: There is no connection between these names or logos and satanic religion. We have a popular local high school where the team is named after the legendary trojan soldiers… but they are neither soldiers nor condoms. Root for your team!

  22. Hi,
    Is it a sin to go to a Mass in an auditorium, without a serious reason? My old school has Mass there for special school events, but we also have a church nearby that we go to. I don’t know why the auditorium is used for Mass instead of the church. It just seems improper to go to a Mass that isn’t in a church.

    FATHER JOE: If it is approved by the bishop and pastor then there is nothing wrong with it. I have said Mass for boy scouts in a barn. The Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary where ever it is celebrated. There is no sin… but there is grace.

  23. I am new to the Catholic faith and have some questions about Satan. Is there really a Devil, or is he an allegorical figure that embodies the nature of evil? In other words, is Satan literal or figurative?

    FATHER JOE: He is literal or real.

  24. Dear Father

    Many years ago I was a sponsor at my sister’s baptism. The only problems is that back then, my family and I attended a church that was not in full communion with the Catholic church. The priest who baptized my sister was validly ordained in the Catholic church prior to Vatican II and several years later he decided that he didn’t want to go along with the changes in the church that happened in the 60’s and 70’s, and ended up leaving his diocese to start his own little “independent” church where he only celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass and does not answer to the Pope or the local bishop and outright denies and refuses to accept Vatican II and it’s proposals. But neither myself nor anybody in my family no longer attend that church. I, as well as my mother and sister, attend mass in a parish that is part of the diocese and is in union with the church. I never really thought about this much until very recently, but I never confessed this in confession (that I was a sponsor at a baptism that was outside of the church) because I doubted as to whether or not I needed to confess it. Also, according to canon law, a sponsor must be baptized AND confirmed and although I was baptized, I wasn’t at the time confirmed (I am confirmed now though). Do I need to mention this in my next confession? Am I, in the eyes of the church, my sister’s godparent or not? I know this may be a tough question. Please help me if you can I’d greatly appreciate it. God bless you Father.

    Thank You

    FATHER JOE: Actually the situation is more complex than you might think. First, in an emergency anyone can baptize and so the background of the priest would not affect the validity of the baptism. Second, in this case, while the baptism was valid (I suspect the renegade priest followed the old rite), the priest in question had no faculties to function and so his act was illicit. (Even if the priest had faculties to function, he cannot minister in another pastor’s territory or boundary without delegation.) Third, as a person gets older and receives the other sacraments (Penance, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage etc.), a notation is sent back to the church of baptism for the registry. The church of baptism follows the Catholic his or her whole life long. But here is the problem, this breakaway Catholic church has no juridical standing in the Catholic Church. I would suggest that a baptismal certificate be acquired and taken to the genuine Catholic church that includes the usurper within its territory or canonical boundaries. Have them make a record of the baptism so that future sacraments can be reported to a Catholic church in good standing.

    As for your question, all of you at some point should have brought to confession the fact that you went to a breakaway church. It is a little late to worry about whether you are a true godparent or not. I would assume that you are and urge you to witness the faith.

  25. I am an ex Catholic and I want to rekindle my faith. I struggle with doubts about the existence of God. How can I make my faith strong again? I want to believe but I can’t. I’ve asked God for a sign but He won’t give me one. Please send help.thank you.

    FATHER JOE: If you are a reader, you might pick up New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer.

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