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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!




3,666 Responses

  1. I totally disagree with the Pope Francis statements on immigration. I’m not refusing help for anyone, but also think it’s necessarry to protect the nation and family from radical muslims. (PS! I’m not a racist. I have many friends from different nations, race and ethnic origin). Am I still in good standing with the Church?

    FATHER JOE: While we respect the pope and his authority, there can be differences of opinion about specific social policies like immigration. Infallibility is not evoked.

  2. Thank you so much, Father. I am so grateful you took the time to provide such a thoughtful and thorough response and it makes me incredibly proud of my faith. You brought me peace on the matter and I cannot thank you enough.

  3. Hello Father,

    I’m Catholic and a very near and dear friend of mine is a conservative Orthodox Jewish woman. Yesterday, on Christmas, my Jewish friend sent me a video of a lecture titled “The truth about Christmas” by Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen. If you listen to the lecture, you may understand why I’m having such difficulty adequately responding to my friend. The rabbi feels that Christmas is a 24-hour declaration that Judaism is no longer valid and that December 25 is a day on which Jews have been shamed, tortured and murdered. He even equates celebrating Christmas with celebrating the birthday of Hitler! I would like this to be an opportunity for constructive dialogue between two faiths, rather than only discussing my hurt feelings with her. If you could point me in the right direction of any readings that respond to the rabbi’s claims I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much, and thank you for having this helpful website!

    FATHER JOE: Catholics today generally have a pretty good relationship with Jews. We ardently try not to be offensive to their sensibilities. Indeed, we even changed the translation of our Catholic bibles so as not to hurt or offend them. Thus, in respect to the Jewish Holocaust, we now refer to oblations in the Old Testament as burnt offerings and not as holocausts. We also modified our hymns, replacing the word Yahweh with Lord. Nevertheless, there are some religious leaders, like the one you mention, who will not be satisfied. One could correct factual mistakes, for instance he calls the late exegete Joseph Fitzmyer a Cardinal but in truth he was just a priest. But we would probably be wasting our time. Fr. Fitzmyer spoke as an authority but not as a bishop of the Magisterium. The rabbi says that because December 25 (Year 1) is not the real birthday of Jesus that we as Christians cannot celebrate it as Christmas. Indeed, he says that we are actually keeping the pre-Christian festivals. However, his argument is nonsensical. First, the Catholic Church is not a book religion and while Jesus was probably in fact born a few years earlier and on another date, the Church has the authority to celebrate the birthday of Jesus on any day it pleases. The Church incorporates or baptizes existing culture so as to transmit the Christian kerygma. It is probably best not to argue with your friend. Let her know that you care about her and have a respect for her faith. It is unfortunate if she does not respect your Christian faith. The problem with the rabbi you mention is that while he may be an authority on Judaism, he is no expert on Catholicism or Christianity. Remember, he does not believe that Jesus is God, Messiah or Lord. He does not believe that the Church has any authority whatsoever. He calls Christianity a myth. He tears down what he does not accept. We have serious differences with Judaism, but share the legacy of the Old Testament and the belief in One God. However, Jews reject any notion of a Trinity which is revealed by Christ. This is why Judaism is a true albeit natural religion and Catholicism is a true but supernatural religion. Jesus gave us the two-fold commandment of love. Associating his birthday celebration with Hitler is the ultimate calumny. Even if he does not believe in Christ, he should love him as his Jewish brother. As Catholics we believe that salvation comes from the Jews. Beware of anyone who raises up his religion by tearing down that of another. We can speak of differences, but we should also look for those areas of concurrence. History is filled with enough hate and violence. The early Christians were expelled from the synagogues and we just celebrated the memorial for St. Stephen, stoned by his own people while the Pharisee Saul (later St. Paul) looked on approvingly. Christian Europe took advantage of Jews and they suffered much prejudice. The Holocaust was a tragedy that should move us all to do all we can to avoid such oppression and bloodshed in the future. There are a number a “righteous gentiles” and Catholics who suffered much to save the Jews. The Church even hid them from the Nazis in Rome and in the Vatican. My late classmate Danny Napolitano was an information director (for schools) for the Holocaust Museum in DC… and he was a devout Catholic who had studied to be a priest. Beware of the hatemongers. Urge your friend to listen to other voices.

  4. Thank you! This is helpful.

  5. Fr. Joe:
    I hope you had a blessed Christmas day!
    I have a two part question. Is the Divine Mercy Image technically a venerable image. And if so is it appropriate to hang anything above it on a wall. This would be a religious article that would be hung.


    FATHER JOE: There is no rule about hanging religious pictures on a wall. The Divine Mercy is a sacramental like the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart. Growing up, my family home had pictures of our Lord, the Blessed Mother, various popes and families members all jumbled together on the walls of the living room. It expressed our Catholic identity.

  6. I am very devoted to both the First Saturday Fatima devotions and I am very called to making plenary indulgences for the holy souls. My question is whether the same one confession (as a condition for both) can apply to those two separate acts. In other words do I need two separate confessions?

    FATHER JOE: The emphasis upon sacramental confession has to do with being in a state of grace. Various indulgences require detachment even from venial sin. This year (if you satisfy the necessary conditions), Pope Francis has extended a plenary indulgence to those who participate in the March for Life in Washington, DC.

  7. My apologies. I thought I could get answers to some of my questions. God bless.

    FATHER JOE: I did honestly respond.

  8. Hello Fr
    I wanted to ask, will it be considered sinful to play video games on Sunday? I play it sometimes at my sister’s request especially when my dad is watching the television and we have nothing else to do. I like to try to do a little bit of spiritual reading on Sundays, but when my sister suggests it , I play it. I do feel guilty sometimes, like I should sacrifice it for the Lord but sometimes when I express it to my sister she would be like I’m being too “churchy”. So do you think it’s a sin? Thanks

    FATHER JOE: It is not sinful to play video games on Sunday.

  9. If you confess a doubtful mortal sin, do you have to say that it is doubtful or just say what you did? Also, what if you confess it as doubtful because you aren’t sure if it’s mortal, but later find out it’s actually mortal? Do you have to re confess it?

    FATHER JOE: (In the Future) Just confess the sin and acknowledge confusion as to its gravity, mortal or venial matter. Even with this confusion unresolved, the sin has been confessed and you have been absolved. The confession is still good.

  10. Hello Father
    I had written a few days ago regarding my husband not being happy that I am attending daily Mass and not being happy with the Catholic Church.. I am elderly and do not drive when there is snow or ice on the ground. My husband is actually going to drive me to Mass tonight to fufill my Holy Day of Obligation for Sunday and stay in Church during the Mass. I feel that he is seeing how important it is to me to spend time with Our Lord and receive His Body and Blood through the Eucharist. I am so thankful for your prayers and for the fact that he is doing this for me. I am not sure if his beliefs will change but this is a beginning.

    God bless You

  11. One night I had a dream. In this dream, one of many, I saw a bright light in the distance. The light moved towards me and gained speed. As it came into view it was a brilliant cross of light. It moved faster and eventually struck my mind. It hurt a little, However, my question is has anyone else ever had such a experience? I can only ponder the meaning of such a dream.

    FATHER JOE: I would not make too much of most dreams.

  12. Hello, Father!
    My husband and I have been married for nine years. We are interested in taking the RCIA classes at our local church. We both have past marriages from when we were young that lasted only a short amount of time. Do we need to get them annulled? I am finding conflicting answers since we are currently non-catholics. What about our children? Can they take the classes? Thank you so much for any advice or insight you can provide.

    FATHER JOE: I would encourage you to take the classes and work with the local priest to resolve issues. Speaking generally, if you were married before to other non-Catholics, then you would probably be looking at formal annulment cases. If either of you married a Catholic out of the Church then it would probably be a matter of a simple declaration of nullity because of a lack of canonical form. Parishes have separate classes for children and a process whereby they receive the sacraments. A pertinent issue is whether the two of you and the children are already baptized. Do not become discouraged. I will keep you in prayer. Merry Christmas and have a happy, holy and healthy new year!

  13. VERY long story but I have a sister who hates me and shut me out of her life a few years ago. Honestly, I was relieved because I hate that she is a LOUD atheist and raised her kids to be the same. Also, after my brother in law died – she became VERY permiscuous & I “judged” her for being a bad mom. She hates God. I felt a darkness about her & her kids – not being dramatic, it’s true! Her daughter (17) still sees my other sisters (rarely) but bashes me. I was told this & emailed her to say I’m fine we are not in each other’s life but please tell her daughter to not bash me to other family members. She replied, “No.” I got super mad & replied, “F— you. You’re a clown.”
    NOW I feel bad but am not contacting her again.
    So, my question is – what to do now? 😦

    FATHER JOE: We pray for those who hate us. We pray for them even if they reject the God whom we implore. We return good for evil. They may close the door to you, but no matter how badly they have hurt you, struggle to love them and to keep the door open to reconciliation. Let God be the judge. We will also be measured, both in terms of our faith and our charity.

  14. Hello Father, I am a ninth grader, and I’m doing a project on Christianity and Judaism. It would really help me if you could please answer a few questions for the interview portion!

    1. What is your name or priest name?

    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

    2. How long have you been a priest?

    31 years

    3. What would you say is the main difference between Christian faith and Jewish faith?

    Judaism is a true natural religion that worships the one true God and where adherents are called to obedience to God’s law.

    Christianity is a true albeit supernatural religion to which the one true God has revealed himself as a Trinity and we are summoned to a saving and sacramental faith in Christ lived out in loving obedience.

    4. Are there any similarities between Christian faith and Jewish faith (prayer, celebrations, etc.)?

    Jews no longer offer priestly sacrifice at the temple. They still have a synagogue service. The first part of the Mass borrows from the service of the Word that was familiar to those who attended the synagogue in the days of the apostles. The second half of the Mass is the celebration of the Lord’s Supper where an ordained minister participates in the one priesthood of Christ and offers a clean or unbloody re-presentation of the saving oblation of Calvary.

    5. How do Christians view God?

    God is a perfect spirit and as the Creator he has made all things out of nothing and he sustains them in existence. God is almighty, infinite, eternal, and as the “unmoved mover” is unchangeable. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. As holiness itself, he is the source of all holiness. He is the one great truth. God is one divine Nature but three divine Persons. The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The second Person of the Trinity becomes incarnate in Christ and redeems us by his passion and Cross. He rises from the dead and promises us a share in his life.

    6. How do Jewish people view God?

    Traditionally they would speak about him as the one true God who establishes a covenant relationship with his chosen people. But for any elaboration, I would recommend that you ask a rabbi.

    Thank you so much for helping out!

  15. Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. All “atheists”…killed millions! Atheism is a failure!! Right? Or, so the charge is advanced this way. I don’t know why Hitler’s name gets thrown into the mix. Hitler may have been a curious mix of “pagan” theism and contemporary theism, but one thing he was not was an “atheist.” Nazi belt buckles read, “Gott min Uns” which translates to “God with Us.” He was born a Roman Catholic and never renounced his membership. As you know, even signed a concordance treaty with Pope Pius xii.

    Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot were in fact atheists, but they weren’t humanists. They were horrible atheists, as much as Torqamada, or the conquistadors, or the leaders behind the crusades were horrible Christians. Agreed? Men are men. Should we allow body counts to determine who’s more right than the others?

    Isn’t the notion of an “atheist experiment” just silly nonsense? Modern Scandinavia is doing quite well being entirely atheists. Wouldn’t you agree? Low crime rates, fantastic health care and retirement systems, low recidivism rates, lowest unemployment in the world, family values. Any thoughts?


    Actually, one is not born a Catholic, although many children are baptized as infants. As for Hitler, Richard Overy gets it right in his book, THE DICTATORS:

    “He was not a practicing Christian but had somehow succeeded in masking his own religious skepticism from millions of German voters. Though Hitler has often been portrayed as a neo-pagan, or the centerpiece of a political religion in which he played the Godhead, his views had much more in common with the revolutionary iconoclasm of the Bolshevik enemy. His few private remarks on Christianity betray a profound contempt and indifference… Hitler believed that all religions were now ‘decadent’; in Europe it was the ‘collapse of Christianity that we are now experiencing.’ The reason for the crisis was science. Hitler, like Stalin took a very modern view of the incompatibility of religious and scientific explanation.”

    I would agree that there is sin enough to go around, with the proviso (arguably biased) that Christianity shows us a genuine way to be good. The trouble is that not all believers in Jesus are as faithful as they should be. If we neglect charity then we have lost everything. Not all religions or philosophies or politics are equal in this regard, especially if there is a disregard for values like freedom of conscience, mutual cooperation, the dignity of persons, the sanctity of life and the gift of peace.

    I am not well versed with the situation in Scandinavia. Are they any better than anyone else? Online sources (US News) suggest that Scandinavia scores high in regards to human rights: Sweden (1), Norway (3), and Denmark (4).

    We are talking about countries with fairly small populations and a largely homogeneous ethnicity. There are also serious tradeoffs for some of the benefits you mention (especially in regard to take-home income after taxes and the adoption of various levels of socialism). As for family values, I suppose it is a matter as to how such are defined. As with many European nations, the practice of the Christian faith has experienced a marked decrease.

    A cursory look at the three nations of Scandinavia:


    The Lutheran Church of Sweden was the state religion until 2000. As of 2015, legally registered Christians comprised 69.9% of the population.

    Back in 2011, Sweden reported 112,352 live births and 37,750 abortions (25%).


    Online statics show that Norway is 71.5% Evangelical Lutheran and 2.9% Catholic. However, as we have seen affiliation does not immediately translate into real faith. While the Evangelical Lutheran Church is still administered and financially supported by the government, it ceased being the state religion in 2012. A poll taken in 2010 had 29% of respondents saying that they believed in no sort of God or force.

    Back in 2011, Norway reported 60,223 live births and 15,612 abortions (21%).


    Denmark is not considered a stark secular state as there is an official connection with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Online statistics show the country is 71% Christian.

    A study conducted in 2003 showed that 41% of deaths under medical supervision involved doctors making “end-of-life” decisions to help ease patient-suffering before death. Back in 2014, Denmark reported 56,870 live births and 15,097 abortions (21%).

    Whatever people believe or do not believe, I hope that we can love and work together for a better world. Peace!

  16. I have a question about a sin that I confessed at my last confession. One of the sins that I confessed was having a “look at me, cool chick attitude” on a few occasions. One of the specific instances I was specifically talking about was a time I was leaving soccer practice with my daughter and I found myself trying to say something witty so that the guy walking out with his kiddo would think that’s a funny cool lady. I didn’t mean it in any lustful way, I don’t believe. However, after mentioning the sin to the priest, I added the detail that I tend to notice this look at me attitude when I am working out. Since working out and losing weight, I tend to notice myself more concerned with looking cool and pridefulness is easier to fall into. While this is true, and is definitely a time that I tend to fall into the sin of pride, I never did mention the specific soccer incident. As we continued our discussion, I wasn’t sure if I needed to add more detail and didn’t want my confession to be invalid and my conscience was uneasy with where I left it, so I mentioned/added to the priest during our discussion that it can be the next day or earlier in the day when I fall into the sin of pride, not always directly during or after a workout.

    Do you think this invalidated my confession or are the soccer details not significant? Nothing I said was a lie as getting into shape and consistent exercise has led me to feel better and more confident which can unfortunately lead me to feeling prideful at times. I tend to be scrupulous but can and will re-confess if you think I need to.


    FATHER JOE: Yes, you are scrupulous. And while beauty is fleeting, there is nothing wrong with a woman trying to look her best and being modestly sociable. I am not sure that I detect any sin at all. Accept the graces of confession without reservation. But remember, beauty is fleeting and not everyone will think we are “cool.” None of that ultimately matters if we walk with the Lord, keep our obligations and stay true to the Lord. Peace!

  17. Dear Father,

    I was dating a guy for about five months (we are both in our late 30s) and found out that he was cheating on me the entire time with multiple women. I am heart broken and so confused. He told me multiple times how much he loves me and, looking back, his words were hollow. I immediately ended the relationship when I found out, but I’m struggling and currently seeing a counselor. I thought I was going to marry this guy. He is enlisted in the army so I think I was hurt even more thinking he would encompass integrity, loyalty and many good qualities. I’m having a hard time getting over the deception and lies and how naive I was for falling for his charm. From a Catholic perspective, do you have any suggestions for healing and moving on?

    FATHER JOE: There are few things as painful as betrayal. That is what makes the scene in the garden so poignant with Jesus. Judas, an apostle that he loved and called as a friend, betrays him with a kiss. Of course, the ultimate theme of the Gospel is not betrayal, but rather the fidelity of Jesus to the Father onto the Cross. He even forgives us on Calvary. Our Lord says to take up your cross and to follow him. Now you know the full gravity of that summons. While you are pained, you can also count yourself fortunate for finding out when you did. Some people actually only discover such infidelity AFTER marriage! I would counsel finding peace in yourself. Involvement in charity work, especially at Christmas, can help us focus on others instead of ourselves. You have love to give, show it to those who really need it. As for your prayer life, we are told to pray for those who hate and hurt us. Pray that this man will know a conversion because his deceptive manipulation of women is a matter of grievous sin. Pray as well for the other women who may still be in the dark about his motives. I will say a prayer for you today. God bless!

  18. Father, I have a question that has been bothering me for as long as I can remember. My question is regarding taking the Lord’s name in vain. So many people (including priests) use the praise “Oh my G..” I just heard my pastor say it on the altar this morning. He always opens Mass with a funny story. This phase was part of what he was sharing.

    In my book that’s not right. Or am I all wrong? Is taking the Lord’s name in vain only involves using His name when we are angry.

    I sure would appreciate getting an answer on this as it truly bothers me.

    Blessings to you, Father Joe


    I must admit to a certain reservation and embarrassment in answering this question. Yes, I have also heard people of faith use the expression OMG (spelled out of course) and not just in preaching. Does this break the second commandment? Ironically, those of us who regularly say the Act of Contrition prayer seem prone to it as the prayer begins, “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee….” These words come easily to our lips, especially at times of great distress or frustration. Certainly, there is no issue in prayer. However, what constitutes taking God’s name in vain? Given a lack of discretion or heightened anxiety or fear, it is probably no more than a venial sin. However, it can quickly become mortal when used in reference to sinful actions, deliberate blasphemy, curses and false oaths. It is best to avoid or to change the expression; but this can take time as it means modifying habits. An increasingly faithless society makes this more difficult as the phrase is used by people who do not believe in God at all. Can we change such words that emerge from our mouths, transforming them into utterances of prayerful aspiration? Jesus, Mary, Joseph… save souls! Oh God… bless you. Dear God… help us!

    As for your priest, the argument could be made that any words referencing God in the homily are directed to the Lord and I would suggest focusing on the overall message. There was the custom that Catholics would bow the head at the mention of Jesus’ name… the name that saves. Maybe it is past time for a catechesis on how we address God and the holy names? Translations of almighty God’s name from Hebrew were subtracted from certain Catholic Bibles and hymns so as not to offend the sensibilities of Jews. Maybe we need a dose of their sensibilities and maybe Catholics need to be proactive against those who would mock our Lord, the Blessed Mother and the Church? God’s name should be kept holy. In an increasingly vulgar society, we need to teach and witness that words matter.


    “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all” (Matthew 5:33-34).

    The universal catechism:

    [CCC 2150] The second commandment forbids false oaths. Taking an oath or swearing is to take God as witness to what one affirms. It is to invoke the divine truthfulness as a pledge of one’s own truthfulness. An oath engages the Lord’s name. “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name.”

    [CCC 2151] Rejection of false oaths is a duty toward God. As Creator and Lord, God is the norm of all truth. Human speech is either in accord with or in opposition to God who is Truth itself. When it is truthful and legitimate, an oath highlights the relationship of human speech with God’s truth. A false oath calls on God to be witness to a lie.

    [CCC 2152] A person commits perjury when he makes a promise under oath with no intention of keeping it, or when after promising on oath he does not keep it. Perjury is a grave lack of respect for the Lord of all speech. Pledging oneself by oath to commit an evil deed is contrary to the holiness of the divine name.

    [CCC 2153] In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained the second commandment: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all. . . . Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”Jesus teaches that every oath involves a reference to God and that God’s presence and his truth must be honored in all speech. Discretion in calling upon God is allied with a respectful awareness of his presence, which all our assertions either witness to or mock.

    [CCC 2154] Following St. Paul, the tradition of the Church has understood Jesus’ words as not excluding oaths made for grave and right reasons (for example, in court). “An oath, that is the invocation of the divine name as a witness to truth, cannot be taken unless in truth, in judgment, and in justice.”

    [CCC 2155] The holiness of the divine name demands that we neither use it for trivial matters, nor take an oath which on the basis of the circumstances could be interpreted as approval of an authority unjustly requiring it. When an oath is required by illegitimate civil authorities, it may be refused. It must be refused when it is required for purposes contrary to the dignity of persons or to ecclesial communion.

  19. Hi Father
    I have recently starting attending daily Mass as well as my normal Sundays. My husband changed from Episcopal to Catholic 30 plus years ago on his own volition.. However he hasn’t attended Mass in almost that long. He feels that the Catholic Church is a cult and wants nothing to do with it. My attending daily Mass has become a problem for my husband. He feels that this is taking time away from him. I love starting my day off with Our Lord . Am I wrong in attending daily Mass since it is creating a problem in my marriage?

    FATHER JOE: You are certainly within your rights to attend Mass. The problem is with your husband, not you. Why has he turned so against the Church? Does he worship God at all? There is a lot unsaid, but the abandonment of your faith would not heal matters. Pray for him. You may have to take up a heavy cross. There may be unspoken issues for which professional questioning is required. I will keep you both in prayer.

  20. Hello Father,
    This isn’t a question I bet you don’t get very often or at all: I’m a guy who likes to wear skirts. I like them because they are comfortable, less restrictive in a number of ways, etc. My wife doesn’t like me wearing them and I understand her reasons why but they are entirely emotional. What is the Catholic view on men wearing skirts or skirt-like clothing? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: There is no absolute Catholic view about clothing because such is dependent upon culture and society. The Church would urge modesty and that we should not seek to scandalize. Men in Scotland will sometimes wear a ceremonial kilt. Priests wear cassocks (over pants) but such is usually regarded as clerical men’s attire. Wearing women’s dresses or skirts might give people the impression that you are having gender-association issues. This could be cause for scandal and end up being hurtful to your spouse. I would argue that if you are a good Catholic husband then you should comply with your wife on this one and let her wear the skirts. Find good comfort-clothing made for men… I suspect your wife will help you. Within the limits of Catholic morality, you promised when you married her to please your wife. Do so. Blessings!

  21. Why is pride a mortal sin?


    The sin of pride should not be confused with the sense of pride in one’s accomplishments.

    The sin of pride is to center more attention and esteem upon ourselves than upon God. It is when a person imagines himself as better than he is. He gives God no credit in his accomplishments. Pride often makes people inconsiderate of the assistance given to them and of the accomplishments of others. Such a person sees himself as better than most everyone else. Ultimately, it is a denial of our dependence upon God. The sin has been equated with idolatry of self.

  22. Hello Father,
    I was about to take an online exam for a class at college and my parent said “If i was taking an online exam, I’d probably just cheat!” They were trying to be funny, but i don’t know if they were kidding or not. Was it a mortal sin that first, I said “Oh my gosh” like shocked but then I just laughed. Is it a mortal sin that I laughed since the content of the joke may have contained grave matter (cheating on an exam)?

    FATHER JOE: Are you serious? You are worried about laughing at a dubious insinuation from a parent? If you take the test and cheat… then worry about the sin. Otherwise, lighten up. God bless!

  23. Hello Father,
    I need your advise. I love my mother, but she is extremely difficult to please because my relationship with her is based on what I can do for her. I understand my role as a daughter and ensure that she is comfortable but nothing I ever do for her is ever enough [I remember this ever since I was a child, that’s the subtle message I got, it caused me mental breakdown but I became well after I came home to the Catholic church].
    Mom tells her sisters and brothers that I got a good job and never do anything for her. That is not true. She will boast on what my brothers do but with me she lies. Mom is like a bottomless pit with me. I can’t fill her. She lives well and has good savings but tells me she has expectations of me as her daughter because she educated me. I’m the only Catholic Christian [am a Convert] in my family. I have found so much comfort in knowing the Blessed Mother, Christ brought me to her. But my earthly mom, what can I do? It’s an extremely painful Cross and I’ll bear it with Our Lord but how do I relate with her expectations. All my other siblings are boys, their relationship is different.

    FATHER JOE: I would suggest wariness to manipulation, whatever the source. Let your mother know how you feel and then pursue your own life. We cannot always have the relationships we want with the people we love. There is a book that you might find useful even if painful to read: PEOPLE OF THE LIE by Dr. M. Scott Peck.

  24. Thank you. A frequent examination of conscience will bring old (forgotten and not specifically confessed) sins to mind. So glad God’s mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace do not depend on my faulty human memory. I know that, but it is comforting to hear a priest say so. Thank you, Father Joe.

  25. Hello Father,
    After reading your commentary on Confession, I have a question that has been on my weighing on my mind lately. After a period of years away from the Church and living a very sinful life, I returned to the Church more than 20 years ago. Upon returning, I made as good of Confession as possible, meaning I didn’t leave anything out on purpose. I confessed all that came to mind, including mortal sins. I also frequent Confession currently. But over the years, as I have grown much deeper in faith, I have concluded that some of the sins I committed during that time away were, or likely were mortal and not confessed in those very early confessions. It is my understanding that if I had made a confession in good faith that those that I had truly forgotten about are also forgiven. However is this the case with mortal sins as well?

    FATHER JOE: Yes, if truly forgotten at the time of confession, your sins are forgiven and you are absolved.

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