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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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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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3,588 Responses

  1. Today it’s my Birthday! Is it a sin to celebrate on your birthday? 👲

    FATHER JOE: What? For goodness sake, celebrate your birthday!

  2. Hi Fr. Joe,
    Why is the Church referred to with a female pronoun?
    Thanks,
    Lauren

    FATHER JOE: It is custom or tradition. We speak of her as Mother Church.

  3. I know an unmarried couple who wants to baptize their child in the Catholic Church. One parent is Catholic and the other isn’t, but I don’t think they really plan on raising the child to be a good Catholic. Can I go to the Baptism?

    FATHER JOE: If it takes place there is nothing stopping you from attending the baptism. Witness to the faith!

  4. Is this true? How does a priest report/complain about wrong-doing by a Bishop?

    https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/07/nj_catholic_dioceses_paid_at_least_180k_to_alleged.html

    FATHER JOE:

    I cannot speak either way about what happened as I have no firsthand knowledge of the facts. Can such things happen? Yes, we live in a broken world and we are all sinners. The Church is holy because Christ is holy. However, that does not mean that everyone in the Church is always what he or she is supposed to be. How does a seminarian or priest report wrongful conduct of a bishop? I think this is precisely the question that Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin wants to pursue with the USCCB. He writes: “I recognize without any ambiguity that all people have a right to live, work and study in safe environments. I intend to discuss this tragedy with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to articulate standards that will assure high standards of respect by bishops, priests and deacons for all adults.” This is something that the late Cardinal-priest Avery Dulles begged the conference to do years ago. While bishops were largely shielded, priests became vulnerable from every possible side of the scandal scenario. Dulles wanted to insure the rights of priests, from both false charges and from a hierarchy sometimes quick to throw them under the bus.

    It should not surprise anyone that settlements are sometimes made to preserve the Church from scandal. I suspect that most are cases of consensual acts between heterosexual adults. Settlements seek to avoid publicity and to care for families. The priest might then return to ministry, albeit somewhere else. This is a matter of justice when priests misbehave. This is a wholly different matter from wrongful acts of violence against adults and illicit relationships with minors.

    Regarding the question as to whom a priest would report wrongdoing by his bishop, I suppose it would go to the head of personnel… and he (usually a priest) is also under the bishop. You can see the possible problem. Theorizing for a moment, how would I try to fix it? I would suggest that we put into place an ethical board of learned clergy and laity who would routinely take up in strict confidence questions of behavior, both by individuals and by the larger Church. But I am not sure anyone is listening to me.

  5. Hi Father, When I was younger I abused the dog with my finger and took satisfaction it it. Was this wrong? Was it beastiality?

    FATHER JOE: The wrongful abuse of an animal is a sin. You should take it to confession.

  6. Hello Fr. Joe,

    I have no questions at the moment, but just wanted to say thank you for answering my previous questions. I appreciate it. …And thank you for your love, devotion and commitment to God as a Priest. Please pray for all of us.
    sincerely,
    eric

  7. Good morning Father, can I get a brief explanation on the definition of “discernment.”
    Thank you, GOD BLESS YOU!⛪😃

    FATHER JOE:

    “What is discernment?” A short question can make for a somewhat long and convoluted answer— what type of discernment are we discussing? It is not all the same.

    1. Discernment is an operation of both the mind and will where we seek to align ourselves with divine providence and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Thinking and loving with the mind and heart of Christ is essential to our calling as believers. We must be alert to any false spirit and especially the demonic that would numb the conscience or lead us astray. If we are led by the Spirit of God then we can truly say that we are inspired and open to sanctification.

    2. Discernment requires a degree of assessment or deliberation, particularly against selfishness and self-deception; however, it also requires our obedient surrender to God as his servants, in other words, a profound trust. “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:19-20).

    3. Discernment for the Christian is about more than assessing acts and making a judgment; it requires deep thought and prayerful consideration. What does God want me to do? What does God want me to become? How can I best live out my day-to-day discipleship?

    4. It is important to be honest to ourselves about our gifts and about what we want out of life. God does not want us to be unhappy. Our Christian discipleship may bring trials but the direction we follow should be one of joy. This is particularly crucial as we ponder our state of life or vocation.

    5. Every choice we make, even small acts, is significant in our formation as persons. If a man wants to be a priest then there are skills and a way of living that must be mastered. Similarly if a person wants a spouse and family then he or she should act and live in such a way that the ground is prepared for such a life. The abuse of people or the misuse of sexual powers is a step in the wrong direction.

    6. We should not be so busy that we dismiss or detour around a healthy interior life of prayerful discernment and dialogue with the Lord. You cannot know what God wants of you if you are not in communication with him.

    7. Just as we possess both a personal and a corporate or communal faith, spiritual direction and advice from other Christians can be a big help in avoiding certain hurdles or traps laid by the flesh, the world and the devil. We do not need to walk alone. We seek wisdom from people we respect.

    8. Discernment requires solitude. There is too much noise and busy-ness around us. We need quiet to hear, not only our own thoughts but the soft whisper of the Lord.

    9. As you seek the advice of others and talk with the Lord, embrace honesty about yourself. What is it that you really want out of life? What is that of which you are most fearful? Can you be strong in the Lord? What is your measure of courage?

    10. Discernment should always bring us to the Agony in the Garden. We cannot have everything. Even the good things in life might tempt us away from a heroic course that God would like us to travel. What is our capacity for loving sacrifice? Many priests and religious give up a spouse and home of their own to embrace the evangelical counsels. Unlike the rich man in Scripture who went away sad, they abandon everything to follow Jesus. We need such witnesses of the Gospel but not everyone is cut out for such service.

    11. Beware of any self-deception and/or defeatism. You are called to be a saint. God’s grace can make the impossible, possible. Do not doubt that God loves you and has a plan for you.

    12. What are the fruits of our decisions and actions? God never intends evil. A good ends does not justify a bad or evil means. If the fruits are rotten then the spirit is not holy or from God.

    13. Be on guard so as not to be led astray by false teachers. There are many dissenters from faith and the truth, even in the Church. There is also a false mysticism that replaces the transcendent God with a false self-absorption. Center yourself upon Christ, not yourself.

    14. True discernment requires being in a right relationship of grace with God. Outside of this state or while in mortal sin one can be easily deceived. On this account repentance or a spirit of contrition is invaluable.

    15. Gifted with discernment, one begins to see his life more clearly. Indeed, the disciple can also become a tool for healing in the lives of those around him. “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).

    16. Genuine discernment signifies an evangelical freedom over any spiritual bondage. We become what God intends. We will progressively grow in the Lord.

    The U.S. Bishops have posted some discernment tools on their website…
    http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/discernment-tools.cfm

  8. Dear Father,

    I need a priests advice. This is going to be a bit long, but I would really appreciate your input. My current girlfriend was raised Christian and believes in God. But, we are having an issue over pro-life and pro-choice. She is pro-choice, and I am pro-life, and this does not sit well with me. Although she is pro-choice, she still believes abortion to be wrong, but sympathizes with women who have an abortion for certain reasons (e.g. will be kicked out, homeless, stigmatized, etc..) She believes that although it is wrong, the wrong act can be “justified” for those aforementioned reasons. She thinks that in those cases having in abortion is not right, and not the best decision, but is still ultimately the woman’s decision. She also herself would not have an abortion. Furthermore, when we first started having this discussion, she believed that a group of human embryonic cells are just cells. I was able to convince her that these cells have intrinsic self worth, and she told me that I was able to change her mind on that. She told me that I have made her a lot more open to the pro-life stance, and understands more deeply why I believe in what I do. Lastly, she has told me that although right now she is pro-choice, she is open to someday become pro-life, and realizes that there are several individuals who were pro-choice and become pro-life. She is definitely not closed off to the stance.

    As a devout Catholic, just her stance on pro-choice, regardless of her reasons, bothers me. Yes, she is not an extreme pro-choice advocate who is stubborn and unwilling to change her stance, but at this current moment it still bothers me, and I do not know what to do. Should I leave her? Should I pray for her, and gently bring her to become pro-life? (I do feel like this is what God would want me to do)..what if her stance never changes?

    Thank you so much.

    FATHER JOE:

    While your girlfriend says that abortion is wrong, in her own mind, it is not nearly wrong enough. There are programs and maternity homes that will help mothers keep their children. There is a waiting list of couples ready and willing to adopt unwanted children. And, as for any stigma, let us be honest— this is 2018. Pregnancy outside of wedlock is now the rule, not the exception. Ask her why she thinks abortion is wrong. If she thought it was the killing or murder of a child then she would see how ridiculous her exceptions actually are. She does not prize the child in the womb as having the same right to life as the children held in arms or carried in strollers. If a mother should find her two year old too hard to handle; would she agree with the euthanizing of the child so that the mother might return to school or pursue a career? The consistent view would be that murder is murder. Little children are no more viable than babies in the womb. It is this reasoning that tolerates infanticide and the neglect of children deemed defective and thus too costly and demanding to keep around.

    If she truly appreciated the child as a human person then she would reject abortion. The dignity of persons is incommensurate. No one person’s right to life trumps another. That reduces people to commodities. Your girlfriend is saying that the woman has all the rights and the child has none. The choice is whether or not to get pregnant. Once that choice is made, and there is conception, a new person comes into the picture with his or her own identity and rights. Just because that person cannot speak for himself does not negate those rights. Your girlfriend evidently does not believe that the unborn child is a human person with a soul and an eternal destiny. Ultrasound machines would give her a rude awakening. Kill anyone other than a child in the womb and one would likely end in jail. This is the hypocrisy at work.

    How does she know that she would not have an abortion? Once human life has been stripped of rights, those rights do not magically return because it is “your” baby. The abortion situation places at threat every child in the womb. Those with Downs are particularly threatened as Eugenics wipes out 90% of these children in the womb. The situation is monstrous and those who are enablers for this holocaust have blood on their hands.

    Argumentation about moving toward a pro-life stance is insufficient. It reminds me of the nation’s founding fathers who verbally spurned slavery but kept human beings as property in bondage until their own deaths. They were more afraid of economic ruin than about the worth and dignity of persons. Those who lived and died as slaves knew no benefit from their good intentions. Children who die in the womb will never have the chance to dance and play in this world and know parents who love them. They are just dead, despite the good intentions and justifications of those who perpetuate the millions of deaths. The developmental trajectory is proof positive that the embryo is a human being. But let us be honest, abortion is not restricted to a few embryonic cells… but rather largely developed fetuses and in partial birth, infants ready to be born.

    What should you do? You have an obligation to proclaim the Good News and Pope John Paul II defined that proclamation as the Gospel of Life. There is no pro-abortion or pro-choice Christianity. God entered the human family. The incarnation of Christ makes every child, born and unborn, into a reflection of the Christ Child. Do we celebrate the coming of the child like the angels, wise men and shepherds or do we seek to kill the child like the soldiers of old Herod?

  9. Hi Fr. Joe,
    A number of years ago and because of hardships in my life, I fell away from the church and took my kids with me. Three years ago I returned, and I am now practicing my Catholic faith fully. My kids were in CCD programs and spent their younger years going to Mass, receiving sacraments, etc. Last January, my 19-year-old daughter received her confirmation after going through the adult program. My heart was filled with so much joy. I’m trying to work on my two sons who have been a bit more resistant. My middle son is off to college so I am encouraging him to seek out campus ministry. My youngest son is 14 years old. I have signed him back up for CCD this fall to work towards confirmation with his class. He will have some make up work to do, but it is possible. However, he is insisting that he isn’t going to CCD and does not want to be confirmed. It is a battle to get the boys to come to church.

    I’m afraid to push too much, and I’m afraid of not pushing hard enough. I realize that the lapse in their religious education and upbringing is completely my fault. There is nothing I can do about the past, and I do pray for them each day. I was wondering what your thoughts are In this situation. Should I back off and give them some space? I am afraid of pushing them even further away by trying to push too hard. Or, do I hold my ground and insist on them attending CCD and church?
    Thank you Father Joe.
    God Bless,

    FATHER JOE: You cannot force a child to get confirmed. However, as long as a child is a minor you are within your rights to insist upon Mass attendance and religious instruction. Do what you can and try not to be afraid.

  10. Hi, I was searching everywhere online and couldn’t get a definitive answer. All I want to know is if listening to death metal/metal/rock music is a sin and what the church’s official stance on such music is.

    Thanks in advance.

    FATHER JOE: If it is music disrespectful of God, sexually vulgar and hateful or violent… then yes, it is sinful.

  11. Dear Fr Joseph,
    Could you please inform on what the catholic teaching are within trading, stock trading, and mainly bitcoin trading. This is personal and joint traders

    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: The Church’s position is the same as with regular banking… remain honest and fair… do not enact an unreasonable interest and “thou shalt not steal.”

  12. Dear Father Joe, is it advisable for my non-baptised friend to go up and receive blessings during communion? I have seen many do it but when I read up about it online, I realised that it is not part of the catholic tradition and there isnt a clear cut answer on whether it is advisable. And if it is permissible for non baptised to go up, do they approach only priests or it is okay for them to approach communion ministers too? Thank you so much!:)

    FATHER JOE: Some churches encourage it and others do not. It is not part of the ritual for Mass and a blessing is extended over everyone at the end already.

  13. Are Catholics who use contraceptives, get a vasectomy, or get a tubal ligation committing a grave (mortal) sin? Most Catholics in the US (and likely in Europe as well) seem to use some type of birth control for family planning purposes.

    FATHER JOE: Subjective culpability aside, the things you mention would constitute the “matter” for mortal sin.

  14. Father Joe, thank you very much for your reply and help to my question about my husband’s and my intimate relationship. Marriage is certainly not easy, even after 40 years together! LOL I will ask Jesus to guide us as we rediscover this area of our marriage together. Please also pray for us, Father, as I will pray for you, too. Thank you again!

  15. I’m in love with someone, and I know their ‘the one’ but I’m 13, I’ve even heard from God that their the one. But I feel too young, and my parent’s won’t let me date until i’m like 18, I really need to tell them, how do i go about it?

    FATHER JOE: There is a saying, “True love waits.” At 13, you really need to wait. You still have a lot of growing up to do. I would agree with your parents about waiting until you are older to date. I would suggest that you sit down with your Mom and tell her what you are feeling. A good parent can help a young person through this difficult time of transition. I really do not think God has confirmed your love interest. Human beings can imagine many things and we are very good at fooling ourselves. Make good friends, enjoy school, and learn and grow. Don’t be in too great a hurry to grow up. This time of your life is very special. Make the most of it and find comfort in the love and protection of family. Peace!

  16. Dear Fr. Joe,
    I was wondering if there is a limit to the number of times that a person should attend Mass and/or receive the Eucharist in a day. It came up the other day because I went to daily Mass on my way to work. I had forgotten that there was a memorial Mass at lunch for a former employee I knew well (I work in a Catholic hospital so there is Mass everyday at lunch). So, I went a second time at lunch. I had a meeting after work at a church nearby and arrived very early thinking the meeting was at 6pm. Instead, there was Mass and the meeting at 7pm. So, I went to Mass a 3rd time while waiting for the meeting at 7pm. Was it wrong to receive Communion 3x in the same day? Not that this comes up often, but should a person only receive 1 time per day? It was actually a great day for me, having the opportunity to go to Mass more than once, so I hope it was ok.

    Thank you!!
    Rebecca

    FATHER JOE: Generally you should only take communion once on any given day. If, however, you attend different celebrations, like a daily Mass and then a votive liturgy (like a memorial or funeral Mass) then you can receive a second time. You are not supposed to receive three times on any given day.

  17. Thanks

  18. Father Joe, I need some guidance in a very personal area and apologize in advance for the very intimate nature of this question. My husband of 40 years and I have not had marital relations in approx. 4-5 years. I have been in menopause for about 13 years which chemo put me in due to a bout of cancer. We have had marital problems for a while along with my husband not being able to keep an erection or complete penetration due to medications he must take for life (they are keeping him alive) and me having internal atrophy issues which makes penetration almost impossible. I followed my doctor’s advice to try to reverse the atrophy back before we stopped relations, which helped some but did not help with allowing penetration much. I think we both just gave up to some extent with our relationship as well as relations because of some very difficult life issues we were facing. We have now been working on our marriage relationship for some time and are at the point where we’d like to start working on this area again as well, which is where my question comes in. Must penetration always be part of the marital act, when penetration is nearly impossible to achieve due to circumstances outside of our control? Can purposeful orgasm ever be acceptable without penetration in this circumstance? We have always followed the Church’s teachings about the marital act as we believe in the procreative as well as unitive aspects to the marital union. However, we’re at a loss in knowing how to proceed in this area and still follow the Church’s teaching. I again apologize for the intimate nature of this question, but we could really use some good, Catholic direction about this and appreciate any help you can give us. God bless you for the work you do and your vocation, Father.

    FATHER JOE: The marital act that consummates and renews the covenant between the husband and wife is vaginal intercourse. Even if there is infertility, it must always be that “type” of act that is open to the transmission of new human life. Due to sickness and age, the ability to share this union is often compromised and the good Lord understands if an effort should be made and through no fault of your own it remains unsatisfied. The problem would be if a couple should utterly spurn intercourse and substitute another type of sexual act. Sexual interaction between spouses is not a perfect science and there are always “accidents” beyond human control. There are various intimacies that couples share in anticipation of the marital act; even if it should prove impossible to complete. It is in this gray area where I suspect you have some options. Again, your intention (if possible) would be the completed marital act; but, there is no guarantee and in some cases it might prove highly unlikely. In any case, this is not an area of malice but of weakness and need. Love each other. If you feel that at any time you crossed a line, bring it to confession. Try to find some peace about this.

  19. Hi Fr Joe,
    For the month of July, I saw that Pope Francis has asked us to pray for priests who experience ‘loneliness and fatigue’ in their pastoral ministry. I thought this was such a beautiful intention. Is it common for priests to struggle with ‘loneliness and fatigue’? When I think of some of the wonderful priests who have blessed my life (and the lives of so many others), it makes me sad to think that they can experience these difficulties. Can it be lonely being a priest? Also, aside from praying for them, do you have any other suggestions what people can do to help lift them up and help them to feel appreciated? I know I greatly appreciate all that our parish priest does on day to day, week to week, basis, but I don’t often let him know. He is very young, only ordained a couple years ago, and I’m sure he would be joyful feeling supported.
    Thank you Fr Joe!
    And I am praying for you too, hoping you are neither lonely or fatigued!!
    Sarah

    FATHER JOE: Given the need for vocations, priests do indeed face fatigue and loneliness. Although, many if not most priests as celibates seem to enjoy a quality of “aloneness.” In other words, we are okay living by ourselves and saying our prayers or working on the Sunday homily. Thanks for the prayers!

  20. Hi Father,

    I remember a bible quote not word for word but it goes something like this do not swear to God or anything in the heavens if you mean yes say yes if you mean no say no. I have to go to court and give testimony am I allowed to swear on the bible or should i just make an oath to tell the truth in Australia we get a choice I’m not sure how it is in America. Please pray for me. I’m terrified Thanks Samantha

    FATHER JOE: The verse is about avoiding hypocrisy and duplicity. It is another example of Hebraic hyperbole or exaggeration. You are permitted as a Catholic to take an oath (for truth) on the Bible.

  21. Can you provide with a link that provides instructions on how to dress up the altar during mass (e.g., opening the corporal, placing the chalice, etc.) for the priest?

    FATHER JOE: I know of none off-hand. I suspect you will find some if you Google it. Peace!

  22. I have a question about confession in the Catholic Church.
    I understand that if person confesses to a sin in confession, it is confidential and the confessor is not permitted to reveal it to anyone (including the police).
    What is the law or rule for the confessor if a person confesses to a sin that he will commit in the future ( for example tomorrow I am going to kill X). Is this also confidential and there is no obligation to inform the police to prevent the crime?
    Sincerely
    Israel Korn

    FATHER JOE:

    This is a good question and I would like to segment it into two queries:

    1. Does the seal cover only sins in confession or absolutely everything said?

    2. Would the seal still apply if the penitent were not contrite and did not come to confession in good faith?

    First, the seal is meant to both protect the dignity of the sacrament and to preserve confidentiality with the penitent. The concentration is not upon the courts of man but the tribunal of God. If there were any hint that this secrecy was compromised, it would further erode its usage (especially for the absolution of more serious and/or scandalous sins). The priest sits in the place of Christ. Penitents are confessing to Jesus and the priests have been given something of the Lord’s power over sins. Therefore the seal covers everything shared that is regarded as confidential. The priest is not necessarily silenced about matters that are public knowledge. However, he has to be careful not to reveal any details that are not readily known. This would also include allegations for which a judgment is being sought. The priest cannot share what he knows about the innocence or guilt of the penitent. It is possible that a penitent might seek to give permission for a priest to discuss what has been shared. However, the penitent does not have this authority and unless there is a canonical change and intervention from higher ecclesial authority (unlikely if not impossible) then the priest must still remain quiet. The priest would still have to keep silent as the impression might be given to others that the seal could (if only in extraordinary situations) be broken.

    While the confession focuses on sins, the priest must be careful about details that others might be able to piece together for the truth about a situation or action. He can give no hints. He cannot reveal what he knows either directly or through intimation.

    Second, even if a confession is dubious or badly made, the seal applies. Often, the prospect of future sins relies upon the habitual actions, bad behavior, mental health and sins of the past. If a projected sin is confessed, the priest cannot give absolution. He can only urge reconsideration and trust in the power of grace and that of virtue over vice. He is not free to go to the authorities or to offer warning.

    While not canonically binding, there is a civilly respected parallel to the seal that applies to priests and ministers alike: that is professional secrecy. This secrecy may not be absolute but it reflects the relationship between lawyers and their clients, doctors and their patients and ministers and those they counsel.

  23. Father Joe,

    I would like to take this opportunity to Thank you, for taking time out of your busy day to listen to my problems. As I was doing my daily readings this week, I kept becoming sidetracked looking up divergent passages of scripture that continued to take me “down the rabbit hole” so to speak. On my commute home from the dealership, I was listening to “Busted Halo” on the Catholic Channel, and one of the callers, had a question about Spiritual Advisors. I had to pull off the road to gather my thoughts. For the third time in a week, the term “Spiritual Advisor” was thrust into my mind. I had a brief moment of feeling compelled by the Holy Spirt to seek an answer.

    I have lived my life in a very structured environment. As a nuclear launch officer I had to know my stuff and be able to react without error; as an intelligence officer my actions could lead to catastrophic outcomes for both personnel and resources; and as a finance director I must ensure that all the “I’s” are dotted and the “T’s” are crossed, and that the letter of the law is followed. (I’ve excelled at all of them) But, as a “New Catholic” (my conversion was 3-years ago) I feel totally unprepared to apply the Lord’s teachings to the problems that I face. With this being the most important thing I’ve undertaken in my life, I’m not feeling too strong.

    I know the basics. I know to pray, to attend mass, to confess my sins, to receive the Eucharist. I can’t help but feel something is clouding my ability to stay focused on Christ in my life. Is a Spiritual Director something I should seek? Am I concerned for nothing? Is Satan trying to come between me and the path I wish to follow? There are so many things to learn about following Jesus example, and I want to follow the path that leads to his embrace.

    Again, thanks for listening.

    May God continue to Bless you, and the people that you Shepherd!

    FATHER JOE: Spiritual direction can be quite valuable. I must tell you though, that not all clergy and religious are necessarily good at it. Usually I suggest contacting your parish priest about the possibility. Peace!

  24. Hello Father Joe,

    I have just proposed to my girlfriend, she said yes and now we’re wondering what comes next. I am baptized under the Orthodox Church and she is baptized under the Roman Catholic Church. Would our marriage be recognized? Is it possible to combine an Orthodox and a Catholic service given that the two churches are the closest together of the Christian denominations? Or barring that would she be able to marry me in a Catholic ceremony if I am not a member of the Catholic Church?

    Is it necessary to choose one church? I feel as though regardless of our choice certain family members would disapprove. What would happen when we’d have to baptize our children?

    Looking for guidance.

    Thank you

    FATHER JOE:

    Congratulations!

    Answering your question, there are several possible answers. Remember I am somewhat biased as a Catholic priest:

    (1) You could take instructions and be received into the Catholic Church. We would already accept your sacraments of baptism and confirmation which you received as a child in the Orthodox church. Given that you are Orthodox, even if you are received into the Latin or Roman rite (the largest) of the Catholic Church, you would still be regarded as Eastern rite. That means that the the Catholic rite that parallels yours in Orthodoxy would be yours. Once married, your spouse and your baptized children would also be Eastern rite. You would still be permitted to attend any Catholic rite on Sunday. Along the lines of this scenario, you could get married with Mass in the Catholic Church.

    (2) You could remain Orthodox. However, to get married in the Catholic Church you would be urged to get permission from the bishop or patriarch of your Orthodox faith. Otherwise, the marriage would be recognized by the Catholic Church but not by the Orthodox. Sometimes the Orthodox bishop will grant it. Certain bishops will not. If granted, you can get married in the Catholic Church. If not granted, then you would have to seek marriage in the Orthodox church. If this is the case see number (3).

    (3) You want to remain Orthodox and your bride is Catholic. You want the marriage to be recognized by both churches. The Orthodox church will not give permission for a Roman Catholic wedding. What do you do? You would see both a Roman Catholic priest and an Orthodox priest. The Catholic priest would have your bride apply from the Catholic Church what is called a dispensation from canonical form. This would allow you to have the wedding in an Orthodox church. The marriage would then be recognized by both churches.

    If you got married in the Orthodox church without the dispensation, the Catholic Church would still recognize the marriage as valid but as illicit.

  25. xHi,

    Can you receive the Eucharist after you went to Reconciliation, but before you completed your penance?

    FATHER JOE: Yes.

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