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





4,240 Responses

  1. Dear Father Joe,

    Hi, I have a question about the sin of self harm. Im worried that Im in mortal sin because sometimes I pick at my pimples and apearently the internet says it’s self harm. I have no idea why I do this but picking at my pimples calms me and I usually do this when im anxious. I usually do not inflict much damage. Did I sin?

    FATHER JOE: Are you a child? I refuse to answer such questions. Talk to your parents or a health professional.

  2. Hello Father!

    I have written to you in the past as a Protestant. I was raised Roman Catholic and became a Protestant for about 4 years. Within the past 5 months or so, I have been seeking more and realized that church history is SUPER important. To make a long story short, I have narrowed the true church down to the Easter Orthodox Church or Catholicism. I’ve been doing lots of studying and trying to let God lead me wherever His establishes church is. My husband and I got married about a year and a half ago at the Protestant Church (which we thought was the true church at the time). We strived to do everything right prior to our marriage (stay celibate, moral, growing in faith, etc) and now I feel as if all of that was for naught because our marriage wasn’t blessed by a priest. and it makes me so sad because we really thought we were doing the right thing under God. I was told my husband and I are living in mortal sin and that scares me. However I feel as if it wouldn’t be a good thing for our marriage if we “stop being married” and move out of our home back with our parents. I just don’t see how that is healthy. Because it’s kind of like we’re single again?? It’s just weird.

    Now we would love to just go and get our marriage blessed by a priest but at this point, we are between the orthodox and Catholic Church. So in order to get our marriage blessed, we would have to be faithful Christians to one of those churches and we aren’t sure which one it is yet. What if it takes months or years to figure this out? I’m just concerned for my salvation and my marriage. Please help!!

    FATHER JOE: The Catholic Church has both the Eucharist and the Successor of St. Peter. You were raised Catholic or Western Rite. You already belong to the Catholic Church. Return to your faith and have your marriage convalidated.

  3. I’m asking this for A friend and I inow you get this question alot but what happen’s to the soul when someone believe’s in Jesus Christ but they still commit suicide?

    FATHER JOE: There is the particular judgment before the Lord. While suicide is a serious transgression of the law of God, only the Lord is aware of mitigating factors and he has absolute sovereignty in making his judgment. We should not presume to know the mind of God as to who is or is not saved.

  4. I have been an atheist for as long as I can remember. Now I am not so sure. A few days ago I witnessed something that could only be described as a divine miracle. A known criminal of my community actually helped an old lady retrieve her belongings after triping in the crosswalk. This one act of goodwill was enough to cause multiple people to start helping as well. I’ve been trying to figure out why this criminal didn’t use the opportunity to steal the lady’s bag.

  5. Hi Father,
    What do you think of this? How would classify these spirits? This is a bit of a long, but I’d really like to know your view is; and what the Church would teach about this.

    So in my culture; in my little island; each community/family have a guardian spirit. The power of these guardian spirit is usually strong with those from chiefly families. Chiefs in our island nation tend to have “mana” … like what they say tend to come true; when they get angry; and spew words of anger; its not always good but because of their mana, they always control their behaviour. Even those who show some sort of disrespect to them; would face some sort negative experience.

    My maternal Pa, is a Chinese man with chiefly links to their village; most within the surrounding villages would underestimate him, because he is Chinese, but because of his maternal link to the chief; he has mana. There are always two spirits that tend to be with our family. Every person know their “i-Susu” … that’s the name we call them; but it is forbidden to pay them homage or worship them (at least my Pa, gave us that rule). They will always be with the family, protecting us, and protecting our land; but we are never to worship them. We’re all Catholics and Catholicism started from the Chief who was my great-grandfather … but these spirits are attached to our land and our family (so I think, as it so seems)

    So anyway; from my Pa’s side; these spirits are two women; they always say one is fair and grumpy the other is darker and not so grumpy; and oh and there’s also a big man who wears a “soldier-like” clothing. They don’t always appreciate visitors in our home to take our place. E.g. when my mom took my dad to meet her family for the first time, my papa and mama gave up their bed for him to sleep on… my dad said; that night he was awoken with one woman holding his feet and another his hand and they threw him to the ground… one of my aunts prior to marrying my uncle; met up with the big man…

    they don’t like it when children in our family are left crying without supervision. Once, my mama was awoken by these two women; who were yelling at her because my cousin (who was a baby) at the time, was crying and no one was attending to her. She ran from her house down to my aunt’s house and saw her chatting in the kitchen with the other ladies, my aunt was caught by surprise when my mama told her off; about ignoring the baby .. they ran to the room and sure enough my cousin was crying.

    on another occasion; we had been preparing for a big function in the farm, so preparations finished till around 2am in the morning; by the time we got to our rooms we just knocked out.. now one of my aunts just had a new born; a few months old … and he started crying; but we were all too tired to get up; probably didn’t even hear my little cousin crying; but another aunt from another room heard it and was walking towards our room to tend to the baby, but as she moved closer she heard two women talking and the baby had calmed down. My aunt thought straight away that it was my mom and the mother of the baby; so she went back to bed. The next morning when the mother of the baby awoke, she couldn’t find her son… my cousin was nowhere to be found; at first she thought, one of us “baby-lovers” must’ve taken our cousin out for some morning dew; but none of us did … she panicked and rushed to wake my mom and to her surprise, my cousin was sleeping peacefully next to my mom… even my mom was surprised.

    On a more recent time; there’s a school next to our farm and there were plans to have taps in the school and not water tanks anymore. So as they laid the water pipes, some gentlemen had dug across our land; without my grandfather’s knowledge or approval. So there’s was to be grand opening; when they opened the tap, no water came out; another gentleman decided to dig back; follow the pipe to see if there was a blockage; just as he approached our land, he was met by a huge man (spirit in the form of a huge dark man) telling him off; that’s when he realised that those that laid the water pipes did not approach my Pa.

    That very day, they approached my pa; with the traditional requirements, seeking forgiveness and requested for permission; my Pa accepted it; and right after, water flowed from the tap. It is traditional that before anyone steps into another man’s land; a proper request must be done to the land-owner; unfortunate things happen when this is not done.

    My mom once shared a story about one of the chief’s daughters who was playing netball; another girl in the other team accidentally tapped her head to get the ball; and to the spectators surprise she fell hard onto the ground as though someone had knocked her down. She later confirmed that a huge man had knocked her down because she had tapped the chief’s daughter in the head. It is against our culture and tradition to touch a person’s head. The head is the most sacred; and is considered rude and very disrespectful to touch a person in the head. After this experience; the chief’s daughter was not allowed to play anymore, for the safety of the other players.

    These spirits usually appear in a “man” form or an animal form … and they usually have names …. They sometimes sound scary but given that 95% of the indigenous in our country are Christians we don’t always venture into worshipping these spirits, though there are stories of some who do. We don’t see them as demons neither do we see them as angels, nor do we see them as ghosts; but we see them as spirit beings who protect our land, our ocean, and our life. What do you think of these spirits? What would you see them as? What does the Church teach about these?


    This idea of “mana” is reflective of an animism form of religion that is incompatible with Catholicism. The notion here of “a guardian spirit” is not the same as our claim that each person has a guardian angel. If I am correct, and I am no authority on Melanesian religion, this spirit or supernatural agency is often defined as associated with powerful persons and things as well as arbitrary in regards to morality. The notion of spirits associated with strong persons, lands and families can only be given a symbolic interpretation by Catholics. Anything more would constitute the danger of false religion.

    As for spiritual beings manifesting themselves as women or as a soldier, the context of Christian faith would only permit the following possibilities:

    1. It is all a matter of hallucination or dreaming.
    2. The souls of the dead have manifested themselves and they need prayer.
    3. God has permitted his guardian angels to show themselves for some purpose.
    4. The spiritual entities are demonic.

    The negative power that is connected to a significant personage might be likened to “the curse” in Western religion. A curse is a calling down of some evil. Often linked to sorcery, it is condemned because a supernatural agency is invoked to manipulate either people or things (the created order).

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “All practices … by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others — even if this were for the sake of restoring their health — are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion” (CCC 2117).

    It violates the first commandment of the Decalogue. A curse invokes the devil and demons to harm others. A person targeted might be protected by grace and prayer; however, the person enacting the curse will suffer for his sin. We invoke God’s blessings to counteract curses. Just as a person might curse another; objects might also be cursed as through Satanism, witchcraft or other false religion. These objects need to be destroyed.

  6. Can I still be a Catholic if I am not sure homosexuality is a sin and definitely do not believe gay people go to hell?

    FATHER JOE: Actually, the homosexual disorientation is not a sin. The Church’s issue is that sexual expression is reserved to marriage and that is defined as a covenant between a man and a woman. As for going to hell, only God judges souls. Not only should you remain a Catholic, but you should work for justice and charity toward all. God bless!

  7. Dear Father Joe,
    Thank you so much for your last answer. I am doing better but I have a question? Is profanity a mortal sin? For example a song was playing and I sang the lyrics that were sexual/profane. Is this a mortal sin if you are not saying it to another person or have no intent of harming/doing sexual things? Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: Profanity (depending upon the words and our intention) can be venial or mortal. We should seek to avoid all sin. The coarsening of language and vulgar entertainment is not something we should passively support. It needs to be challenged. Such corruption damages our society and harms the moral and spiritual life of persons.

  8. Hi again, Father Joe. I have a question about near occasion of sin. Today, I was watching YouTube videos and I was worried that the video I was watching would contain porn. The video I was watching was nothing porn related. I suspected there was porn and I am always suspicious about it. I don’t know why I suspected there was porn. I always am conscious of the videos I watch becuause I’d rather not sin. If there was porn I would changed the video to something appropriate. Did I sin?

    FATHER JOE: I do not believe so.

  9. Thank you for your answer on pride with the idea that there is both good and bad pride. That is helpful. God Bless, Lauren

  10. Hello Father, I have a question about mortal sin. Lets say someone knows something is mortal sin later that day they do that mortal sin but it is not premeditated. Must that person premeditate on it to become mortal sin or is it automatically mortal sin once they heard about it? I heard that mortal sin is a seriously immoral and it’s a deliberate rejection of God. But what happens if the person does it without thinking and are not like “Nah, ima do it anyway even though I know it’s seriously immoral, evil, and a rejection of God.” I’m very confused about the full knowledge part of the three conditions because I’ve heard some people say that you must know it’s a sin and must actually premeditate on it. I’m not so sure about that, can you please help?


    Mortal sin must be a serious matter, the person must be aware that it is grievously wrong and it must be willed (with sufficient freedom). If you consider these points, then you can figure out each scenario for yourself.

    Premeditation for mortal sin is in itself grievously wrong. For instance, you know that Fred walks everyday by the old oak tree. You hate Fred and decide that today when he comes by the tree you are going to kill him with a big stick. You wait for him but he went on a holiday and did not show up. You subsequently realize that it was a stupid idea and you give it up. Are you guilty of the mortal sin even though the opportunity did not arise? The answer is YES. Had Fred showed up he would now be dead… or at least have a lot of bumps on his head from the big stick. Mortal sins of violence, lust, greed, etc. begin in the heart and mind.

  11. Hi, Father. I’m 13 and afraid that I committed blasphemy, today while I was praying and I had a thought about Jesus’ name with a particular curse word after it. I don’t know if it was intentional or not but I certainly would not like to have it again. I never meant what I said. Can blasphemy even be committed in your mind? Or is it only in your head? I’m worried that I mortally sinned by having that thought and especially because I cannot go to confession because my parents won’t drive me. My Dad is an atheist and my Mom is Catholic but doesn’t believe in confession. I have begged them to go but won’t take me and on rare occasions they ask me what did that was classified as mortal sin. I am not comfortable sharing what I did. Please don’t think my parents are bad parents or think my Mom is a bad Catholic. My parents are the best parents I could ever ask for and I am very thankful that God gave me to them. Can you please help?


    Your parents may be supportive and caring, but they are not good Catholic parents. We do not have the liberty to pick and choose which sacraments we like and those we dislike. It is important for you to have access to a confessor. Failing to make this possible is a fundamental failure for any Catholic parent. The problem is a lack of true faith. If they believed and wanted you to go to heaven, they would not delay in taking you to a priest.

    This matter of parenting aside, you cannot commit an unintentional sin. We have many thoughts that pass through our heads that we cannot control and for which we are not culpable. Thinking that such were a sin would be classified as scrupulosity. However, remember that confession is valuable even if all you have are venial sins on your soul.

    God bless you and your family.

  12. What would the effects of holy water be if sprinkled where evil thrives the most

    FATHER JOE: The use of holy water is not magic. I am not sure what you mean as to “where evil thrives the most.” As far as I know, in this world that place is found in certain human hearts.

  13. Dear Father Jenkins,

    I’d like to know if disobedience to parents is a mortal sin. Let’s say someone’s parents tells them not to do something and they do it anyway. Would that be a mortal sin? Or does it depend on what they are doing and what the parents told them not to do?

    FATHER JOE: Disobedience is a sin but the gravity varies with the particular matter. It may be mortal or venial.

  14. Hi,

    I am a non-catholic (Taoist) and my partner is a catholic. We are recently in talks of getting married and the topic of infant baptism came up. He is very insistent on baptising our future children at birth. And of course I am against this. My view is that I will want to bring up our children in future with no restrictions to religion, they should be free to explore any religion they wish (even not having a religion). And as an infant, no child is able to make that kind of decision. It is not fair for the parents to make such a decision on behalf of the kids. Further, he hasn’t been going to the church regularly, I do not see how he is able to ensure the children practice the religion dutifully after baptism.
    I was willing to compromise by allowing the children to be baptist & to go to Sunday churches/classes, on the condition that I can still bring them to temples & for them to pray to my deities & to make offerings. However, my other half does not agree.
    I would like to understand from the Catholic point of view the following;
    – Why is it important for infants to be baptist?
    – What would be the drawback if infants are not baptist?
    – Can catholic infants not be baptist?
    – Can a baptist infant continue to be exposed to other religion & to practice them?

    Thank you.


    A Catholic must get a dispensation to marry a non-Christian. He or she must promise to do everything possible to have any children baptized and raised in the faith. The non-Catholic must be aware of this promise and be willing to cooperate. Since this is not negotiable, then it is highly doubtful that the two of you can get married in the Church. It would be best to break off the relationship. As for your partner, he should not love you so much that he would be willing to love his children so little.

    It is not fair that a child might be deprived of eternal life and heaven. A Catholic parent willing to allow his children to remain unbaptized is failing to love them as he or she should. Baptism is the beginning of a process of grace and religious formation. The Catholic parent is obliged to educate the children in the faith, having them receive first penance, first Communion and confirmation. He or she must pray with and for them, facilitating a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. It might not sound fair, but Mother Church loves her children and wills that none should be lost. Again, a failure in this regard would be a failure to love.

    As for dual worship, the Church would agree with your partner. There can be no compromise with non-Christian belief. Indeed, it is regarded as mortal sins— religious indifferentism and idolatry. The early Christians regarded “false gods” as posturing demons or devils.

    Baptism is the manner of incorporation into the saving community of the Church that was commanded by Jesus Christ. Children are baptized in light of the faith of parents with the understanding that this faith will be nurtured (in the hope) that they will make it their own after the age of reason. While we are optimistic that unbaptized infants who die would be saved, there has been a difference of theological opinion about the matter. Until recently many theorized a place of natural happiness called limbo. St. Augustine thought they might actually go to hell. However, even if some positive provision should be made to spare them (as God is a sovereign arbiter); parents that fail in this obligation will face the full weight of divine judgment.

  15. Dear, Father Joe.

    Hello, today I was praying and I’m afraid that mabye I cursed God. I tried to hold the thought back but it just slipped out and I said a curse word at God. I didn’t mean to curse Him. I’m scared that I’m in mortal sin. Did I sin?

    FATHER JOE: This seems to be more a matter of mental disease than vice. Do you have Tourette’s syndrome? You may want to make an appointment with a medical professional to explore as to whether you have the Coprolalia.

  16. Hi Fr Joe,
    I know there are times when I am prideful, but where is the line between self-confidence and pride? How can one take pride in some quality or ability they possess while at the same time remain humble and have humility? I feel like there is some grey area for me knowing when my thoughts, words, or actions have crossed the line into being prideful.
    Thank you,


    We often use the same word for what are actually different qualities. Pride is just such an instance.

    Good Pride – It is not wrong to be happy with a talent we have mastered or an accomplishment which we have done well. Satisfaction is an emotional reinforcement for working hard at doing something— especially when we have done the best we could. A positive pride recognizes those who helped us along the way. Most importantly, it gives thanks and praise to God upon whom we are dependent as the source of our talents. This form of pride embraces the truth. This type of pride fosters self-confidence and/or self-worth. When one can see and take pleasure from the positive fruits of one’s labors, it affirms good work habits, determination and assertiveness.

    Bad Pride – It is wrong to be self-centered or boastful, raising ourselves up by demeaning others. It signifies a type of self-absorption. A negative pride belittles the assistance given by others. Most tragically, it excludes God from the equation, as if he had no part in our successes. This form of pride buys into lies or deception. As with all sins, it not only wounds the person but also all of his or her relationships. Where good pride builds functional social relationships; bad pride brings alienation and division. One might even sit back and expect accolades for the work of others which has been wrongly appropriated.

  17. Dear Fr. Joe,

    I have a follow up question, what is your opinion on David Daleiden, who created a Biotech front group, named “Biomax Procurement Services” for the purpose of infiltrating prominent officials of Planned Parenthood for the purpose of having them reveal their operations and actions of selling aborted baby parts. He concealed his identity to create a sense of trust amongst the child murderers and ask them how much do aborted parts cost. What do you think of police undercover operations that created concealed identities in order to enter and later ruin the operations of criminals? The comedian Sacha Baron Cohen poses as a myriad of colorful personalities and acts intentionally provocative in order to reveal the hidden biases of others. In WWII Pope Pius XII had an army of spies and informants spying on the 3rd Reich’s operations, you can read more in the book “Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler” by Mark Riebling. Can all of these actions be justified under the doctrine of “Wide Mental Reservation” or are they all immoral forms of lying?

    With all due Respect,

    FATHER JOE: Sorry but I am not familiar with David Daleiden and what he is doing. I cannot say that I really know anything about Sacha Baron Cohen either. I am aware that the Church engaged in clandestine operations during the Second World War and the subsequent occupation of Italy. While I can speak in generalities, you would have to ask a Catholic moral ethicist as to what is or is not permissible during war time.

  18. Dear Father Joe,

    Hello, I have a series of questions about mortal sin so here we go:

    1) One time my brother and I got into a fight. He started insulting me and started insulting him but it wasn’t verbally it was more of in my mind because I didn’t want him to hurt him. But I said insults about him in my mind Did I mortally sin? Is it even a mortal sin to insult someone? I’m concerned about this because I heard about Matthew 5:22.

    2) One time, I was depressive (don’t worry not anymore) and I had a thought about committing suicide, and I said I was going to do it. But I never did it or planned on how I would kill myself. Even though I said it at the moment I knew that I would NEVER do it anyway because life is a gift from GOD even though sometimes it may be depressing. Did I sin?

    3) Another time, I was in the bathroom and I had a thought about suicide. So I reached for the scissors on the shelf and just held it in front of myself and looked at it, Even though I said suicide I meant self harm and that was my invison of it. More of cutting myself and bleeding than dying. I didn’t know self harm was a sin then and did I sin since I said suicide?


    1.) You are not culpable for feelings; however, you are responsible for self-control. The sin may often be venial, but even hidden hatred can turn to derision and violence. It can become serious sin, even if it remains bottled up. It is a sin because we are called to love each other.

    2.) Depression is often regarded as “anger turned in upon itself.” Some are depressed because of difficult situations or because of a medical imbalance. Again, there is a difference between sin and feelings. You cannot be held accountable for matters beyond your control. This is not the same as the sin of despair where the gift of life is thrown back into the face of God. If there were a partial resolution to commit suicide, then there was probably at least a venial sin. However, it can be mortal, mitigating factors for suicide aside.

    3.) The urge to commit self-harm is also condemned under the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” While the matter is serious, the gravity can be mitigated by mental disease.

    If you have thoughts of suicide and self-harm, you need to seek counseling from a psychiatric professional.

  19. Hello, father,

    Today I saw by chance a video in which the person, a pastor, also an exorcist, spoke about characters from ancient mythologies.

    He presented a poster of Thor movie, a famous and much-loved character from an established movie franchise. I know him as a deity of the Vikings, but little else(as do most viewers of this movie).

    Both Thor and Loki appeared on screen. The pastor said:”These are both demons, and I personally encountered them” .

    This raised some questions: 1. Are gods worshipped by certain civilizations actually demons?

    What about mythical heroes, such as Hercules(they made a TV series on him, and two movies recently)?

    2. If so, does it mean there really exists a demon known and worshipped as “Thor” by Nordic people, the Vikings?

    3.Do filmmakers know all this and try to deceive us by presenting that god/demon as a good-looking hero, who fights for justice, or are they just thinking to present a good story and that is it?

    I apologize for asking too many questions here, but as chance has it, I really enjoyed that movie, although I was not a big fan..

    Thank you for taking your time to read this and for everything you do for people here!


    While you did not specify, I suspect that the exorcist was not a priest. It is my experience that most non-Catholic pastors in this work are either charlatans or else they confuse mental illness with spiritual attack. The Marvel characters are based on ancient myths but are essentially fiction. If any genuine devils identified themselves as such, I would think they were playing with the ignorance and biases of the minister. Remember, demons are liars.

    The early Church regarded pagan deities as demons.

    Roman and Greek myths, including fanciful movies or television shows about them, are not to be taken seriously. There is no false worship, just entertainment.

    Demons do not have names as we have names. A true label would reflect both its angelic and fallen nature. Remember they have no bodies. They might associate themselves with idols but they are not made of stone or wood. There are ancient names given to demons, but as with the angels, the names often have a deeper meaning. Further, certain demons describe themselves by the sins they most seek to generate. Consequently, a demon might identify itself as one of the deadly sins: PRIDE, GREED, LUST, ENVY, GLUTTONY, WRATH or SLOTH. I recall one demon called itself SPITE. The principal devil has many names but chief among them is LUCIFER. He is the false LIGHT that would distract us from the Lord who is the Light of the World.

  20. Dear Fr. Joe,

    I am a political activist and I am trying to see what tactics I can use that would still be consider moral under catholic teaching. What I seek to accomplish may appear quite odd and perhaps even sinister to many who are not acquainted with the nature of politics. Nonetheless, I simply wish to spread views that support Catholic social teaching and to make enemies of the faith look bad through the manipulation of public opinion and perspective. The most effective way to do this is a duel tactic involving evangelizing those who have a chance to convert and to make the enemy look bad through the usage of sock puppet accounts and Astroturfing. What I wish to ask is if Online Sock Puppetry, Astroturfing, False Flagging, and overall Psychological Operations and Covert Actions are sinful. Sock Puppetry is when I make an alternative account online that either spreads my views or is a strawman of my ideological opponents without people knowing it is me using this alternative account. Astroturfing is when I pay people to protest or support me in a way to make it appear my belief system is more popular than it actually is without them knowing they are paid protesters. False flagging is if an operation or action is done in which observers blame someone who didn’t do it because the action implied that it came from them, most often an outright verbal lie is never told as people assume who the perpetrator is (Imagine someone drawing a swastika on a Synagogue and people assume a Nazi drew it instead of another person attempting to get attention and sympathy for Jews there). For all of these I know they appear bad and deceptive, but why I am asking you this is due to the fact that I never see the Church ever condemn these actions, especially if they are done by many corporations and government intelligence agencies. A person told me that though misleading, these actions are not intrinsically the same as the sin of lying as many of them can be pulled off without necessarily telling someone a falsehood but simply through concealment it leads people to incorrect conclusions in matters not critical to the faith.

    With all Due Respect,


    Wikipedia definitions:

    “Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants.”

    “A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person.”

    First of all, any who would be political activists should do so under their own names and not under any form of alias. Second, we do not need pro-faith vigilantes (with secret identities) distorting or manipulating messages within the public forum.. The first might be criticized as a capitulation to fear. The latter lacks transparency and does a disservice to the truth. The manipulation of persons is from the evil one. The Gospel of Christ and our values must be witnessed in the light of day. Yes, that makes one an easy target for the enemies of the Church. But that cannot be helped. It makes a person into a genuine sign of contradiction within a non-Christian culture. Our Lord knew this and commanded us to take up our crosses and follow him. The faith is a gift freely given and it must be freely received. We transmit our holy religion and its values both through our witness and in our proclamation.

  21. Just wanted to tell anonymous who left the comment that I’m so sorry about her ordeal. God bless her.


  22. Hi father I recently asked if a catholic church mamed our lady queen of Angel’s located in Los Angeles California valid and recognized and you asked me if it was la iglesia de nuestra señora la Reina de los angeles and that its recognized is this church you mentioned same one in los Angeles California.

  23. Yes father its that church la Iglesias de nuestra señora la Reina de los angeles. When I look it up it’s Our lady queen of Angel’s catholic church it is located in los Angeles and that’s where I want to baptize my son. Thank you father for confirming that it’s a recognized church.

  24. Dear Fr. Joe,
    I read your response to Albert. I think a spouse who commits adultery owes it to their spouse to be upfront and tell them! I think it would be deceitful not to tell them. This happened to me 12 years ago when my husband had an affair and ended up with a permanent STD. This ended our physical relationship altogether, and I’ve been living a celibate life ever since. I would prefer to remain celibate than risk contracting any diseases. Luckily I had the opportunity to make a choice before it was too late. Just my 2 cents. I guess having been on the other end, I would want the protection of my health over the protection of my marriage. After all, if I had unexpectedly ended up with an STD, I would have figured things out, and my marriage would have likely been over anyways. Just my perspective. This should not be a lie that is kept from the spouse. I have forgiven my husband and we are still married but not really in a marriage. (which likely would have been the case whether he told me or not).
    Thank you,

    FATHER JOE: Generally I would agree with you. Living with the truth is morally preferable. But I have regularly left that decision with the penitent. The sacrament is to facilitate the mercy or absolution of God. I find that human beings are often less likely to forgive. Indeed, it has been my experience that more so than not, the revelation of infidelity brings an end to marriage. The investment of the Church is to preserve these unions. As a confessor concerned about many souls, I would ask if anyone else knows about the adultery? Is the person with whom the sin was committed inextricably linked to the lives of the spouses? I would ask if that person will be going public or is the affair really over? Does the accomplice have a family that might also be destroyed by revelation? My usual advice, revelation or not, is that there can be no further relationship or friendship with the accomplice in sin. I will also ask if there is any chance of pregnancy or disease transmission. If there is any potential for disease transmission than a revelation is necessary. The priest is under the sacramental seal and so his role is clear in terms of silence.

  25. Thanks again father for your time to answer my questions so thoroughly. Thank you also for the anecdote of the nun during WW2. I suppose if so our best in head situations and rely on the sacrament of confession to cleanse us of where we may have gone wrong it’s better than just leaving it up chance. Bless you.


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