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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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3,996 Responses

  1. Can a father ather give his life for the conversion of his children as Jesus did for us by giving up.dialysis. thank you

    FATHER JOE: No, self-sacrifice does not work that way. Children would probably prefer to keep their father for as long as possible. If one is seeking the conversion of children, then there is a need for Christian witness and prayer. Witness gives them an example of what constitutes a Christian man or woman. Prayer invokes divine grace without which conversion and faith would be impossible.

  2. We are all assigned a guardian angel at birth. Are all of the people’s angels equal? Do some do the job better than others?

    FATHER JOE: I have never thought about this question. I suppose the efficacy is the same in that they are emissaries of God’s intervention and power. They do not represent themselves. Having said this I suppose no two angels are the same. It is my view that while angels are all pure spirits, each of them constitutes its own species.

  3. Thanks Father Joe for your brilliant response concerning abortion. But did you really mean at the end to say our “culture of death” or our “culture of life?”

    FATHER JOE: I have revised it for clarity but yes I did intend to write “culture of death.” The meaning is that we must approach the current culture with courageous faith and constant prayer. Peace.

  4. Dear Fr. Joe, just a quick follow-up question to my previous questions.

    No doubt you have many years of experience trying to teach people the righteousness of the pro-life position.

    Have you gained any insights you can share as to what is the basic moral confusion some people have concerning the unborn child? How can they go on and on saying it is not really a human being until it completely exits the mother? Until then, they claim, it is “part of the woman’s body.”

    The latest shocking news from the governor of Virginia is perhaps just the beginning of the latest trend, which may be Dutch-style advocacy of euthanasia for children, or anyone else of any age, both voluntary and involuntary, for even trivial reasons. In my book, this is nothing but Nazi thinking.

    The Nazis used the term “Dasein ohne Leben” (existence without life) and even made a film advocating euthanasia. Once they had their foot in the door with those crimes, they went step by step to concentration camps and mass extermination of people.

    Honestly I do not understand these people in the USA today who are such strident pro-abortion advocates. I can understand many other human differences of opinion, but not this one. The unborn child has different DNA, it is a unique human entity, it has its own heart, lungs, brain, and so on. Of course we believe there is something called the soul as well. How can anyone in their right mind claim such an unborn child can be treated as so much garbage? I would be very interested in your view about this. What can we do to change people’s minds about this? What can we do to convince people that the woman and her doctor have a responsibility to care for this newborn human during the nine months it is developing inside the womb?

    Thanks again.


    What have I come to realize? I suppose the main insight is that debates often do little to change minds. The notion that a human being is not a person with value until after birth or until after three years outside the womb is ridiculous. It is not a rational position. Not only does it denote bad science, it is a renunciation of objective truth. The “pro-abortion” position, which is a more honest and descriptive label than the “pro-choice” alternative, finds its premise in selfishness or a profound self-absorption. The desires of the individual are highlighted to a point where the rights of others, even one’s children, no longer have weight or merit. The rights of others are stripped from many to appease a vocal and demanding few. Along with this narcissism there is also the ingredient of fear. However, it is a fear directed toward earthly goals and punishments; nothing of eternal retribution for sins against humanity is acknowledged. Where there should be guilt, there is anger against others for their so-called lack of toleration. Indeed, abortion is wrongly touted as a woman’s greatest right even though motherhood is her most sacred vocation. If you seek to make sense of the current situation, and how so-called Catholics can be lemmings for their party that targets innocent children, you will probably fail. I suspect there is a clandestine element in the mix that numbs consciences. What should be obvious is hidden or distorted. Many of the so-called deities of the ancients desired human sacrifice. I suspect that these demons in disguise have locked unto abortion as the contemporary manner of satisfying their hunger for innocent flesh. I am of the impression that the devil has pulled down a veil or cloud over the truth and human consciences so that the less faithful might be beguiled. It seems to me that the current situation is too atrocious to simply be the work of evil men and women. The great enemy’s hand is all over this.

    You are quite right, what legislators are now promoting definitely reflects Nazi thinking. Odd is it not, that the left or progressives often attack people on the right wing of politics as Nazis when the movement of Hitler was then and now a left-wing effort. But here too is more of the cloudy thinking, promoted by extremists on a ground made fertile by deception, fury and hedonism. All the mortal sins are paraded as rights, even as they despoil the dignity of persons and threaten the sanctity of life. Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and who knows what else is rushing upon our “brave new world.”

    What must we do? First, even if it falls upon deaf ears, we must continue to proclaim the truth. The sanctity of life and the dignity of human personhood are goods that should be protected by law and not made subject to political revision and renunciation. Second, while our faith as Christians rightfully informs us on such matters, we have to argue that these are not simply religious or political issues— these are legitimate human rights concerns. Third, we must be prepared for legal attacks and to remain strong against manipulation. Catholic hospitals and medical personnel are being intimidated to compromise in either doing immoral procedures or in making referrals. Fourth, we must bring the culture of death to our daily prayer, so that it might be transformed or replaced by a culture of life. This would include deliverance prayer from the demonic. Fifth, never underestimate the value of peaceful activism, such brings light to the darkness. We say rosaries outside of abortion clinics— we pray for the conversion of enemies— and we offer counseling to those grieving over bad decisions in the past.

  5. Sometimes I wonder when the world will end. Let’s assume God exists, Jesus is his son, and what the Catholic church teaches is true. Then I ask how much longer must we live in this world which seems to get more vicious and wicked every day.

    The latest Congress with so many wicked people, including it seems very aggressive pro-abortion women, sometimes makes me wonder how long this can go on? When I was growing up, I was taught and believed that America is a good country. How can I believe that now? Of course there are good people, but how can a country that is even debating virtual infanticide be considered good?

    Honestly, sometimes I wish Jesus would come today and, as he said, as a lion, and not as a lamb. I myself am a sinner, but at least I sometimes can raise my head out of the muck and realize that I have sinned. I pray Jesus would forgive me. I am just a worm, after all, as a Serbian folk song says. I can do nothing without God’s guidance.

    Is it wrong for me to wish that God would send meteors to destroy the most evil places? Sorry if this sounds like the rantings of a lunatic. Perhaps I am one. But I remember Sodom and Gomorrah. How long will God allow this evil to persist? Is it wrong for me to wish that God would intervene and let humans know that his patience is near its end? We need the fear of God to set us right.

    Perhaps he is just waiting for man to launch nuclear weapons and destroy himself? Recently Russian president Putin has made several comments about nuclear war. He seems more Christian in his outlook than our own politicians. I believe he is a genuine Orthodox Christian. Perhaps he is right about nuclear war. It may happen, and many Russians who are Christians would be martyrs. But we will have martyrs also. I wonder, in that case, whether the Russians or the Americans will have a higher percentage of believers who will enter God’s kingdom.

    God bless you Father Joe.

  6. Hello Fr, I had a fallout with two of my roommates, I angrily said to one of them that she is a rude person. We were having an argument about leaving the light on cos one of them just switched off the lights without excusing herself , and when I complained she became furious. I apologized to the person I called rude, and she shunned me which made me feel humiliated. The other person I saw her the next day almost tripping on the staircase and I told her sorry for injuring herself but she made no response. I greeted my roommates on one occasion and I didn’t hear her respond.
    I know that generally I keep grudges, but I apologized cos I had gone to confession and wouldn’t want to receive Jesus with grudges in my mind. I don’t want to be friends anymore with the girl I called rude cos since that day, she has isolated me and the isolation has caused me to suffer emotionally.
    My question is, should I continue to reach out to the second girl? I don’t want to cos of pride sake but I’m scared that God will judge me for not making more effort to talk to her. Please what do you think of this situation? I don’t want to have anything to do with both girls as I want to mind my business and stay on my own but it’s giving me concern. Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: Sorry, but it is not my place to micromanage people’s lives. You will have to decided as to how to proceed. Christian values would move us toward civility, reconciliation and peace with others. Hope it works out.

  7. Hello,

    I have been struggling to determine what is and what is not mortal sin. I know that for something to be a mortal sin there has to be grave matter, full knowledge and full consent of the will. My issue is that I do not understand exactly what the full knowledge aspect means. Does it means that I know something feels wrong and I do it anyway? Or does it mean that I have to know that this thing I am doing is a sin of grave matter and I commit it anyway? I recently have remembered something that I did as a child that I now know the church teaches is of grave matter through my own research, but at the time I was doing this I honestly did not know. I just knew it felt wrong and eventually I stopped it because I came to a realization that it didn’t feel right.

    Thank you


    These days, again and again, this question comes up. As I recall, in days gone by it almost never did. It was just assumed… you did it… you wanted to do it… you knew what you were doing… it was a serious matter and a big sin… and you did it anyway. No questions asked— you committed a mortal sin— and Saturday would find you in confession— end of story. I suspect that some people, not necessarily you, are trying to find an escape clause or excuse for what they are doing or at least something to ease the conscience. It may also signify poor childhood catechesis.

    The sins of small children are generally regarded as venial. Sins after confirmation by juveniles are more pressing matters. If you did something that you “honestly did not know” was wrong then you have answered your own question. You cannot accidentally commit sin. You have to be aware or have knowledge that something is wrong or forbidden. You admit that you did not. Subsequent revelations or knowledge play no part in this.

  8. Father Joe,
    I’m seriously thinking about becoming a Catholic but my question really concerns my wife rather than myself. My wife has late stage dementia and no longer has reasoning capabilities. Many years ago as a young teenager she was baptised at a Pentecostal oneness Church which means her baptism was not trinitarian and therefore invalid. Since then we have both been committed Christians in trinitarian Protestant churches. What happens to her if I become a Catholic? Since she is like a child can she be baptised into the Catholic Church as a child would be?

    Thank you for your help.

    FATHER JOE: Her participation with you at trinitarian Protestant churches is evidence of a change of allegiance to an orthodox understanding of God. If her reasoning is seriously incapacitated, then yes, the priest can assume that she would want to be properly baptized. There is a similar process when people are initiated on their deathbeds; but I would urge you not to wait that long. Contact a local parish and see what help they can give you so that you might become a Catholic and receive the sacraments. I do not know where you are or how old you both may be, but please let me know what happens. I will help you any way I can. Recently I lost a dear friend who suffered for many years from alzheimer’s. Her husband courageously and selflessly cared for her. It was a wonderful witness of fidelity and faith.

  9. Hi Father-
    Lately I’ve been attending Eucharistic Adoration more frequently as our church recently began a monthly day for it. This is a relatively new practice for me, so I have a few questions about it. First, when the priest holds the “monstrance” (I think it’s called), why does he place the cloth of his vestment over his hand when lifting or moving it? Also, when sitting in Eucharistic Adoration, if you are alone in the church with the blessed sacrament, is it appropriate to pray aloud? (Like the rosary or petition type prayers talking to God?). If I am alone and needed to leave for some reason (i.e need to use the restroom, etc), would it be forbidden to leave the blessed sacrament alone even if for a minute or two? And, should you only sit in front of the Eucharist free of mortal sin or is it ok to be in a state of sin while in adoration? If the priest is present In a pew during adoration, would it be an ok time to ask him to hear a confession? Lastly, is there a difference between praying in front of the tabernacle and praying in front of the exposed Eucharist? Sorry so many questions, but thanks for your help.


    The long piece of cloth is actually called a humeral veil and it goes over the cope. The priest uses it during the blessing of the people with the monstrance or ostensorium. While it is certainly viewed as a special act of reverence, it is also somewhat misunderstood. Given traditional lay piety, especially before Communion in the hand, we might suppose it has something to do with unworthiness to handle or touch the monstrance and host. However, given that deacons and priests remove and repose the sacrament from the tabernacle and that priests consecrate the host in their hands, this answer does not suffice. The humeral veil provides another level of physical separation from the host in the monstrance. Given that the risen Christ is substantially and really present in the Blessed Sacrament; the emphasis here with the veil is that the blessing comes not from the priest or deacon, but directly from the Eucharistic Christ. The action belongs to the Lord.

    A group might pray aloud together in church during adoration (as long as this is approved by the priest or deacon. Such prayers include the rosary and the Divine Mercy novena. Individuals should pray silently so as not to distract others. Since Eucharistic Adoration has been raised from a devotional act to a recognized liturgical one, there are certain practices discouraged by the Church. The practice of moving around the church doing the Stations of the Cross during Eucharistic Adoration is formally forbidden as it detracts from the monstrance and host. The Mass may not be celebrated while the host is exposed.

    There should be at least two or three people before the Blessed Sacrament so that if one must leave someone else would be present. The exposed host should never be abandoned in the church. There are modern tabernacles with host windows that allow a solitary worshipper to close the window doors before the host when leaving. This cannot be done with the traditional monstrance.

    One may sit or kneel and pray before the sacrament regardless of his or her spiritual state. Often a priest will hear confessions during Eucharistic Adoration. Remember, however, that if one is in obstinate mortal sin, you will not be able to benefit from the many graces of the sacrament. You want to be in true friendship with our Eucharistic Lord.

    Eucharistic Adoration with the monstrance is as I said part of a recognized liturgy of the Church. The hosts reserved in the tabernacle are honored with a vigil light but the setting is not part of a ritual. However, one may make a Holy Hour before the hidden Eucharist.

  10. Father, thank you for your answer. My friend does not know that I am against Plan B, and I did not make any effort to convince her not to use it when she told me she was picking it up. Do I need to go to Confession before receiving Communion?

    FATHER JOE: Remember, you can do wrong accidentally but you cannot mistakenly sin. One must know that he or she is doing wrong to commit sin. Talk about this with your confessor or spiritual director the next time you see him. I am too remote in this public forum to help you in this case. All I can say is that believers should do all they can to preserve innocent human life.

  11. Father, one of my friends told me that she was going to pick up Plan B and I did not try to talk her out of it. Did I commit a mortal sin?

    FATHER JOE: Does your friend already know how you feel? Plan B Contraceptives are by definition abortifacient. Lacking details I cannot speak of the gravity, however I would say that your silence constituted the sin of omission.

  12. Can you explain this?


    HOUSTON (AP) — The cardinal who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops allowed a priest to celebrate Mass the same day his name was among those released on a list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse.

    Cardinal Daniel DiNardo told the Rev. John T. Keller on Wednesday evening that he would be placed on administrative leave the next day, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said in a statement Friday.

    DiNardo allowed Keller to lead the 9 a.m. Thursday Mass at his parish, the statement said, because Keller “was already scheduled to celebrate” it.

    FATHER JOE: Not sure what to think. I had not followed the story. If the priest was credibly accused, then why was he allowed to continue in ministry? You would think churchmen had learned their lesson by now.

  13. Father Joe,
    I must warn you in advance that this email is long, and I want to thank you in advance if you take the time to read the whole thing. I am a currently non-practicing Catholic who was raised in a devout family and excelled as a student in Catholic schools my entire life. For personal and doctrinal reasons, I stopped attending Mass in college. I was rebellious and freethinking, and decided Catholicism wasn’t for me.
    I have my reasons, which I will explain. On issues such as how the Vatican has handled the massive global child sex abuse scandal (and the many millions of dollars of the faithful diverted by the bishops to settle them, which directly led to the closure of dozens of Catholic schools in my archdiocese including two I attended); marriage equality under the law (I don’t agree with same sex marriage on a moral level, but Christian marriage and equal rights for adults under the law are two separate things); and opposing birth control even for married couples (I am married with two children and decided to have a vasectomy after my second child), I don’t see eye to eye with the church hierarchy on a wide range of matters.
    I have been estranged from the Church most of my adult life, but part of me always has been and always will be Catholic. I am a family man, and I want to raise my children with the same moral compass that my parents gave me. My children have not been baptized but they attend a Catholic school (my daughter is in pre-K and my son in Kindergarten). I am a firm believer in Catholic education, since my dad was a Catholic school teacher. My wife was raised Pentecostal, and she doesn’t think highly of the Church. My stance, however, has softened quite a bit. I want to return to the Church and get my children baptized.
    Father, I’m not yet ready to reconcile all my personal differences with the Vatican, but I want to return to the Faith and raise my children in it. Is there room in the church for “lapse heretics” like me? Furthermore, I don’t know where to begin on convincing my wife to let me baptize the children. Any insight you could give me is appreciated. God Bless.

    Chris H.
    Taneytown, MD


    Many of us, even those who count themselves very orthodox, are upset about the global abuse scandal and how the bishops have mishandled matters. Anger or disgust about this is quite understandable. There is no need to rethink this, just your response to it.

    The Marriage Matters campaign is often misunderstood. The Church’s focus was that we wanted to preserve the definition of marriage as a bond between a man and woman. This would not necessarily exclude the legal recognition of civil unions. However, it might be said that “no fault” divorces had already redefined, to some extent the definition of marriage, at least as a permanent union lasting until the death of one of the parties. We recognize that upon this issue not everyone will be in an agreement, especially in such a pluralistic society. Further, everyone, even those with what the Church calls a sexual “disorientation” need to be treated with the respect due to persons and the value of human freedom.

    Catholics are called to respect the Church’s authority to teach about such matters as sexual union and fecundity, even though they may struggle or find it difficult to realize these values in their families. The marital union is ideally understood as that intimate union of spouses that fosters fidelity and is that type of human act open to the generation of new human life. Yes, the Church does indeed oppose artificial birth control, and not for capricious reasons; however, even the late St. Pope John Paul II urged a special compassion from confessors to married couples who personally struggle with this teaching. He would not want it to be the wedge that drove people away from the Church.

    Given that your wife is Pentecostal, perhaps you could find a Catholic church with members of the Charismatic renewal. They pray in ways similar to the Pentecostals and even speak in tongues. However, they are also dedicated to the Mass and sacraments. We view baptism (in the Trinity and not just the name of Jesus) as a spiritual rebirth in Christ. It is the doorway to the other sacraments. Children are formed in the faith, given first penance and first Holy Communion. As a loving father you want your children to have the sacraments. When they are older, youth are confirmed— receiving a more firm share in the Holy Spirit. I would suggest trying to alert your wife to ways in which the Spirit of God is manifested in Catholicism. She may find some of these elements attractive. I would urge you not to despair in coming home to the Church. I will keep you in prayer.

  14. Hello Father Joe,

    What would you say the key messages are in the story of Ruth and Naomi?
    It has been suggested to me to be an appropriate story to support the vision of a Christian school which has a strong sense of community spirit.
    I’m finding it hard to get the link…. I was thinking Psalm 133:1 would be easier for 4-11 year old to understand….

    Thank you!

    FATHER JOE: Not sure I see it.

    “But Ruth said, ‘Do not press me to go back and abandon you! Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there be buried. May the LORD do thus to me, and more, if even death separates me from you!'” (Ruth 1:16-17)

  15. what kind of bachelors degree is required to become a priest?


    The priest studies four years to get a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

    He may go on for a master’s (a fifth year).

    He then goes on to graduate work in theology. That is another four years. He may even go a fifth year.

    It takes between eight to ten years of schooling after high school to be a priest.

    Some programs add a pastoral year, too.

  16. Hi Father,
    Have you read A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare? I have to perform a scene from it with classmates for my class. Is it a sin for me to do this since that play can be thought of as sexual and there are fairies and witchcraft in it (I haven’t actually read it yet, so I’m not sure how it is and I’m not even sure if there is sex in it but there may be implied sex?, but maybe you have read it)? Also, our scene has two men and two women but our group has three girls and one boy so one of us will have to pretend to be a boy. Is that okay? Thanks for your input!

    FATHER JOE: Yes, I have read it. Do the scene and enjoy the classics.

  17. I am a Protestant but I am wondering about ex opere operato. Do Catholics think that the grace received is from the physical object (eucharist, baptism ect.) or the obedience involved in the act or both? I cannot tell from reading your literature. Thank you for your time.


    Our Lord instituted the sacraments. Each sacrament requires the proper intention as well as the proper matter and form. While God’s grace cannot be locked with the sacraments, these divine mysteries are conduits for certain important graces. It is always understood that the proper source of these graces is almighty God. The action of a sacrament is not magic. A sacramental should not be viewed as a talisman or charm. Ministers are God’s instruments, even if morally unworthy. Recipients must be properly and spiritually disposed.

    The axiom “Ex opere operato” means “from the work worked.” The sacraments all derive their power or efficacy from the redemptive work of Christ. Jesus institutes the sacraments as instruments of grace. Both sacraments and grace are viewed as divine gifts. Christ might work through human beings, as he does through ministers who participate in his priesthood; however, it is always understood that apart from Christ we are powerless to save ourselves.

    The formula does not mean that the sacraments can work automatically apart from the faith of the recipient. It is precisely as people of faith, trusting in the promises of Christ and divine power, that we trust that the sacraments do what they are supposed to do. The sacraments confer grace when the sign is validly effected. The recipient must be properly disposed but the grace is not the result of his activity. Again this means that the reception of grace through the sacraments is not automatic.

    This conversation requires familiarity with another Catholic dictum, “Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur.” It is translated as “Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the recipient.” For instance, a faithful communicant receiving the consecrated host would receive grace. However, the reception of the host by a cat would do absolutely nothing for the creature. Who we are is crucial. Indeed, even the believer must be spiritually or morally disposed to receive the fruits from the graces of the sacrament. Further, if a person were to receive the Eucharist while in mortal sin, he would commit the sin of sacrilege. Unless there is forgiveness of sin or absolution, a person in mortal sin cannot receive grace no matter how good a work might be. Imagine grace like water. A person properly disposed is like an upright glass. A person in mortal sin has turned the glass upside down. No amount of pouring will put even a drop of water (grace) into the glass.

    As an aside, targeting the ministers of the sacrament, the Anglican Church is formally judged as having lost apostolic succession and holy orders. If such is the case, their priests might resemble and act just like Catholic clergy— however, they would not be true priests and there would be no substantial transformation of the bread and wine into the “real presence” of the risen Christ in his Eucharist. (This determination from the Catholic Church is now somewhat in doubt given the participation of Old Catholics, Orthodox in Anglican ordinations and the presence of renegade Catholic priests.) But the point is still valid— no priest, no Eucharist, and no graces of the sacrament. Other sacraments, like baptism, do not absolutely depend upon the status or formation of the minister. In an emergency anyone can baptize (as long as he or she has the intention of the Church). Further, the effects of baptism and the distribution of sanctifying grace are applied even when an infant receives the sacrament of initiation. However, here the desire and faith of the parents or family suffices. An adult candidate must be personally disposed and willing to receive the grace of the sacrament of baptism.

    Note that the efficacy of the sacrament (as with the Mass) does not depend upon the moral standing of the priest or minister. Thus, even a priest in mortal sin can celebrate the Mass and absolve the sins of others. However, those who receive the sacraments must be properly disposed to receive the grace and spiritual fruits of the sacraments.

  18. I am on Facebook and have been online chatting with a man I’ve never met he tells me he loves me and wants to marry me. I have been wanting live in my life for a long time and I am falling i
    n love with him. Do you believe that is possible


  19. I have seen 3rd class re lm ics for sale on Amazon? Is it permissible to sell relics of anh class? Would it therefore be wrong to purchase one?

    FATHER JOE: Relics should not be sold. Generally they should not be bought either but some do so to prevent profanation. Some try to get around the rule by selling the reliquary but technically not the relic… a loophole?

  20. Hello Father, I have a question regarding sexual arousal.Sorry i just can’t easily find the answer. I know intentionally reading something for the sake of sexual arousal is sin, but I was wondering if we’re required to avoid everything we know would or could have content that causes this affect when we’re not intending it and it won’t lead to lust.

    FATHER JOE: I doubt such avoidance in our society is possible. Just do the best you can.

  21. We participated in our parish soup and bread dinner on Fridays during Lent. My wife and like Bear Creek brand potato soup, it comes in powder form. We bought a large can at SAMs and was going to make it in the church’s kitchen. One of the ruling class parishioner looked at the ingredients and saw it had chicken broth in it. He told us it was not permissible to use it. Without questioning him we took it home.

    FATHER JOE: According to current rules, the soup was permissible for Fridays of Lent.

  22. I’m 82, we have 16 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. We love seeing children attending Mass, wishing our grands and greats were attending. Don’t dismiss children from witnessing the Liturgy of the Word and Euchrist.

  23. Thanks for your last reply!!! This is such a handy resource to use when you are unsure of things. God sent me here! I got another question. I get a bit scrupulous when praying because I feel like there needs to be absolutely no sounds or anything. It’s to the point where I’m at school and I feel the need to pray so I close my eyes and plug my ears or I ask the teacher to go the restroom so I can pray because it is quiet. Is this necessary? Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: No, it is not necessary.

  24. My adult daughter left the Church and attends a Protestant service with her non-Catholic husband and two-year-old. The child is placed in a preschool while her parents are in the service. This childcare has made it very attractive for them.

    I have not seen a similar type of childcare for small Catholic children while parents attend Mass. Is there an underlying reason? Is that an open option for pastors?


    If one’s faith is what it should be then I doubt that childcare would trump the graces of the real presence of Christ and participation in the sacrifice of Calvary re-presented in an unbloody way by the priest at Mass. The fact is that her husband does not believe it and your daughter did not believe it enough. A nice Protestant service of the Word sprinkled with song might edify Protestant believers but such a minimalism should always leave Catholics craving for more. No disrespect intended, but no Catholic should abandon the Eucharist and the Church over an issue like childcare.

    There are some Catholic parishes that offer childcare during services. Others have special glass-enclosed cry-rooms. Still others offer children’s liturgies during Mass (or at least the first half) with the little ones returning during the Offertory or Preparation of the Gifts. Churches like parents, often struggle with this issue and its effect upon liturgies and general decorum. However, most Catholic churches understand as we promote the good of large families. I am personally troubled by angry criticism of small children and crying babies, especially those who would segregate these families from our services and communities. The same tactics could be used against people with special needs. I would see this as offensive and an affront to our efforts to be inclusive with all of God’s people. I even had a parishioner complain about the distraction of having a signer for the deaf at a liturgy. Her charge was much like that which targets the children, “Can’t they go to another Mass or stick with their own?”

    I try to tell parishioners to regard crying babies like music of hope— that when we are gone from this world there will still be congregants in our pews. Peace!

    Here is an online article bound to make many people upset:

  25. Hello Father, just a quick question regarding Lent. On Friday’s, is it appropriate to eat something artificially chicken flavored? Sounds silly, but I often eat noodles that are usually side dishes, one in particular is Broccoli and Chicken flavored, though there is no actually chicken in the food. I’m probably putting too much thought into this, but thought I would ask. On a side note, are scrambled eggs okay?

    FATHER JOE: Meat juices and eggs are permitted.

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