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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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  1. Fr. Joe- What is the difference between purity and chastity? Is it the same thing? Is a sin against “purity” the same thing as a sin against “chastity”? Are we all called to “celibacy” if we’re not married?
    Thanks.

    FATHER JOE:

    There are some single people outside of holy orders and religious life that have embraced celibacy. However, while they may retain their purity, many if not most do not pledge a celibate life. Certain movements in the Church embrace temporary vows. Priests and religious make permanent promises, just as couples in marriage promise perpetual fidelity until death. Strictly speaking, a person who embraces Christian celibacy not only avoids sexual intimacy or activity, but also any flirtation, dating and/or courtship. It is more than putting forward platonic affections— one’s identity and lifestyle are tied together in celibate loving. Abstinence alone is not celibacy. Christian celibacy is always a gift given— first to God and then to neighbor. It is to love with a single heart. Primacy always remains with devotion to God in worship, praise and service.

    Married couples who share the marital act are called to be chaste, in other words, to be in right relationship with each other and the Lord. It implies faithfulness to one’s state of life. Only those who are married are entitled to genital relations (the marital act). It fosters mutual fidelity and is that type of act open to the generation of new human life.

    Chastity for single people means the avoidance of sexual relations prior to marriage. This is not celibacy because they are permitted to seek out a life-partner for marriage. Fornication and cohabitation would be sins against chastity. Again, chastity after marriage means faithfulness between the spouses. Adultery is the sin against marital chastity. Chastity is a virtue seen as in opposition to lust. It is a moderation or proper proportion in regards to passion or sexual desire.

    Purity is a word often used as interchangeable with chastity although they do differ. A person who has misbehaved in the past might inculcate the gift of chastity and amend his or her life. Purity often implies a history of perfect continence and wholesomeness. It is also employed by some writers as a synonym for virginity. However, Catholicism would define it much more widely. It means the absence of any stain or defect to the nature of a thing or action. Purity in faith means truth without error. Purity in will means placing divine providence before our own desires. Purity in morality means (as in chastity) a lack of wrongful misbehavior or sexual activity that is not our due.

  2. Dear Fr. Joe,

    I just came across an important article in the New York Times from August 2, 2018. “Pope Francis Declares Death Penalty Unacceptable in All Cases.” I did not hear anything about this on TV, including CNN, MSNBC, and Fox. Maybe they broadcast this news, but I doubt it. They are too busy discussing the usual rubbish.

    Would you agree that Jesus himself abolished the death penalty? I believe this because of the episode in the Temple where the Rabbis asked him if the stoning of a woman who was caught in the act of adultery should go ahead. Of course these Rabbis were just carrying out the instructions of the Old Testament, which mandated stoning in such a case. The fact that she was caught in the act means there was no doubt as to her guilt. The Rabbis attempted to trap Jesus because he could either say (1) go ahead and stone her, in which case he would hardly be consistent with his sermons and his example, or (2) do not stone her, in which case the Rabbis would say he was violating the Law of Moses. They thought it was a no-win situation for Jesus.

    As we know, Jesus instead said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” The Rabbis could not say they were without sin. So they walked away as did the onlookers. Hard to imagine this happening in the death chamber of an American prison.

    There have been Christians throughout the ages who have been opposed to the death penalty. This is not an exclusively modern opinion. For example, William the Conqueror abolished the death penalty in England. Unfortunately it was brought back after his own death.

    The article mentions some prominent “conservative” Catholics such as Judge Scalia. He expressed the opinion that the death penalty is not immoral. I’ve noticed that so-called “conservative” Catholics who are strongly pro-life sometimes criticize other so-called “liberal” Catholics who are what they call “pro-choice.” (No choice for the unborn child, of course.) The conservatives call them “cafeteria Catholics” because they only follow the teachings of the Church when it suits them. Birth control is another example.

    Yet these same conservatives pick and choose on this issue, because they are so much in favor of the death penalty. Apparently they are also cafeteria Catholics.

    I would be interested in your opinion on this matter. Is there now a consistent teaching from American bishops denouncing the death penalty? If not, why not?

    I wonder if the Pope has expressed an opinion on a related matter when it comes to the legal system in the USA. For example, the fact that the system is heavily weighted in favor of people with money. Or the fact that so many people, including non-violent ones, are locked away for decades, while in other developed nations the penalties can be far less. I wonder if the Pope has spoken out against the prison-for-profit gulag we have in the USA? I think it is a very immoral system, to say the least.

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Traditional Catholic morality permitted the use of the death penalty in certain extreme cases by the civil authorities. The American bishops have a long record of opposition to its execution, particularly given that legal representation was more effective for some than for others. They maintain that a disproportionate number of immigrants and minorities have suffered under capital punishment. The first publication of the universal catechism permitted it but Pope John Paul II intervened and made conditions more stringent, arguing that given other forms of juridical punishment available, the death penalty was no longer necessary. Pope Francis has rewritten it again, evidently judging that there has been a legitimate evolution or development upon the question where we now appreciate that it is incompatible with the Gospel of Life. The reason why certain conservative Catholics still maintain that the death penalty is permissible is that they feel that arguments for this change or development are inconclusive.

  3. My family is catholic and my sister will we getting married in June. She and her future husband will not be married in the Catholic Church. They attend a Christian non denominational church. They have asked us to have our daughter be a flower girl in their wedding. Is this ok?? My husband says no because it is not the Catholic Church. What is the right answer?
    If no, why? And how do I explain this without hurting my sisters feelings.
    Thanks

    FATHER JOE: A situation like this is a tough judgment call. Your husband’s convictions make sense as the marriage will not be recognized by the Church. But on the other hand, you want to keep peace in the family. There is no way to avoid hurt feelings. Other than possible scandal, there are no set rules that say you cannot be present (unless your husband is a priest or deacon). Catholic ministers cannot be present at weddings of this sort as they witness vows for the Church. Lay participation in the ceremony is more problematical.

  4. Hi, Father. I hope you can help me.

    I know what detraction is, in theory, but I have a hard time discerning what is actual detraction when confronted to it. As you know, the Catechism (in paragraph 2477) states : ”He becomes guilty… of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them”. Now, there is a sin in disclosing another’s faults, but there is another sin in listening to or reading about another’s faults.

    Lately, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about alleged clergy members’ faults (whether allegations of abuse, cover up or unchaste networks, or even the way such and such prelates have acted disrespectfully towards the celebration of Mass, or their personal traits, such as impatience, anger or dictatorial behaviors). The behaviors I hear or read about are presented by priests and lay people I regard as morally upright, so my first inclination is to tell myself that it must be okay to listen or read about such behaviors. But then I ask myself : ”Do I have an ”objectively valid reason” for doing so?

    I’m sure I would need to know if I were the superior of a priest who has acted wrongly, or if my children were going to a catechism class taught by a priest accused of abuse. But I find myself in neither of those situations.
    Is simply being Catholic a sufficient, objectively valid reason for informing myself about what is going on in the Church, or should I just avoid faithful Catholic newspapers and TV shows reporting on it?

    Thank you, Father.

    Tony

    FATHER JOE:

    Sometimes we need to know things about persons so as to better minister or to work with them. Indeed, they may actively share details about their lives. At other times we need information to protect ourselves and others. This makes possible justice.

    Detraction is a sin that is most often associated with negative elements like hatred and jealousy. It is a sharing of details that do little to further justice and much to breed scandal. The technical definition is that it is the sharing of a person’s faults with others not entitled to it so as to damage another’s reputation.

    It is wrong to take delight in the failings of others. A good question to ask ourselves is, “Do we need to know the details about this or that from a person’s life?” The follow up questions would be, “Do we really need to share this information?” and “What benefit or harm may come from the disclosure?” This is a crucial concern at present in the Church given the abuse scandal. We want transparency so as to protect young people. That is different from just wanting to know the sordid details to deride others or to entertain ourselves. Beyond the Church, the question of detraction is a serious one that should be better resolved in the entertainment media and in current national politics.

  5. Father Joe: I was married in a civil ceremony during a time when I was away from the Church. My husband was previously divorced (from a prior civil marriage). We both were not practicing our faith for years back in 2003. Today, 16 years later, we have decided to return to the Church. What do we need to do to be able to participate in the sacraments? Where do we start?

    FATHER JOE:

    Talk with your local parish priest. He will help you with the return.

    First, given that your husband is a baptized Catholic, he will need to apply for a Declaration of Nullity Because of a Lack of Canonical Form. A petition is filled out along with his baptismal certificate, a certified copy of the marriage license from the prior union and a copy of the divorce decree.

    Second, the priest and/or his parish team will assist the two of you in preparation for marriage in the Church. The prenuptial investigation is filled out, baptismal certificates are gathered and you need to make a copy of your current civil marriage license. After the declaration of nullity and sufficient formation, the priest would witness your convalidation (Christian marriage). You will need to supply two witnesses. There is no need for great pomp or a crowd of people. You make your vows before the priest and you receive the sacrament.

    Prior to the convalidation you would both go to confession. After the convalidation your standing is regularized in the Church.

  6. Dear Father Joe,

    Please help me understand God’s omniscience in relation to free will. I’ve searched all around and have yet to understand a real answer. I’ve understood that God is the God of the now and that He sees immediately all possible outcomes of your decision once you make it thus Him being all knowing, but I still can’t find a correct answer to this question.

    The question is does God know if you will choose good or evil at that exact point you will choose? For at any given point you can change your mind.

    The reason I am confused is that we attended the Healing of Families years back and the priest stated God is an all knowing God, and you have to understand that He is not constrained by time and space and He knows all outcomes of any decision you make that is why He is all knowing. There is only one thing God does not know though He is an all powerful and all knowing God. What is it? He does not know who you will choose at that exact moment you do it. For at any given point you can choose death, sin, and satan. He has to be very sure that you choose Him amidst everything in this world before He can come into your freedom.

    Thanks so much!

    FATHER JOE:

    God does not foresee all possible outcomes. God is not a foreteller. There is no prediction. Everything for God is realized. He immediately sees all of creation and every activity from the perspective of outside of time. God sustains creation and his grace moves it forward as he pleases while respecting human freedom. You are still trying to imagine divine omniscience in a temporal way. The perspective we have as finite creatures locked into a particular time and place is severely limited. All perfections are found in God— all powerful, all knowing, all loving, all good, etc. God views the entire picture at once— the entire created micro- and macro universe, from beginning to end. This makes mute any question about whether God knows what you will do at any moment— God is fully present in every moment already.

    The assertion that God does not know what moral decisions we will make or whether we will choose him or Satan is absurd. Further, human freedom is not absolute. We are limited by nature and by the situations in which we find ourselves. While we must make our own personal determinations, each of us has a role to play in helping brothers and sisters to make the right choices. God gives us each other and his grace to make the right decisions. St. Augustine spoke about this as our being predestined for glory. While divine providence cannot ultimately be thwarted, God will not force our hands. This apparent but not true determinism mysteriously makes room for secondary causality and a complementary human freedom.

    Human beings are viewed as free agents within the universal causality and providence of God. God is the origin and the goal for all that exists. Grace moves us toward unity with God. Our disposition to grace and right choices further genuine freedom. Turning away from God and sinning are abuses of human freedom.

  7. Pope Francis opens secret archives:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/pope-announces-opening-secret-archives-wartime-pontiff-pius-113535735.html

    Good for him – and thank you!

    FATHER JOE: This is a curious story because much of these archives were made available during the pontificate of St. Pope John Paul II. Archives closed for a century were opened after 50 years… mostly to verify how much Pope Pius XII and the Church did behind the scenes against Hitler so as to save or to assist the Jews. Pope Pius XII was wrongly maligned by certain sources. I suspect this is a gesture that will precede his eventual canonization.

  8. The following is an excerpt from a “Dear Abby” letter. Have you ever heard of this custom?

    Dear Abby: If your sister brings an uninvited guest to dinner every time, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Just set an extra setting as a matter of course. For many people, there is a long-held tradition of setting a place for Jesus. If someone extra shows up, they are welcomed, and that is the seat they are given.

    FATHER JOE: Such a custom has largely disappeared. It began as a gesture of monasteries and convents to treat a visitor as if he were Jesus in disguise.

  9. Father,
    My wife of 24 years has asked for a separation. This was a total shock to me. We have 3 children and our youngest will be confirmed next month. She refuses to seek counseling and has begun living a single life; removing her wedding ring and leaving the home to go out with friends and such. We are currently sharing the home, but it has been very uncomfortable for me. I want to reconcile, work through our difficulties but she does not. I don’t know what is expected of me during this time. I don’t know what the church expects me to do as I try to give her the space she requested, but still try to work on the marital concerns. I feel like she is already gone. Where do I go from here?

    FATHER JOE: It sounds to me that she has abandoned you. Might there be another man? What reason does she give for wanting a separation and divorce? Unless there are serious factors unspoken here, then I would suggest fighting the divorce. Insist upon counseling. Pray with the children that their mother will come back to her senses about her obligation to you and to them. Any path you take will probably lead you to the Cross. I will keep you all in prayer.

  10. I have committed mortal sin my wife left me 3 yrs after 3 weeks of marriage couldn’t afford divorce at the time and now I can,also would like to know i go to church every Sunday I don’t take communion until I confess my sins also I have read online I should be going to church at all or pray to God until my confession

    FATHER JOE: Unless you are a notorious sinner you may not have to go to confession every week. Your wife leaving you was her sin as that would make you the innocent or more wounded party— unless you did something that forced her out of your life. In any case, just go to confession and then participate at Mass weekly. Unless you are cohabitating with someone who is not your wife or married outside the Church, then you are generally permitted to take Holy Communion.

  11. Does attending a wake violate keeping Holy the Sabbath?

    FATHER JOE: No, unless it is devoid of prayer and faith.

  12. Fr. I have to share something…. I find it hard to believe that Cardinal George Pell did what he is accused of doing….

    FATHER JOE: I find it hard to believe as well. Many are saying that he may be entirely innocent.

  13. Thank you for the reply Father. She watches the movies and listens to the music alone usually. None of her friends take an interest in it. She’s very well adjusted in other ways, she dresses modestly and never swears even though her taste in music is explicit. She says that she likes things that are scary or otherwise dark because she just finds them fascinating. She thinks violent movies are exciting or thrilling rather than disturbing, and she thinks songs with explicit language are cool or wild. Do you think it’s a sign of emotional problems? Should try to get her help?

    FATHER JOE: Just sounds like a somewhat rebellious child to me. Have you as a family ever discussed in a sober way the negative words, messages and images in the music and movies? It is more than “thrilling,” it is derisive to human dignity. I would wonder about how this touches her sense of self-worth and her view of others? Why is real life so dull to her that she needs such shock-value in media entertainment?

  14. Hi Father Jo

    I received a decree of nullity from the Archdiocese and Catholic Tribunal in my area. It states the marriage was essentially defective because of lack of canonical form that marriage is hereby decreed to be null. I am free to marry in the Catholic Church.

    My question is…Even though I received the permission to marry in the Catholic Church. I am very concerned as to whether I will be doing the right thing to get married. Since the bible states if you divorce and marry another its adultery. I know jesus left the church in charge. I just want to make sure that I wont be committing adultery by getting married. I dont want to sin.

    What do you think?
    Thanks

    FATHER JOE: The declaration says that you were not truly married previously in the eyes of God. You cannot commit adultery if the first bond were not a valid marriage. A declaration of nullity because of a lack of canonical form is pretty much cut-and-dry. Bonds between Catholics and others outside the Church (before a civil magistrate) are neither licit nor valid. Marriages must be witnessed before a properly delegated priest or deacon in a church or approved chapel.

  15. Hello FATHER JOE,
    Tomorrow is a special day for me and alike. Tomorrow is the day of unity, pleasure and spiritual comfort, aka Mardi Gras at Australia, Sydney. It is a g*y parade and I would like to go as my sexuality fits that community better than any other. However, I do not know how to tell my friends, and how to inform my parents and god about my problems (me not being straight). Im actually convinced I am the son of satan and hence had numerous suicidal thoughts. But that is in the past, as I am strong and proud of myself, but at the same time very humble and insecure. My question: is it alright if I experience sexual attraction to boys who are fairly younger than I am? Thank you! And have the best day of your life!!!

    FATHER JOE: Forget the parade. Talk to your parents and get the help you need. The issue here is deeper than homosexuality. My impression is that you are not well and may be a danger to yourself and others. I will keep you in prayer.

  16. Father Joe, what is your view on the recent charges against Cardinal George Pell.


    FATHER JOE:
    Everything I have heard makes it hard to believe.

  17. Father, I’m a little concerned about my daughter’s interests. She’s a respectful, intelligent, good-hearted 17 year old but her interests are very dark. She watches movies that I think are extremely violent and enjoys them (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Clockwork Orange). She also listens to rap and hip hop music that have a lot of obscenities in the lyrics. I’m worried that she’s straying away from God without realizing it. She doesn’t do drugs or drink to my knowledge and she doesn’t even have a boyfriend, but her interests keep on getting darker. Right now she’s reading a novel about a teenage girl whose father is possessed by an evil spirit and molesting her. My daughter thinks stories and movies like this are fun and enjoyable. I’m very concerned.

    FATHER JOE: I received a box set of the so-called greatest movies that included Clockwork Orange. I was only able to watch a few minutes before turning it off. Yes, I would agree that I find such films disturbing and cannot really understand why anyone would want to watch them. Does she watch and listen to the questionable media alone or with others? What is it about these films that she finds “fun and enjoyable.” It seems to me that there is a need for some serious family discussions. Maybe she needs to meet a nice boy to draw her away from such negativity? You are right to be concerned.

  18. Dear Father,
    I’m a highschool student and lately I don’t feel any motivation to succeed. I just keep thinking about how our time here on earth is just a fraction of what God has in store for us, so what difference does it make if I do well in school or a get a good job? It’s just temporary and makes no difference. If there is an afterlife to look forward to then it doesn’t matter how I do here, as long as I’m a good person. It doesn’t even matter if I’m happy I guess, as long as I don’t sin. This way of looking at life is depressing me. Please help.

    FATHER JOE:

    Beware of self-absorption. It is not all about you. That is the devil’s deception. Without the Lord and his Gospel, men and women really do not know what being “good” means. Look beyond yourself.

    Saving faith in Christ must be lived out in loving obedience. Fidelity to the Lord is therefore very important. It does not ultimately matter if we be successful in everything we do. God only demands faithfulness to him and to our vocation as believers. I suspect that part of the problem you are facing is that some wrongly malign the goodness of this world and material creation in comparison to what awaits us in the life to come. While we believe that those who have died and now live with Christ in heaven will know no more suffering or pain; this world provides us an opportunity to employ our freedom in saying YES to God and sharing his love and mercy with others. It is not just about us.

    Christians should never despair because God has a plan for us. He directs us through the sources of revelation and prayer. Jesus tells his disciples to take up their crosses and to follow him. That journey begins in the here-and-now. Faith and hope will take us to heaven; but it will be charity that will open the gates and accompany us inside.

    God wants you to be happy. The gift of eternal life is not simply a prize we win at the end of life. Rather, it is pressed upon each soul as something we carry with us while we remain in a state of grace. It should give us joy that God loves us and that we are already his children. Remember that members of the Church exist in the mortal world, in purgatory and in heaven. The Church is both visible and invisible. Now we walk by faith and not by sight. This is a privileged time to exercise our freedom, not just for ourselves, but to bring the saving kerygma of Jesus to others.

    I often joke about my goal and say this: “My big ambition in life is to go to heaven and to take some of my friends and maybe a few enemies with me.” We do that by allowing our love for God to touch all who enter our lives. Jesus entered the world of men and elevated the dignity of all humanity. Most of his life is hidden to us, but we rightly presume that he was a good son and sought to make a difference in his small community. He laughed and cried. He worked and played. He praised his Father for the gift of creation and his role to redeem and “raise up” that which was fallen. We must imitate him in prizing all the gifts that God has given us.

    While some people waste their lives, what we do in this world does matter and has eternal consequences. Our relationship with Jesus begins now, not in some distant tomorrow on the other side of the veil. Yes, this may be a world of both joy and tears; but Jesus saw it as a world for which it was worth living and dying. We must imitate him. Some will be called to religious vocations. Others will be summoned to holy marriages. Married or not, all are called to lives of holiness and charity. We should all strive to leave this world a better place than how we found it. Remember that saints are not made in heaven— they are made here on earth. Now is the appointed time. Make the most of it.

  19. https://www.yahoo.com/gma/top-vatican-official-convicted-assault-104737570.html

    Will he also be laicized like McCarrik and hopefully put in jail?

    FATHER JOE: I do not know. Despite the verdict, many authorities insist that the charges are bogus. Indeed, there is a growing consensus among those unprejudiced either way that the details from the victim make no sense and that what he described is impossible. Discrepancies include the fact that it all supposedly happened in a public area, that the cleric open his vestments in a way that they do not open and that he was alone when he was always accompanied. Something may be fishy with this allegation.

  20. Hello. I was recently asked a question concerning a marital problem. After they were married it was found that his wife medically could not have intercourse. I was told his wife pleases him in other ways. Is this acceptable with the Catholic church as long as it is between husband and wife? God bless… Gary

    FATHER JOE: Why could his wife not have intercourse? If a marriage is not consummated with the act and a spouse is impotent, then their union can be annulled. Marriage requires that the couple can share the marital act (vaginal intercourse). They might opt not to do so but that is wholly different from not being able to do so. It is likely that these “other ways” would be judged by Catholic theologians as immoral if separated from the marital act.

  21. Hi Father. I’m getting married in a few months. My mother and brother have personality disorders. I have invited them both but have had no response. My parents are divorced and my father has been in and out of my life. Now the question of who will walk me down the aisle has come up. My family is pretty small and my godfather/uncle has politely declined as he does not want to upset my father who may attend the wedding (Still awaiting the rsvp). Liturgically, do I have to be escorted down the aisle? Or can I walk down alone? I have spoken to a few people about it and the general feeling is that it just ‘doesn’t look right’ but I don’t have anybody else who would feel right to walk down with me. What do you suggest? Thanks

    FATHER JOE: The role of the father or another significant man “giving away” the bride is a custom but not a Church rubric. The bride can come down the aisle alone if she wants. The couple (groom and bride) might also come into the church as part of a procession for Mass. It is up to you and your priest or deacon. Peace!

  22. Hello, what is the Catholic Church doing about the pedophilia problem amongst clergymen in the Church? I ask this not out of disrespect I assure you. But it’s quite alarming when one considers that the Catholic Church far and away shares the brunt of most accusations amongst all Christian movements.

    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: We have very strong national policies currently in place to deal with the problem. The Pope just held a synod of bishops in Rome to pursue what else might be done.

  23. Your answer to Terri on the placement of a memorial monument for aborted children. Do you or any followers have a suggested inscription?

    FATHER JOE: Not really… inscriptions vary.

  24. Hi Fr. Joe-
    When someone says to “Unite your sufferings with the sufferings of Christ”, what does that mean exactly? How does one go about doing this, and how does this help us? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: It is made possible by how our faith is realized in worship, prayer and service. You rarely hear this sentiment in Protestant circles as it reflects Catholic teaching about works and our mystical unity in Christ. Catholics are urged to enter into the paschal mystery of Jesus. The paschal mystery is understood as the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ— his saving work. It is strongly reflected in the sacraments, as in baptism: we are to die with Christ so as to rise with him. At Mass congregants are urged to see themselves in the offerings brought to the altar. They sacrifice something of themselves in their donations; however, deeper than this, they are to associate themselves with the bread and wine. Just as the bread and wine will be transformed into the body and blood of Christ, the believer should also be praying that he or she will be remade into a more perfect likeness of Christ. This self-offering promises by God’s grace transformation in Christ. Catholics are urged to especially take the negative things of life (sickness, suffering, anxiety, pain, disappointment, betrayal, loss, etc.) and offer them with the pains of Christ on his Cross. If we join ourselves to Jesus then we will be offered along with him to the heavenly Father as a perfect oblation and gift. The Father will then see something of his Son in us and give us a share in his reward. This view means that nothing is wasted. That even the troubles of life are opportunities to take up our crosses and to follow Jesus.

  25. Father Joe. On a social media page, a childhood acquaintance posted that after 25 years, he and his partner were finally married. I suspected it was a same-sex union, but I congratulated them anyway. I found out that it was indeed another guy. After some thought I’m really not happy with myself. In my heart I do not support same-sex unions, and I feel a bit like a hypocrite for having congratulated them. I guess my pride wanted me to come across as being a nice and accepting kind of guy. I also wanted my old friend to feel good. Should I try to delete my comment? Is making this type of congratulatory statement a sin?

    FATHER JOE: We should be careful about such things but few will probably see it. I not sure they can be removed. It would probably be best not to return to it as the matter might blow up in your face. It would certainly be okay to tell family and old friends that you love them and are praying for them. That avoids making a judgment. Social media is probably not the best forum for discussions or debates.

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