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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Feel free to submit a new question or concern in the comment box below.  Various topics and questions are archived here for easy retrieval.  Please be courteous.  Comments are moderated so please be patient in waiting for them to appear and for any responses.  God bless you!





4,257 Responses

  1. Hey father,
    I have a question regarding the morality of fishing. I understand Jesus did it for food and what not, but what about catch and release? Is this unnecessary harm to a fish? Would this be morally wrong to fish without the intention of eating them? Is the barb on the hook painful to them?

    FATHER JOE: Already answered.

  2. I was worried about you, Fr Joe! So glad that you are ok. From the number of questions you are now answering, others missed you too. Praying that you are feeling better. Peace

  3. Hi!
    I was just thinking about hell and the evilness of satan. It got me wondering, does the devil enjoy evil deeds? If so, how would the devil respond if someone would like… rape him or something? Would he enjoy that because it’s evil?

    I’m truly sorry about the nature of my question but i can’t really grip the nature of satan and how his unholy realm of hell really works.

    Praise Christ.

    FATHER JOE: The devil has no body to abuse. He is a pure spirit. The pains of hell are probably sufficient punishment. The devil urges sin because of hatred, not enjoyment. He has rejected God and he hates humanity. This hatred is compounded by the incarnation of Christ. Jesus raises up human nature by entering the human family and by showering us with divine grace.

  4. Hello Fr Joe! I am going in a high school of tourism and this summer I need to do practice of 182 hours in hotel and I will not get any money for doing it(I dont think that is fair). Would it be ok if I just get a stamp that I had done my practice. Instead of that I will help my parents cleaning apartments and signing guests. I know it would be some sort of lie but I really dont want to spend 6 hours a day working for free and also I dont think I will work in a hotel in the future so this practice would be useless.

    FATHER JOE: Deception is still a sin.

  5. Dearest sir,
    I wouldn’t call myself a member of a flock but I find myself loaded with questions, I do respect belief and therefore I feel that i am at an impass, understandably it’s pride talking but I don’t want to risk ruining someone’s faith, any advice would be helpful
    Sincerely Anon.E.Mouse

    FATHER JOE: I am not sure what you are talking about.

  6. What do you think of this?


    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: Why is it that a priest can be faulted for urging modesty? I would add to his admonition, that such should be the case for men and women, both at Mass and outside the church doors. Ours is not an age that has made the custody of the eyes an easy task.

  7. Is it really possible to sell your soul to the Devil?

    FATHER JOE: People sell themselves cheaply… we call it sin.

  8. Dear Father,
    I’m a saved Christian (Baptist faith) and a former combat Marine 8 years honorable discharge (OIF), and an artist. I’ve fallen into doing pornographic artwork, and am quite good at it (by that genre’s standards). Is what I’m doing wrong? I feel it is, but becoming a successful artist nowadays is not easy. I’m just trying to please my audience. I want to keep doing it for now to build my skill level up and to gain a larger audience, but if I create an illustrated version of the Bible in the near future, or do artwork depicting Christ and St. Paul, can I be redeemed in some way?

    FATHER JOE: You cannot change the past and tomorrow is uncertain. All we have is the present. Faith in Christ can sour and we can forfeit the grace of salvation. Now is the time to repent and to believe. Any other answer is from the evil one. God gave you your talent to honor him, not to corrupt yourself and others. Think and pray about it.

  9. Hello Father.
    So I’ve dating a girl few month ago in Thailand (she’s from Thailand and I’m French). We ended breaking up because she lied to me multiple times. Today I’m back in Thailand, she came back to me and I took her back without expecting much about this relationship. But I got attached (I should’ve know better). But after a fight she told me se had a boyfriend, which is true I saw texts on her phone. This young men is coming back here for the second time this year most likely to see her. I have completely forgiven her as Jesus told us to do. But I feel sorry for this young men and even though I don’t want to interfere in they relationship, I feel like I should tell him the truth about her and her wrong doings. I think men should be aware of how girls like this are, especially this thai girl stereotype. But wouldn’t it just be some kind of revenge from me if I did tell him. I really don’t want revenge, forgiveness is all I want to give. So I was wondering what I should do according to what the Lord’s taught us.
    Thank you for reading me Father.

    FATHER JOE: Do not get drawn back into her life. What she does and with whom she does it is her business. Do not get involved. Move on and let her go.

  10. Father Joe,
    I am married but i have been separated from my husband for almost three years because he left me. I tried to fix our relationship but it was impossible.
    6 months ago I got a boyfriend who loves me and cares about me, however we had sex and now he feels bad because I am still married.
    He feels confused and he feels has to choose between God and me.
    We love each other but my faith is not as strong as his.
    What should I do?
    Are we making a big mistake? I have been separated for a long time and the only reason i haven’t made it official is because my husband doesn’t allow me.
    I love my boyfriend and I don’t want him to feel bad

    FATHER JOE: What culture and/or country are we talking about. If you and your husband have been separated for three years, how is your husband stopping you from moving on? If you are Catholic then I would urge you to see a local priest. Is divorce legal where you live? Could you pursue an annulment? Given the facts you share, you are indeed still married and have committed adultery. But there may be a course for healing. Again, talk to your local priest. If you are not Catholic, see your minister. I am probably too remote to really help you.

  11. Hi Fr. Joe,
    I am just checking up on you. You haven’t posted for a while, so I got a bit concerned. I’m praying that all is well and that you’re just enjoying a break. God Bless you.

    FATHER JOE: I have been ill with pain issues. Thank you for asking.

  12. What is the rule for vacationing or going on overnight retreats with members of the opposite sex? What parameters should we set? Example: separate rooms, bathrooms, etc. What if you are on retreat and the males are separated from the females and given communal rooms and bathrooms that are being used by multiple members of the same sex at a time but there are people dealing with same sex attraction? Are they putting themselves in the near occasion of sin?

    FATHER JOE: Separate bedrooms for the two genders is advisable. Necessity sometimes requires the sharing of bathrooms (taking turns). Those suffering same-sex attraction should control themselves or opt out of such retreats.

  13. Hello Father,

    I need your advice Father, I’m a 42 years old female and I was sexually abused as a child on multiple occasions by a relative. What I remember is that I was around 4 years old when I was exposed to porn images while my abuser pleasured himself. I couldn’t understand what was happening at that moment, my parents never warned me about that sadly. You know, they may have advised me just a few times about not letting someone touch me, but that was it. So, I didn’t tell anyone about this. When I started learning about sexuality (at school by the way, because sexuality was a taboo for my family) I got scared and I tried hard to remember what exactly happened. Due to my ignorance, I was wondering if I was raped, and the idea of suicide crossed my mind. That’s when I started looking for the purpose of life and that lead me to the only true answer: God.

    I was baptized as child, so I was interesting in continuing the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation, so I did. After that I had a boyfriend, and we started sexual relationships. Time passed by and I had another boyfriend and the same thing happened.

    Even after my faults, I always dream about getting married the right way. I got legally married when I was only 18 years old with the idea of getting married through the Church latter on. I suggest it once or twice, but I stopped asking when I noticed that my partner was no longer interested. Now I thank God that never happened, because during that marriage I suffered mental and emotional abuse from him for 16 years in total. Even under that situation, I had 2 children before I got divorce.

    Then I finally met the love of my life, he was legally married with 2 children as well. When I met him, his current marriage was already broken.

    I got pregnant again and it was a really difficult situation, but abortion was never an option for me. And we had our baby, but due to that, I asked the doctor to cut my tubes so I could not get pregnant anymore.

    We been together for 10 years now, and it has not been easy at all, a lot of challenging situations (a total of 5 children and we’re poor), the only thing that has never been missing is love. I finally started psychiatry treatment and was diagnosed with General Anxiety and Depression.

    And here is when I need help, prayers and advice from you Father: for the first time ever, I’m now struggling with a high sexual drive (which it been known as a possible side effects from one of my psychiatric medication) and that leads me to porn and masturbation. I noticed that this temptation is bigger when my anxiety levels are really high. I been praying more lately and I got better. I’m worried about die before I get to clean myself, I don’t know if I would be forgiven because God knows that I’m trying and he also knows how my past and my mental conditions are affecting me. I don’t use my past as an excuse, but it’s definitely a factor.

    As a couple, we want to start the process of getting married through the church soon, so we can have God’s blessings once for all. I truly believe that after receiving the body of Christ again, I’ll be heal. Please pray for this to happens.


    No one had the right to hurt you. Did you ever tell your parents what happened? Have you ever reported the abuse to legal authorities? Is the person still alive? Do you think that he took advantage of others, too?

    I have to ask questions because there are important details missing. While the two of you were previously married, it is my presumption that you both got divorced and civilly married each other. Is this correct? Your first bond was a civil one. What is the religion of your partner? Is he baptized? Was his first bond a civil one? Your first marriage can be dissolved because of a lack of canonical form. A Catholic must be married before a deacon or priest. If your partner is a Catholic then the same would apply for him (given that he is currently divorced). However if his first marriage was in the Catholic Church then he would have to pursue a formal annulment case (records, deposition, essay, witnesses, etc.) If he is not Catholic and his first spouse was also not Catholic, then again he would have to pursue a formal annulment as our laws would not have applied to him. Once declared free to marry by the Church tribunal you could pursue marriage in the Catholic Church.

    Mental illness, past abuse and drug side-effects mitigate culpability for such sins, at least to a certain extent. Given that the current situation could be regularized with a sacramental marriage, your spouse would have a concurrent duty to assist you in regard to heightened sexual needs. The priest who would work with you would have to ascertain that any depression or anxiety would not impede your ability to fulfill the obligations of marriage.

    God bless!

  14. Dear Father,

    I have a question about the Seal of Confession. I know that the Seal pertains to a completed confession, I.e., one in which the priest has given the penitent absolution. But let me pose this hypothetical…

    A man goes into the confessional and confesses that he has stolen a large sum of money. The priest tells him he will need to return the money or make some sort of amends. The man refuses, becomes irate, and gets up and leaves the confessional. Obviously no absolution was given as the Sacrament was aborted midway. Under this circumstance in which the confession was never actually completed is the priest still bound by the Seal of Confession?

    FATHER JOE: The seal applies even if the confession is incomplete.

  15. Hi Father. I am just concerned. I’ve noticed some people chewing gum at Mass even during communion. They seem to not spit the gum out. I’m just worried that the Eucharist might be caught in the gum and eventually be spit out.

    I don’t really want to be nosy with other people but is me being silent on the matter making me an accomplice for a Canonical Delict of automatic excommunication which involves throwing away the Eucharist?

    I am scrupulous and do you have any advice as to how I go about these things because it may not be the last time I’ll encounter them. Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: You are not one to receive the censure because you did not commit an offense against the Eucharist. It is possible that the persons you mentioned swallowed or removed the gum. They really should not be chewing in church; although I knew one woman who did so because of a medical ailment. A person guilty of a grave act of contempt to the Blessed Sacrament would receive the penalty of ‘latae sententiae’ (automatic) excommunication.

  16. Dear Fr. Joe,
    As a devout Catholic, I am distraught that my husband’s possible new job opportunity would mean accepting insurance that covers elective abortion, refusing the insurance, or not accepting the job because of the insurance.His current job may not last much longer, so this may be the only opportunity to avoid unemployment. Are we sinning by taking the coverage knowing that a part of the premium goes into the abortion fund? No job or amount of money is worth offending God. Any guidance would be helpful. Thank you and God bless.

    FATHER JOE: It is my understanding that those who take necessary insurance are not guilty should the company also supply other clients with contraceptives or even abortion services. The culpability would rest with the agents who offer the insurance and benefits, particularly those in a leadership position. Just as with paying taxes, you are morally remote from many of the ways in which the funds will be used. You also have a moral obligation for yourself and family. You would sin grievously should you request immoral benefits personally.

  17. Hi Dear Friend

    First of all I should mention that nobody has ever given a satisfying answer to the questioner & I am really in despair & hopeless once this question came to mind. Religious men answer based on prejudices, & atheists do the same & reject god & soul, say man has to find a meaning for his lonely helpless life on this planet (Existantialism). Here it is:

    Man releases more than 70 millions of Sperms in an ejaculation. Usually only 1 becomes another man. It is based on men’s will to reproduce. If men give lives, then god is waiting behind the bedroom to inject souls. So it is men who decide to have sex & babies. God does not interfere. He just ensouls the bodies. If there is sth as soul, it is on men not god.
    On the other hand, if we believe there is no soul, no afterlife (like Sadduqis), I guess life is meaningless, as our Atheist friends concluded!!!! And man has to find a meaning for his misery… & so on.
    Please enlighten me on this. But please without any prejudices as long as possible!!!! I know wothout any presupposition one cannot give an answer, but please do your best.

    P.S: My name is Ali, 40, been a muslim, chr. , buddhist & an atheist before. Now a miserable wandered agnostic suffering from depression & anexiety! A polyglot. Have Studied a lot on: Psychology, Philosophy of life, Theology, Bible & Koran Critics & Studies…

    Thank you for this

    FATHER JOE: While it is true that each immortal soul is infused by God, the interaction between God and human beings is far more dynamic than you portray. God has invited us to be co-creators with him and yet it is almighty God that sustains all of creation, both spiritual and material or terrestrial. While human freedom is real, nothing falls outside of divine providence and the ultimate plan that God has for his creatures. While we as material beings know existence in time and space, and the angels exist outside these categories; God is constantly and actively creating us. If God were to forget us, even for a moment, we would cease to exist— utter annihilation. Fortunately, such is against the economy of God. Human generation is not only based on the desire of men and women to propagate but upon the desire of God to share both love and life with his creatures. God is not a voyeur waiting and watching behind bedroom doors. The notion that God does not interfere might have appealed to philosophical deists, but not to the scholastic theologians or to Christians. God gives the gift of life and personhood even to those who are born through violence and manipulation. Ideally, children should be conceived through the loving intimacy of a husband and his wife. However, given the primordial fall, we are conceived and born into a broken and wounded world. It was on this account that we needed a redeemer and find him in Christ.

  18. Dear Father,

    I am a 18 year old, about to go to college, and I just got a job being a host at a restaurant. My first shift happened to be on a Sunday. The manager says the shifts are only 2.5 hours long tops. Would it be okay for me to work on Sundays or do I need to refrain?
    Thanks Father.

    FATHER JOE: Speaking for myself, you need the job. Try to go to Mass and work hard.

  19. Dear Fr. Joe

    Is it a mortal sin to in joy another’s pain/suffering? If wishing suffering among a person is a mortal sin doesn’t that make in joying it is too?

    FATHER JOE: It is certainly a sin to take delight in another’s pain or to wish evil upon them. The subjective element makes these questions difficult to answer. What type of satisfaction delights in another’s woundedness and suffering? What exactly is the nature of the suffering? Is the person who is hurting guilty of bringing this distress upon himself or is he wholly innocent? I suspect that mortal sin is highly likely in such situations.

  20. Hi Fr. Joe,
    I grew up in a Catholic family, but we were very wishy washy Catholics I’d say. We went to Mass on occasion, maybe prayed before meals sometimes, but really never anything more than that. In college, I had a blossoming of my faith. Now, I work in a Catholic hospital, teach CCD, go on retreats, read spiritual books, pray daily, attend weekday Mass 2-3x/week, listen to inspirational music, go to confession, attend classes offered at my parish, etc, etc. I am so drawn to prayer, my relationship with God, and learning as much as I can about my faith.

    Presently, I am the only practicing Catholic in my whole family. My parents and siblings do not go to church or practice any religion. They don’t even attend church on Easter or Christmas. I’ve wondered how it came to be that I feel so drawn towards God and being in relationship with him, but my family lives without God in their lives.

    Why and I the way I am…..and why are all my family members the way they are? Is it by God’s grace that he calls us to Him? Does he call all of us equally? And, is our response to him the result of our free will only? Or, is God’s grace involved in our response too? I came from the same upbringing in my family, yet my response to God is entirely different than my siblings.

    It can be a difficult place to be in my family sometimes. I can feel misunderstood. They don’t understand the JOY that can come from living in relationship with God and living the life that He calls us to live. Often when I hear the Bible verse, “To whom much is given, much is expected”, I think of my situation. I can feel as though I’m failing in helping them all “see the light” of God’s love. I feel as though God is expecting more from me, but I hesitate to be bold and speak up to them. I wonder WHY ME?

    Why do some of us follow in faith, and others not? What does God ask of us as far as evangelization. For those who have been “given”, what does He expect from us?

    Thanks Fr. Joe,

    FATHER JOE: Why some are pious and others fall away, particularly within a family, is a mystery I cannot penetrate. I suspect the answer has to do with providence and who we are as individuals. Some seem more disposed to grace and faith than others. Living your faith fully is already the witness that God wants of you. Be at peace and keep your family in your heart and in your prayers.

  21. Fr Joe,
    My niece is my god daughter. She hasn’t been to church in years. She has children by 2 different men. She is not married in the church (although legally married) and uses artificial birth control. I’m not sure her children are baptized. (She doesn’t live near me) I know they don’t go to church. She just gave birth to her fourth child, a child she was advised not to get pregnant with because it might kill her. (artificial birth control failed) She had informed me in passing that she was going to have her tubes tied while they had her open for the C Section this time. I didn’t tell her not to because of the sin that involves.

    Am I in mortal sin? I love her but her whole situation makes me sad.

    Basically I knew she wouldn’t listen to me or care.

    This was just under a year ago, since she just delivered. I don’t know why this is just occurring to me now. I’ve been to confession many times since then and never thought to bring this up. Perhaps I need a new method of examining my conscience.


    We might sin through inaction but I cannot I see your situation as necessarily one of mortal sin.

    You probably answered your own question when you wrote that you knew “she wouldn’t listen” or “care.” You really did not know what to do that would make a difference. But you want to do something.

    Let her know that you love her and that you are praying for her and her family. This is how you can fulfill your responsibility as a relative and godparent. Love can sometimes open doors that arguments cannot.

  22. Will I be able to receive a Catholic funeral if I take my own life? I’ve been told that it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem however, I am the problem therefore the “problem” is not temporary.

    FATHER JOE: The question is not can you have a Catholic funeral if you commit suicide? The real question is can you go to heaven if you take your life? The solution to that question is between you and God. Those not in their right mind may yet be saved. However, a rejection of life is also a rejection of the author of life. That is what makes the sin objectively mortal. If you reject life in this world the you will likely reject eternal life in the next. That equates to hell.

  23. Fr Joe,
    I went to confession last week and the priest gave me a penance of one Hail Mary and meditate on….(something we talked about during confession). I intended to do it the minute I got home. I even put it in my daily task minder app. But I forgot what the thing was I supposed to meditate on, so I just tried to meditate on everything we discussed and asked the Blessed Virgin to help me. I’ve never had that happen to me before, and I was kind of dismayed.

    Does that count as doing my penance or do I need to go to confession again? I feel quite foolish, since I was in confession with my own priest this am and forgot to ask him about it then.

    FATHER JOE: You should be more careful but you tried to do what was right… thus it sufficed.

  24. Hi Father hope all’s well.I recently went to confession and was given a penance of three hail Mary’s.i was late for work and forgot about this as I left the confessional.I remembered a few hours later and said my penance then- was this ok?

    FATHER JOE: You did your penance. The trouble with delay is that one might forget. By the way, we can always do additional penance and prayers. Penance, by the way, is too often given a negative signification. We should want to do penance. We should want to pray constantly. Such is the posture of a Christian in love with the Lord.

  25. This priest has plans to retire after this year, but is not ill as far as I know. He is a very kind man actually. Maybe he was having an ‘off’ day, maybe he was tired, maybe burnt out, or maybe not feeling well that day. Whatever the case, I will pray for him. And then I will seek out going to Confession somewhere else. Thanks for your help.

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