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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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4,031 Responses

  1. Is it a sin to bring a 6 year old to see wrestling …the kind on tv…wwf etc.

    FATHER JOE: I cannot say I watch it these days. I would say back in the 1980’s it was generally okay.

  2. Well honestly this may sound crazy but used to dream horrible things and i can still remember then I brought myself to believing in god all those evil dreams stopped here where it gets weird i like having uk just to like enjoy life im 16 we teens gotta be kids while we last i would drag it sometimes you know kids stuff but lately its weird like iv been thinking of about to do something and i never end up doing the dumb im about to do its like something or someone is telling me no stop dont do it and ofc i end up not I listen cus it gives a very powerful feeling to to stop and honesty its been something ive been wondering deeply is god really talking to me is a angel protecting like honestly ik i comit sins and sometimes i doing them cus then it makes me feel bad that they ve been noticing good luck like it makes me think out of all of the bad i do god really still is helping me 😭like it shocks me i prayed on passing a test didnt study at all i got a big 80 like i just ask myself why does god still help me even if i try my best to be good and ik i am just wish ik and honestly i ask u this a priest since this uk about god so maybe it’s because as much ik i do bad and i do good i strongly believe and it still makes me sad to know i do dumb things while some angel or god is still blessing me giving me good luck things like that amazing tbh…

    FATHER JOE: I am not sure I understand everything you write but I will try to respond. God may indeed help with bad dreams, especially if we go to bed thinking about him or praying. However, even when we neglect the Lord, he loves us and showers his blessings upon us. If you believe in God then I would urge you to read the New Testament and to pray daily. If you are unsure where to start, many churches have programs for older teens and young adults. God has been good to us. We should respond by trying to show his love and goodness to others. It is okay to enjoy life and to have fun; but it is also wonderful to help others, especially the poor and the sick. You can ask your friends to pray with you. If you find a church, then you can ask them to worship God with you. I will keep you in my prayers. God bless you!

  3. Hi Fr. Joe,

    Can Mass “count” if I am getting paid for the time I’m there? I work as a personal care attendant for a man who is a quadriplegic. He can’t go anywhere without someone with him. He’s young so I go to college classes, appointment, and all of his outings. He is Catholic and likes to go to Mass as often as he is able. So, when I work with him on Sunday, I try my best to take him to church since it’s only a short distance away from his apartment and we have to walk there.

    Usually, I end up going to his church and then miss Mass at my parish that weekend. But, lately, I’ve been wondering if it’s a problem to be technically getting paid while I’m at Mass. Even though I’m working, I still receive Communion and participate.
    Thank you,
    Rachel

    FATHER JOE: Getting paid is no issue. The musicians, signers for the deaf and even the priest get paid. You are doing a wonderful service for this person. I praise God that he has given us people like you. If getting paid really troubles you, put a little extra in the collection basket or the poor box. Take care.

  4. Dear Fr. Joe,

    Hi, I’ve heard that solicitation in the confessional is a mortal sin. I heard this on a website and I don’t really know what it means. Can you please explain it in simple terms? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: It is a violation of priestly celibacy. The sin of solicitation in the confessional is to employ it as an occasion for a romantic or sexual pickup. Many of us are so concerned about appearances that we refuse to set any appointments for routine meetings in the confessional.

  5. When you have a car you don’t overly like but you have financial concerns which stop you from investing in a better car and you see other cars you wish you had instead of the car you have, would you be committing the sin of coveting?

    FATHER JOE: Wanting a better car is not coveting. By comparison, seriously wanting your neighbor’s car and wishing ill upon him or her would be sinful.

  6. Fr Joe,
    I have a couple of questions

    first: I am considering leaving my job. I can afford to do this, as we live within my husband’s means. However, I have avoided doing it before as I am in a medical field, and if you leave the field for any length of time, it is easy to get behind and make yourself undesirable to employers should you need to return to work (if my husband should become disabled or dies). We give generously to charity and the bulk of it would need to be sharply decreased if I retire. Most of our extras and a large part of our charitable giving is made possible by my salary. Would it be considered sinful to retire knowing that I would need to decrease our charitable giving (much of it is to catholic charities and the church directly)? My urge for retirement is due in large part to stress, disgust over the state of affairs, distrust of my superiors, and an urge to just wash my hands of it. I realize I may be knee jerking over this, so am forcing myself to think, hence this email.

    second: I have seen in scripture admonishment against storing up riches on earth. Would this preclude savings accounts? My husband and I have saved a good bit of money that we use occasionally for emergency medical bills, repairs to the cars or house, or major purchases (so we don’t have to pay interest on a credit line). We are always careful to pay back to the account what we have spent, so that we don’t fall into the habit of spending more than we take in.

    Thank you for your input, and I am glad you are feeling better.

    FATHER JOE:

    The decision about employment must be made between you and your husband. Missing from the question is information about age and children. Sometimes mothers want to leave the work world outside the home to dedicate more time to the family. While you emphasize how quitting would reduce the financial situation; a better question is how would you then share your time, talent and treasure to make a difference for your home, the church and the local community. No matter what you do, you should always seek the realization of the gifts and talents that God has given you.

    It is no sin to be financially solvent and to want the security this brings. Working hard is virtuous. Just remember that while we can have possessions; never allow the things to possess us. God bless!

  7. Hi Father. Can any priest lift excommunications that are not reserved to the Holy See? Or does a priest need permission from his bishop? Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: A priest can be delegated by his bishop to lift those censures not reserved to the Holy See. For instance, in the Archdiocese of Washington a confessor can remove the automatic censure of excommunication due to involvement in an abortion. In the old days, before this authority was extended, women and others involved with abortions were sent to the bishop. Dominicans had historically been given the authority to remove the censure and it was often easier to send them to St. Dominics or to Dominican House of Studies in DC.

  8. Hello Father Joe , I would like to ask a question as an avid reader and cannoissier of literature …is it ethical to read Franz Kafka’s personal letters and diary if he asked his friend to obliterate his works? Thank you …

    FATHER JOE: I cannot say as I really do not know the circumstances around the request. Such requests are hard to fulfill after one has died, especially if the person is important. As I recall the late Pope John Paul II made a similar request and it was also not followed. The Church felt it had a right to his personal writings. I suppose secular world civilization makes similar claims for its great men and women.

  9. Fr Joe,
    After some reflection, I realize that over the years I am guilty of detraction in regards to family members. When talking to my mom about how frustrated I am with my children (one is working in an adult store and one skips mass regularly, in addition to not doing chores and having an attitude problem that leads her to be disrespectful to me) I have told her faults about them that she didn’t know. It has damaged her opinion of them. Additionally, we have discussed issues in the family amongst other members such as my siblings that probably qualify.

    I’m supposed to go to mass tonight since I work tomorrow. Can I receive communion, or is this a mortal sin? I’m going to a new church and I’m told the confession line is insanely long and I won’t get in unless I am there early, which I can’t do because of the time I get off work.

    FATHER JOE: Detraction is often understood as sharing unnecessary information; however, it seems to me that talking with your mother about family issues might promote the needs of the family.

  10. Dear Father Joe,
    Some years back, maybe 2 or 3, virgin Mary’s birthday came around and I woke up with writing on the left edge of my right hand. Recently I found an old picture of it and thought I could figure it out with new eyes but have found no such luck. There has been no similar issues but afterwards I reinforced Jesus in my room. It could very well be an expiration date that rubbed off or who knows what though they both seem unlikely. I shouldn’t dwell on it but curiosity takes over so I wonder what your input is.

    FATHER JOE: I would forget about it.

  11. Father Joe,
    I am dating a divorced man who has never been baptized. He and his ex-wife were married at a non-denominational church; however, it was her second marriage. Because it was her second marriage, would the marriage be invalid in the eyes of the Church, or would the Catholic Church recognize their marriage and require an annulment? Thank you in advance!

    FATHER JOE:

    If his ex-wife and/or her first husband were Catholic and the first bond took place in the Catholic Church, then it is likely that the second marriage was invalid. This would require a simple declaration of nullity.

    If his ex-wife and her first husband were non-Catholic and the first bond took place before a Protestant minister or civil magistrate, then it is likely that the second marriage was invalid. This would require a simple declaration of nullity.

    If his ex-wife was non-Catholic and her first husband was Catholic and the first bond took place before a Protestant minister or civil magistrate, then it is likely that the second marriage was valid. This would require a formal annulment.

    Depending upon the reasons for the break up and if he is willing to convert, another course of action might be the dissolution of the prior bond in a favor of the faith case (Pauline and Petrine Privilege cases).

  12. Dear Father Joe,

    Hi, I have a question about going to church. So my family and I are on vacation and we are visiting some relatives. One of my relatives is Catholic and asked me if I wanted to go to church with him. My family is made up of non-practicing Catholics and non-Catholics so we don’t go to church and since I’m under the age of 16 and I can’t drive myself. When he asked me this question if I wanted to go with him or not I said “I don’t know” because I was trying to get out of that conversation because I didn’t want to go to church but instead stay with my parents and brother. Was this a mortal sin?

    FATHER JOE: Remember that mortal sin requires that the matter be serious, that you are aware of the wrong and that you freely will the wrong. Given a qualification that would respect subjective elements, yes it is a “matter” of mortal sin to deliberately miss Sunday Mass. More than just duty, think how much better it would be if you should love the Lord so thoroughly that you would want to participate at Mass. Further, stressing a desire to worship God might assist others in giving God his due. You lost a wonderful opportunity for witness. You might only be 16, but if no one in the family would drive you, do you have any friends or neighbors who go regularly to Mass who might take you?

  13. Fr. Joe,
    Thank you for answering my question. I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you for your priesthood and this ministry. It helped me alot.

  14. Thank you for your thorough answer to my question about the same sex couple who left our church after they did not agree to sign a agreement to live a chaste/celibate life to remain active members of our parish. You gave me some things to pray about.

    One thing that stood out to me was thinking about it from our priest’s perspective, especially as a young and fairly new priest. You wrote, “Priests love the people they serve” and that he may feel suffering in his heart and soul over what he was compelled to do. I could see this being a reality for him, because he is very dear to the people of our parish. He works hard to minister to us….and takes his job working to save souls very seriously. He does follow Catholic teaching very strictly, which can take courage. It’s hard I’m sure when he is confronted with the messiness of peoples lives, since the people are those he does care about. So, I will pray for him as well. Thank you for that.

    When I asked about, “Loving the sinner but not the sin”, I was speaking generally and not just about those sin around same-sex relationships. We are all sinners. If we exclude people who are living in sin, wouldn’t that exclude all of us? Jesus came to save sinners. If sinners are removed from our churches, how are we supposed to witness to them to change their heart? Jesus never asked the woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery to sign an affidavit not to sin anymore. When no one remained to throw a stone at the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.

    In so many ways, one of the woman who left is filled with generosity, kindness, faith, gentleness, etc. She is far deeper and more spiritual than her sexual identity alone. It hurts to see her leave our parish over this. I do not know her sins, but I do not condemn her, just as Jesus taught us. In all visible ways, she lives out Christian faith in a beautiful way to all of those around her. So, I feel it is our loss. I’m just glad that it didn’t cause her to turn her back on the Church entirely.

    Again, thank you Fr. Joe. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and answer my question. You helped me to see it from a different angle, even if it’s still hard for me to accept.

    God Bless you.

    FATHER JOE: Catholics are urged only to take Holy Communion if they are spiritually prepared or in a state of grace. When Confession is difficult, many will also make a good act of contrition prior to taking the Eucharist. Later they will receive the sacrament of penance for the certainty of mercy that comes with absolution and the graces of reconciliation. However, even if the congregant cannot take Holy Communion, the precept of the Church still binds the Catholic in that he or she must attend Mass and participate in the prayers or worship. It is in that sense that no one is turned away from the liturgy celebrated on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. I suppose part of the current scandal is a realization that the Church does not turn away sinners—even the most egregious. Homosexuals, divorced-and-remarried couples, those who are cohabitating and having intimate relationships outside of marriage are all invited, even commanded, to come to church. Along with dissenters and those in irregular unions, we would fill our pews with perjurers, thieves, idolaters, racists, murderers, abusers, etc. along with their victims. The story is told of a person who explained to the priest that he no longer went to Mass because he did not want to associate with “those hypocrites.” The pastor responded, “Really, you should come to church, you are right that we are hypocrites, but one more will not matter.” We are all sinners. We all fall short of the glory of God. But all of us have also been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

  15. Father Joe,
    I hope you will answer this troubling question for me. I know its a mortal sin to be cruel to animals. But I developed a concern about the bacteria, yeasts, and other micro-organisms that are used in producing food products such as loaf bread, probiotics, cheese, yogurt, leavened/bakery foods, and the fermented foods. Is it cruelty to animals to consume these food products since some indicate that they contain live, active cultures?
    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: It is only wrong to cause undue pain and anxiety to animals. Catholicism permits the slaughter and eating of animals. Micro-organisms are not sentient and can also be employed in the making of foods for consumption.

  16. Dear Fr. Joe,
    First, I want to thank you for answering a question I asked last month about insurance. Mostly though, I just want to thank you for your tireless efforts in answering all of the questions here and maintaining this blog in addition to your other priestly duties. You help SO many, and I am grateful for and appreciate you and your ministry. I keep you in my daily prayers.
    May God bless you always.

  17. Hi Fr. Joe,

    I’ve been feeling upset about something that happened in our parish recently. A woman who was a long time member of our church, contributed in many ways, was a lector, always friendly, helpful, kind, and came to Mass every week left to attend another church. She did not want to leave since our parish has always been her “home”, but she was given very little choice. We have a new priest at our church who is about 30 years old and only ordained a few years ago. Overall, he is doing a great job, and we really appreciate him in our parish. However, this woman recently introduced another woman to our church, and this woman went through RCIA to become Catholic. The trouble came when it was suspected that these two women were a “couple”. They were honest with our priest and admitted that they were same sex attraction. He took away her role as lector. He then wanted the two of them to sign an affidavit stating that they would both live Chaste/Celibate lives. They refused to sign such a document and were made to feel no longer welcome at our Church. Luckily for them, they approached a pastor at a nearby Church, was honest with him about what had happened, and they were welcomed with open arms. The new priest said that he could not condone anything outside of Church teaching, but that certain matters were between them and God.

    This is the second “couple” that has been pushed out of our Church. It’s really bothering me to the point I’ve been attending Mass at another Church temporarily. I’m disappointed that this is happening, and I’m unfortunately holding a grudge against our priest for it. I’m fully heterosexual, but I feel this is not right. Jesus kept company with sinners. Aren’t we supposed to love the sinner and hate the sin? Shouldn’t sinners be encouraged to stay in a parish while gently working on their heart to live as God calls us? This exclusion also makes me feel as though I wouldn’t be able to talk to our priest about any sin, concern, or failure of my own for fear of being judge or sent away.

    Is this typical for how people who are same sex attraction are to be treated by they church? I also feel as though they are being singled out since there are clearly unmarried couples in our parish who are cohabitating, but they are not being asked to sign an affidavit of any kind.

    I want to approach our priest about it, but maybe I’m wrong? I don’t know. Should I just let it go and accept this, or should I let him know how I feel? (And, I’m not alone, I might add)

    Thanks Fr. Joe

    FATHER JOE:

    As with the Archdiocese of Washington, the priest faithful to his pledge of obedience to his bishop and to the Lord may be compelled to take a stand on certain issues where he would personally desire to be more tolerant. Our employees and volunteers are expected to give proper witness toward Catholic faith and values. They may even be commissioned to do so. We read: “Similarly, those who agree to assist the Church in her mission and ministries represent the public face of the Church. Whether Catholic or non-Catholic, they should respect our Catholic identity and avoid behavior that contradicts the very mission of the Catholic institution” (ADW Being Catholic Today, p. 14).

    https://adw.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Being-Catholic-Today-Pastoral-Letter.pdf

    There was an organist in the news not too long ago who lost his job at a church when it was discovered that he and his partner had procured a civil same-sex marriage. A number of teachers have been terminated for similar reasons. There was even a headline about a child being denied enrollment in a parochial school because the “parents” were gay. I mention all this to illustrate that what you describe is not an isolated incident and that the responsibility for the situation goes beyond the new pastor.

    I am aware that many gay people take offense at the various efforts made by the Church to either describe them or to attempt welcoming. It is argued that “toleration” is not true welcoming or invitation. While somewhat pejorative biblical language might be avoided; many homosexuals feel insulted by the label of “disorientation.” Organizations like Dignity argue that true welcoming demands acceptance. That is where the tension of the situation arises. The more militant voices would seek to force acceptance even though this stance is an affront to religious liberty. Much of the problem today is about conflicting rights. Catholic teaching about homosexuality is constant and extends back to the Scriptures and the apostolic age. St. Paul and others stipulate that the sin of homosexuality cuts one off from the kingdom of God. The negative position of the Church also reflects natural law. There is virtually no wiggle room.

    It is my suspicion that even in their new church that there is something of the “don’t ask and don’t tell” attitude. Once a same-sex union goes public, the priest’s hands are tied and he feels he must dismiss employees and volunteers. I have never insisted upon a signed document of celibacy from parishioners. Nevertheless, I have verbally urged discretion, continence and chastity. I have also encouraged such struggling souls to make regular recourse to the sacrament of penance. People may stumble but the Divine Mercy is always ready to lift us up.

    It seems to me that our culture places too great an emphasis upon sexual expression. Love can also be realized by mutual support, proximity, an embrace, the holding of a hand and unity in prayer. I find it objectionable that people, heterosexuals or homosexuals, would make their orientation the main or sole element in their sense of identity. The naked body of our Lord on the Cross is the greatest testimony to love in the history of creation; and yet it is not erotic. The sexual obsession that weighs upon modern society is from the devil and misses the mark. Love is surrender. Love is sacrifice. Love places the needs of the beloved before oneself. Brothers and sisters, parents, dear friends can all witness to a tremendous and real love without immediate genital sexual gratification.

    I wonder if part of the problem may be how the Church seems to mystify love in the context of heterosexual spousal physicality. It promotes union, fidelity and procreation. Couples become co-creators with God. Pope John Paul II spoke about it most reverently and expanded upon the importance of the marital act as a means toward holiness and fidelity. There is an enhancement of persons. It must be said that in truth, many heterosexual couples fail to have such a parallel spiritual awakening along with the corporeal. Homosexuals want a share in this wondrous mystery and yet their efforts are only a feigned comparison. I suppose this speaks to the frustration and anger that some of them share. They want something of heaven and yet the Church says that their efforts at intimacy and physical love are only worthy of hell.

    No one is entitled to a church ministry. Indeed, there is one diocese where all installed Lectors are men and there are no commissioned Readers (open to men and women). The doors of our churches would not shut anyone outside when it comes to attendance at Mass and participation in prayer. I would argue for discretion as to whom we ask to come forward for Holy Communion. We should not violate the seal or professional secrecy, but it should be generally understood that we must be Catholics and in a state of grace to take the Eucharist. It may be we make too much noise about devout homosexuals and too little about the enablers of infanticide and abortion. I will also admit to an atmosphere of hypocrisy that adults who love each other are turned away from the altar while priests and bishops who minister at there do so while guilty of sins and abuse that cry to heaven for retribution.

    None of us likes to hurt people. But even had your friend remained a Reader, there might have occurred trials at the pulpit. I have seen it when divorced parishioners struggle with the proclaimed Scriptures about marriage and our Lord’s prohibition against divorce and his association of it with adultery. The Bible also speaks against fornication and it is no secret that many of our people are engaging in premarital relations and cohabitation. The messages of faith should stir us all to repentance and renewed fidelity. The message is painful because change is difficult and there is a part of us that resists virtue. Sometimes I worry that we so focus on the many ways we sin and fall short that we neglect the many efforts that are made toward discipleship, particularly charity which can cover a multitude of sins.

    Yes, Jesus kept company with sinners. But, your gay friend would likely take offense at the sentiment you express, “Aren’t we supposed to love the sinner and hate the sin?” Homosexuals are often offended by this assertion and argue that if you hate the one then you necessarily hate the other. They are quick to identify themselves as persons by their sexual disorientation. I argued as you suggested and as a consequence received serious rebuke. They want and many now demand affirmation, not recrimination. Your comment implies willingness to reform— allowing God to work “gently” upon “hearts” so as “to live as God calls us.” Often, while there is a connection or affection to Catholic worship and dogma; there is a dismissal of those facets of the moral law they find disagreeable.

    Very few priests have the gift of reading souls. They can only act upon that which is told to them. Much is kept private under the seal of confession or as a respect to professional secrecy. Just as many want transparency about the priesthood and the egregious sinners in the ranks; this is also increasingly the attitude toward our employees and volunteers. Homosexual relationships are no longer criminalized; but there was a time not long ago when disordered acts could earn one public humiliation and incarceration. This is no longer the case. However, while the public forum has shifted in its opinion of same-sex relationships, the view of the Church is fixed because of the permanent character of Christian revelation and doctrine. The main goal of a priest is not to appease every element of social justice or to build friendships at the cost of the commandments; no, the preoccupation of every good priest is two-fold: the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of souls. Clergy might sometimes fumble the ball but they should not be condemned or ostracized because of how they seek to be faithful to their apostolate in good conscience. Priests love the people they serve. It may be that the young priest you mention suffers much in his heart and soul for what he felt compelled to do.

  18. Dear Father Joe,
    I was wondering if fishing was wrong. I know Jesus did it and he served the people fish. I know it is okay for food purposes, but what about catch and release? Is that causes unnecessary harm to the fish? Lately I have been cutting the barb off the hook because apparently it reduces a little pain but the downside to that is you lose a lot more fish. I was wondering if it was necessary for me to cut the barb off my hooks? Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: There is no moral imperative. Of course, I tend to eat what is caught.

  19. I heard in a homily today that Jesus, in his human body, was fully male and in his glorified body he is also fully female. Can you enlighten me on this?
    My understanding is that God is neither male nor female. The father, and the so are male, the spirit is niether and Mary being assumed and crowned queen of heaven represents femeninity in heaven.

    FATHER JOE: What you heard is heresy. God as the Trinity is a perfect spirit… no body and thus no gender. We speak of the First Person of the Trinity as our Most Holy Father. There is something constitutive about fatherhood that is reflected in the first person of the Godhead. But this does not imply physical maleness. The Second Person is the Eternal Word that takes flesh. God becomes a complete human being. Jesus is male. Jesus glorified in heaven is still a man. Note that priests must be men because they are living icons for Christ who is our eternal high priest in heaven. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity… again spirit, no body. Mary is assumed into heaven as the New Eve, the most blessed of God’s creatures.

  20. Dear Father,

    I have a friend who was excepted into the FSSP seminary and will start attending in September. He has been discerning his vocation for awhile now but I am concerned. He was in a relationship which ended last August. Since then he has told me that he loves his ex-girlfriend, regrets every single day not marrying her, and was hoping he wouldn’t be excepted into the seminary. I know he wants God’s will and to live it out through his vocation and there is nothing wrong with going into the seminary to discern but would you say he might have a vocation to the married life? Do you have some advice I could pass along?

    God Bless,
    FM

    FATHER JOE: He has years of formation to reflect upon the question. My advice is that he should be honest with himself and with the staff of the seminary, particular his spiritual director. One does not become a priest simply because a romantic relationship did not work out. A vocation is less about running away from something as it about being drawn to something.

  21. Hi Father,
    I recently found out that Disney is planning to boycott Georgia over the Fetal Heartbeat Bill. We have Disney passes is it a sin to go there knowing this? I want to cancel them but my family doesn’t want to. What would you do? I a so disappointed in Disney. Thank you for your time. Take care and God bless

    FATHER JOE: There is no moral imperative to skip vacations at Disney World. However, you are right that they have disappointed many of us. Disney should steer clear of this business. They get intimidated and then they intimidate others… not much backbone in that.

  22. Dear Fr., I am dieing from terminal cancer and worry about mortal sins I remember from the past. Many of these probably were not confessed as there were times I didn’t go to confession over a span of decades. I really have tried to make more thorough confessions recently, but continue to remember past sins that were mortal. I have trouble coming to terms with death. I want to see Jesus as my savior and not just a judge. I offer my suffering up to Jesus and unite it with His on the cross for my salvation and the salvation of others, but I continue to be obsessed with eternal death. If possible I would like to find happiness in meeting our Lord, please offer help me to find peace in this transition.

    FATHER JOE: Memory fails us. You have gone to confession. You are sorry for sins. Ask for the anointing of the sick and the apostolic absolution. Let go of the anxiety. Say your prayers. Take holy communion. Read your bible. And be not afraid. God loves you and he knows your heart. Those who come to him in love and contrition will be well received. I will pray for you.

  23. Father Joe,
    How do we properly thank God for all He does for us, especially answered prayers?

    FATHER JOE: You just do it, “Thank you, Lord.” All human gratitude falls short but God is happy to receive it all the same. Share his goodness with others.

  24. Hello Father,

    I had a question regarding restitution. I haven’t been able to find a good answer as to how binding the requirement to provide restitution is for offenses that are either minor, occurred a while ago, or a combination of those. For example, what if someone eats twenty dollars worth of food that belonged to a roommate and hasn’t maintained any signicant contact with that person, and reaching out to repay restitution was be extremely awkward. What kind of restitution is owed? What if there isn’t any way of quantifying damage done in a relatively minor offense? How would restitution be completed in that case?

    Thank you!

    FATHER JOE: The scales do not have to be perfectly balanced. Restitution aside, a gift that shows thanks or appreciation may sometimes be in order. If much time has passed and material restitution is no longer practical, then offer the spiritual gift of prayer. You might also render some good for another.

  25. Today I was feeling a bit tired and I almost ran a red light and then hit a man on a bike cause I didn’t look in my blind spot. Is this an unforgivable sin?

    FATHER JOE: As long as there is life, sin is forgivable. But I would urge a shift in gravity. Your question is preoccupied with yourself. Was the man you hit badly hurt? Was his bike damaged? I would suspect that he was shaken by the accident. What did you do for him, afterwards? Christ identifies himself with those who enter our lives. Did you see Jesus in this person? Did you stop and ask for his forgiveness?

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