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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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4,031 Responses

  1. Dear Father,

    Is kissing a sin? Say one we’re to kiss on the forehead, head, hand, cheek, ear, and possibly the neck. Never the lips. Would these kisses be a sin? If so would they be vinual? We don’t want to offend God. Which is why we’re scrupulous on the matter.
    God bless,
    Filumena

    FATHER JOE: I am troubled that any answer I might give would reinforce scrupulosity on your part. Kissing can be beautiful and it can be terrible. Judas betrayed our Lord in the garden with a kiss. Kisses should always signify love and caring and affection— not treachery or infidelity or manipulation. The sign of peace at Mass, usually a handshake, is sometimes called the kiss of peace. Note that the priest kisses the altar as he celebrates the Mass and greets Christ. A parent gives a gentle kiss to a child. A child kisses his aging grandparents. A young boy kisses his favorite girl on the cheek. All these are modest. Kisses can be sacred and sweet. You can probably judge for yourself if a kiss becomes something more. It is natural that young men and women should want to kiss, and this includes upon the lips. There is no sin in this. It is an expression of affection and love. Couples that are courting or that are looking to get married may struggle with more than kissing. I would only suggest that they do the best they can to remain chaste and to respect each other. If a line is slightly crossed, ask for God’s strength and each other’s forgiveness. Heavy petting and French kissing is discouraged as it breaks down the will and can lead to sexual intimacy. Note also that the more a couple loves each other the more intense becomes the longing for unity. This means that even the kissing of the hand or the neck may reflect an inner struggle to keep self-control. As I have counseled before, do not be afraid of each other but exhibit respect and forgiveness. God understands.

  2. Hi for a long month now, I have had the same recurring nightmare over and over. The main subjects of it are the things that terrorize me the most, the things I am most afraid of, any help on how to end this cycle?

    FATHER JOE: This is probably a question more for a professional counselor than for a priest. You are more than vague about details. I suspect there is something giving you serious anxiety, something that you need to resolve while awake so that it will not plague you while sleeping.

  3. Hello. Can a Catholic funeral be specified for family only? Family situation might be better due to health (physical and emotional) in a private setting.

    Response

    It is up to the family and the priest. The matter may also rest upon any pre-funeral plans designated by the deceased. An option for a private service is sometimes upsetting to friends and colleagues of the faithful departed. Segregation of the mourners might be interpreted by those excluded as spiteful or vindictive. While Protestantism tends to interpret funerals as directed to the spiritual and emotional consolation of those left behind who are grieving; Catholicism also appreciates that the Mass and the intercessory prayers of mourners can benefit the dead, i.e. the souls in purgatory.

  4. Hello Fr,

    Hope you are well.

    FATHER JOE: So so… mostly busy.

  5. Good evening, Father.

    I would like to ask (as I do not have a parish priest whom to ask) if, in the case of living in an area without any churches or possibility of attending Mass or even Eucharistic Adoration, I can do the later with a medallion with a drop of Communion Wine. I lived in Portugal a few years ago and was gifted such a medallion (it is a traditional Agnus Dei locket, but the local practice was to place a drop of consecrated communion wine inside and seal it with resin as the orginal wax medalions rarely reached so far from Rome)

    I am constantly on the move and now will relocate to an area without Catholic Churches. Can I use this medallion for Adoration?

    Thank you in advance and God Bless you for keeping this site.
    Greetings from Europe,
    Ann

    Response

    Whoever told you about the Agnus Dei medallion was in grievous error. No longer created, the Agnus Dei wax medallion was blessed by new popes (within their first year) and distributed to those wanting a special sacramental for spiritual protection. However, while it might function as a reliquary, it would be a blasphemous liturgical crime to enclose a drop of the consecrated blood (not wine). It is associated with the passion of Christ it is not a pyx or monstrance of any sort for the Eucharist. Adoration or worship of the sacramental would constitute the mortal sin of idolatry. Sacramentals can be venerated but not worshipped.

    Where are you that there are no Catholic churches… Saudi Arabia?

  6. my wife has left and says shes unhappy. I have tried to reconcile but she says she sees no way of us being a couple. we were not married in a church. 14 years of marrage and she says she’s miserable. am I allowed to divorce her under gods law

    FATHER JOE:

    Given that a marriage is real and sacramental then it is as Jesus taught— lasting until death. Jesus was clear about God’s plan and that he hates divorce, associating it closely with adultery. Was either of you Catholic? The Church only recognizes the matrimonial bonds of Catholics witnessed before a qualified priest or deacon. If neither of you were Catholic, then no matter if before a minister or civil magistrate, we would regard the bond as lasting and real unless proven otherwise. Catholicism has an annulment process for her own believers or for those previously married non-Catholics who desire to marry a Catholic.

    Why is your wife miserable? Have the two of you pursued marriage counseling? You should fight for your marriage. Are there any issues of abuse? Has there been infidelity? There are too many unanswered questions for me to give a definite answer.

  7. Dear Father Joe,

    I’m a mother of soon to be 6, this pregnancy has been more than challenging and at times very risky for baby and I. Praise be to God we’re doing okay at the moment but my body is likely not a great candidate for additional pregnancies. My husband has said no more children, he doesn’t want to see me go through this ever again or risk loosing me. He makes sense, my body isn’t handling pregnancy well any longer, and I’m not as young as I used to be. Is it a mortal sin for me a Catholic to have martial relations with my non-Catholic (but amazingly supportive) husband if he chooses to use other methods of avoiding pregnancy during the marital act that are entirely him? After the baby is born, I’m going to work really hard to make NFP work but it will most likely take upwards of two years post baby based on past experience with hormones to get to where I can figure it out to be reliable enough. I’m at a loss on what to do here and could really use your help.

    FATHER JOE: By having five and now six children, you have already demonstrated openness to the generation of new human life. There are various forms of natural family planning and you should research if one might work better for you than another. The rhythm of life and calendars are often less reliable indicators than temperature and mucus examination. As for your non-Catholic husband, the use of any non-approved artificial contraception or withdrawal would damage the marital act between the two of you. However, given the intimacy of marriage and the need to preserve harmony in the home, you may have to acquiesce to what he demands. The culpability would be more on his side of the equation than yours.

  8. If someone has a terminal illness and is suffering is it OK to hasten death with drugs or otherwise?

    FATHER JOE: No, that would fall under euthanasia. However, painkillers (like morphine) can be employed even though they might inadvertently hasten death. The intention is crucial… to relieve pain and discomfort. If such drugs were given just to shorten life or as a deliberate catalyst for termination then this would be morally evil and a mortal sin.

  9. I suffer from severe anxiety. Sometimes I masturbate and I can’t seem to control my urges. Is this a mortal sin? Can I receive Communion or do I have to go to Confession every week?

    FATHER JOE: The matter of such a sexual sin does indeed constitute mortal sin, although culpability can be lessened by serious emotional distress (as this has an impact upon freedom and the will). Weekly confession would be a good remedy to bring grace to bear against the weakness. If impossible, make a good act of contrition with the intent to go to confession when possible.

  10. Fr Joe,
    I read today that the quadriplegic French man being deprived of water and food by the government died. A pro life internet personality had posted the phone number for the French president and a french script to say when calling it to ask for his life to be spared.

    I don’t speak french and was hesitant to call and stumble through this statement. I put it in my mind to ask my husband what he remembered of high school french to see if he could help, but my memory being what it is, I forgot, and never called, and now he is dead and I did nothing, except pray for him.

    I feel awful. I don’t know if I sinned by lazy omission or if I just have an over active sense of guilt. What if my call had been the one that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I failed? Or am I arrogantly taking too much blame on myself?

    FATHER JOE: The French president would give little to no weight toward what people outside the country feel about the issue. As with politicians here at home, the only voices that matter to them are the ones that can vote and those who have money. You are definitely taking too much upon yourself.

  11. Hello Father,

    I have a question about something I’ve been doing that I think is unintentional. I am a public school teacher and have been now for 18 years. Back 18 years ago, at age 25, I joined my local union because I thought it was important encase I ever needed legal support and because they work with our school district to get pay raises and other supports for teachers.

    Earlier this week, I was reading a blog by Matt Walsh and saw a post about NEA, the National Education Association, coming out and taking a stance to support Roe v. Wade. I am so saddened by this and it does not stand for my pro-life views at all. So I talked with the president of my local union, which I now realize is associated with NEA, and discussed my religious views on this subject as well as how I can go about opting out. Unfortunately the next opt our period isn’t until March, 2020. I guess it’s been written in the by-laws and also mentioned in monthly e-mails but I must admit I am not very good about reading those materials. So this is my failure.

    My question is, while I knew there were some left winged individuals that are a part of LEA/NEA, with some beliefs about issues such as homosexuality that do not necessarily align with my view, I never felt my viewpoint wasn’t an option. Maybe I lived in a bubble but I didn’t realize the NEA was necessarily associated with my local teacher union and I also didn’t realize some of my funds could be going to support things like planned parenthood that I do NOT support!

    Coming to this realization has taken a mental toll on me and I feel like such a bad person. I know I have taken the steps I need to end my connection with the union this coming March when I can legally opt out but I’m not sure if this is something I need to confess? I have never thought about this union issue in all of the confessions I have made and I tend to be a very scrupulous person. I am just looking for guidance I guess. Is this something I should bring up in confession?

    Thanks so much Father!

    FATHER JOE:

    Membership in such organizations sometimes requires a measured evaluation, positive over negative elements. Unfortunately, the NEA not only supports Planned Parenthood but actively engages in partisan politics and buses members to pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marches.

    You have a right to unionize and to find support with others teachers without sacrificing your faith or values. There are alternatives to the NEA:

    Christian Educators Association International
    The Association of American Educators
    Teachers Saving Children

  12. Mother passed away and will be cremated. Can we have a memorial mass with her ashes in California then later have a burial mass in New Mexico where she will be buried?
    Thank you.


    FATHER JOE:
    You would need to talk with the local pastors but dual services are possible. The funeral liturgy would be one of interment of ashes as there is no body to bury. Usually you have the Mass with the ashes and later a short service at the grave or place of interment (like a columbarium).

  13. Hello Father Joe,
    My atheist roommate studies biology and she insists that if God doesn’t have DNA, then Jesus would be a clone of The Holy Virgin and therefore be a woman. How can I explain to her that she is wrong? What is the proof that Jesus was not a clone?
    Yours sincerely,
    Troubled

    FATHER JOE: God is a pure spirit and as such does not have gender or DNA. The second person of the Blessed Trinity becomes incarnate in the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is no clone because he is male. That is a simple fact of the matter. The Church father’s taught that Jesus took his flesh from the Blessed Mother. I would not be surprised that he shares genetic markers with her and the Semitic people. Did the Spirit of God play with the given genetics and chromosomes or did God create from nothing the genetic material that would normally be provided by a human father? There is no way for us to know.

  14. Goodafternoon. I had a question. At my work. My boss wich is my foreman has his son. Working with us there but we are all tired of them working my boss isn’t fair he always makes us work hard and his son never does a thing. I was thinking of getting a hold of corporate to let them know wats goin on but then I don’t know if it’s ok with god for me to do this so they can talk to them. Or should we keep taking the unfairness

    FATHER JOE:

    Remember the story of the workers hired in the morning, mid-day and in the end of day. The parable had them all getting the same wage. The laborers who worked a full day felt that they were deprived. The owner tells them that they received the agreed upon wage and were not cheated. He chastised them for resenting the generosity he showed the last to come to work.

    Are you getting a just wage? Could complaining backfire and endanger your position? We might want justice in this world but sometimes matters fall short. I would urge you to move cautiously. Might someone go to the foreman and explain for the group that they feel his son is underperforming? Going over his head might create lasting resentment. God would be on the side of justice for the workers but also charity toward the young man.

  15. Hello Father,
    Is the native American ritual of smudging (referred to as “Four Directions sacred plant smudging”) approved as allowable in a Catholic Liturgy? It seems that at its root, it’s nothing more than superstition. Yet it is practiced at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY.

    FATHER JOE: Unlike the more fundamentalist churches, Catholicism today would have less of a problem in appropriating and transforming the meaning associated with such ceremonies and rituals that did not originate in Europe and/or the Middle East. The early Church took to herself the vestments, statues, altars and other elements of the pagan Roman and Greek world and stamped upon them Christian meanings. Just as with water, salt, rosary beads, crosses, ashes, oil, etc. the Catholic Church readily takes to herself various evolving sacramentals. While the Christian or Catholic signification is vital, it is possible for Native American Catholics to breathe in the smoke of burning sage and to mark their homes just as one might use water signifying our baptism and salt as invoking divine exorcism and protection. While it is not a sacrament, the so-called healing and purification ritual called smudging could be reformed into a local Christian celebration. Symbols only have value if those using them understand their meaning. Enculturation means finding ways to translate the Christian kerygma through the elements of indigenous culture without compromising or corrupting the meaning for believers. Since Vatican II, the Church has adopted openness to allowing people to pray and to sing in their own languages. Vestments are often styled in a way reflective of tribal culture and history. Archbishop Chaput, who is certainly one of the more conservative and orthodox of the Church’s shepherds, has endorsed such efforts and argues for an innate affinity between Catholic and native American practices.

  16. Hello Mister Priest, I have a question of a rather theoretical nature. If God were to speak in our language, the words of unworthy humans, could he say the “F” word? Salutations!

    FATHER JOE: While God desires that we would use language to express truth and understanding among men, he permits us to use words that demean human dignity, devalue what should be holy acts and ferment divisiveness where we should foster harmony. Given that the use of certain words is sinful and God cannot sin against himself, what would you say is the answer to your question? Beyond curiosity, what is the real reason that you would pose this query? Why would you ask one toward whom you plant neither confidence nor respect (Mister Priest)?

  17. Hi Father,
    I work with college students at my college (I am a college student myself) and there are also a few high schoolers, and kids who just graduated high school who work with us. The other college kids promote partying and drinking to the younger kids. Am I guilty of this sin as well since I am around when they promote partying, even if I don’t say anything? Am I committing a mortal sin by not speaking up? The other kids also always add an extra hour on their timesheet so they get more money even if they didn’t work for that hour. They tell the younger kids to do that too. I don’t say anything, but I make sure that I put my correct hours on my timesheet so I don’t get overpaid. Am I sinning by not saying anything?

    FATHER JOE: We are to seek perfection as our heavenly Father is perfect. While it may only be venial, sins of omission most often speak to a lack of conviction or courage. Witness openly about your own personal honesty and encourage the younger students to be honest as well. Inspire by word and example a generous witness as opposed to the example of greedy peers who promote theft.

  18. Another question, can a transgender woman and a transgender man be married in a Catholic church?

    FATHER JOE: Do you mean a woman who believes she is a man and a man who believes he is a woman? I would think that any such gender dysphoria as a form of mental disease would make it dubious or impossible for such a couple to marry.

  19. Another question Fr.

    My brother is a seminarian, order of the Congregation of the Mission, he took his final vows a few months back. I normally send him money, to help him buy things for his study. Is it ok to continue sending him money after he is ordained a priest?

    FATHER JOE: If he belongs to a religious order then he has taken a vow of poverty. He may be able to take small amounts for personal use but generally all funds go to the religious order. Consecrated religious report the donations received to the order. Generally they are given a stipend for personal expenses.

  20. Hello Fr. Joe,

    I have a few questions:

    1. I read lately, that Pope Francis changed the Lord’s Prayer. Is this true? Can the Pope do that?

    FATHER JOE:

    Back in 2017, the Pope only made a personal remark about what he felt would be a better translation to the OUR FATHER. However, now I hear that a change has been approved for the Italian text in the missal and that this may soon include the English vernacular. I am not sure what to say about this. The Pope’s rendition is more a theological interpretation than a genuine translation.

    The reported change is with the line, “Lead us not into temptation.” It would be rendered as “Do not let us fall into temptation.” The Holy Father finds the traditional rendering problematical because it insinuates that God would deliberately induce temptation. However, the Latin in the text uses the verb “inducas” (induco) which means to lead. The original Greek word means “to bring in” making the Pope’s proposed version hard to argue. The Pope told THE GUARDIAN, “It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation. I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen.” He argues that a Father would not lead his children into sin; this is the role of Satan. It has been proposed that the next New American Bible version will change the Lord’s Prayer to “do not let us fall/be abandoned into temptation” from “and lead us not into temptation.”

    What do I think about it? I would trust that the Holy Spirit would not have led us wrong about this matter for so many centuries. It is true that the devil is the one who tempts and who would lead us into sin. About this the Pope is correct. Sin is on our side of the equation. God is all good and cannot be faulted for our shortcomings and malice. However, I have never understood the problematical line as God leading us into sin. When we beseech God, “Lead us not into temptation,” we are simply asking God not to give us burdens too terrible to suffer. The words signify our solidarity with Jesus in the garden when he prostrates himself praying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). It is okay for the children of God to ask their heavenly Father if they might be spared certain temptations or ordeals. However, as modeled by Christ, there is ultimately a humble compliance to the will of God. Jesus commands us to take up our crosses and to follow him. His passion and death were the means by which he overcame the devil. Note that the immediate line that follows the one in question is “…but deliver us from evil.” Literally, this means “the evil one” or the devil. Christ has already redeemed us from Satan. We are no longer the devil’s property. However, within this hard earned freedom, each of us must embrace the gift given us by Christ and cooperate with the saving work of Christ. As we go out on mission to proclaim the Good News and to extend the saving ministry of Christ, facing seen and unseen powers and principalities, we do so with the somber and yet hopeful sentiments Jesus expressed in the garden.

    We become instruments or vehicles of God, fulfilling the mission given us. We have to trust that whatever comes, God will give us sufficient grace to overcome our weaknesses, fears and external intimidation. The gravity here is not “falling” but about remaining “steadfast” with Christ in our compliance to divine providence. While sin and death are conquered the effects of sin have yet to be fully unraveled. The pertinent line speaks to the human angst that Jesus experiences; we also know it as the price often demanded in the witness against adversity. The martyrs well understood the truth. Normal people do not want to suffer or die; but people of faith embrace the cross with faith, hope and charity. We believe we are one with the Lord. We have hope that God will make it right. We face the cross with love and mercy in our hearts. While God is not the author of sin, everything is ultimately within the range of divine providence. We see this with our Savior’s intervention in history to save us from the folly of sin. The deacon chants this great truth in the Exsultet of Holy Saturday, “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

    The best commentary on the line, “Lead us not into temptation,” may be from St. Paul. He writes: “Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

    2. As a Catholic parent, is it okay to allow either of my sons, (who are baptized Catholics) to take part in a non-Catholic ritual. Like be page boys at their aunt’s wedding, who is a Pentecostal. Background: my husband is a Pentecostal, and he may allow my son to take part but I wouldn’t.

    FATHER JOE: If I am correct, the page boy is like an attendant, as with the flower girl or ring bearer in a Catholic service. That would generally be okay. What would make the situation precarious would be if the role was akin to an altar server. Further it is presumed here that neither of the parties getting married is Catholic. Catholics should not take an active part in weddings that would have no standing in the Church or before God. Protestants can get married before civil magistrates and ministers; Catholics must be married before a deacon or priest.

    3. How do we determine, the borderline between Mortal and Venial sin?

    FATHER JOE: The borderline defines itself. All sin is wrong but venial sin does not fracture one’s relationship with God. It is a small matter. Mortal sin is serious matter, a grievous sin, that one understands is wrong and then the person freely and willfully commits it all the same. Mortal sin is always an egregious violation of charity. We are called to love God above all things.

    4. Which is greater, the fourth commandment or the sacrament of matrimony? Background: l feel my husband, would do everything his grandfather says, and not so much me. My man was raised by his grandparents, so he has always known them as his parents. I don’t mind him helping his grandfather, but I don’t like it that he would put him first and me and my children second.

    FATHER JOE: There is no competition between them. The fourth commandment requires honoring of parents. It is more than obedience. It means that we insure something of their care and happiness. There is also mutuality. Just as children should honor and obey parents; parents must always be honorable. No one can compel another to sin or to violate another relationship. The commandment also applies inside your home. The husband may be the head of the home but his wife is its heart. Your children should respect and listen to the both of you as parents. The primary relationship of the husband is with his wife (one flesh) but this should not be viewed as in competition with the devotion given to parents. (It is not clear to me how your husband would put you and the children second. What do you mean?)

  21. Fr Joe, I could use some advice. I have been trying to decide whether to switch parishes. My current parish is the one I got married in and baptized my children in. I contributed to the building fund (I was upset when they didn’t put kneelers in). I donate financially and also contribute in other ways. But my daughter (she is 22 now). Refuses to go to mass there because someone she knows there insulted her and said his whole family was discussing why she had gotten “so huge”. My efforts to get her to ignore him, or to place God in higher prominence than her ego were unsuccessful. She has said she would go to this neighboring parish, but never did. Then I decided to go to mass there once and she came with me. I reminded her that she had to go to confession before she could receive communion (which she had previously said she’d rather die than do), and she abstained. The following week we were getting ready to go and my husband asked if we needed to leave early for confession and she said she had gone mid week (they do offer that). She received communion. I’m shocked and thinking that maybe I can keep my daughter going to mass if I go with her to this new parish.

    Add to that my own concerns:

    My current parish priest has taken a good amount of time counseling me. He has been patient and kind and a big help when I was feeling lost. He is rather liberal, though, as I discover from reading your responses to questions on this blog. I am not sure if that is a real issue or not. He is a priest, and therefore more knowledgeable than I. Is that a reason to seek another parish? How do I know what the priests at the new parish think? Surely I am not to interview parish priests like potential hirees?

    I also care about this man and don’t want to hurt him. He may understand about my daughter, but he may not. And although I love the church building itself much more than mine, I don’t know the community at the new place. (Not that I wouldn’t in time)

    I have prayed for discernment, but haven’t an answer yet, so I thought I would ask for your opinion.

    FATHER JOE:

    I guess I would be curious as to what issues might separate me from your parish priest. What makes one liberal and another, conservative? This weighs on my heart because over the years some have felt attracted to my church and others repulsed for similar assertions. A good pastor of souls is always wounded when parishioners leave his parish for another’s or drop out entirely. I feel that we must preach the truth but at the same time there is a natural reluctance to hurt anyone or to drive them away. I learned the other day that someone stop going to my parish because she was offended by my words about the sanctity of life and the unborn. Other than the intrinsic challenge of the Gospel, there was nothing of malice in my words. Nevertheless, I have to live with the hurt I inadvertently caused and the alienation of a regular parishioner who aligns herself more with the politics of women’s rights than with the unborn child’s right to life.

    Did anyone speak to your parish priest about your daughter’s pain? Did the parishioners who spoke about your daughter do so from concern or just to share hurtful gossip? If a few have been uncharitable to your daughter then they should be made mindful of their sin and apologize. Understandably your daughter would rather go elsewhere than to confront them. But that would not help others to morally grow as persons. The older church belongs to you both. If she like the new church, that is one thing; however, in many places Catholics are obliged to go to their juridical parish. By temperament I tend to be a fighter. If I loved my parish and it meant a lot to me, I would struggle to remain there, even if it meant a confrontation with others. I would challenge others to mind their own business and urge them to go to confession for calumny. I would also let them know that I was praying for them. But that is me, most people cut and run.

  22. A little girl came missing. Her name is Madeleine McCann. I assume every child has guardian angel.
    Why cant her guardian angel reveal where she is at, whether alive or dead. Please!

    FATHER JOE: Note the traditional image of children walking precariously on a bridge with the guardian angel following after them. Children fall from bridges every day. The most we can hope is that their guardian angels catch them, if not in this world then on the other side of the divide in the next. The holy innocents shed their blood when the emissaries of Herod hunted for the Christ Child. One-and-a-half million babies in the United States are annually destroyed in the womb. Children are abandoned, hungry, sick and abused. One might ask as you do, where are their guardian angels? What good are they? We should be mindful that even the little girl in Scripture who was restored to life by Jesus would likely grow up, face adversity and then die again. The healings and miracles of Jesus pointed to the greater spiritual mercy he desired to share with us— participation in the divine love and a share in divine life. The problem is not that heaven is cold and callous; rather, the difficulty is with us— our failure to love and protect the children entrusted to us in the human family. We would project upon God an anger that should target sin and our own hardness of hearts.

  23. Hi,
    I’m a Observant Jewish in college taking a New Testament course and I just had a question. We Jews believe in the Noahide laws and if non-Jews follow these seven laws (no murder, no idolatry,no blasphemy,no sexual immorality, no stealing, no eating an animal while it is still alive, and establishing fair courts) then they have an equal share in the world to come as any Jew.
    My question is how does Christianity think about the Noahide laws? There are times I think it is implied in the second chapter of Galatians by Paul and in Acts 15. I too

    FATHER JOE:

    The early Christians, especially the Jewish church of Jerusalem tended to follow them explicitly. After the Council of Jerusalem, it was determined that the Gentiles would not have to suffer circumcision. Faith and baptism became the manner of initiation into the new People of God. Nevertheless, to appease the Judaizers, the Gentiles were explicitly asked to observe four points from the law: “refrain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” The Noachian laws in the Babylonian Talmud that resonated with the Decalogue would retain their moral force.

    (1) Do not worship idols (false deities).
    (2) Do not blaspheme against God (take his name in vain).
    (3) Do not murder (respect human life).
    (4) Do not commit illicit sexual acts (safeguard the family against adultery).
    (5) Do not steal (respect the rights and property of others).
    (6) Do not eat from living animals (no blood and strangled animals).
    (7) Pursue civic justice (properly ordered society).

    Except for the prohibition about certain foods, traditional Christians would still pursue these laws but probably given the gravity of Moses and the Ten Commandments. I suspect that many Christians would not know much about the Seven Laws of Noah. While not all foods that Christians eat would be kosher, there are probably few that actually eat from living animals. I am aware that the preparation and eating of live fish sushi is somewhat controversial. Personally I am not a fan of blood pudding where a strangled but living pig is bled out. It offends me that we would be cruel to God’s creatures, even those that are utilized for food.

  24. Hello Father,

    My daughter is bisexual, 23 yrs old and dating a woman. She was bringing her to my house to stay for weekend to attend a friends wedding…she lives 5 hours away. She knows I believe the homosexual act is a sin. They would sleep in separate bedrooms but I also informed her that I didn’t want them to kiss or hug etc. in my home or in front of me. She has pretty much disowned me. Father, was I asking too much? That behavior truly would make me uncomfortable. I would appreciate your input.

    Thank you so much.

    FATHER JOE: She is your daughter and you must always make it clear to her that you love her. Having said this, you are perfectly within your rights to set certain rules for your home. Respect should be mutual. You made a concession in opening your home to them, they should be just as respectful to you. The fault is theirs.

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