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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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  1. I’ve been making the 1st friday and 1st saturday devotions for quite a while but have never been able to get 9 fridays in a row or 5 saturdays in a row…sometimes I’m on duty or otherwise busy with work obligations.

    The saturday morning mass has the saturday readings and definitely counts for saturday.
    The saturday evening masses have the sunday readings and it counts as sunday for the sunday obligation.

    I have not been able to find -anywhere- a saturday evening mass with the saturday readings.

    Over the years Ive been able to ask a number of priests… some have said that because the saturday evening mass has the sunday readings that it doesn’t sount as 1st saturday.
    Other priests have said that saturday evening counts as saturday no matter what the readings.
    Yet another says that Mary looks at your true intention and will cut you some slack.

    So what is the real situation?
    Does the saturday evening vigil mass count for the 1st saturday devotion?
    Or does that question have to be passed on to the diocese, or the archdiocese?

    And if it does not fulfill the obligation, what are my options?

    FATHER JOE:

    When the devotion about Fridays and Saturdays first began there were no Saturday evening anticipatory Masses. Pretty much all Masses were held in the morning given the fast from midnight. While Mass was held on Saturday mornings, Saturday evenings were often devoted to hearing confessions and (in certain places) public evening prayer. The Catholic Church does not regulate the rules to private devotions, even those dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    I looked online and one priest argued that the anticipatory Mass that counts for the Sunday Mass obligation could not be used for adherence to the First Saturday Holy Communion obligation. This opinion is false. Many authorities speak of a 24 hour period of availability to take the Eucharist, either at Mass or outside of the liturgy. It is sufficient for you to come to the Saturday anticipatory Mass, regardless of the prayers and readings targeting Sunday. While I have both a morning and an evening liturgy, it is true that many priests these days do not say Mass on Saturday mornings. Availability is an important factor that should not be dismissed.

    Outside of promises for special graces and indulgences, I argue that we should place the gravity on worship and living the faith. If we walk with the Lord then we do not need bargains to receive God’s mercy or the gift of salvation. Many of these devotions are inherently minimalistic, seeking to light the fire of faith in souls where hearts have grown cold. If you are already fervent in the faith, you need not worry about such things. Do your best to keep the Sunday Observance, say daily prayers, live out the life of charity and trust in God’s love for you.

  2. Dear Father Joe,
    My wife has a health condition that is going to require her to take medication for the next 7 years. It is advised that we don’t have any children during this time because the medication can cause deformities and health issues during pregnancy. We were open to future children, but now it seems that is a bad idea. We use natural family planning, but now that we are being advised not to have children for medical reasons, we are afraid that NFP isn’t foolproof enough to be sure that she won’t get pregnant and that the results will be disastrous if she does get pregnant. This has us in a position where we feel like we can never have sexual relations. We were wondering if this constitutes a situation where a contraceptive would be permissible since it would be for medical reasons. Do we need to remain celibate from now on or would it also be wrong to remove the love-creating aspect of the marital act from our relationship? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    FATHER JOE:

    There is a part of me that wishes I could tell you different, but the use of contraceptives in the situation you describe would not be medicinal but clearly contraceptive. You have tough choices to make. When modern Natural Family Planning is observed without cutting corners it is just as effective as the pill at delaying pregnancy (which is not 100 percent). The percentage dips from the 90 percentage range to the 60’s because many couples use NFP precisely with the intent to get pregnant. It may be the Lord is calling you to a special cross. Only sacrificial love will get you through it. Not everyone is called to a Joseph-Mary celibate marriage. It takes special graces and deep faith. Ultimately this is a decision that the two of you have to make. Whatever you decide, speaking to you as a man and as a priest, I just want you to know that God understands our weaknesses and struggles. He loves you both and so does the Church. As a priest I counsel couples in similar situations to know that my confessional is always open to them, even if I have to give weekly absolution. We are all broken and weak instruments. The sacrament gives forgiveness, but also healing and strength. God bless you both.

  3. As a 76 year old woman divorced 20 years I went to confession last week ashamed to confess impure thoughts that led to self-gratification and watching porn videos. The priest told me as my penance to thank God that at my age I still had those feelings and not to beat myself up. This really confused me and I felt like he gave me permission to continue, which I did for several days. Now it is getting out of hand like an addiction. What do you say? It is a sin, right?

    FATHER JOE: I have to wonder if the priest properly heard you. Might he have been misunderstood? I could NEVER concur with what he apparently counseled. While we should appreciate ourselves as the sexual creatures that God created; this is not license for sexual sin. It would be grievously wrong to patronize pornography (making us accomplices to the sins of others). As for masturbation, it is a selfish misdirection of that genital faculty that is designed for the joining of two in one flesh. The vocation of the confessor is to absolve sins and to help people break the bonds of sin so that they might know freedom in Christ. It is definitely not about encouraging slavery to sin and encouraging sexual addictions.

  4. Hello Father; I have had this reoccurring vision while I am half asleep.In most cases, I will wake up and still see it. It is a crown of thorns with flowers. Most of the times, the flowers are weaved into the thorns. Sometimes, the flowers fill the center of the crown of thorns.. I am experiencing physical and spiritual suffering. What does this mean.

    FATHER JOE: I cannot say. We know that the crown of thorns speaks to the passion of Christ. Not sure about the flowers, what do you think it means?

  5. Hello Father:

    I am a Protestant heavily considering converting to Catholicism. I’ve done loads of research, considered arguments for and against following the Catholic faith, and spoken with various individuals (both Protestant and Catholic) about their perceptions about the faith. And in learning all I can (at the time of writing this) I am, in all honesty, considering going to the local parish and speaking with a priest about the beginning of Confirmation.

    However, there is one small nagging question I would love resolved: Is praying to the Virgin Mary, along with any of the other Saints, an absolute must? Given my upbringing, the thought of asking for intercession from a Heavenly being other than Christ Jesus makes me very uncomfortable, but the response from a majority of the Catholics I’ve spoken with seem to brush off my concern as petty or inconsequential.

    Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

    FATHER JOE:

    While it might sound wishy-washy, my response would be YES and NO. When it comes to personal prayer, the Church gives great liberty. Many of us love the rosary which largely emphasizes the mysteries of Christ; and yet, the framework is the Hail Mary prayer. Others are drawn to the psalms and many of the lay people have joined clergy and religious in praying the Liturgy of the Hours. As Catholics we are taught the various types of prayer and all prayer is ultimately directed to almighty God: praise or adoration, thanksgiving, sorrow or contrition, and supplication. Missing from the list is intercessory prayer. Your apparent problem is within this context and, in all honesty, it is essential to a well-rounded prayer since it is rooted in our understanding of the Church. Jesus instituted the Church and sent the Holy Spirit upon her so as to preserve our unity in him and in the truths he desired to transmit. Intercessory prayer essentially means that we can pray with and for one another. Many Protestants agree with such a stance, albeit just for those in this world. Catholicism views the dead as alive and still a part of us. The Church is defined as militant or in pilgrimage here below, in purgation as souls approach God, and in glory with the saints of heaven. We can pray for the dead in purgatory and we can ask Mary and the other saints in heaven to pray for us. The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is that love is stronger than the grave. Death does not destroy the bonds forged in life. The dead are not unconscious or asleep. They have not forgotten us. Our Lord calls us together as a community, a new People of God; it is part of the divine plan that we continue to pray and to love one another. When we remember the souls in purgatory, our prayers are that they will be quickly perfected by the fire of God’s love for heaven. When we remember the saints in heaven our prayer turns into a praise of God’s goodness and a desire to be where they are. Similarly, the saints in heaven want us to be with them and to know their joy. This is essentially their constant intercessory prayer for us. Such an understanding of intercessory and sanctoral prayer is a doctrinal element in our appreciation of the communion of the saints. It speaks to the fact that our saving faith is both personal and communal.

    Intercessory prayer, while supernatural, follows a pattern that we find in human nature. Children in trouble can call upon God but they are also likely to cry out to their mothers and fathers. Similarly, parents might trust that God will look after their children, but they still want to hear from them and help if they can. If you have lost a sibling, friend or parent, have you ever caught yourself speaking to them? Many do so at graves or in a place that reminds us of someone we have lost. That dialogue— keeping the lines of communication open— is essentially what sanctoral and intercessory prayer is about. Mary is our spiritual mother. The saints of heaven are adopted sons and daughters of the heavenly Father, brothers and sisters to Christ and kin to us. They could no more stop praying for us than they could stop loving us. Intercessory prayer acknowledges this family relationship.

  6. Hi Father,

    In between receiving the Eucharist on Sundays, I like to read the Bible and say a spiritual communion prayer while eating crackers and drinking wine symbolically. I believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist from the Catholic Church that only a priest can give me. Is it okay to keep eating crackers and drinking wine symbolically while saying my spiritual communion prayer in the privacy of my home? Why, or why not?

    FATHER JOE: A spiritual communion should only be offered at Mass (if one is not in a state to properly receive) or while watching or listening to the Mass on television, radio or on another device. We do not want to associate the real presence in any way with ordinary crackers and wine. Indeed, while a child might play Mass with juice and candy as a pretense, we as adults should always avoid any semblance of sacramental simulation (which is sinful).

  7. Hi father, i recently took a DNA test and found out that im a different ethnicity than i previously had thought (researching the village my family is from confirmed its accuracy) and i was thinking to learn the language. However, i have had a weakness for making nationality/ethnicity into an idol in the past, and was wondering maybe if learning this language would make me more prone to that sin in this case. What do u recommend? Thanks

    FATHER JOE: How would one make ethnicity into an idol? Are you talking about racism or bigotry? There is no sin in learning about one’s heritage. I have no opinion as to what you might want to do.

  8. Hello Father Joe,
    My name is Patrick and I was raised in a healthy Catholic family. I have had all of my sacraments, I’ve been happily married for 23 years to my one and only wife. All of my children are confirmed and have been raised Catholic. We have lived thru many medical problems with my wife and my daughter. The faith kept us strong and has healed cancer, brain tumors, and many other serious ailments. I personally have been living with a condition that I believed to be worry some and of great burden. I had been a crossdresser since I was age 6. When I was of age I made a decision that I was not going to do this because I thought it to be wrong. I am not gay I am heterosexual and I love women. When I was engaged I explained to my wife of this strange condition this was before the internet and before literature on the subject. I just knew it was different but I really enjoyed playing dress up. My wife told me that she loved me anyway, she is my best friend. Most recently I have found that I am not a crossdresser but in fact I am a very rare type of person with both male and internally female genitals and I fact I am genetically female without a Y chromosome. I had additional tests done with the same conclusion. I do not see myself as transgender I see myself as dual gender there is no transition for me as I am both genders physically and mentally too.
    I have friends who are crossdressers who suffer similar scenarios as they are heterosexual males whom are married in the church. Should I feel remorse or guilt anymore. I constantly pray and no answers seem to come to me. What is the truth, what is the churches stance on what I am going thru. I’m really confused on this. My roles have been male. Should I be ashamed of who I really am. I do not hate myself or find myself an abomination in any way. My wife and children all know and accept me anyway. Please help me to understand what to do with my Faith. I feel
    like an outcast in my home town and in my church. I don’t feel free to be my feminine self. I feel automatically condemned. Why would the church have problems with the very small population of people like me. I’m one in 2 million. How do I continue my walk with Jesus and the Catholic Church after what Pope Francis professes that there are no exceptions for someone like me. Please help.

    FATHER JOE:

    You write that you have lived as a married heterosexual male with children. Recently you discovered that you were genetically female XX (without a Y chromosome) and having both “external” male genitalia and “internal” female genitalia. I have known people with chromosomal abnormalities but this is indeed one I have not encountered. Most surprising is that you were able to have children as most cases are sterile. While my understanding of the medical science here is feeble, what you describe is apparently a rare case where a female has two X chromosomes but one of them has genetic material from the Y chromosome making it so that the person externally and physically appears and largely interacts as male. Is this right? The testosterone production that precipitated the growth and appearance of the male genitalia had to come from somewhere.

    This is the background. You are a rare XX male and not the usual XY. But you have always known yourself as male; despite certain eccentricities, you are married with a wife and family. Whatever the abnormalities, there is no such thing as a third gender or middle gender or non-sexual person. While sexual determination is important, it must respect both the truth and the dignity of the person. Human beings are regarded as either male or female. Gender reaches into the depths of a person’s identity. It cannot be reduced to an accidental characteristic. The Church would reject the current attitude of many medical professionals that gender is fluid or malleable. We do not buy into the labels of “bisexuals” or “transsexuals.” Human beings, like most earthly animal life, are sexually dimorphic— male and female. It is within this appreciation that we must approach the situation of those with genetic disorders. Given your role as a biological father, I would be confident in speaking about you as a man. You, yourself, have acknowledged your heterosexual attraction. No surgery or hormonal therapy was required to give you male characteristics. Unlike some poor souls who are born with unclear gender, you have had a definite life trajectory as a male. That is where I would leave matters.

    How people dress is largely culturally conditioned. While the barbarians wore pants many of the men in ancient times wore albs or togas or dress not unlike the priestly cassock. Both men and women wear pants these days. Scotchmen like Sean Connery sometimes wear kilts. It is probably wise not to embarrass your family but you may be making too much of any dress-code. If there is a psychological issue with cross-dressing, it may not even be related to the genetic disorder. I would counsel against embarrassing yourself or your family. I am not clear as to what issues you have with the Church.

  9. Hi Father, thanks for answering my question about being a godparent for a nonCatholic child. Apparently, it’s not a baptism, but a dedication ceremony and in a way I was invited to be a “sponsor” or a “godparent.” I accepted because the parents are my friends and I honestly don’t want to say no out of courtesy (I would think it’s part of our culture.). Nevertheless, I do pray for their reversion/conversion to the Catholic faith and I hope and pray that the child will eventually be Catholic. Do you think of it as any issue?

  10. Hello Fr, is it a mortal or venial sin if you stay up late at midnight surfing the Internet or watching TV? Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: It is not necessarily a sin at all. The issue is whether we would still be up to our obligations the next day. If not then our irresponsibility might constitute sinfulness. The gravity would vary. Students need their rest to perform well at school. Those employed need their sleep so as to adequately fulfill their work duties. Bad job performance can translate to unemployment and hurting dependents.

  11. Hello Father! For my class next week, we have to read about the “LGBT” literary theory, and then it will be discussed in class. I really can’t miss the class because I already have to miss it another time, and it is only once a week. Is it a sin for me to go to this class and sit silently? Do I need to speak up or something, if we are just talking about it as a literary perspective?

    FATHER JOE: There is no sin in going to a class that covers such questionable material. There is value in understanding the views and ideas of others, even if we should find them offensive.

  12. Hi Father Joe. Can I, a Catholic, be a Godfather to a non-Catholic child? Thank you!

    FATHER JOE:

    I suspect what you mean to ask is whether a Catholic can be the godparent at a Protestant baptismal ceremony. The answer is somewhat complicated. Obviously the church or faith that is holding the baptism must preserve both matter (immersion, pouring or sprinkling water) and form (Trinitarian baptismal formula). Further, besides Catholic guidelines, would the rules of the non-Catholic church allow a faithful Catholic to serve as a godparent? As in the case of Episcopalians, the godparent should be confirmed in the Anglican Communion and this is not the case with a Catholic. Non-Catholics cannot be godparents in the Catholic Church; however, if validly baptized and living a Christian life, they may stand as Christian witnesses. Given that the baptism is valid you could be a Christian witness. You could affirm the Apostles’ Creed. However, you cannot profess and witness anything other than the Catholic faith.

    Godparents should ideally represent the ecclesial community in which the baptism takes place. A Catholic can witness to Catholic Christianity but cannot subscribe to any “mere Christianity” in terms of the faith education or formation of the person being baptized. The godparent is a support to the parents and a further guarantee that the youthful candidate will be raised within a particular church affiliation. Given our common baptism and filial ties, a baptized person from a non-Catholic ecclesial home may serve as a Christian witness in the Catholic Church as long as there is still one genuine Catholic godparent. Catholics may do the same for other denominations.

    When asked, a Catholic should share the specifics with his or her pastor before making the decision to be a Christian witness just as approbation is required to be a godparent.

  13. Praised to be Jesus father!
    I want to know how sin of lukewarmness really works?
    What kind of hesitation is grievous in face of Jesus?
    Thank you anticipated and I want to know if I can ask you something in private?

    FATHER JOE:

    The hesitation is a failure to respond promptly to the love of God. As with the story of the rich man who went away sad, he was called to place the love of God before everything else. Jesus invited him to surrender himself to charity and to follow him. However, he went away sad because “his possessions were many.” Does he ever return? The sin of lukewarmness lacks immediate specificity and can reference any of a number of sins in practice. A person who is neither hot nor cold has a lazy faith. Jesus says that he would have us lit ablaze. The disciple of Christ should be on fire for the faith.

    What in practice might demonstrate a lukewarm faith and discipleship? Some Catholics are hit-and-miss when it comes to attendance at Mass. Failing to keep the Sunday observance (which is a matter of mortal sin) they come to church late and leave early. They might only come at Christmas and Easter. They might say they pray but in truth there is little in the way of reflection or genuine oration. They pray only when they want something and are desperate or afraid. They are pawns of their culture and society, compromising their faith and beliefs for political expediency but rarely defending what is right. They pick-and-choose what they believe and want to do, literally becoming cafeteria Catholics. They are afraid to stand out as believers. If Christianity were a crime, there would not be enough evidence to convict them. They are passive to evil or even an enabler as in the tragedy of abortion and the challenges against marriage and the family. They put off doing what is right or good today for a tomorrow that never seems to come. When they list their priorities, God and the Church are at the end of their list. They needlessly delay the baptisms of their children and/or neglect their catechetical faith formation. They always go the way of least resistance, choosing vice and sin over virtue and obedience. They fail to keep the penitential laws of the Church about fasting and abstinence. They make excuses for sin and for not making an effort to be holy saints. They give up before they even try to be Christians. They criticize fervency in faith as an unwanted fanaticism. They put off until tomorrow the good they could do today.

  14. Fr Joe, I have a few questions.

    1: we are supposed to bow our head when Jesus’s name is spoken, correct? Does this apply to the Father and the Holy Spirit as well?

    2: when they say you should fast “often”, what does that mean? How often? And if you fast often all year, what is different about Lent? Also: is there a calorie guideline for what constitutes fasting? Say less than 600 calories? I don’t eat a whole lot during the day anyway, so saying “one small meal” is not much of a guideline.

    3: My parents and siblings are all catholics that don’t go to mass. My daughter just revealed that she is one of those who think the Eucharist is just a symbol. If I invite them to mass with me, am I promoting sacrilege, since they don’t think they are in a state of mortal sin (from skipping mass all this time)? If I insist my daughter go to mass, am I promoting sacrilege? She is at least aware that she has to go to confession for skipping mass. But if she goes, and receives communion after, not believing it is really Jesus, is that sacrilege? I’m not sure what to do. I don’t know why she thinks this way, I’ve taught her the right thing and was careful to remind them always about the proper way to receive, the fasting requirement, etc. the real presence has been emphasized in our house. Obviously I failed in my duty, if that’s her belief.

    FATHER JOE:

    (1) Bowing the head is a custom associated with the saving name of JESUS.

    (2) The traditional abstinence from meat is on Fridays. Fasting is demanded on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Rules vary. The Latin rite tends to specify one full meal and two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal on any given day.

    (3) I know many parents who did their duty and still the youth abandoned the faith. We compete with many influences that seek to form the hearts and minds of our children. If your daughter is a minor I would suggest taking her to Mass but not requiring that she take Holy Communion. She may be a baptized Catholic; but, when a Catholic denies the real presence, are they in truth still a Catholic? The Eucharist is at the heart of our faith. It is hypocritical for such a person to say “Amen” (truly or I believe) to the words of the priest, “The body of Christ.”

  15. Hi, this is a short question. does God punish us if we sin when we are alive?

    FATHER JOE: The particular and the last judgment come after death. However, something of the consequences for sin begins in this world. Just as positive discipleship incurs virtues and develops character; disobedience invites vice and corrupts personality. Seen as a process, we are molded by our actions. One’s receptivity toward grace or blocking off of divine help can make a person either loving and generous or hateful and selfish. Sin breeds division and a woundedness of the soul. The person, who walks with God, knows despite adversity and struggle, joyfulness in standing in right relationship with God. The person who is repentant of sin and earnestly seeking holiness is already in communion with God and the saints of heaven. Death makes this state permanent.

  16. I`m curious if someone has to be catholic to be `sainted`? suck as Jayne Mansfield.

    FATHER JOE: The Church only canonizes Catholics. God can save whomever he wills. The actress you mention allowed herself to be exploited because of her physicality. She died young and a Methodist minister presided at the funeral service.

  17. Hello, Father Joe!
    I really wasn’t trying to mock You, nor wasn’t I joking. I really needed advice. I’m sorry if it seemed to be a joke, but I actually was serious about it. I consider myself a faithful catholic but unfortunately have been struggling with porn for years with a maximum of 6 months break. Drinking whiskey before bed has been the only way that have had long-term results. I’ve tried everything, from daily prayers, (including penance and other sacraments) etc to audio-hypnosis (not even talking about having a cold shower and getting married to a women I love :)).
    I really wanted your advice on it and no disrespect was intended. I wanted to know if it’s sinful, cause possibility of getting myself addicted to alcohol instead was creeping me out – since alcoholism seems sinful and I want to be a responsible father to my child and a good husband to my wife who despises alcohol in general. But she has accepted that I sometimes have a half bottle of beer after sauna.
    Considering that my life of marriage in the field of intimacy has changed since doctor told my wife that getting pregnant before year after the birth of our son would have great health risks. After the year passed by our intimacy was restored and then this irregularity mixed something up (but it’s only my fault, really, not blaming anyone else. I’m the only one responsible before God and my wife for my own actions ). So I was really feeling that whiskey has helped me to keep me away from these horrific pictures.
    I believe that you are a priest who is trying to help others. Please believe me, that I wasn’t trying to mock anyone. May be it seemed so, cause English is not my native tongue. Your answears on my journey have always been helpful; So I was quite surprised that this post seemed disrespectful

    No matter what, I apologize.
    Greetings Father!

    Hello, Father!
    Is it sinful to have a glass of whiskey every night before bed, if it helps me to avoid watching porn

    FATHER JOE: A drink before bed is not necessarily a sin. However, the whole business about it as an alternative to porn is silly and flippant. Mocking a priest who is trying to give advice and help to others is arguably sinful.

    FATHER JOE: Not to be hurtful, but such a solution to a pornography addiction is preposterous. You are not really dealing with the issue but trading one addiction for another. While there is nothing wrong with an occasional drink, this is not the way to treat an uncontrolled bondage to lust. If you need to do so, remove the television and any computer-like device for looking at porn from your bedroom. Be strong, be repentant but don’t become a drunk.

  18. A question about contraception. My wife takes birth control pills to treat gynecological issues. She has tried non-contraceptive methods and they have not worked. We talked to our priest about this and he told us about the double effect doctrine. My question is that since these medications can act as an abortive agent preventing implantation, should I use condoms as well to prevent fertilization and thus potential abortion? I have been doing this as the thought of aborting a fertilized egg is unacceptable to me but I need to know if my stance should change.

    FATHER JOE: Your wife is taking the pill, not for contraception but to regularize a gynecological issue. However, you are using condoms precisely for their contraceptive action. This is wrong and you should stop, no matter how noble the reason.

  19. Father Joe, is it a mortal sin to pretend to try and do a mortal sin but think that if I actually do it then I would stop? I’m concerned about this question.

    FATHER JOE: The sin is here in the intent. If you intend to do something you know is seriously wrong then you have sinned even if it is not accomplished. One should not play games with the moral life.

  20. Hello father, my mother is Mormon and I have been trying to teach her the Bible she refuses to listen and says we cannot have a relationship as long as I talk about religion . Should I continue or stop trying to help her?

    FATHER JOE: Your mother is threatening to remove you from her life. That is serious. Mormons have the Bible. The problem is how it is interpreted and other works they regard as sacred. If the door to discussion is closed then witness the faith by your charity and respect for her. Peace!

  21. This is not a reply but a new question I find asking this question rather embarrassing. My husband can no longer perform the marriage act because of health reasons, but he stills wants us to do fondling with each other. I am uncomfortable with this and am content now to live more like brother and sister . we are both nearing 80 Is it sinful not to show this kind of affection. Grace

    FATHER JOE: He is still your husband. It is fine for the elderly to live as brother and sister, but if he needs proximity and touching or holding, this remains an element of spousal duty. You gave yourself in love to him long ago. That promise binds you both until the day one of you leaves this world.

  22. Hello! My name is Susan, and I am a cradle Catholic. I have received all the Sacraments, and my husband and I are raising the kids Catholic. I have never felt connected to Catholicism. I don’t know why. I just only went through the motions.
    I am extremely called to the LDS Church. I have been speaking with missionaries for a while now. I feel like this is where God wants me. It’s causing a tremendous rift in our marriage. My husband is so hurt. And I feel so guilty. I know some people feel Mormon isn’t even Christian (my priest included). I feel so lost and alone right now. I guess I’m just looking for some hope and prayers. Thank you and God bless you.

    FATHER JOE:

    I suspect your attraction to the LDS has to do with fellowship and emotions. There really is no credible argument for their historical claims and documents. The Book of Mormon on a contextual level could only have been written in 19th century America despite feigning antiquity and employing the language of the King James Version Bible. It is not the Word of God. Even mistakes that are today corrected in the bible, he copied (plagiarism). It is a fake, pure and simple — not inspired truth from golden tablets but the fancies of a disturbed man. Indeed, a number of the so-called witnesses to the tablets recanted and confessed their deception on their deathbeds. The Mormon religion argues that Catholicism fell into apostasy and contrary to Matthew 16:18 the Church ceased to be. Next they claim that God the Father appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 America and re-established the Church. The false religion of Smith introduced a whole host of heresies: a belief in multiple deities instead of the monotheism of Jews and Christians, a polygamy that violated Jesus’ words on adultery, celestial marriage and novel temple rituals. The Trinity is described as three deities as opposed to the Christian definition: three divine Persons in one divine Nature. This invalidates their faith and baptism— the LDS religion is not a truly Christian faith. Despite its growth, it is regarded as a sect or cult, not a genuine “church” or “ecclesial community.” Further, there is no archeological evidence of a lost Hebrew tribe in this hemisphere as depicted in their Book of Mormon.

    It must be said that even the Book of Mormon does not support many of the LDS teachings. God is a pure spirit but Mormons teach that he has a body “of flesh and bones.” We are not talking here about the incarnate Christ, but God as God. This is ridiculous. The LDS also teaches that Lucifer is the spirit-brother of Jesus. Again this is gross heresy. Jesus is the eternal Son of God. Lucifer or Satan is a creature, a fallen angel.

    A Christian calling should be confirmed by other Christians. This neither your husband nor your priest can do. Given that the LDS is a man-made religion with corrupted elements of the true faith; the calling you think you have is not from the Lord. You are being deceived. Yes, the missionaries may mean well, but they work from ignorance of the truth. Mormonism has a wonderful present-day emphasis upon the family; however, even this is tainted by its earlier promotion of polygamy. The federal government had to force them to renounce multiple unions and even now there are breakaway groups that practice it and contend they are truer to the roots planted by Smith and the early American founders. You feel lost right now because you are lost. You will only find hope by going to confession and renouncing any ties to false religion. Return to the Mass. Say your rosary. Christ keeps his promise to the true Church. Read Matthew 16:15-20: “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.”

  23. Hi Father Joe,

    I have often wondered how dangerous the computer software agreements that everyone just clicks on and doesn’t read could be. What would ever prevent them from putting in a clause that says if you click yes you also agree to hand over your soul to the devil?
    Or even worse, some companies put in clauses that say they can change the agreement at any time to anything they want. What if everyone clicks yes to a very reasonable contract and then the company switches to something sinister?

    For example: Say, some years in the future the end times begin and the anti-christ arrives on Earth. In order to get billions of people damned to hell in a relatively quick and efficient manner, he takes over Microsoft and installs his minions in the legal department. So, his minion lawyers make use of the clause usually found in most modern software contracts, that literally billions of people across the world have clicked on, that states that Microsoft can change the terms to whatever they want & whenever they want. They then slip in a clause that states that anyone who used or uses Microsoft Windows must give up their soul to the devil in payment.

    So, do we have to all worry about this legal theory at all? Or does God have something in place where this situation would be void if any evil entity tried it?

    FATHER JOE: A contract is more than a piece of paper. While we should be on guard about what we sign, the Lord looks to the heart and the will. Fooling people with signatures and the “small print” would not steal souls from heaven— even if it might be the stuff of fantasy books and certain movies.

  24. Father I got a few questions on the items in church
    1. What is the difference between aspersorium and asperory?
    2. What is the name of the vessels that a use to keep the holy oils in church?
    3. What is the correct term to use for the light/candle that is held during processions? Procession torch,procession candle,procession lentern
    Are the all correct, if yes what is the difference
    Tq

    FATHER JOE:

    ASPERSORIUM = Basin for Holy Water (similar to Aspersory)
    ASPERGILLUM = Sprinkler Wand
    ASPERSORY = FONT with Holy Water for Signing the Cross
    AMBRY = Cabinet with the Three Holy Oils
    PROCESSIONAL CANDLE = Candles Used for Procession, Offertory and Recessional
    TORCHES = Long and Sometimes Swinging Candles
    VIGIL LIGHT = Candle Next to Tabernacle
    VOTIVE LIGHTS = Candles Associated with Intentions
    ALTAR CANDLES = Candles On or Near Altar for Mass
    AMBO = Lectern for Gospel

  25. Hi, I’m doing research for my university dissertation and had a few questions of the Catholic use of confession in the faith that I wanted to get an experts knowledge on. Firstly I wanted to ask what is the origins of confession in the Catholic Church? Why is this important to the faith? What are the consequences of giving a false confession? Finally is there any part of the Bible you could point me to that suggests the importance of confessing to God? Many Thanks.

    FATHER JOE:

    1. Christ gave the ministry of reconciliation to his apostles, the first priests of the Church. Just as he forgave sins, he wanted this saving work to be perpetuated in the Church he instituted.

    2. While the great sin offering is Christ’s redemptive sacrifice on the Cross; he wants us to be disposed to his gifts. Even people of faith often fall back into sin. Jesus gave us confessors in the Church so that we might have a certain way of receiving absolution for sin. The proclamation of the Good News always begins with “REPENT and believe.” We need spiritual healing. We need saving grace to supplant sin. We need to be holy. While many Protestants have followed Luther’s lead in viewing salvation as a juridical act; Catholicism has always discerned it as a matter of conversion or transformation into a new creation. It is not enough to be treated by God as “if” we were holy; no, we must “be” holy in fact. We need to be perfected by the fire of God’s love. Priests are vehicles or instruments for Christ’s power as the Divine Mercy. People need to be forgiven and they need to KNOW they have been forgiven. We need to be made perfect or saints. While divine mercy is not exclusive to the sacrament, it remains an essential way that the Church heals herself. One of the great powers of the priesthood is that the fallen might be stolen away from the devil.

    3. The effects of the absolution are lost in a bad or false confession and one commits the mortal sin of sacrilege.

    4. John 20:21-23: “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”

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