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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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4,257 Responses

  1. Marcel, Jr. Joe I am 69 yrs. old have been raised Caholic all my life in my younger years I was in the Seminary and loved it but had to leave due to unfortunate circumstances. I always wanted to go back because I still felt the calling. Gods will be I was married for 38 yrs and now a widower. I cannot drive any more so my church activities have decreased over the years and I only have my daughter to take me to Church on Sundays and Holy Days. I hvae served as altar boy and altar person for many years.
    My daughter went on much needed vacation which left me without transportation so watced the Sunday Mas on TV and a followed it closely. I was always told that at the offertory all the host and wine must be on the corporal before the invocation of the Holy Spirit there was only the priest host and the wine in order to becomme the Body and Blood of Christ also that priest,deacon, or Eucharist Minister were allowed to touch anything till after the priest cleaned up!
    During the holy communion the priest took host out of the Tanbernacle
    and then an altar boy came out with 2 other cerboriums filled with host.Where they came from I do not know but how could they Consecreated if they were not on the Altar. I know it might seem a little silly to be concrened and that maybe there has been another change in Canon Law I was unaware for I have a great Devotion to the Eucharist so much so that my best friend who is Catholic but his wife was not that she could go to Communion with us because I idea of the Eucharist was not keeping with Catholic belief . It was a hard thing to do but he understood and his wife agreed although did not completely understand
    the Theology ! Thank you for your time and patience.
    Peace of Christ be with you! Marcel


    Not having seen what you saw, I cannot attest to any possible violation of liturgical laws. You need to remember that there is a certain amount of staging for televised Masses for shut-ins. EWTN broadcasts their daily Masses from their chapel. The Archdiocese of Washington records Masses at the National Shrine. Some places actually record their Masses at specially prepared sets at the local broadcast stations. Dioceses will often record Masses many weeks ahead; indeed, two to four liturgies in a row might be recorded. The difficulty with live Masses is the hour they are sometimes shown and the strict time limits. For instance, only a 30 minute time spot is allotted in my diocese. Since the Masses are recorded, elements can be edited. Often many of the attendees receive communion after the Mass and the recording.

    Further, remember that you only see what the camera sees. If ciboria come to the altar after the consecration, they are either empty to divide hosts already consecrated or they are filled with consecrated hosts from the tabernacle (even if off camera). The current rules stipulate that the priest or deacon should be the one to retrieve consecrated hosts from the tabernacle. An altar server might bring over an empty ciborium or bowl paten (to be filled). Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not supposed to approach the tabernacle or even purify the vessels after Mass. You are correct that the hosts and wine to be consecrated should be on the altar and specifically upon the corporal.

  2. Hello Fr,

    I’ve been battling crippling depression these past few months. In the beginning, Jesus was a comforter and refuge for me, but when I get bouts of severe depression and despair (which come and go and usually stick around for several days where I can’t even find the motivation to get out of the bed and just spend the day balling my eyes out) I’m not able to feel Jesus anymore. In depression, it’s like your body is literally devoid of dopamine and it’s almost physically impossible for you to feel happy. This is causing great unbearable pain where I’m fighting the temptation of suicide every single second and I’m in fear that one day I might actually be depressed enough to do it.

    I haven’t been to Confession or Mass in ages. I used to go all the time but I they would never help. If anything, I would leave Church with more anger and sadness and it got to the point where I can’t even stand the idea of going to Church. I’m filled with this deep anger and hatred towards God for not helping me and for not being there for me. I know that the problems I’m facing are not his fault but I still blame him anyway. I know I definitely need professional medical help but I’m so broke I can barely make rent and I don’t have the money or insurance to seek help. Lately, I’ve turned to weed as an escape. It gives me a few hours of welcome numbness but it’s also affecting my life negatively.

    No matter how hard I try, I can’t even bring myself to pray. I just can’t get the words out of my mouth. In my depressed twisted brain all I can think of is that every time I put my faith in Jesus he let me down. I’m so scared and tired of putting my hopes up. And the idea that this is my cross and Jesus has no obligation to deliver me from it (other people had worse and he didn’t help them, he himself told us to pick up our crosses).

    I’m scared by the fact that I find no love for Jesus in my heart anymore. I’ve become very calloused and entitled and selfish. I don’t even know what more to say. Any words from you would help.


    FATHER JOE: I dubious as to what help I can give you. You have to really want to be healed and it seems that you only have excuses so as to continue on the road to despair. Professional help is available through Catholic Charities and through your local social services. You have to make the call. Severe depression is a form of mental illness. Depression is indeed a symptom of anger albeit more directed to oneself than to God or others. You cannot begin to love God and others as you should if you are weighed down by self-loathing. If you should make progress out of this psychological darkness, then I would urge you to place prayers of praise and thanks before those of petition. God wants to help us, but your attitude locks God out. You need psychological and spiritual healing. You need counseling for the mind and confession for the soul. You may even need medication to bring the brokenness of your body chemistry back into balance. You definitely do not need illegal drugs and alcohol. You must face your devils, not run away from them. I will pray that you will find healing and that contrition or sorrow for sin will bring you back to the Church and the sacrifice of the Mass. Remember, we must be disposed to grace if we want divine help and healing. If the bowl of the soul is turned upside down, it will remain empty. If it is filled with the poison of hatred and anger then there will be no space for the soup of God’s loving presence.

  3. Dear Fr. Joe,

    I was told that in the bible where Jesus says to baptize “in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” that it means to baptize in Jesus’ name because the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit IS Jesus. I was told that my Catholic baptism wasn’t a real baptism since I was baptized by titles and not by Jesus’ actual name. Is this true?


    The argument here is essentially that of a few Pentecostal sects, not genuine Christianity. The confusion is that we are saved by Christ. “Jesus” is understood as the saving name. Remember, the Hebrews and other ancient people saw one’s name as more than a label but as the person, himself. Note as well, while we are given the Trinitarian formula; we are also told by the Lord that “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to [him].” This speaks to the profound unity of the godhead or divine nature. While we are redeemed by the Cross of Christ, only God could save us— Jesus is God— the Trinity is God— there is one God.

    There also existed various forms of baptism. It may be that the expression of baptism in Jesus or in his name or by his power was a way to distinguish Christian initiation (with the Trinitarian formula) from the baptism of John— one of repentance and preparation for those awaiting the Messiah. Further, some communities may have baptized in Jesus’ name as an introduction into religious formation leading to Trinitarian baptism and full membership in the Church. Note that much of the New Testament is evangelical or missionary in character. We are only given brief glimpses into the inner workings of the Church and the celebration of her sacraments or divine mysteries.

    It should be sufficient that the formula for baptism was given by Jesus at the great commission and employed by the Church for almost 2,000 years. Similarly, the reformation churches (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, etc.) have used the same formula. “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:16-20).

    The great revelation of Christ is the mystery of the Trinity. The Trinitarian names are more than labels. Jesus shows us the face of God. The Pentecostals would have a point if we were merely speaking about modality. Certain progressive churches have wrongly changed the formula to “in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier.” We would not recognize as valid such a baptism. During early debates there was a question as to whether the Holy Spirit was divine. What resolved the matter was the baptismal formula. The name of a creature cannot save you; only God can save you. Thus, the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God.” We are not baptized by listing activity but by acknowledging the three divine persons of the godhead.

  4. Hi father, I’ve been a catholic/Christian my entire life and throughout my life, ive committed sins even though I knew they are sins. For example, I’ve cussed when I know it’s bad but now I’m trying my best to completely take it out of my life and ask God to help me change to be better. In addition, I’ve had sex even though I knew it was sinful in the past because I was in the wrong path during my high school years. I really want to change and be better. Will God accept me and forgive me after all I’ve done? I truly do feel terrible at some point. I think about it at times I’m still battling with lust and my sinful self but everyday, I try to pray to God to ask to help me be better spiritually. I’m trying to repent and be worthy of God’s promises even though i have sinned numerous times. I constantly have this anxiety that God will not forgive me..

    FATHER JOE: Sins are not simply mistakes. They are faults for which we must take responsibility and demonstrate true remorse or contrition. Sorrow for sin always makes room for forgiveness and renewed faith. Those who would be lost are sinners who surrender to sin and deny that they can be healed and perfected by grace. The saints are those who are honest about their sins and come to the Lord with contrition and love. Where we are weak, God is strong. We do not give up the battle but appreciate that the victory is won in Christ. Trust the Lord. Brush off anxiety for this is not from the Lord. He tells his friends not to be afraid. Walk with the Lord and embrace a “sure and certain hope” in the salvation he offers.

  5. Hi Father

    My wife’s sister might not be able to have a baby. My wife said if needed she would have a baby for her sister, by going to a sperm bank and getting pregnant that way. What does the church say about this.



    The Catholic faith would teach that such is wrong and a mortal sin. It signifies a false compassion. Your wife would mean well, but it would reduce the child to a material commodity. It is also wrong on many other serious levels. Every child should be conceived through the marital act. The process of in-vitro fertilization introduces third party technician(s) to the process. This is not the loving act that God had fashioned for the generation of new human beings.

    Further, what would be the source for the sperm and egg? There may be an effort to harvest eggs from her or her sister. There would also likely be an effort to use her husband’s sperm. The latter makes the act one of two-fold adultery, yes, even without intercourse. Her husband would father a child with your wife. If a stranger’s sperm is used, again even without fornication, adultery is committed. Only you have the moral right to inseminate your spouse. Transplanted eggs are appropriated by the donor. Any way you look at it, the business is wrong.

    There is a problem with the procedure, itself. Several eggs are fertilized. At the moment of conception God infuses an immortal soul. That makes them human beings. These embryos are then implanted. If there are multiple surviving embryos, the unwanted ones are terminated (abortion). Others are frozen or discarded— all of which is immoral and a dishonor to both the sanctity of life and the dignity persons. We are talking here about the killing of unborn human persons.

    Every child has a right to life. Women do not have an absolute right to motherhood and children. The child is not something one might demand but rather is a gift from God. Parents are given charge of their children but not ownership as in property.

  6. Hi Father, I have a dilemma about my niece. She is a non practicing Catholic that has undergoing IVF procedure that resulted in seven embryos. She is only planning to use one. She told me that the remaining ones will be donated to scientific research. I’m my opinion she is aborting six. I did ask her to donate them to other families and she is not wanting to do that. I am a strong pro life advocate. What should and if anything can I do?

    FATHER JOE: There is not much more you can do. The use of IVF for such purposes reduces the child to a commodity. While the process itself is immoral because it bypasses the marital act and introduces a third party (the doctor or technician), the accompanying selective abortion is also utterly reprehensible. Can a true mother love the one child so much that she would kill six of the siblings? Keep the parents and the “children” in prayer. Because there is the tendency to depersonalize the unwanted unborn, you might give them names and make a spiritual adoption prayer. “Heavenly Father, we beseech you not to forget those made in the image of God and as your beloved children are denied the right of birth. You call us each by name and so we name them . . . Michael, John, Paul, Mary, Helen and Elizabeth. Give them a place of joy with you for all eternity. We claim them even if their parents do not. Amen.”

  7. Hello my name is Emmanuel. I had a dream that St. Pope John Paul II blessed me and my ex girlfriend a few weeks ago. I love her lot and hope we get back together. I’ve been praying about us being back together for a while. There is just strong gut feeling I feel that we are meant to be together. The relationship ended due to her needing space to think about thing and be sure about us. Right now she has feeling for another guy and wants to give it a chance. I still love her and know that if it’s meant to be God will find a way so I keep praying daily. The dream was awhile ago but today is her birthday and today is also Pope John Paul II feast day. When I found that out it took me by surprise. The dream in itself meant a lot to me and ontop of that having the feast day coincide with her birthday means a lot. Every now and then I will have dreams of things that are to come but they are small and random. I wanted to ask for clarity and for you to pray for me and her. In Matthew 17:20 is says if you have faith the size of a mustard see you can say to this mountain move and it will move. I’ve been claiming that passage praying it everyday for the mountain between me and her to move and for us to be together again. Thank you so much for taking the time to read. May God bless you as well!

    FATHER JOE: I hate to shoot you down but I place little confidence in such dreams. She left you and has apparently found someone else. That is the reality. I would urge you to accept the hard truth and move on. Remember, often when a door is closed, the Lord opens another. Check the other doors. Peace!

  8. Hi father Joe

    I work with a lot of non religious people they say Jesus as a slang, I don’t know how to respond to them when they do this, should I say something or leave it alone because I don’t want to come across rude but I want to fulfill my Christian duties if I do need to say something thanks

    FATHER JOE: It might be like the little boy trying to plug the broken dyke with his finger. Your concern is commendable but you may drown in the effort. Each situation has to be judged for itself. People do not like being corrected in front of others. Expressing a humble concern in private might be better received. Further, is the person a Christian or a non-believer? The latter places no confidence in the saving name. If the lines of communication are open, suggest turning a curse or flippancy into a prayer: “Jesus, Mary, Joseph . . . save souls!”

  9. Dear Father,

    I went to the 4 PM Mass today. When I walked into the Church there was so much loud talking I thought I was in a bar. I knelt down in the pew and it felt odd to be kneeling and praying (or at least attempting to pray as the noise and commotion was pretty bad). I start thinking to myself what is going on here is sacrilegious and then I start feeling guilty that I might be judging the people in the Church. The music during the Mass seemed more Protestant than Catholic. It was piano music that reminded me of a cross between the St. Louis Jesuits and Jesus Christ Superstar. The music was sappy and effeminate. I couldn’t receive Communion. How does the Catholic Church expect to attract and retain male members of the Church with the limp wristed, sappy and effeminate style of music. And of course the Kiss of Peace is downright silly with the waiving, backslapping, laughing, all with Jesus on the Altar. I don’t think I have a question. But what is going on at the Catholic Mass in 2019 is not the religion of Mother Angelica or Archbishop Sheen, and it is not the religion that the nuns taught me in grammar school. Now I understand that the Amazon bishops in their synod want woman deacons. I will leave it at that. Thank you for listening to me.

    FATHER JOE: You are right, your comment vented your upset but there was no question. I am also biased against many practices in the Church, today. But I was not perfectly happy with the older worship style, either. Protestantism is the Church of the great “Alone” as in faith alone, the bible alone and Jesus alone. Today, more than ever before, Catholicism is the Church of the great “And” as in faith and works, the bible and tradition and Jesus with Mary and the saints. We are also the Church of Latin and the vernacular, of chant and melodic songs, of sacrifice and meal, of worship and fellowship, of communion on the tongue and in the hand, etc. I believe in freedom for the old Mass. And if it should bring people to Christ and his mercy, then I would tolerate the new as well for those who find benefit in it.

  10. Dear Father Joe,

    My wife and I are Practicing Catholics and were recently discussing Fortune Telling. I reminded her that Fortune Telling is an Occult Practice and a violation of the First Commandment: “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shall not have strange gods before Me.” She agreed with me regarding Fortune Telling violating the First Commandment. However, she thinks it’s technically not a direct example of the Occult Practices, but related to them.

    I obtained the following information from a website entitled: christiansonnet.org:

    According to that website, the word: “Occult” means: “hidden.” It goes on to say that Occultism is a religion which sees itself as a revival of ancient Paganism and of hidden knowledge about the nature and workings of the world. There are 2 main categories of Occult Practices, or involvement in Occult Powers: Divination (An attempt to foretell future events through interpretation of signs) and Spiritism (An attempt to contact superhuman spirits). Fortune Telling falls under the Cartomancy variety of Divination. Cartomancy involves forecasting the future, via laying of cards. Similar to other kinds using different mediums, such as Chinese Fortune Telling and Life Prediction.

    My Wife’s late Grandmother would tell people’s Fortunes via an ordinary Deck of Cards. She would pray for the guidance of St. Peter, before prophesizing future events, in their lives. Despite my Wife’s Grandmother requesting the intercession of St. Peter before using a seemingly harmless Deck of Cards to make Psychic Forecasts, was she guilty of practicing the Occult, from a Catholic perspective? Should Practicing Catholics consider all forms of Fortune Telling, both direct and indirect, as examples of Occult Practices? On a similar subject, would Ouija Board usage be considered another Occult Practice, since it seems to involve Spiritism, or contacting/summoning Spiritual beings?

    Thank you in advance!

    God bless you!




    Catholicism defines occultism as sorcery. Sorcery is always and everywhere condemned as false religion. Trying to combine it with Catholicism does not make it acceptable, as we see with voodoo. While God might take the initiative and grant one a vision or even permit the communication of Mary and the saints; it is grievously wrong to seek hidden information about the future or to summon spirits as with an Ouija Board. Fortune telling is a direct violation against divine providence. The latter is an invitation, not to the Holy Spirit, but to the dead. Would be psychics and mediums know many parlor tricks. If there should be a response, it is within probability the masquerading of a demon as a deceased person. The famous Georgetown possession story began with an Ouija Board.

    Many people take delight in reading the astrology page in the newspaper, patronizing fake gypsies with their crystal balls at local fairs and cracking open fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants. If not taken seriously as an entertainment and fundraiser, such might be excused as play. The problem is that despite the rise of science and skepticism, many are gullible and actually pay large amounts of money to psychics and other charlatans. They would be better off taking counsel about anxieties from their local minister or health professional.

  11. Dear Father Joe,

    Hi, a short question for you. Is it a mortal sin to try and do a mortal sin but then say to yourself that it’s not going to happen?

    FATHER JOE: If there was never any real intention to commit the wrong then it is likely not mortal. However, if one knows an action is mortally sinful and fully intends to do it anyway, then a grievous sin is committed, even if the opportunity did not arise. The sin begins in the human heart. Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment . . .” (Matthew 5:21-22).

  12. Dear Father Joe,

    Just a quick follow-up on your answer about SSPX Mass on Sunday.

    Thanks for your detailed reply, but now I’m more confused than ever by the situation you describe.

    How can the Church allow a bishop in one diocese to say SSPX Mass does not fulfill our Sunday obligation, another bishop in another diocese says maybe, and another bishop in another diocese says yes? This makes no sense to me as a poor layman. Has Pope Francis given the individual bishops the right to decide on this matter? Is there an official statement from Pope Francis on this matter?

    My own bishop says “no” because SSPX is in schism. But apparently I can travel to another diocese where the bishop says “yes” and then it’s OK? I have no idea what “maybe” means in this situation.

    I wish I could find a list of dioceses in the USA with their policy on SSPX Mass for Sunday obligation.

    What is the policy in your Diocese?

    Thanks again.

    FATHER JOE: The Pope has granted faculties to SSPX priests to hear confessions although these same priests claim they did not need this permission. As for Masses, each bishop grants faculties for the Mass and other sacraments to those under his charge and those lawfully working in the diocese. Taking the question of SSPX priests aside, even I as a diocesan priest cannot celebrate Mass in the neighboring parishes of either Baltimore or Arlington without special permission. I only have faculties to function in the Archdiocese of Washington. Most bishops will honor faculties given for confession from another bishop; but there are a few that even restrict these. We speak of the Catholic Church as one worldwide ecclesial community; but each bishop has his authority over the local churches and clergy of his see. This hierarchical structure over authority even includes the local pastors or priests. The pastor of a parish must give delegation to other priests or deacons to witness marriages or to perform baptisms. Otherwise, the baptisms would be valid but illicit. If another priest tries to witness a wedding in the boundaries of another parish, without the pastor’s approval, that marriage is both illicit and invalid in the eyes of the Church. We suffer in Washington with a group called Rent-a-Priest. These men, some who are priests in bad standing and others who may not be true priests at all, charge $600 for weddings that look Catholic but are not recognized by the Church. Complicating the matter further there are personal prelatures and the Military Ordinariate. When I was a contract priest for the Coast Guard, I had to acquire faculties (permission) to minister at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC. Once I stepped upon a ship or on a military base or entered CQ headquarters, I needed the okay of both my own bishop and the bishop in charge of our armed forces.

  13. Dear Father Joe

    Whilst praying the rosary the other night I was desperate to urinate. Instead of pausing and going to the bathroom I continued praying whilst I relived myself.
    Was this a mortal sin? When I realised what I was doing I stopped, put the rosary down and then went back to it once I had finished.

    FATHER JOE: Really, I do not think that God cares. Actually, given interruptions, the bathroom is probably a good place to pray.

  14. Hi Fr. Joe,
    Is it OK to request a Mass to be said in memory of someone who was not Catholic? My neighbor recently passed away. He had a very strong and beautiful Christian faith, but was not Catholic. I’d like to have a Mass said for him but wasn’t sure it was allowed. Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Prayer and the Mass can be offered for anyone.

  15. Dear Father Joe,

    Before I stop this flurry of questions of mine, may I ask one more? I woke up and went back to your blog to read some of your very interesting articles. In one, you mention that Pope Francis “insults” priests. I have read this opinion in many articles by Catholics.

    I do not mean any disrespect to any priest. I respect and pray for all our priests. In fact I think our priests are under attack from many sides and I think it must take huge courage these days to be a priest. I was upset by what I read about funds set aside to take care of priests being used for other purposes. I think there is now a witch hunt against priests. Much of it in my opinion comes from greedy lawyers. I don’t automatically believe people who accuse priests. I give the benefit of the doubt to priests, not to their accusers.

    But when it comes to being “rude,” didn’t Jesus also say unpleasant things about some people? He was very direct when he warned people. Maybe Pope Francis is trying to warn people in blunt terms. For example about rigid ideology vs faith. How is that rude?

    Thank you.


    Jesus was critical of those who lacked compassion for others. He was also sharp to the religious leaders who refused to accept him and who derided his miracles and healings as the work of demons. The situation is different when the Pope derides bishops and clergy in a manner that parodies the truth or makes a scapegoat of good clergy for the intransigent sins of others.

    Is it wrong to admonish parents to get married so that they might fully witness to the faith in which they desire their children baptized? Is it wrong to insist upon a firm amendment of life prior to absolution so that those living in sin will remain in God’s good graces and not lie to themselves about their real standing before the Lord? Is it wrong to withhold communion to those in irregular unions when you know that their lack of proper disposition will bring down divine judgment against them for sacrilege? Is it wrong to want a dependable car and not a piece of junk or the long wait for a local bus when you are racing to give someone the last rites?

    Why is it right to dismiss the many genuine and moving sacrifices that most priests make for God’s people even if such ingratiates the Pope with those who generally hate and ridicule priests? Is it right to malign the priests and laity who prefer the older liturgical forms when these were the forms that molded most of the saints in the liturgical calendar?

    The problem is deeper than just about the hurt feelings of clergy. Why would we regard the timeless doctrines and morals that come to us from the sources of revelation as “ideology” and not the dissenter-pleasing revisionism of the Pope’s friends, like Cardinals Kasper, Schönborn, Cupich and Marx? One is known by the company that one keeps. Rigidity is only a problem when it comes to non-essential things. Fidelity in the truths of faith is orthodoxy.

    He shows great respect to juvenile delinquents, homosexuals and those who have sex outside of marriage. Where is the same respect to the youth that were inspired by the World Youth Days? Where is the defense for traditional marriage and family, especially with the “restructuring” of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute? Where is the concern and lamentation for the spouse that was abandoned by an adulterous partner and now feels betrayed by the Church? He surrounds himself with dissenters who easily earn his praise. Others like Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Müller and Cardinal Burke are silenced, criticized or marginalized. Can one really be too orthodox or overly faithful? No, error leads souls astray. Dissent is not medicine but poison to the treasury of the Church’s faith and morals.

    Given his role, my presumption is that the Holy Father actually holds the ancient faith but that he feels that the Church might grow or advance by throwing everything, good and bad, into an ecclesial crockpot. It might make for a rather confusing recipe but we can hope that the soup that results will be both edible and nutritious. I am not sure I can agree to such a tactic; but I am not the Pope.

  16. Dear Father Joe,

    Just one last comment for now. This is just my opinion. I read the question by the lady about intimacy with her husband. I know that some women find certain things uncomfortable or even painful.

    As a man, I sympathize with her and I would never do anything intimate with a wife which she found unpleasant or uncomfortable, as long as the basic act of procreation was not denied. Wouldn’t it be more in line with Christian charity to do what our wife wants us to do in this situation, in order not to disturb her in any way? But if she totally denies the act of procreation, that’s a different story. I could be wrong, and if so I apologize.

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Dialogue about the intimacy of the bond should always reflect a respect of persons, the meaning of the marital act (fides and proles) and the nature of carnal love.

  17. Dear Father Joe,

    I think perhaps my SSPX question got lost due to technical reasons. I asked it just before my previous marriage and abortion questions. Excuse me and ignore my redundant question if I repeat it for nothing.

    To make it simple, SSPX tries to talk people into attending their Sunday Mass, even though a diocese states it does not satisfy Sunday obligation. But the SSPX says such a diocese, including the bishop, is wrong. They say to believe SSPX instead.

    Have Pope Francis and the bishops made a clear statement about this? I think SSPX are misleading people with their arguments. I think a clear statement from the Pope and the bishops would help Catholics avoid confusion. If they have not made such a statement yet, do you know why not?

    Thank you.


    I wish I could give you an absolutely certain answer, but I cannot. I would agree that the Church should give more guidance on this question. Here are my thoughts about the matter:

    The SSPX Masses are certainly valid even though the priests themselves lack licit ordination and proper faculties to exercise their orders.

    (1) Many good people who are faithful and in juridical union with the Holy See may feel a great affinity to the older liturgical form and find great spiritual benefit and consolation from it. However, it would be a sin to attend an SSPX Mass so as to renounce communion with the Holy See or to impugn the Eucharistic sacrifice as celebrated in the new missal.

    (2) If people are prevented (moral or physical impediment) from attending a valid and licit Mass somewhere else, then they might attend an illicit SSPX Mass (given no absolute prohibition from the approved local bishop). It would then also satisfy the Church’s Sunday obligation precept. Licit or not, I would give the gravity to the fact that it is a real Eucharistic sacrifice celebrated by a true priest configured to Christ. It is a participation in the marriage banquet of the Lamb. Speaking to the impediments, no one should be obliged to participate at a Mass where there is rampant liturgical abuse and/or dissent. Further, the issue of time and distance to another church for Mass might make matters cumbersome or impossible.

    (3) One should be willing to participate at a Mass that faithfully follows the reformed missal. While it is incumbent upon the local ordinary to insure a traditional Latin liturgy is available within reasonable proximity; it is not always possible.

    (4) If one were to attend then it is permitted to make a modest contribution to the SSPX chapel or priest.

    (5) Catholics may go to confession to SSPX clergy as Pope Francis granted them faculties during the Year of Mercy and it has never been revoked. A marriage may only be witnessed by an SSPX priest if the local bishop will grant temporary faculties to do so.

    (6) One should absolutely avoid independent chapels (not SSPX) as the priests may not be validly ordained.

    (7) I do not know about around the world but bishops across the U.S. have taken different stances about allowing people to attend SSPX chapels for Mass. Some bishops have said absolutely not and others have said maybe or yes for reasons that I have already mentioned. This requires further asking around. What is the policy of the local bishop?

    (8) Not all SSPX priests are the same and some warning must be given about preaching. Mass goers must be alert not to pick up an attitude of belligerence against the Holy See and the local bishop. The laity should not take to themselves any “formal adherence to schism” manifested by the priest or the community that is regularly associated with an SSPX chapel.

  18. Dear Father Joe,

    In addition to my SSPX questions, the above discussions made me remember another question.

    I believe what the Church teaches about sex, namely the only permitted sex is between a married couple (man and woman of course) and for procreation.

    Suppose I have a wife and she is pregnant. In that case, she can not get pregnant again until after our baby is born. Does the Church say we should abstain from sex during the pregnancy?

    FATHER JOE: Fecundity should not be artificially restricted or revoked by artificial means. However, if your definition of the marital act were accurate then intercourse would be denied elderly couples who are no longer fertile. Procreation is the primary reason for marriage and the intimacy that comes along as part of it; however, it is not the only reason. The marital act between a husband and wife “must be that type of human act that generates new human life” (vaginal intercourse) even if it is highly unlikely or impossible to conceive. Couples also share this intimacy to promote the fidelity of the spouses. This is a truth from the old manuals of morality and highlighted in Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body.

    One other question, which I was thinking about after the Democrat debates. It seems all the Democrats, including the Catholics, keep talking about “the woman’s right to choose.” I was disturbed in particular by Kamala Harris. She gave this statement, which started off in a beautiful way, about women bringing new life into the world, and then she says the woman has the right to do what she wants with her body. Which means abortion.

    First of all, it’s not her body. It’s the body of a new human life which is developing inside her. I wish someone would say this to her face, but it seems no one on TV does so.

    Second, none of us have the unconditional right to do what we want with our body. For example, as a guy, maybe I feel like buying a prostitute, or engaging in fornication, etc. That’s two adults doing what they want with their bodies.

    Or how about “self-abuse” which a guy does with himself. It’s definitely my body. But I have no right to engage in that sin.

    I know that some politicians have been denied Holy Communion, because they won’t stop advocating for abortion rights. But how can some other Catholics, like Biden or Beto, get away with advocating for abortion, without being excommunicated? Don’t they automatically become excommunicated? If so, why don’t the bishops say so?

    This is not political for me. I don’t belong to any party. I just wonder why the Catholic politicians give in to the abortionists.

    FATHER JOE: No one questions the pro-abortion language during the debates because all the participating politicians hold the same position. You would have to ask the bishops why they allow Catholics to get away with such views against human life while seemingly incurring no censures from the Church. Why do Catholic politicians give in? They feel that such a policy will get them elected and babies in the womb cannot vote. Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses also have a lot of money and lobby heavily for their candidates. Money talks and any who would dare mention the unborn child is labeled as anti-woman. Of course, few mention that there are also women in the womb being targeted, too.

  19. Dear Father,
    The verse, “ and lead us not into temptation”, has been discussed a good deal recently. Can you clarify what the original wording/translation was. Thank you!

    FATHER JOE: Click here for some of my recent thoughts on the OUR FATHER.

  20. Hi Fr Joe,
    I have a question about my work as a pharmacist. I told my boss I could not be involved with methotrexate for ectopic pregnancy. However, a fertility doctor sent an order for it today and on it was written “absence of fetal heartbeat on diagnosis “. I don’t know the age of the embryo, and whether it is old enough that it should have one if still alive. It could be argued that if he wrote that on there, then he expected to find one, correct?

    Would it be sinful for me to dispense the drug in that instance?

    FATHER JOE: It may simply be too early in the pregnancy for a heartbeat to be heard. You cannot ethically dispense the abortifacient.

  21. Fr. Joe,

    I have a few questions about receiving Communion that I hope you can help with. Is there an amount of time that a person should wait to eat with a spoon or fork, or to brush their teeth after receiving Communion?
    Also, should if we should cut ourself after receiving Communion, should we try to collect the blood and dispose of it in a clean place? Is some of the properties of Communion to be considered in a blood for a time after receiving?

    Thank you,

    FATHER JOE: Current canon law stipulates a one-hour fast before receiving Holy Communion (canon 919). There are no current regulations about eating after reception; however, in practice many recommend a fifteen minute wait afterwards. If you cut yourself you should seek medical aide and not be so scrupulous. As for Eucharistic properties in the bloodstream, there are none. As soon as the accidentals or externals of bread and wine are destroyed by digestion, it is no longer the sacrament and the substance of the risen Christ or the real presence disappears.

  22. Father, I feel bad bothering you with this concern and as a 38 year old adult I should probably be able to figure this out on my own. I love the catholic faith I feel that Holy Communion is the center of salvation. I love the  sacrament of confession and the the catholic faith as a whole but I just can’t bring myself to support this pope in anyway along with the ongoing sex abuse scandals and allegations of the pope sending money to bring illegal immigrants into our country(I don’t know how true this is exactly but I feel like it could very well be true given his talk on immigration and being outspoken on US politics). I just don’t know how I can in good conscious tithe any money knowing that it will go to those causes. I don’t want to leave my church but I don’t know how I can be in it at the same time. I do not want to leave but I just hope that I’m doing the right thing in God’s eyes. It really brings me no pleasure to write this email or speak badly of the pope. I admire and respect your knowledge on everything so that is why am coming to you with this. It’s been on my heart for a long time and I really need to bring peace to my soul so that I can walk a better walk and raise my family in God’s will and Way. Thank you and God bless you . Al


    The pope would not directly sponsor efforts to contravene our nation’s immigration laws. The American bishops use funds and offer services for humanitarian support to poor immigrants, especially families and children. Our Lord was criticized by the religious leaders of his own people for his association with the poor, sinners and tax collectors. Indeed, his manner toward the Romans (for those pressed into service and giving to Caesar what belonged to Caesar) upset many who viewed them as foreigners who had taken over the Promised Land. The issue is not whether you want to support the pope; rather, the question is do you want to imitate Jesus?

    Am I speaking too harshly? While every nation has a right to a secure border, the heart of the Gospel always speaks to human dignity and the sanctity of life. The unborn child was stripped by judicial tyranny of the rights that were once granted by the constitution. While our constitution rightly guarantees certain rights to citizens, we must never forget that we began as a nation of immigrants and that all human beings possess natural rights from God. Further, while I sympathize with arguments distinguishing legal from illegal immigration, we should also be cognizant of the desperation and search for hope that brings many to our borders and shores. Look at the history around Ellis Island and the bigotry faced years ago by the Irish. No matter whether we like it or not, America remains a light to the nations. Along with Mexicans, Central Americans and others, do you know that there are as many as 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants that are right now also facing deportation? Numbers were much higher in the 1970’s and 80’s before the technology business boon in Ireland. Would we be just as quick “to send them home”?

    The Catholic position is more nuanced than many would appreciate. The Church does not favor the mass exodus to the United States. Catholic social teaching would promote public policies and efforts at justice that would make it easier for people to remain in their own nations. The third world would become more attractive with governments that would protect and empower their people. This demands education, sharing resources, and basic liberties. The answer is not for everyone to flood the United States but to seek ways to instill positive values, freedom and justice elsewhere. Too often those who escape to our nation must still endure exploitation and dehumanizing bigotry.

    The negative side to legalized immigration is that we are quick to receive professionals in the sciences like medicine, technology, engineering, etc. While this might enrich the United States we neglect the fact that their education is often paid for by our international social services. The idea is to help provide more doctors, teachers, technicians and builders in poor nations that need people with these skills. However, the lure for defection is the big money and the standard of living available in the U.S. and other first world nations. Thus, poor nations face a stagnant development or decline and an uncertain future. We deprive them of their best and brightest people.

  23. Hi Father, I went on a pilgrimage with a few members of my parish and our parish priest recently. When it came time to receive the Eucharist he asked us to come up and self communicate in both forms, I think because the chapel was very small and cramped. I was rather thrown by this, he has never done it in our parish, and was not sure whether to come up. I didn’t know if it was right or not and it would not be the way I would choose. I prayed about it and saw that everyone else was doing it (I was sat at the back) and felt I didn’t want to separate myself from the communion of the pilgrimage group by being the only person who didn’t. I had a sense of peace about this and so went up and took the Body and Blood of our Lord in this manner. Having returned, I’ve looked it up online and it doesn’t seem right (I live in England and my Priest is from Africa so I don’t know if it varies from place to place). Do you think that I committed a sin by doing this? If so, then, as this is the priest I go to Confession to, it would be rather awkward to confess this to him. What do you think I should do? Thanking you in advance.

    …Sorry, I just wanted to add a couple of points to the question I submitted:
    1) On reflection, I think the priest may have done what he did because all the previous times he has gone to this pilgrimage site he has been on retreat with fellow priests and they have probably self-communicated, which, I understand, is fine. But perhaps he thought that this was just the custom in this place, I don’t know.
    2) Also, to clarify why I made the decision I did, it was because I really wanted to receive the Eucharist on this special occasion of the pilgrimage and this was my only opportunity. It was a one day visit and this was the only Mass. Also, I think there was some feeling of not wanting my priest to feel awkward about why I had not gone up or to make myself look or feel superior or separate in some way from all the others who did. It was only a very small group of us (16).

    My apologies for the length of all this, I just wanted to make it as clear as I could.
    Thanks again.

    FATHER JOE: The Neocatechumenal Way until recently often shared Holy Communion in a communal manner although Rome has since required them to correct innovations so as to abide by the liturgical principles that guide the Roman Rite. I have known churches where the clergy and liturgy directors have permitted self-communication, especially of the cup. It is my understanding that it is an abuse. The concelebrating priest may pick up the chalice to consume the precious blood; however, the lay communicant should be handed the chalice with the words, “The blood of Christ.” The respondent says, “Amen” and drinks from the chalice. Another abuse of self-communication is when the lay person comes forward and dunks the host in the precious blood and then consumes it. The Eucharist should be ministered. That means the host should be placed on the tongue or in the hand. If there is intinction, the Eucharistic minister dips the host into the precious blood and then places it on the tongue of the communicant. Regardless as to where one is from, the manner of reception in the Roman Rite is the same. Self-communication is generally forbidden to the laity. Given that your priest urged it, the greater weight of responsibility is his. The priest would not have confused at the pilgrimage site how priests and laity take the sacrament. I cannot imagine a priest with this level of ignorance. While I can appreciate you not wanting to embarrass your priest, it seems to me that he is guilty of liturgical abuse.

  24. What is your advice will be, for a church worker like me who is being badmouthed and embarrassed by the parish priest because of wrong information.He doesn’t confront me but just say what he wanted to say during formations and meetings. I am being belittled and condemned without.t basis. He always does this to anyone whom he thought said improper things and acted indifferently but never confront the person privately. I want to quit for now.

    FATHER JOE: Pastors are not perfect people and often make mistakes in how they treat others. Hopefully, their intention is to build up persons and communities and now tear down. Not knowing the man I cannot say much about his character. We can get into bad habits in how we treat people. Speaking for myself, I am often grieved and seek pardon when I discover that I have inadvertently hurt someone. Have you asked for a private meeting with him, accompanied by a spouse or friend, to address the issue? I think this is the first step. If this is denied you and others are also upset, most dioceses have mechanisms in place for grievances to be addressed. There are even appointed diocesan arbitrators to deal with such tensions. You would have a right to such recourse. Indeed, the revised abuse policies are now addressing issues of this sort. Guilty or not, it is not the job of the priest to parade in public the sins or faults of others. Do what you have to do but also do not fail in praying for your priest, no matter how hard it may be.

  25. Is it ok to wear an angel costume for halloween? Not in an inappropriate way though.

    FATHER JOE: I recall a nun telling the school kids that they were to dress as saints and angels for Halloween. She got mad at a little boy who dressed up like the devil, yes with pitchfork, pointy beard, long tail and huge horns. The little boy argued, “But sister, I am an angel— a fallen angel!” Yes, it is okay.

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