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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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

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4,490 Responses

  1. How to cope with the abuse scandals by the clergy?

    FATHER JOE: With tears and prayers and an active pursuit of reform and justice.

  2. Hello Father,

    I am familiar with the Scripture (1 John 3:10) that calls those who reject the Gospel and live in sin “Children of the Devil.”

    If our Pope writes an infallible encyclical, announcing all of mankind as “Children of God,” how do we reconcile that with apostolic and church teachings for the past 2,000 years?

    I understand we are all made in the image of God, and Jesus loves us all and died for us all.

    But isn’t calling unbelievers Children of God contradicting the Apostolic Teachings passed down?

    How do we as Catholics handle this?

    Thank you,

    Luke Stanton Smith

    01-13-21 FATHER JOE:

    The verse reads: “In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.” The context means everything and Catholics are not literal fundamentalists. The verse is about those who fail to live out the call to discipleship in loving obedience. It is a reference to the morality of the Christian life. This is different from the fact that we are all creatures of God and that believers are baptized as sons and daughters of the Father. This is not a mandate that everyone baptized must be ultimately saved. This is no contradiction to the ancient faith.

  3. Father Joe,

    I have a question about mediums/spiritists. My mother-in-law claims to be a medium. She has many times “spoken with the dead” on behalf of others. We lovingly engaged her on this, providing numerous scriptural references explaining that it is forbidden.

    As we are Protestant (my wife and I), she just dismissed our references and stated that her Roman Catholic upbringing made clear that these activities were acceptable.

    While I am aware that there are seven books in the Bible of Catholicism that are not in the Protestant version, I have a hard time believing (and yes, I speak out of ignorance) that those seven books contradict the other condemnations of this activity.

    To make things more muddled, she claims that a local Catholic priest condones her behavior. Although, we suspect that this “priest” is a figure she has made up to bolster her view.

    Could you please clarify the Catholic doctrine concerning mediums/spiritists?
    Thank you for your time.

    01-13-21 FATHER JOE:

    While Catholics can invoke the intercession of the saints, all prayer is directed to God as its proper object. We also pray for the dead. However, we are forbidden to seek out two-way communication with the dead. Spiritualism is regarded as seriously sinful by Catholics and Protestants, alike.

  4. Father Joe,

    I have tried to get an answer to a question on Catholic Doctrine. It seems that the current wording in the Catechism on abortion is not resonating well enough with many Catholics. So, to offer a blunt alternative I will ask:

    Does Catholic Doctrine explicitly state or strongly imply the killing of a child inside the womb is the same a the killing of a child outside the womb?

    So, far the USCCB, several Catholic news agencies, and even a retiring archbishop have not been willing to answer and publish.

    FATHER JOE: You are wrong. The universal catechism is very clear: [CCC 2274] “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.” Morally, killing a person in or outside the womb is the same… a violation of the commandment, THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

  5. Hi Father, In an argument online I had (I don’t remember what about), I called someone a dumbass who had a bad take. Would this be a mortal sin?

    FATHER: Doubtfully mortal, but definitely not nice.

  6. Father, I have been having a running conversation with a Catholic member of my family. [I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] The discussion has been on whether or not Catholics can or do support Freedom of Religion. I understand objections to abortion. My Faith and I decry elective abortions. However, as you may know, my Religion makes allowances for abortion under some rare and extreme situations. My Catholic brother has told me that it is the obligation of Catholics not only to end all abortions regardless of reason, but also to elect those who would work towards amending the 1st Amendment. This would restrict or ban certain Religious Teachings. When I have referred to the US 1st Amendment my brother said that it was, essentially, mistaken. Essentially his attitude is that his Oath to uphold the US Constitution (he served in the Air Force) did not include parts that were contrary to Catholicism.

    I don’t want to always be at loggerheads with him about this, so I thought I’d ask a 3rd party. Thank you for reading this. Pat

    01-13-21 FATHER JOE:

    Mormon teaching on abortion is not entirely consistent. While church members must not personally submit to or perform or advocate or enable an abortion, the leadership would permit abortions for others in cases of rape, incest or endangered health. Catholicism would judge “human personhood’ as beginning at conception and thus we cannot destroy that life even if it should be brought into existence through violence. Any exception undermines the sanctity of life and the dignity of persons. The argument about health today is so liberally interpreted that it often includes issues like anxiety, permitting abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy without reservation.

    I am not sure what argument your Catholic brother would be making against religious liberty as the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops all throughout the Obama Administration argued for the full exercise of our religious faith (protected under the first amendment) without government intrusion. Were there certain Mormon practices or teachings that he thought should not be protected? Historically there was the issue of polygamy but I hear little opposition from the larger Mormon faith community about this and there is a general defense of monogamy. Churches or ecclesial communities should be allowed to participate in the public forum according to their own teachings and values; such would include the selection of their ministers and the range or dynamics of their advocacy for social justice and charity outreach. We would contend that they should not be compelled to support contraceptive/abortifacient services as health benefits. Further, they should not be compelled to hire teachers or ministers who opposed the essential tenets of the given faith. (Obviously, looking at extremes, there must always be an overriding general consensus that would restrict religious organizations from activities like ritual suicide or human sacrifice to idols.)

  7. Can a Catholic married couple use sex toys if the intent is to only stimulate prior to intercourse? What about self-masturbation only to stimulate prior to intercourse?

    01-13-21 FATHER JOE:

    Sexual intimacy requires touch and passion. The faith would see that which leads up to the joining in one flesh as all part of the marital act. However, the issue of so-called sexual devices or toys is problematic given that they are associated with lust and not with holy passion (devotion, sacrificial love and longing for the spousal beloved).

  8. xMy name is Kelly the question I have is very simple. I grew up as an Orthodox Greek. All my life I have loved animals. I feed the raccoons and squirrels. I cannot even kill a bug. But all I’ve seen over the years is people abusing and torturing animals. Given all the hurt I have witnessed I cannot believe there is a God up there. I lost my dog Olivia. I had her put down because she was sick. I feel very guilty about that. I cannot imagine God allowing these animals to go through hell over and over again. What kind of God would let that happen?

    Please explain what kind of God would allow animals to be physically tortured— for no good reason but for the sheer pleasure of it. I don’t know where my Livia is. I don’t know what happened to her. I don’t know if she’s crying and waiting for me in some dark corner. I don’t know anything anymore.

    FATHER JOE:

    (I had to heavily edit your comment so as to understand it.) Please know that God finds no pleasure in suffering. God loves us and he loves all that he has created, including the little animals. We live in a broken world where the harmony of creation is destroyed by original sin. Not only animals, but many people also suffer in this valley of tears that we call the world. I would not be tearful that your dog is suffering in some dark corner of the afterlife waiting for you. Dogs may be touched by the sins of men but they cannot sin. As a wondrous part of creation, your Livia has returned to God where there is only light. You let her go because you loved her and did not want her to suffer. Try not to feel guilty but trust that you did right by her. I cannot explain why so many treat their animals poorly. Maybe God put you here so that a few like Livia might know companionship, caring and love. God bless you!

  9. xFather,

    My husband and I were civilly married 7 years ago. We have 3 children together. He was previously married in the Catholic Church. We have come back to the Church, and I am working on my confirmation. He has started the annulment process. I am curious if us having intimate relations is considered a sin. If so, how should I word this in confession? Sorry, this is all so new to me. Thank you!

    FATHER JOE:

    Unless you are going to live as brother and sister, then absolution from the priest in confession would be problematical. Given that no annulment has yet been procured, the Church still understands your husband as truly married to his first spouse. After an annulment, the two of you would likely be free to have your bond convalidated in the Church. Given that you are both baptized, this would make it a sacrament. Catholics in irregular unions are usually asked to go to Mass but to refrain from taking Holy Communion until the bonds are regularized.

  10. Father I have a question for you. My last confession was back in June I believe. Yet I haven’t been to confession. I believe confession should be every 3 months. Now I am working weekends and sometimes during the week. I have heard that if you don’t go to confession you can still receive communion if you go to Mass and be there on time?

    FATHER JOE: The obligation for confession is when one has committed mortal sin. Avoiding such sin, you remain in good standing.

  11. Hello Father, so recently I have made a promise to God to wait to have sex until marriage because I wanted to remain pure for my future husband. But I just wanted to ask, is oral sex allowed when I am waiting for marriage?

    FATHER JOE: Any sexual activity involving the genitals is sinful prior to marriage. Legitimate sexual activity must be that type of act that is naturally directed to the transmission of human life. Single people should remain chaste and pure.

  12. May I send you a private e-mail about a situation I have?

    FATHER JOE: Anyone may email me.

  13. When Jesus is to return as a judge, is it possible he will return via the tribe of Dan (judges)? Is this why they are not mentioned in revelation? I’m new to religion and I am trying to make sense of my feelings so I apologize if this seems like a silly question.

    FATHER JOE: The Word has been incarnate as man once and for all. Jesus will not return as he first came as a child in the womb. Rather, he will come as the risen Lord in glory. Scripture speaks of him returning as he left, in the clouds and with his angels as harvesters for souls.

  14. At mass we recite the our father and I wonder why the priest always says “we DARE to say…” preceding the our father prayer. Why is the word DARE used?

    FATHER JOE: It has to do with the presumption given us by Christ as creatures to call upon God as “Father.” God gives us “his” Father as “our” Father.

  15. Hi Fr. Joe,
    I’m just checking up on you. Are you ok? You haven’t posted very much lately, so I’m praying that all is well. At least you know you’ve been missed!!

    God Bless,
    Sarah

  16. What is the process of ex-communication from the Catholic Church? Who is Hashem?

    FATHER JOE: What do you mean by “Hashem”? Are you making some reference to those who dishonor the name of God? Not sure what you mean. Excommunication in the Catholic Church may be either juridical and imposed or automatic (for some offenses).

  17. Is it a mortal sin to let yourself die? To refuse medical treatment and just let nature take its course?

    FATHER JOE: It depends upon the medical prognosis, the difficulty of curative efforts and the effectiveness of treatment. As a former chaplain to a hospice, there comes a time to accept the hand dealt to us and to make the best of it. We are not obliged to follow every extraordinary means or intervention to extend human life. However, direct killing as with euthanasia would be immoral and the matter of mortal sin. Indeed, when possible, we should always encourage hydration and nutrition of the critical or dying.

  18. Hello father, my husband and I are looking to move to a new area. We have visited the area many times and love everything about it, the only issue is the zip code. The zip code consists of 3 – 6’s in a row…. I was wondering if that is a no-no. It made me uncomfortable for obvious reasons and wanted to get a priests opinion on this.

    Father Joe: Worries about such numbers is mere superstition.

  19. Hi, I’ve been trying to find an answer to this and none seems to know, what is the Catholic view on asexuality?

    FATHER JOE:

    Do you mean a lack of sexual attraction or those who would not want to be identified with either gender? Outside of marriage, there is no moral imperative for attraction or sexual passion. No matter whether we like it or not, human beings come in two genders, male and female.

  20. Hello Father, I recently saw an Agnus Dei disk for sale. As far as one can tell, it is authentic ( old and worn, proper make and inscriptions, etc.) I know that one can rescue relics by purchasing the reliquary itself, but this disk is bare which would essentially result in the buyer purchasing the disk itself.
    I would really like to obtain it for personal devotion, but would this be wrong? Would the blessing be lost? Thank you Father.

    FATHER JOE:

    Blessed items should not be sold. Can you even be sure that it was blessed initially or is authentic? It is literally just a chunk of used wax with an impression upon it. Say goodbye to the blessing if you purchase it. I would recommend that you keep your money.

  21. Dealing with sinful thoughts that come to me with some frequency is a problem for me. I confess them and them days later I recall them. I can’t go to cession every few days, obviously. My co fess or was understanding when I discussed this with me. As I recall I believe my confessor said that between my regular monthly confessions I could say a sincere act of contrition, receive communion, then confess those thoughts in my next confession. At least that is what I remember. Does that sound correct.

    FATHER JOE: Yes.

  22. Hi Father, I was reading St. Thomas’s Aquinas Summa Theologica, second part, question 68 where he states that one must report crimes basically. This worries me because I know many people who commit crimes, or I highly suspect. One of these crimes is Use tax, which most people don’t pay because they don’t know/don’t care. I recently found out about it myself. And the I have people I have heard or suspect of tax evasion etc. I’m not legally obligated but it seems Aquinas is saying I am morally obligated too. In that case, how can anyone discern what to report and what not to report? Honestly, if I have to report every suspicion/crime, I will be reporting everyone I know almost. Not to mention it’s exhausting.

    FATHER JOE: There is no obligation when something is dubious or speculative.

  23. When did St Joseph die? And is there any reference to this in the Bible?

    FATHER JOE:

    We have no definite date but the last time we encounter him is when Jesus is found teaching as a boy in the temple. While there are references to Mary, St. Joseph is missing at the time of our Lord’s public ministry. The assumption is that he has passed away. Our tradition speaks of him dying in the arms of Mary and Jesus.

  24. I am troubled by frequent sacrilegious thoughts. When they occur it is difficult to divert from them. Though I don’t dwell on them I find them very troubling. I don’t believe that I consciously bring them to mind because I recognize that they are serious. When they come, I pray or say the rosary. I work to keep myself occupied. I confess these idle thoughts then they come back. Then I feel that a return to the confessional is needed. I struggle as to whether I can return to receive Communion.

    FATHER JOE: The mind can often wander. Conceiving of wrongful ideas does not mean consenting to them. If you find pleasure in fantasies the violate modesty or morality then such should be confessed. However, we are surrounded by the blasphemous and sacrilegious today and so such things are hard to put out of mind. By distinction, we place our faith and will behind that which we truly believe. There is the real measure.

  25. hello father. The other day I found a rosary for God the father. The rosary is about God the father and is directed toward him. Is it okay if i pray it???

    FATHER JOE: I am not sure what you mean.

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