• Our Blogger

    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.

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Alex on Masturbation & the Conditi…
    William McCarthy on Ask a Priest
    kimmyscave on The Vice of Vainglory
    Mary C on Ask a Priest
    Kathryn Majumdar on Ask a Priest

Ask a Priest

Feel free to submit a new question or concern in the comment box below.  Various topics and questions are archived here for easy retrieval.  Please be courteous.  Comments are moderated so please be patient in waiting for them to appear and for any responses.  God bless you!





4,490 Responses

  1. Is lying always a sin? Many years ago, I lied to a man who was twice my age about why I needed to go home right away. I did it in a desperate effort to avoid getting raped. There is no doubt about what his intentions were. He told me if I didn’t go into his bedroom voluntarily we would just “be bad” right there in the living room and hope no one sees through the window. He figured out the lies quickly, but thankfully I managed to escape after he was interrupted. After this experience, he blamed my mother for our “breakup” and stalked her after I went away to college.

    I never gave a second thought about my lie, because I believed it was necessary to save myselffeom danger. But, lately I’ve been wondering if my lies when I was trying to get away were sinful? Does the answer change given that my mother paid a price for it?

    I honestly still have no real regret about lying to him, just that I got caught, and it’s been almost 30 years. Does that mean I am holding on to sin that makes me ineligible to receive sacraments?

    FATHER JOE: Lies are not a good thing because we are called to be people of the truth. Of course, we are not obliged to tell all our business either. Language can be carefully crafted to withhold information. If what you did was sinful then it was likely a small or venial transgression. This man did not deserve the truth. If you erred it was in not reporting the incident to the police for a report. Evil men who make such efforts with one woman will likely try again with another.

  2. I say many different prayers and have many devotions. This is good and bad at the same time. I have so many that I am trying to do while staying up on school and working at a store. I am not sure if I should drop any of them or if I should get up an hour or two earlier and stay up later in the night. I want to be granted the graces and promises that are attached to most of the prayers I say and I really like the different devotions and meditating on the different things. Would it help if I provided a list of some of the things I am doing for you to better answer this question?

    FATHER JOE: I would suggest saying a few prayers that aid in your spiritual relationship with the Lord and not worrying about lots of promises (which are often regarded as spurious private relations and/or uncertain among Church leaders).

  3. Hi Father, I had a question that’s been bothering me. In the past, I operated multiple businesses like selling some things , some babysitting and there as well as some online work I did but most of them lasted maybe for a day or less than a week, very few of them actually lasted over a year. All of them mostly, since I was ignorant on law and stuff, I did not actually apply or obtain any business licenses or permits.

    Now, I have repented and I am no longer active in these businesses and I know taxes are owed and I will be more careful in the future. My question is this, am I required to make restitution by paying the fees and possible penalties for the permits and licenses and or other, I should have gotten when I operated these businesses? It would probably require me reporting myself in order to see how much I actually have to make restitution for, although, I was thinking because I no longer operate and I didn’t strictly steal anything such as one would with tax evasion. Instead I just didn’t get the proper permits etc. but in a way, I’m unsure if I owe anything because I technically didn’t “use their services” so to speak by getting any licenses and having them review my application etc., so there is nothing to “pay back” and since I am no longer active, is that enough or do I owe the fees and penalties?

    FATHER JOE: I am no expert about such things and am not sure that non-professionals must always have permits for a number of the things you mentioned. There is also a threshold that must be met before taxes are required. Given uncertainty I would suggest just putting the past behind you and trying to be more forthright in the future. Peace!

  4. hi I’m disabled I can’t go get any I need some holy oil I need some holy water I want to sing better Nick metal necklace I’m broke I’m bored can you help me what I need dephanie is the holy water in holy oil please help me

    FATHER JOE: Not sure what you are trying to say. Sacramentals are not magic.

  5. I prayed with all the faith and pure intentions to marry my ex girlfriend. But God has not answered my prayer. I have nothing but pure intentions with her. Why is He not answering my prayers?

    FATHER JOE: While it is good to talk with God, if you really want to marry a girl then you have to talk with her, too. God respects our freedom and choices… including hers.

  6. Hello Father,

    Ten years ago when I was in college I cheated more than being academically honest. I finished my Bachelors degree and I got my diploma. I got employed after that.

    While I was employed I cheated on my certification exams and I passed them. This improved my career.

    Now looking back, I felt guilty about all the cheating that I did, I felt that I did not deserve the college diploma and the career advancement that I had. I also felt that I violated the passage in the Bible that “…sexual immorality and swindlers does not inherit the Kingdom of God”. I felt that I will continue being a swindler if I still use my diploma and the work history I got on my resume. I am now unemployed.

    Here are my questions:

    1.). What should I do now?

    2.). Is it still OK if I put my collge degree on my resume even though I cheated?

    3.). Is it still OK if I put my work history and career progression on my resume even though I cheated on my certification exams?

    I am asking these questions so that I will be totally honest in the future and to not be a swindler.

    I cannot return my diploma because it will result into an investigation and many people will be affected.

    Thank you.


    FATHER JOE: Your degrees and background (deserving or not) is public record. I would worry less about the resume (it is what it is) and just make sure that moving forward you will always be professional, informed, hard-working and honest.

  7. Hi father. How am I supposed to vote in the election this year as a Catholic? Or am I not supposed to be involved in politics because that’s a worldly issue? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: The Church encourages us to be good citizens and to vote.

  8. Hi Father, I’m planning to start up a YouTube channel and it will cost a lot for me to establish a new one because I need to buy some expensive softwares for editing my videos and I can’t afford them and I found a cheaper editing software which is 10x cheaper and I know it is a pirated one. And I’m confuse if should I buy that pirated software but if I will buy it I will promise myself to buy the genuine software if I already earn money on YouTube. And is that still count as a mortal sin??

    FATHER JOE: I am not sure about the ultimate gravity but all sin is serious and we should not steal.

  9. Do priests have to wear sacred attire when they’re praying alone? I’m particularly curious about morning prayers/lauds, which they may perform privately (though I understand the liturgy of the hours is considered a public prayer) after recently waking up. I know I’m allowed to pray in my pjs. Can they? Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: There is no required attire for private prayer.

  10. What do you think about this? I know you are loyal to your Pope and your church, but is he really doing everything he can in this situation? Why would he allow the Chinese government to interfere at all in the selection of Bishops, etc? Thank you


    FATHER JOE: I cannot read the Pope’s mind on this matter. I suppose he is desperate to keep some kind of formal relationship with the Church in China.

  11. Hello Father Joe, I am wondering why the Holy Spirit does not give the gift of tounges to Catholics? Has there even been a Pope that had the gift of tounges? I struggle with pentalcostals and other religions receiving gifts from the Holy Spirit when we have the fullness of the faith as Catholics. Thank you Father Joe!

    FATHER JOE: I do not know about popes, but there are many Charismatic Catholics who claim these lesser gifts.

  12. Once a person is thought to be condemned to hell because of mortal sins & not confessing before death can they redeem themselves & obtain heaven?

    FATHER JOE: If a person dies in mortal sin then he is cast into hell. It is too late for repentance.

  13. Hello Father Joe. Is it sinful for a priest/pastor to show preference to parishioners of the same race or nationality? Our pastor, born in Mexico, has hired, placed in key positions, etc. an overwhelming number of individuals of Mexican descent in our parish.

    FATHER JOE: There are particular ministries directed to certain ethnicities. However, the shepherds of the Church are to serve God in loving and caring for all his people.

  14. Can one offer temptations to God so others may be healed or converted?

    Is it only our sufferings we offer to God?

    Please explain how this works in as simply as possible. Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: We can offer our entire life with both its joys and sorrows to the Lord. We acknowledge that everything we have is his gift and that we belong to him.

  15. Hi Father Joe

    When I go to church with my wife and kids, I feel they are just there because I get them to go with me. My wife was baptized into the Catholic Church but was not brought up in a Christian family. She doesn’t believe in the miracles in the Bible but likes going to church, I think. Should I be forcing my wife and kids to go with me to church or should I just let them choose whether to go or not. It’s just when we are at church we are like not at church because I’m too busy, making sure the kids are not running around, fighting or distracting me or others at Mass and by the time Mass has finished I feel like I’ve missed Mass. Because half the time I can’t hear what’s going on because we sit in the foyer to avoid the kids crying to go outside and being noisy inside church.

    01-14-21 FATHER JOE:

    As a good Catholic husband and father you are doing precisely what you should be doing. You have a priestly role in the home and are obliged to do all you can to make sure your family participates in the Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Your spouse is your helpmate and as a believer (even if weak) should be by your side. Families are not democracies. As long as your children are under your roof you should take them to Mass and insure their faith formation. What you hear and see at church will likely not save you; doing your duty before the Lord may save both you and those you most love.

  16. I am sorry to bother you but I had a question about possession. Can evil spirits/demons only possess people who have taken part in rituals that try to summon them or can basically anyone be possessed at any time and anywhere? I went to a Catholic school at one point as a kid and I remember being taught about possessions such as Legion but I don’t think I was ever taught what caused the man to become possessed in the first place. I know possessions/exorcisms are subjects that very few priests specialize in, but I found your blog and I was wondering if you might know cuz I’m not really sure who to ask otherwise.

    FATHER JOE: While there is a mystery as to why one person is attacked by the demonic and another seems unscathed; it is often the case that those under demonic influence have done something to invoke the evil presence. There can also be a matter of proximity as the devil can associate himself with persons, places or things.

  17. Is reality shifting a sin? A quick google search will give you the gist. I’ve been looking all over the internet and have nothing on the catholic church’s stand point… Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: Objective reality is fixed. Reality shifting is a mental delusion.

  18. Father
    Is it a sin to shoot nuisance squirrels that have overrun my yard?

    FATHER JOE: It may not be a sin, but it may be somewhat mean-spirited. Can they be trapped and released elsewhere?

  19. Hello father Joe, I hope you are well. I was baptized into the Catholic faith as a baby. However I was raised in the Episcopalian church. May I return to the Catholic Church and begin attending mass?

    FATHER JOE: Anyone may attend Mass, however you would need formation and the other sacraments before taking Holy Communion.

  20. Hi Father,

    My question is more of a moral one.

    About a year ago I started working as a Social Media coordinator for a financial company in Canada. They’ve been in business for over 10 years and won multiple awards over the years. The owner of the company is a very hard working reputable man as well. However, lately I’ve been seeing comments and reviews from customers who claim the sales reps misled them and lied to them and used pushy sales tactics to persuade them to sign up for a credit building program. They claim that the company is stealing their money. The management is aware of this and they’re looking into the issues to understand what’s actually happening.

    But since it’s difficult to judge the situation, I’ve been wondering if I should even continue working here since I post advertising and everyday social media posts. Is it unethical to keep working for the company?

    FATHER JOE: Work is fine but also advocate for honesty and justice.

  21. Hi Father,
    I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never been religious. I’ve been a sinner all my life but recently I’ve been curious about God and the kingdom of heaven. I’ve been reading articles online, watching videos and just seeking out the answers any spiritually confused person would. I just want to know how to repair and create a healthy relationship with God. I could use his guidance and I long for spiritual purpose. Ty for your time

    FATHER: Reading the Bible and making time for prayer is a good start. Peace!

  22. Hello Father,

    So, I questioned my faith and left the Church and the Catholic faith years ago. While out, I met a very good and loving man, we married and are now expecting our first child. I want to come back to the Church and God and my husband (who isn’t Catholic) is supportive.

    He even encouraged me and we agree to baptize our child. We did not marry in Church but our marriage was Christian (that was the time I was thinking about joining God again). My husband and I do want our marriage to be validated by the Church and possibly an actual Catholic renewal (I don’t know how it works) before the baby comes.

    Besides talking to a priest, what other steps will we have to do?

    Another question is, when our child is baptized, do we really need Catholic godparents? I’m worried because literally all of my closest friends are not Catholic and my Catholic side of the family and I am not close due to a lot of issues. Thank you.

    01-13-21 FATHER JOE:

    Talking to a priest is the first step. Some formation will have to be conducted and papers filled out. You will need a copy of your marriage license and any baptismal certificates. A dispensation is required to marry a non-Catholic. The convalidation will constitute marriage in the Catholic Church, not a renewal. As for baptizing your child, yes you will need at least one Catholic godparent in good standing. The other can be a Christian witness. I will keep you both in prayer. God bless!

  23. My girl and I are considering eloping for both financial and personal reasons. We are both widowed and there is some friction with our adult children. They miss their father and mother. We have been together for a year and would like to marry privately and secretly. We are not youngsters. We are 69 and 70. If we run off and find an ordained Christian minister will we be living in sin?

    FATHER JOE: If you are both Protestants then you can do as you wish. If either of you is a Catholic then you must be married by a priest or deacon. Marriage is inherently a public act… not private or secret. that is why a license is required.

  24. Does it say anywhere in the Bible that our loved ones in Heaven can hear us when we talk to them?

    FATHER JOE: The Church and the Bible generally forbids any effort at spiritualism or two-way communication with the dead. Having said this, given that all prayer is ultimately directed to almighty God, the Lord can allow the saints to hear us and to know about us. This is connected to our teaching about our union with Christ in the mystical body… he is the head and we are the members, he is the vine and we are the branches. There is a profound unity that is fully realized in heaven. The holy ones remain in Christ (Rom 8:38-39). It is within the context of the communion of the saints that we can offer intercessory prayer. I am also mindful of the transfiguration in Scripture where Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ. They are not sleeping but alive and witnesses to Jesus who is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

  25. Hello Fr. Joe!
    I saw a video of Nancy Pelosi holding the Bible and quoting Scripture….all to promote her causes. I also read in the article that she is a “practicing” Catholic and spoke of her receiving Communion. It all makes me sad! I try not to be judgemental but how can the Church not be stronger against these political/public people who are blatantly against the teaching of the Church? I thought tonight while my wife and our were praying the Rosary to pray for her because we are called to pray for our enemies and these people are enemies of the Church in my opinion. Am I correct in my thinking? I feel confused and abandoned at times over this.

    FATHER JOE: Prayer is always good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s