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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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4,569 Responses

  1. Father, I’m a cradle catholic of almost 8 decades and feeling severe emotional, spiritual and mental disparities. This election has crushed, imploded a cavernous hell of letdown results. Although tremendously successful professional careers my disparity and despondency have elevated my stress, anxieties to a breaking point. Now then, I’ve had mental illnesses very early in formative years, add amongst ADD, PTSD, a bit later etc, did have an almost successful suicidal attempt 30 years prior. I’m fairly well versed in traditionalist catholicism, but have that suicidal urge knowing, not knowing, eternal disposition if my mental illnesses, and I cannot stress enough the severity , currently being medicated, commit the finality would God still allow entrance into his kingdom? Unfair question right? The ramifications of this election are unequivocally the destruction of our country and I fear my self-exit from this transitory existence. Everyday, have missed a few, I pray the rosary, Chaplet of divine mercy, Seven tears and sorrow’s of Mary plus a few others.

    FATHER JOE: I will pray for you.

  2. Father I am married ten years back and I struggle a lot in life until over thinking about bad things, now the evil spirit destroyed my life I think bad things about my son please help me to get through this 😭 😭 😭

    FATHER JOE: You seem confused. Maybe you need professional counseling?

  3. Father why is it difficult to fight evil priest on my own, this thing destroyed my life I need your help

    FATHER JOE: You make no sense. Who is really the evil one? What has happened?

  4. In the Bible it says Adam and Eve is the only two humans live on planet Earth so here’s my question if if everybody on planet Earth are descendants of Adam and Eve my question is that doesn’t make everybody on planet Earth today practicing incest we all descendants of Adam and Eve?

    FATHER JOE: The degrees of affinity are too far apart for incest.

  5. Dear Father,
    is it a mortal sin / grave matter to overeat when you feel sad or anxious and then purge (make yourself throw up)? I am recovered from an Eating disorder but I still fight with weakness episodes…
    God Bless you.

    FATHER JOE: The gravity may vary but deliberately eating and throwing up is a sin.

  6. In gospel of John chapter 16 verse 7 Jesus says that he must die for the advocate to come, My Muslim friend thinks that Jesus is talking about prophet Muhammad, but I’m not sure. Do you know who Jesus is talking about?

    FATHER JOE: Our Lord tells his listeners that he must go to the Father so that the Holy Spirit will come upon them (Pentecost).

  7. xDear Father, I feel very upset because of the legalization of the killing of our unborn children. I know that some businesses and stores support Planned Parenthood and I do not buy from them but (because know I am a selfish person) I want sometimes out of convenience to shop there. Would it be wrong to do so?

    FATHER JOE: I suspect that it would be almost impossible to avoid all sorts of establishments. I think the effort to confront them on the level of the wallet is notable but such exclusion would not be absolutely binding. So you might patronize certain stores because of necessity. Know also that many companies and organizations do not advertise their support for PP or other organizations engaged in these or other egregious wrongs.

  8. Is it OK for the church to take money from me when I was forced by my government to give it to them? I am an atheist

    FATHER JOE: What is your country? To what is the money directed? I cannot answer without details. Years ago, President Reagan directed U.S. material aid (like food) through Catholic Charities in Africa because they were the only ones on the ground with an infrastructure and trucks that could be trusted to justly distribute the needed supplies. In such a case the “church and state” work together and thus government money (that comes from taxes) could justly be applied.

  9. xHi father I need your guidance and help, I have a selfish doubt that lingers my mind. I know it’s wrong but I’m scared of the thought because it lingers and can cause damage to my mind.

    Over the past few months I have found god in my life and I’m learning every day still but sometimes not constantly, i wish religion wasn’t real (only because OF hell existing) just so people who are good but never had faith and lived by gods and made word won’t have to suffer in hell in eternity possibly one day.

    It makes me feel depressed that I have loved ones who are atheists may suffer one day and even potentially myself… I’ve repented my past sins and I’m living my life for gods word now but I’m scared because of this thought.

    It’s a wrong and selfish thought, has anyone ever battled something similar? How did you Help them through it?

    I want to also mention me having this thought isn’t me rejecting the idea of god and his religion, i love god and the amazing things he has done for the world.
    I just sometimes think if there was nothing it would be a relief because no one would suffer after death.

    Could you please clarify if I am winning by having this thought? If I am what sin is it, so I can work through it.
    Thank you father.

    FATHER JOE:

    You say that you are not rejecting the “idea” of God but that you love him. An argument for God’s existence and the notion of a deity will (in itself) save no one. We are called to a relationship with the “person” of God and this is defined as a bond of love. Saving faith in Jesus Christ is measured by charitable obedience or fidelity. The proclamation of the Good News is an important part of our commission as believers. Hopefully those who hear this testimony and see our witness will be disposed to know and to love and to serve the Lord. Salvation is a mystery within God’s providence and we must trust to his will and plan for each of us. If there be any sin or weakness of faith to what you attest it is in respects to this trust or confidence. The prospect of nothing beyond the grave might be preferred by those who are wicked and mistreat others; however, the lack of a heavenly reward would be unjust for those who have taken up their crosses to follow Jesus. Many have sacrificed everything for the Gospel. Many good people through no fault of their own have known great pain and sickness in this world. The prospect of heaven is held out by a good God to let us know that he is just and has not forgotten his own.

  10. xI am an 18 years old Catholic, I got pregnant early this year and I just gave birth outside wedlock, can I receive the holy communion because I live with the father of my baby though we are not married ??

    FATHER JOE:

    First, while I cannot approve of sin I want to affirm your decision to keep your child and to give birth. Second, while I can appreciate the emotional and material reasons for cohabitation, the failure to get married is problematical. Third, if there is genuine love with the genuine desire and the ability to sustain a family, I would urge the two of you to speak to a priest about getting married in the church. However, only the two of you as a couple can determine if this relationship has what it takes to make a life-long and faithful marriage. You are very young but you say nothing about the man you are with and whether or not he is single— are we talking about fornication or adultery? While there is some discussion about the status of couples in irregular unions and the reception of sacraments, the usual answer is that such couples should refrain from reception given that they are apparently living in mortal sin. Sexual intercourse and cohabitation outside of marriage is a grievous moral wrong. A person in serious sin is not disposed to the graces of the Eucharist. Indeed, it brings down God’s judgment in terms of scandal and blasphemy.

    Contact the priest for the child’s sake so that you might have the baby baptized and then brought up in the Catholic faith. Peace!

  11. Father, my wife and I have been married for 19 years now and we have 12 children. We love all 12 of our blessings with all of our hearts but feel that we are done having children and want to enjoy and focus on the 12 we have. We have tried natural family planning and it has not worked for us. When it comes to our intimate time we have always done what the church teaches, but are there any exceptions for people like us. I know the answer to that but just hoping. I know I sound selfish; we have 12 beautiful healthy children while some people can’t have any. I don’t want to go to complete abstinence because I think intimate moments help marriages but it seems to be the only way. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

    01-14-21 FATHER JOE:

    It is my understanding that Natural Family Planning is highly effective in regulating births, despite the protestations of naysayers. Charting cycles, mucus examination, and temperature are the chief elements and there are probably local professionals that could help you with the specific application.

  12. Hello! My name is Mary and I’m a 23 year old Catholic and I really feel I need advice. I’m very confused as to Pope Francis’ new endorsement of the LGBT community. I am an actor so I have many gay friends and love them; however I do believe their sexuality is a sin and not physically right. I mean, Sodom and Gomorrah was the only place God ever hailed fire upon. Obviously God is not for this. The Popes new endorsement of them, angers me allot. I feel the Church is being corrupted and honestly I said out loud today, “This makes me ashamed to be a Catholic!” That does not mean I will leave the faith, it just makes me not want to go to Mass— especially since priests are lately not being open about which way Catholics should lean in terms of politics and controversial subjects. From now on, I am going to my local Latin Mass, because their priest is very honest about the doctrine of the faith and does not hold back. But I feel I need to do something in terms of helping the Church to stop this ridiculousness. What is a proper way to go about this? I know prayer is needed but I feel something needs to happen to stop it. I know this is a complex question (lol) but I just need some help to know what to do. Thank you!

    01-14-21 FATHER JOE:

    The Holy Father has made many overtures from compassion to let believers from the LGBT community that they are loved by the Lord and not spurned by Christ’s Church. This can be perplexing because such a pastoral outreach is often left to local pastors while the Magisterium traditionally reaffirms immutable doctrinal or dogmatic truths. Take confidence from the fact that the Scriptures have not lost their abiding authority and the catechism remains what it has always been upon the subject of human sexuality, marriage and what is right or wrong. Same-sex attraction is disorientation and those who pursue homosexual acts are involved with the serious matter of sin. People who are not in heterosexual marriages are not to commit either fornication or adultery. People should not define themselves or hinge their identity exclusively upon sexual attraction. The Church can affirm authentic love, especially when it is sacrificial, but the passion and love of the marital act finds no parallel counterpart in same-sex genital activity. Love and bonding can be parental or as brothers and sisters. This is where I think we will see the future for LGBT people in the faith. They might share homes and lives but not their bodies. Love and friendship does not mandate sleeping in the same bed. It means caring and support. The Church would remind all of us that we must be helpmates in growing in chastity, holiness and goodness. If you really love someone then you want them to be in right relationship with God and their fellow men. Too often we are dealing with a selfish love that caters to lust and not to self-donation. The answer will be found by prayer and a study of truth as it comes to us through divine positive law (Scripture) and through natural law (creation). My late cousin Fr. John Harvey started COURAGE, an organization dedicated to helping homosexuals to embrace celibate lives of prayer and charitable service. There is the path to follow. Peace!

  13. I’m a devout Catholic. Can I become possessed by reading books about real live cases of demonic possession?

    FATHER JOE: Catholic books or books that promote the occult? There is a difference. Preoccupation with the demonic (obsession) can be dangerous.

  14. Fr. Joe, I was sorry to hear about your brother. You and he have been in my prayers.

    I need some advice. It was recently brought to my attention that my son HATES me. I knew he held a grudge about a few things but didn’t think it was that serious. Last time he was home we had a fight and he said some awful things to me but then apologized. I thought we were good.

    Recently my daughter got into it with him. It had to do with him blocking her and the rest of the family on Facebook so we can’t see what he posts. She was mad and called him out, and asked why, and it followed from there. She shared the texts with me when I asked her to. Liberally peppered with blasphemy, he rants on about things I have done to him over his life. When she told him he had an irrational hatred of me and needed to grow up because I love him and never abused him, he told her she was wrong and they both had good reasons to hate me.

    I love this kid. I thought he had a good life. He was raised in a two parent home, went to church, school, vacations, and was allowed extra-curricular activities such as football, boy scouts, and the like. My husband has had to remind me that he was there…he was participating in the boy’s raising, and he is being a little s#@!.

    My daughter claims that we have done nothing to him or to her. She says she doesn’t hate me. There is a difference between complaining about one’s mother, which everyone does, and hating them.

    He lives 4 hours away and is unemployed due to Covid-19. I want him to come home to discuss this. However, he has a girlfriend that he is intent on spending every waking minute with, so I doubt he will even come home for the holidays.

    I don’t know how to handle the discussion. I don’t remember much of what he was ranting about. Am I to just abjectly apologize? I realize that humility and meekness is how a Christian responds, returning good for evil, but as his parent, am I to just beat my chest and beg forgiveness? Do I stand up for myself, especially if I don’t remember the specific incidents? Both of my kids get really pissy when I try to talk religion. Talking about forgiveness and honoring thy parents may not go over too well.

    I have prayed on this daily since I found out, but have not heard back yet. I will persevere, but didn’t think it amiss to ask your opinion.

    Thank you for the prayers. The loss of my youngest brother has been very hard.

    01-15-21 FATHER JOE:

    As for the situation in which you find yourself, I have encountered such before and it does indeed make you scratch your head in confusion. The questions that parents ask are always the same, “What did I do? How did I fail him? What could I have done differently?” Often there is a passive-aggressive element, note that you could not directly read his Facebook or social media. More so than not, the person is also unemployed or under-employed, hanging around or living off bad companions or questionable friends, is engaged in immature sexual relationship(s), suffering from addictions to drugs and/or alcohol, and vents depression by targeting a loved one (like a mother or father) with hateful rhetoric. Instead of taking personal responsibility, another is blamed for the state of his life. Is any of this sticking? The elements are often the same or similar.

    He likely needs professional help but it is a real struggle to get such people to seek it out. Some parents just endure the burden from the rebuke and keep loving and praying for the prodigal. However, I would suggest not enabling irresponsibility by covering for all his bills. He needs to go to work and to grow up. Sometimes tough love really is the only answer, although the results are unsure. You do have a right to get your message out, if for no other reason than to preserve your personal reputation. The danger these days is that online voyeurs often believe charges made, even if they are just lies. You have a right to defend yourself, particular if there should ever be an effort at litigation for past abuse. It hurts for sure. I had to cut off a family member because he made a nasty allegation about “all priests” and then suggested that I was probably no better. It wounds the soul. I suppose like Jesus, spiritual fathers and the mothers and fathers of regular families must sometimes acknowledge that theirs is a vocation that more so than not endures woundedness in betrayal and in a lack of gratitude. I will remember you and your family in prayer.

  15. Same Sex Unions:
    Fr. Joe: With Pope Francis now promoting Same Sex Unions will those in Same Sex Unions be given the sacraments? If so, then why would those sacraments not be given to those who re-marry without annulments as they could claim they too are in a union?

    FATHER JOE: I cannot see how those in serious sin can receive the sacraments while their irregular unions have not be normalized in the Church. One must be in a state of grace and spiritually disposed.

  16. Two issue on adultery.

    If adultery an unforgivable sin? I made a mistake. It was only 1 night and I regret it. If I confess will I receive absolution? Or am I going to hell.

    Do I need to tell my spouse. I will crush what we are trying to rebuild. I thought confessions were only for priest, sinner and Gods ears.

    FATHER JOE: Take it to confession for absolution. The priest will guide you about the rest. Peace.

  17. Is it the sin of scandal to have fun with a friend who has been drinking too much or who is drunk? Both of us are underaged (19) and roommates and I have been very persistent in denying his request for me to drink. I can’t necessarily get away from him since we are roommates, but I did take some enjoyment from being in his presence when he was drinking. We danced, we sang, etc. except he is constantly trying to get me to drink but I will not give in. Am I doing wrong, and if so is this mortal sin?

    FATHER JOE: The faults are his. Just be a good friend and positive example.

  18. Father Joe: I never had children. I am getting older. As time goes by I will eventually find myself with either health or money problems and will not be able to go on taking care of myself. My plan is to end my life before I get to that failed point. I am assuming this is a sin, but I will have no choice at that time. How do you respond to my situation?

    FATHER JOE: You do have a choice. Do not pretend otherwise. Many of us may find ourselves in nursing homes… even priests. Some go to bed and die in their sleep. We do not know how things will end for us in this world. Children often find themselves ill-equipped to give the level of care that the elderly need. We take life as it comes, day by day. Do nothing to threaten the life awaiting for us on the other side of the grave.

  19. When you’re in need of medical attention, they remove all jewelry including holy items. To prevent separation from a holy metal, such as the St. Benedict medal, would a tattoo of said metal be sufficient and can it be blessed?
    Can a tattoo of a holy metal or scapula be blessed and used as the item?

    FATHER JOE: One should not tattoo the images of holy medals upon skin. The idea smacks of sinful superstition.

  20. Hello Father,
    I am a 46 year old woman and I’ve never been married. I have been pining for someone who is no longer interested in pursuing a relationship. I’ve been praying that he would come around to me, but I don’t think it is meant to be. Do you think that God’s plan for me will exceed my own expectations? I sometimes think that my problem is not accepting God’s will because I’m afraid He won’t bring the type of man I would like to meet to me. What do you think?

    FATHER JOE: The hard truth in this life is that we do not always get everything we want. Others seem to get more than their share… of either joy or sorrow. We walk with the Lord and try to find contentment in his love. Many prayers.

  21. i’m wondering if transubstantiation is considered miraculous? i know there are eucharistic miracles that usually involve the host exhibiting physical properties of flesh, etc. and those are considered miracles. but wouldn’t the consecration itself be miraculous if we believe the water and wine are becoming the body and blood of christ?

    FATHER JOE: The whole Mass is miraculous. We are at Calvary. We receive the resurrected Christ.

  22. Hello I have a question
    I’m watching shows that sometimes contain nudity as a joke. I skip all nudity like that, unless it doesn’t last for long, isn’t mean to be sexual and is woman’s nudity (I’m a woman so I’m not scared of my own body). I will choose censored version if I can, but sometimes there’s no legal censored version. I don’t want to put myself in a near sin occasion, so I will just skip all scenes like that or don’t look at them, simply turn off the sound and turn my head away so that I wouldn’t have to look at them. I know that if they made me commit a lustful sin this would be bad, but I never felt any lust (I didn’t skip every of them, scenes I mean, in past, mostly because I wasnt sure what to do or I just didn’t care about looking at them since I wasn’t horny). My question is, will watching series that can contain nudity be a sin, if I skip all nude /perverted humor scenes? Please answer me I don’t have any clear answer to that I’m stuck :(.
    Thank you, Silver.

    FATHER JOE: There are bad shows but I have no idea what you are watching. It is legitimate to turn away when questionable scenes come on the screen. But there are some images that may be too difficult to forget. You have to be careful. Sometimes it is best to watch something else. Indeed, if enough good people did so, maybe it would force the providers to give us more wholesome programming?

  23. Hi, my mom abandoned my biological dad around 3 years ago and married my current step-dad. She took my brother and me and left my home country to go to America and be with my step-dad. As far as I know, the Church considers this adultery even if my mom and biological dad were legally divorced.

    My concern is that life for me, my brother and my mom has been better since my mom married my step-dad. My step-dad is a kind man. He let us into his house. He is paying for my college tuition and is generally a better husband to my mother. My mom seems a lot happier with my step-dad. My mom and my biological dad simply were not meant for each other. Am I also guilty of sin for benefitting from my mom’s adultery? In addition, I may have also been an accessory to my mother’s sin as my mom told me of her plans to leave my biological dad. Although I did not know that she was planning to divorce and remarry. I thought we were just leaving him to live in America. I was also caught up in their nasty affairs during the divorce process and basically told lies to my biological dad on behalf of my mom. From my actions, I believe I can also be said to have sided with and helped my mom carry out her sin.

    I am worried for my soul and my mother’s soul too. Would an annulment solve this problem? My mother drifted away from the faith and only converted because my biological dad was Catholic, so I can’t convince her to seek an annulment. My step-dad is Jewish (they believe in divorce) so I can’t have him help me convince my mom to seek an annulment, either. I can probably convince my biological dad to seek an annulment but he might not want to do it unless he plans to remarry. I am also worried that I am thinking about convincing one of my parents to seek an annulment for my own sake, not out of concern for the souls of my parents.

    I am in a very complicated and confusing situation. What is the right thing to do?

    01-15-21 FATHER JOE: Your stepfather seems like a kind man who cares about your mother and her children. You are right that unless there was an issue of abuse or something similar, (you allude to affairs), your mother was in the wrong to abandon your father. But in truth, whatever support you gave her, the fault is hers, not yours. Short of an annulment, the current relationship cannot be formally recognized by the Catholic Church. You and your brother should practice your faith and pray for all of them. Indeed, given that your father is alone he in particular need of your prayers and regular communication. Let him know that you love him and that no one can replace him, no matter how kind or good. Peace!

  24. Hello Father,

    I find myself wrapped up in a very interesting theological debate with an Orthodox fellow and a Catholic Theologian and for some terrible reason we are having trouble between the three of us, defining the Filioque and the Trinity.

    Asking for all three of us:

    Within the Trinity there is no “subordination” correct? John 20:22 “…receive ye the holy ghost…” My line of reasoning is that since the Holy Spirit is “sent” and according to Dr. Ludwig Ott’s “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”: “As the Holy Spirit receives His knowledge from the Son He must proceed from the Son just as the Son, who receives His knowledge from the Father…”

    Thank you Father your input is greatly appreciated.

    01-14-21 FATHER JOE:

    We would reject both any kind of subordinationism (which some say the Eastern churches dangerous skirt) and modalism (which is a heresy sometimes ignorantly espoused by lower Roman Catholic churchmen). Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit as he is the revelation of the Father and the face of God. The invisible God is made visible. It has to do with the intervention of God and the movement of salvation history. The Holy Spirit becomes as the soul of the Church, making faith possible, inspiring the Scriptures, protecting the Magisterium from error and giving efficacy to the sacraments. The difficulty in any discussion of the great revelation of the Trinity is that it is a profound mystery that we cannot fully comprehend or exhaust. The mystery is what makes Christianity a supernatural faith while both Judaism (true religion) and Islam (derivative religion) only natural faiths (belief in one God). Nevertheless, God’s providence would share this mystery with us because the Christian dispensation relies upon a relationship with Jesus and Jesus is God. How can you have a relationship or love someone you do not know? God wants us to know him. The best language about the Trinity is likely the most primary or childlike. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. There is one God (divine nature) but three divine Persons (eternal relations/generations). God is eternal. God is perfect. God is all good. God is all holy. God is all knowing. God is all powerful. While we can speak of the Father as creator and the Son as redeemer and the Spirit as sanctifier; in truth, it is God as God who saves us. Avoiding a sloppy modalism, we all teach that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Eternal Word becomes flesh. Jesus is a divine Person with a complete human nature, body and soul.

    As for the controversy over the Filioque clause, it may have more to do with ecclesial politics and the divergent ways or philosophies between the East and West than a tenet that would restrict ecclesial reunion. Indeed, the recent Popes permit the Eastern Catholic churches to use the same wording in the Creed as their separated Orthodox brethren. There is nothing wrong with the understanding from Nicea (325) and the wording from Constantinople (381). The Western churches and Rome (emphasizing the authority of the papacy) added to the reference of the Father “and from the Son” in the sixth century as part of its later theological reflection upon the Trinity. The Holy Spirit does indeed proceed from the Father. But the text never said from the Father “alone.” The question was left open. The change was not formally added to the Western liturgy until 1014.

    While the East often diagrams the procession of the Son and the Holy Spirit as distinct from one another and both from the Father; the Catholic analysis images the Holy Spirit as generated from the Father and the Son. The Augustinian interpretation and later that of Aquinas would elaborate upon the Western view with an analogy that makes an appeal to human psychology: the Father knows everything and this knowing is both infinite and simple. That which is infinite must by definition also be God. God has one idea. We express our ideas with many words. God has one Word and this Word becomes flesh. Between the Father and the Son there is infinite LOVE or goodwill. Again, that which is infinite must by definition be God. It is in this knowing and loving that God generates for all eternity the Father and the Son. However, the focus here should NOT be upon ACTIVITY but rather speaking about divine IDENTITY. It should be remembered that this is an “analogy” and pushed too far one will always end in error. As Aquinas admitted when he threw down his Summa, it is all just scratching at the surface, so much straw for the fire. If we were to perfectly understand the godhead, we would be God. I suspect that it will be in such humility from both sides in this debate that we will one day find resolution to the schism that still wounds the Body of Christ.

  25. Good morning,

    My daughter is 24 years old. A few years ago, after breaking up with her boyfriend of 7 years, she shared with us that she feels she is gay. She currently has a girlfriend who I have not met but my wife has briefly. My daughter was one of the strongest Catholic leaders our small community has ever had. Now, she rarely goes to church, stating to me one time that “why would a go to a church that doesn’t support me.” She works at Planned Parenthood and has volunteered at an abortion clinic.

    This past weekend she shared with her 16 year old sister that she is planning on getting married to the other woman. As a Catholic, I am lost as to how to handle this situation.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Dave

    01-14-21 FATHER JOE:

    Dave, the Church welcomes everyone but we would urge all believers to a live in obedience to the commandments, loving God and others. More pertinent than her friendship to any standing in the faith would likely be her association with Planned Parenthood and active involvement with abortions. How can one say “Amen” to the hidden but real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist while denying the hidden but real presence of the child in the womb who reflects the incarnate Christ? Her estrangement from the faith is entirely self-imposed. Direct participation in abortions results in automatic excommunication.

    What about your relationship with her? You cannot condone sin but you must let her know that whatever she does that you will always love her and pray for her. She must know that you cannot condone some of the things that she is now about. Treat her special friend with respect and let her know that she is also welcome at your family table. However, you have every right to request a reciprocal respect that you and your wife cannot be required and should not be pressured to accept that which is contrary to your values and faith as Catholics. Marriage is a sacrament between a man and woman open to the gift of new life. You would not want to do anything to undermine either that truth or the sanctity of life. Peace!

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