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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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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!

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4,602 Responses

  1. If people go to hell because they choose to go to hell, why are people of non Catholic faiths damned? Clearly they are trying earnestly not to go to hell by practicing their faith every day, but they are in the wrong religion so they are going to hell. So why is it our religion says only those who choose hell go there?

    FATHER JOE: We leave to the Lord who is saved or damned. If any should find themselves in heaven, they will have to thank the Lord Jesus Christ and his holy Church. Remember, that no one deserves salvation… it is God’s gift to us.

  2. Dear Father,

    In Hebrews 4:15 it says: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

    Now if Jesus was not born with Original Sin, I would assume He was not prone to sin. So how could he have been tempted to commit sin?

    This may be a poor analogy but I have absolutely no desire to drink alcohol. I don’t like the taste of liquor, and I don’t like the effects. So for me to abstain and to be sober is nothing to brag about. However a man who likes the feeling he gets after a few drinks can tempted to drink to excess and to fall into the sin of drunkenness.

    So you really can’t compare someone who has no desire for a particular sin with someone who may have an inclination for that sin.

    01-14-21 FATHER JOE:

    It is as with the three temptations of Jesus by the devil in the desert. The temptations were real and they appealed to our Lord’s humanity. However, Jesus is a divine Person and God as God cannot battle himself. Jesus could not sin. Mary was purely a creature but was protected by grace and did not sin either. The new Adam and the new Eve are always faithful where the first Adam and Eve brought sin into the world.

    It is true that our Lord did not suffer from the concupiscence that we know. However, he could be tempted by the things of earth all the same. A natural desire and need is for food. Jesus is tempted by hunger. Jesus is tempted by his own power or authority because he did not have to allow himself to be made weak and vulnerable on our behalf. He is tempted not so much by wealth but by a desire for men and women to enter his kingdom. Jesus will take nothing offered by the devil; instead, he will take everything away from Satan. Instead of worrying about his own belly, Jesus feeds the multitude and gives them himself in the Eucharist. Instead of catering to the devil’s purloined authority that brought all men into bondage, Jesus will employ his power to set all men free. The devil might claim the world and the flesh, but the Kingdom of God was breaking into the world first through the person of Christ and later in his Church.

  3. we don’t have a choice what we believe And if we don’t have a choice then how is it are fault we go to hell I’m. For example god comes down to you and says if you believe 2+2 equals 5 everyone for now on goes to heaven. There is no way you could truly believe that even if you wanted it to happen. so if someone believes in something else how it is their fault they don’t believe in god it more like it’s his fault for not giving enough to believe. Please give an actual answer i was asked this and ever priest i ask gave me a none answer,pray on it or told me not to think about it

    FATHER JOE: I know many people raised Catholic who have fallen away. I know people who were raised without faith and yet somehow they found their way to the Church. People are given choices even if the playing field of the world is uneven because of human weakness and sin. You underestimate the movement of providence and supernatural grace. Any who would say that Jesus is Lord have been moved by the Holy Spirit.

  4. My wife and I have been married for 22 years. The past 3 to 4 years have been a sexless marriage. Maybe 3 times a year. My wife says she does not have any sexual drive anymore and would be ok never having sex again. I am not ok with that. She wants me to be happy and has offered me a hall pass to have sex with someone else. Would this still be adultery

    FATHER JOE: Sex outside of marriage is adultery… period. Tell her that she is your wife and that she has a duty to share sexual intimacy with you. Otherwise, she is sinning against the marriage.

  5. Hello father, umm my cousin and i are dating and are in love but we are not sure how to feel about this relationship as we are both Christians and are would like to know how god sees this relationship, and we were also wondering if we would be allowed to have children?

    FATHER JOE: Generally speaking, first cousins should not get romantically involved or seek marriage. The rules are not so severe when there is greater divergence in lineage or level of consanguinity (beyond the fourth degree).

  6. Hello fr Joe
    I have a colleague at work who is giving me the silent treatment for a week now. This is how it started, we were having a conversation, and then somewhere along the line he made statements I considered mysoginistic about how women fuss over wearing expensive wigs during the Christmas holidays. I told him not to judge people and leave people as they are. He then proceeded to say that I looked like the type that was spoilt and couldn’t handle certain domestic chores. I told him I grew up a certain way and didn’t care being naive. I was angry with the whole thing and he sensed that I was angry and said he was only joking, that there was no need for me to be angry.
    Towards the end of work, as I was leaving I told him bye and he ignored me. I was taken aback and I told him bye again and he responded half heartedly. Since then he hasn’t spoken to me and I haven’t spoken to him either. I don’t know how to navigate the situation. I feel like he’s waiting for me to break the ice first and I don’t want to give him that pleasure. I feel like my pride and dignity is at stake if I give in and talk to him first. Is it the right thing to do or am I being prideful? Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: All I can say is that adults should stop acting as immature children. Peace!

  7. Hello Father, may I ask what is the significance of the following events as part in the redemptive plan of God?

    1. The Last Supper Meal
    2. The Prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
    3. The Veil in the Temple torn into two
    4. The tombs were opened after the death of Jesus on the Cross

    Hoping for your your answer! Thank you!

    FATHER JOE:

    The Last Supper commemorates the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist. The Mass or Lord’s Supper makes possible a re-presentation of the one-time saving oblation of Jesus on Calvary.

    The Agony in the Garden reminds us that no one in their right mind wants to suffer and die. Nevertheless, faithful to the mission given him by the Father, Jesus says, “Not my will but thy will be done.” He submits to fulfill the reason he came into the world… to make possible forgiveness of sins and the redemption of a people. None of this is play-acting. The paschal mystery of Jesus is REAL.

    The Veil of the Temple is Torn and the covenant given to the Jews is fulfilled in the new covenant of Christ. What was hidden or veiled is now revealed in the Lord. Instead of the many sacrifices of the temple, Jesus is the great high priest who offers himself as the one sacrifice of propitiation or satisfaction. This one-time offering is made present in the Mass by the men who share in his priesthood.

    The opening of tombs signified that Jesus died that we might live or have a share in his resurrection. Love has conquered the grave. The fear of death was the means that the devil kept us in bondage. Our Lord has delivered us from this demonic slavery.

  8. Is it proper for a priest to discuss my confession with me outside the confessional..

    FATHER JOE: He might privately discuss something with you but (speaking for myself) I would prefer that the penitent initiate any discussion.

  9. Good day Father. I would just like to know
    how can one person give emphasis in carrying out the Church’s mission in Scriptural and Vatican II Images?

    FATHER JOE: Not sure what you are asking. Images include nets of fish and flocks of sheep.

  10. Dear Father,

    I have difficulty with vanity, envy, and laziness. It is very easy for me to want to give up fighting against these vices. I have a lot of difficulties when interacting with other women, particularly very beautiful women. One of my good friends who loves me dearly is a very physically beautiful woman. It is so lovely that she likes me as a friend so much but I am secretly very envious of all the male attention she receives, the compliments she receives, how good she looks in clothing, and how rich she is. I often wish I looked like her or I imagine my dating life would be 10xs easier if I had her physical beauty.

    FATHER JOE: “Beauty is only skin deep.” “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

  11. I have a question regarding the steps a Catholic is recommended to take following a sexual abuse by a clergy. Should they report it to the police, local bishop, parish priest or other members of the parish?

    Thank you very much for your time!

    FATHER JOE: What you ask is a bit vague. Generally speaking, if it happened to you or to someone you know and trust then the police should be notified of a crime. The Church (under the bishop) might ascertain as to whether a charge is credible but the police are responsible for any investigation.

  12. Hello Father. Oftentimes, we hear that someone has dreamt of Jesus Christ, which results in their conversion. Although miraculous, we usually find that the descriptions they give us of Christ differ from person to person. How is it that if these visions or dreams really are from Christ, their physical descriptions of Him, whether it is His hair length/colour, eye colour, height, etc., often contradict each other? Thank you for your time.

    FATHER JOE: How do we know that all such dreams are miraculous? They might just be dreams. As for how Mary or Christ appears to various people, I suppose they are depicted in ways that the recipients would understand. Look at the great variation with Mary. Indeed, the way she is depicted in Guadalupe made possible the mass conversion of people away from human sacrifice to the true faith.

  13. xHi Joe!

    I’m really happy that I found your webpage, because I had trouble finding a place where I could ask this question to someone.

    Today I was in a discussion with a Polish Catholic. She told me that the Catholic Church teaches that someone who isn’t Catholic (or from any branch of Christianity) but that heard about Jesus, can go to heaven just because of their good works.

    For me as a Protestant it was a really interesting point. I have talked about the difference with Catholics about being saved by faith and saved by faith + works. I understand where the Catholic idea comes from and to some extent I would even support this idea, based on the book of James.
    However what this person said was really weird to me. As a Protestant we may let the door open for people who have never heard about Jesus and had the law in their hearts. Those may be saved by living in accordance to the law (I.e. deeds). But we would never apply this to people who did hear about Jesus.

    Can someone explain this idea and tell me if this is in the Catholic catechism?

    Thanks a lot!

    FATHER JOE:

    First, while there is a universal call to salvation we would reject any kind of universalism that presumes that everyone is necessarily saved. As much as we might want it otherwise, there is ample Scriptural evidence that hell is real. Indeed, such makes room for the misuse of human freedom and for the imposition of divine justice. Second, salvation is a gift that apart from Christ we could not earn or merit. No one deserves heaven. Third, while St. Augustine will speak of a predestination to glory, it is difficult in this world to know as to which city we belong. The many names of the elect are only known by almighty God.

    This is the basic soteriological question: “Can someone who is not a Catholic and/or a Christian be saved?” Similar to the notion you mention as a Protestant of “leaving a door open” for good people who do not know the Lord, we would refrain as Catholics from saying in a particular fashion who might be damned. While the Lord is a just judge, he is also infinitely merciful. Knowing our place, we would refrain from telling God his business. God saves whomever he wills to save. The catechism stipulates, going back to ancient days before there were any Protestant churches and the East and West were still one that ‘there is no salvation outside the Church.” This is connected to the teaching that there is no other way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. The Church is defined as the mystical body of Christ. We read in Colossians 1:18: “He is the head of the body, the church.” (Note also that when the apostle Paul encounters the Lord and is struck blind, he becomes aware that to persecute the Church is to attack Christ.) Thus, Catholics will refer both to Christ and the Church as “the way.” Pope Benedict XVI clarified that there is one covenant between the Jews and Christians and that it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Any who would find themselves in heaven will have to thank Christ as our one Mediator and Lord. Many non-Christian critics do not like this view, but it is a root dogma for all true Christianity. Either the redemptive passion and Cross of Jesus is essential or it is meaningless and our Lord is a fraud.

    While the saving work of Christ is imperative, we must be disposed to the graces of God. The more one knows the more one will be held accountable. If a person knows that Jesus is Lord and that he directly instituted the Catholic Church as the great sacrament of his mercy and reconciliation then he or she must enter the Church to be saved. Indeed, when we celebrate the Eucharist, congregants are asked to spiritually join themselves to Christ so that we might offer ourselves to the Father as one acceptable sacrifice. This is the core of our worship. Our participation at Calvary is not entirely passive. How God will judge ignorance is not for us to know. We cannot read individual souls. Does faith and baptismal create at least a tenuous attachment to the Church? Would the Lord reject any who love him even though they should be bias or unaware about the nature of the Church? Certainly the Catholic Church intercedes in her worship and prayer for those who are formally outside her ranks— might this have value? What does it mean to know Jesus? I suspect that some reduce this to merely be aware of his name and yet he is so much more.

    A woman came to me years ago to take classes for baptism and entry into the Church because she wanted to share the faith of her husband. It was during the process of that formation that she came to know Jesus both as her “personal” and as “our communal” Savior. At the beginning, when I asked her about Jesus, all she knew was that “he was a nice man.” She had yet to appreciate that he was the Word made flesh, the Second Person of the Trinity and God come among us. A “nice man” did not cut it— not enough. She had yet to really know the full truth about Jesus.

    I should add something about saving faith as well. Not only in James but in the Gospels themselves it is made clear that faith is more than words or even a mental dedication. Faith must be realized by an attitude of loving obedience. That is why our Lord becomes angry that religious leaders have neglected the spirit of the law. He emphasizes this spirit by speaking of the two-fold commandment of love, first to God and then as a love that cannot be contained and overflows upon neighbor. John will also speak about this saying that if we say we love God but hate our brother then we are a liar. Faith is defined as both knowing the Lord and loving him. This love is affirmed, not through empty works, but through works of charity. There is a big difference. What the Lord does always has value. We invite the Lord in love to live and work through us. Jesus warns his listeners. Read Matthew 7: 21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’”

    Catholics believe that while faith might only be apparent and false, it can also start off as authentic and later sour. This is why the apostle Paul speaks so about staying the course or running the race to receive the crown. We must remain steadfast in faith. The witness of Judas and Peter is always before us. Both were called to be apostles and both betrayed the Lord. Judas despairs and dies. Peter repents and tells the resurrected Jesus three times on the beach, “I love you.” He is healed and restored to his visible headship. There are three things that last. We abide in the HOPE of our salvation in this world. We are to encounter and claim Christ by FAITH in our pilgrimage to the gates of the heavenly kingdom. However, hope will be realized and faith will be replaced by an intimate knowing when we see God in the beatific vision. It is only LOVE that enters with us into heaven and it is in this divine LOVE that we will abide with the saints and the Lord forever. Peace!

  14. This my come across as an acronym or a bit testy so I ask for your pardon . My question is why does Jesus say things in a simplistic manner to all as if the things he asks of mere mortals would be easy to perform . For example , ive just finished an all day reading from personal revaluations from saints where Jesus is telling every one what they must do to be ready for the end of days chastisement that he is going to send . He says for dinners to come to him but then puts conditions that are very lengthy on the people before they can come to him for forgiveness and mercy. Sorry for mis spellings cell phones don’t type like computers.

    FATHER JOE: Jesus carries the greatest burden. His grace makes all things possible. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  15. This my come across as an acronym or a bit testy so I ask for your pardon . My question is why does Jesus say things in a simplistic manner to all as if the things he asks of mere mortals would be easy to perform . For example , ive just finished an all day reading from personal revaluations from saints where Jesus is telling every one what they must do to be ready for the end of days chastisement that he is going to send . He says for dinners to come to him but then puts conditions that are very lengthy on the people before they can come to him for forgiveness and mercy. Sorry for mis spellings cell phones don’t type like computers.

    FATHER JOE: As for the actual demands of Jesus, his grace should make all things possible. But as for private revelation, Catholics are not obliged to place faith or assent into any of it.

  16. xIs the act of masturbation a MORTAL SIN?

    FATHER JOE: The matter is serious or grievous and so deliberate commission can constitute mortal sin. However, the sin can be mitigated or reduced by immaturity and habit or addiction.

  17. Hello Father,

    My girlfriend and I are about 5 months into our relationship. She is the sweetest girl and truly has a deep love for Jesus. Despite marriage may being far away, I wanted to talk to her about some of the aspects of a Catholic marriage. She’s open to marrying in a Catholic Church. However, she doesn’t see herself being Catholic and isn’t sure if she wants our kids to be Catholic. As the Catholic in the relationship, I understand it is my duty to do everything I can to have our kids baptized in the faith and raise them as Catholics. I know God has a plan, but I’ve never loved anyone like I do her, and I believe she is definitely someone I would want to marry.

    Questions:

    1. What if she is unwilling to be open to having our kid’s baptized and raised Catholic? Do I need to end the relationship?

    2. What all entails me doing my best to have them raised in the faith and baptized Catholic?

    Thanks Father!

    FATHER JOE: The promise you have to make for the dispensation to marry a non-Catholic is that you will do all in your power to baptize and to raise any children in the Catholic faith (religious instruction, first confession, first Holy Communion and confirmation). The non-Catholic must be aware of the promise and there should be some assurance of agreement or support.

  18. Why is the God of the Old Testament so different and sometimes so violent meanwhile the God in the New Testament so merciful and loving?

    FATHER JOE: The issue is more the temperament of the people than that of God. We are the ones who are changing.

  19. Dear Father Joe, I have a question regarding the commandment ” love and respect your parents ” if a child grew up with an alcoholic father , who inflicted psychological trauma upon this child, let alone kids who went through physical and sexual abuse , which requires years of psychotherapy. ..how are such kids supposed to follow this commandment ? How to forgive such father and reconcile with the past?

    FATHER JOE: How can one honor parents who are not honorable? That is the flipside to the commandment. As for mercy, remember that by definition it is never deserved. Peace!

  20. Hello Father Joe, I’m really stumped about what I’ve been thinking. It’s about the father and the spirit. Here’s my question: If the father is a pure spirit then why is the holy spirit the spirit of the father?

    FATHER JOE: God as God is a pure spirit. That means the Trinity. It is only in the Second Person of the Trinity that God becomes a human being (Body and soul).

  21. my wife of 51 years passed early this morning for many years she was a loyal Fatima rosary follower …the rosary …mass…confession communnion she wore the brown scapular devoutly for many years. today i read the requirements to receive the promise on going to heaven if you follow all of the above and pass on a saturday. But during the past 9 months with the covid plague – she has faithfully attended dailymass via television – she spiritually received comunnion – daily – because of covid she was unable to attend confession – or receive communionn in person and for several months our church was closed and she received spiratual communion daily and she made a sincere act of confession daily and said the rosaey daily —please tell me that this counts

    FATHER JOE: Pope Francis extended the spiritual benefits to those at home so YES it all counts. My deepest condolences. So sorry about your loss. Many prayers.

  22. Is it ok to work for a food delivery company? What if, for example we deliver food to a residence and upon delivery we notice the food is part of a celebration which is contrary to our faith? Am I participating in this immorality? Obviously I couldn’t ask the customer what they are celebrating before delivering.

    FATHER JOE: How can food be contrary to our faith? You are not to be police for the Church’s lenten laws.

  23. Father do you think that underage drinking while with freinds is a mortal sin?

    FATHER JOE: Are we talking about more than a glass of wine with family? Underage drinking is illegal and dangerous… I would call that grounds for sin.

  24. Hello, I am a little predicament. I think it is a sin to masturbate but I am not sure but then they say it is good to like renew your semen at least once a month. What do I do? Also my girlfriend wants to have sex before we get married so are there any exceptions for that or is it strictly no sex till marriage?

    FATHER JOE: Sex outside of marriage is a serious sin.

  25. So I am in a little predicament. Since I think masturbation is a sin when you are unmarried I don’t really want to do it but they say it is good to masturbate to like refresh your semen. What do I do?

    FATHER JOE: Nonsense, please do not buy into lies.

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