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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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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!





4,595 Responses

  1. Question on Saints name.
    Is there a St. Jonathan? We have found a medal of him and only the information below. My son wants to pick this as his Confirmation name.
    Thank you

    St. Jonathan was the Patron Saint of printers, editors, friendship and book sellers.
    One particularly interesting fact about St. Jonathan: Once a year, the area of Turkey where Jonathan lived in would smell of roses, and all of the sick were healed when the felt the aroma.

    FATHER JOE: You are speaking about St. John of God. https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-john-of-god

  2. Dear Father
    I struggle so much with the fact my daughter struggles with infertility. I watch children that are abused and not taken care of by their parents. I total agree with praying to stop abortion. I pray for all the unborn. How do I comfort or try to help my daughter in her suffering from not being able to have a child. I also struggle greatly that the church to my knowledge, does not offer some type of recognition to this issue. I would so love to see in a bulletin an pray for those suffering with infertility. Or a day of offering for those so greatly suffering by not given a child by God. My daughter is named Brooke if you could pray for her.

    FATHER JOE: I will keep her in prayer. I do not know where you live but Georgetown Hospital in Washington D.C. has one of the best programs in the nation dealing with fertility issues.

  3. I hear voices, and I know they’re not real, but part of me wonders if they are. I stopped taking my OCD medicine and said it was because they (the voices) told me to stop taking the medicine. I lied and blamed it on them because I was too embarrassed to admit the real reason I stopped taking my meds. My question is: have I committed slander by blaming my voices for not taking the meds? Thanks in advance 🙂

    FATHER JOE: Just accept you have a problem and take the needed medicine. I will not enter into a discussion with the sickness.

  4. Hello father I am a Christian and I do believe in god but every time I ask for a sign but nothing happens. I don’t pray usually but I am now, I always felt like my guardian angle or god was looking over we but I don’t know.

    Thanks you for taking your time to read this

    FATHER JOE: Even our Lord became annoyed with those always seeking signs. Is it not enough to believe and to accept his providence in our lives? You want to communicate with God? Then say your prayers and regularly read the Scriptures. Spend time with the Lord and you may have a greater sense or intuition of his presence in your life.

  5. If god is perfect how did he create something flawed?

    FATHER JOE: God is perfect. What God the Creator creates is good. However, all creatures are finite. The misuse of human freedom through sin brought suffering, sickness and death into the world. We cannot fault God for original sin or our personal sins.

  6. I was once told by a priest that giving money to things (movies, books, etc.) that use the Lord’s name in vain are wrong. How sure should we be before purchasing a book that it doesn’t contain the Lord’s name in vain? I have been wanting to purchase a few books including some of the minor works of JRR Tolkien, books about Tolkiens writing, and Finnish textbooks to learn the language. So in short is it sinful to buy a book if you aren’t certain that it doesn’t use the Lord’s name in vain?

    FATHER JOE: If you are an aggressive reader, you would be hard-pressed to sanitize your library. There is no absolute moral warrant to so censor libraries.

  7. “My other reservation is with how we throw around the word, “love.” Too often it is used to devalue others for selfish reasons. Love is best understood in terms of sacrifice, giving and sharing. It raises up the beloved and never minimizes him or her as a commodity. A person’s body cannot be reduced to a toy for pleasure; but must be respected as the outward and immediate sign of a person with incommensurate worth and inviolate dignity.”

    I really love what you wrote above in your response to a question. I heard a young girl who once asked a priest, almost a similar question on love. The answer wasn’t as good as yours….

  8. Hello Fr.,

    If everyone in a community truly believes that a certain act of evil is not evil and therefore they all participate in the evil/wrongful act, would they be held accountable for their actions?

    And if everyone truly believes that it is okay to do such acts, then would everyone’s wrongful actions harm the community?

    So a wrongful act could be anything from, abortion,.adultery, or whatever you see as wrong.

    Where is this question coming from? I was watching some YouTube videos on abortions and I wondered, what if everyone in the future would believe that it’s okay to abort a child because they have been taught as such, would they be judged by their action? And can their action harm the community? When a wrongful act becomes a norm.for everyone, is this harmful?


    The issue of culpability is complicated by many factors:

    (1) Is an act objectively wrong? If so then it is always hurtful or destructive no matter what anyone thinks.

    (2) Is a transgression the result of disinformation, ignorance, passion, dissent or coercion? This is where blame is fixed.

    An act might be immoral or wrong but the culpability or status as a sin would be affected by subjective elements. If absolutely “everyone” believed that an act was good or neutral (that was not) then there could be no moral accountability. However, if an act is objectively wrong— it remains such even if no one knows. But this is rarely the case. Most often the voice of the Church and right-thinking philosophers speak a truth to which many ears are closed.

    Evil acts hurt a community regardless of what people think is good. This could include legalized drug use, authorized brothels, exploitive entertainments, non-livable wages, etc. Many Christians in the past were apologists for slavery just as some today promote abortion as a woman’s right. However, stripping African-Americans of their full rights and dignity as persons and the killing of unborn children with the revocation of all rights as persons is still wrong and damages a society.

    Abortion, adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, etc. are all wrong regardless of what anyone thinks about them.

    The example of abortion will not fly because it is wrong and there will always be voices to stamp it as such. You will not find an instance where absolutely everyone will think it is okay. Harm would be caused in a community and in families nonetheless. Killing children defies the goodness of creation. This is a different question from that of culpability as many have been duped about it.

  9. Good morning father
    My questions are during the holy mass on the altar why do the priest bow before the crucifix on the altar and when mass servers bring the incense to the priest the priest and the mass servers bow to themselves,isn’t it like bowing to an idol since they are not bowing to God.

    Please my second question is that why do we pray to mother Mary, saints and angels to pray or intercede for us to God as we do in the rosary and in the prayer to saint Michael, since they are in heaven with God why can’t we pray directly to God since the bible said that we should not pray to anybody only to God and if we are to pray to anybody it will be Jesus who is the mediator between us and God.


    The priest will usually genuflect (if he can safely kneel) before the tabernacle. A bow is more usually given the crucifix as an evocative sign of Christ’s sacrifice. The bowing of the servers to the priest who prepares the incense is a sign of respect more than worship, although the priest at Mass participates in the one high priesthood of Christ and re-presents in an unbloody way the oblation of Calvary.

    Our Lord gave us the Church and this includes one another as earthly pilgrims and the communion of the saints in heaven. Ours is not simply a personal or privatized faith but a communal one. We invoke Mary and the saints to pray WITH us that we might have a share in the life they enjoy in heaven. We can still pray to the Lord directly, but we also come to the throne of God as a family in faith. As a corrective, the Bible does not reject this practice. Indeed, as with praying FOR the dead, it was something we inherited from the Jews or the first People of God.

  10. How Catholics could benefit from dialogue with non-Christians? And I was wondering how salvation is possible for non-Christians. thank you very much!

    FATHER JOE: It is always beneficial to understand what another thinks or believes. When it comes to the Jews we must admit that Judaism is a true “natural” religion established directly by God. A better appreciation of Judaism helps us as Christians to better appreciate the roots of Christianity. When it comes to other non-Christian sects, dialogue is beneficial in that we must live together in this world and need to work together for a more loving and just society. It also sometimes happens that the truths of the faith are so compelling that converts are made for Christ.

  11. Hello Father,
    My question is quick but I am assuming not simple. In Genesis they mention a lot of people who were born after Adam. Some of these people love 600 plus years. My question is, was time measured differently back then? I am trying to rationalize how those numbers came to be.

    Thank you for your time!


    How are we to interpret the many years of life attributed to the patriarchs of Genesis? This question must be discussed in context with the story of creation. It so challenges credulity, that there are authorities who would reject the inquiry as silly. Giving preference to evolution over the Genesis narratives, they would argue the entire business is fiction and contend that the numbers only serve symbolic purposes and certainly cannot be real. We take confidence in God’s sustaining creative power and that we would need a time machine to go back and see for sure about the longevity. The Church does teach that because of the primordial fall, death enters the world. This means either that Adam and Eve were initially immortal or that death as we know it did not exist, no more than opening a door and moving from one room to the next where they would continue to see and to live with God forever. Certain fundamentalists contend that the human lifespan grew shorter after the fall, especially following the deluge that destroyed the known world.

    We must be careful in our approach to such questions, neither to allow our belief in the supernatural to unreservedly color our assumptions or the current atheism to infect and poison confidence that ours is the God of the miraculous. Truth must be upheld and one form of truth complements another: scientific, religious and philosophical. Today, many of us are persuaded given the fossil evidence and DNA markers, that God brought forth humanity from lower pre-existing forms of life. When a proper body was prepared, God infused an immortal soul and we had the first man. A maxim popular in Catholic circles comes to mind: “The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” While the Scriptures contain myth and even Genesis has two distinct creation narratives, there are important truths that must not be lost. God creates everything freely from nothing.

    The creation of the first man and woman signified a decisive moment when self-reflective creatures with souls were called forth to respond in kind to the God who has made them in his own image. As the stewards of creation they could rightly love God back. God held out to them preternatural gifts left unclaimed and some of the Church fathers believed that the incarnation was imminent where the Lord would join himself to creation. However, our first parents rebelled against God.

    I often ponder that decisive moment that we call the fall. I can imagine Adam with his wife Eve by his side staring at the sunrise of what should be a new day. Suddenly they have a “eureka moment” and are filled with awe from a divine presence and clear sense of their high calling— seeing with the eyes of the soul something beyond this world. All they have to do is say YES, just as Mary did at her Annunciation and Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. But it all seems too much to bear. The devil directs them to turn away— a distraction that breaks the vision. As with the cli·ché, they “cannot see the forest for the trees” or at least for one forbidden tree. They might ponder the gifts of food, drink, pleasure and comfort— but wrongly claim the gifts while neglecting the giver. It is easier to play the part of the beast. Eyes that once gazed upward now turn to the ground. Arms and hands raised in priestly praise to heaven now fall to the earth. They and their descendants will trod as animals and totter when they seek to stand as men. Any prospect for the incarnation passes to the future and to a promise made to rebellious children. God tells them, “You have forgotten me but I have not forgotten you, and I promise, one day I will come searching for you so to bring you home.” Yes, God will enter the human family, not just to unite us to himself but to save us from ourselves and from the devil.

    Did Adam live to be 930 years old? Did Methuselah live to be 969? I cannot say. It is unlikely. However, God can do as he pleases. I have an aunt who passed away at 124. Unless I show the newspaper clippings from when she turned 117, most refuse to believe me and think I am pulling their leg. It must be admitted that the Semitic people liked playing with numbers and had an elaborate numerology. Even the letters of their alphabet had numeral values.

    Whatever the actual ages, the ancient peoples lived long enough to have children and to pass on their stories and their faith. God would call a people and prepare them for a Messiah who would mend the rift between heaven and earth. Our Lord Jesus would only live thirty some odd years in this world and his ministry would last a mere three years. However, in that short time he would accomplish his mission— redeeming us from the devil, raising the dignity of human nature by his participation, and bringing healing and the forgiveness of sins by grace. After his resurrection, Jesus descends to the dead and drags Adam and Eve by the hair into heaven.

  12. Touchy topic alert: Abortion.

    In cases of rape, we’re told that it’s wrong, unfair, and immoral to punish the child for the sin/s of the parent/s. But yet here we are, being punished for what Adam and Eve did! Why is this?

    We had no part in Adam and Eve’s actions, not to mention we weren’t even born yet! But nevertheless here we are, filthy and wretched sinners who must depend on Jesus to enter Heaven because no matter what we’ll never be good enough on our own…because of what Adam and Eve did, which we had absolutely no part in and weren’t even around for! How is this fair, moral, and loving?


    We are all connected. What we do has consequences for ourselves and others. I know a child that was born addicted to heroin because his mother was a user. The baby was innocent but paid a price for his mother’s wrongs. The injustice is on our side of the equation. God cannot be faulted for our misuse of human freedom and the violation of rights… that would be juvenile. Would you prefer to be a soulless ant or preprogrammed robot?

    Anyone who has ever committed a personal sin really cannot complain. You ratified the sin or rebellion of our first parents. It is in Jesus (the New Adam) and Mary (the New Eve) that we can change this trajectory. We can cooperate with grace and join ourselves to Christ. One tree brought pain and death into the world; the tree of the Cross makes possible redemption and eternal life. Look at the whole picture. The movement of salvation history has merited for us such a wonderful Savior!

  13. Dear Father,
    We live in a town with only one Catholic CHurch. As our daughter does not attend Catholic School (but we do teach her the Catholic Faith at home with Seton Homeschool Religion), we have a desire for her to be around other Catholic children to grow in the Faith. Right now she is an only child, and my husband’s entire family is Hindu (in India), and my own family w/ children her age is in other States, or doesn’t follow Catholic teaching anymore, and one cousin (and her family) who has children of a similar age, have become Orthodox. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, our Parish is down to only one Religious ed day and that is not a good day or time for her. She is age 7 and has not received First Holy communion yet. We are concerned that she will lose her Catholic Faith (or connection w/ any kind of Sacramental life) with this scenario. Another Catholic Church we attend a half an hour away is having a worse issue- cancelling all classes except Grade 2.. As she does have friends who are of the Orthodox Faith, and is actually interested in attending their Sunday School, is this ok to do? We would go to Mass on Saturday evenings. She tends to be very influenced by her peers and I feel that she will abandon all types of Sacramental thought without being able to connect with peers. Perhaps I could talk to the people in charge of the Orthodox Sunday school to make sure that nothing is being taught that is contrary to the Catholic Faith..(We have gone to their Vespers services, which I have asked my Pastor and he tells me this is ok., just can’t receive Sacraments from them…)
    But then this all leaves me to question what will happen next yr when she would be in second grade and ready to receive First Holy Communion in the Catholic Church…Our area is mostly Mormon and we also have a fair amount of Evangelicals and other Protestants…She is already telling me she wants to be “LDS” like her friends in our neighborhood, and that she is “not Catholic”-despite her Baptism and my Catholic influence-and this breaks my heart. THank you in advance for your reply.


    The child should be in a Catholic faith formation program. When you cannot attend the Mass watch it online and discuss it. The Seton program has good materials. There may be online or virtual catechesis to help you. Orthodox is not Catholic. Mormons are not Christian. The differences are important. The reason Catholics are persecuted in China has more to do with their loyalty to the Pope than their faith in Jesus. We should love, respect and work with each other; but transmit to your child that we should be more willing to die than to ever betray our Catholic religion.

  14. Hey Father,

    Recently I came across the argument that “Just because something is natural, does not mean that it is moral,” and I think that for the most part this makes sense. The argument was in specific reference to paedophilia, and the guy used it to draw contrast to homosexuality.

    Personally, I have some friends who are gay (not Christian), but who are good people at heart and I think for them it should be perfectly okay and moral for them to love somebody regardless of sex – however, I do not think paedophilia is okay.

    The problem arises that when asserting that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s moral, it points to the existence of an objective morality – in this case, God. And when the objective morality comes from God who says homosexuality is a sin and not moral, I come to a crossroads in my belief system.

    The closest I have come to an answer is that God said the greatest commandment of them all was to “love all”, and who am I to judge?
    I suppose I would just like to hear your opinion and thoughts on this.

    Thank you and have a blessed 2021,


    I would take issue with what you define as “natural.” Many actions might be possible but still be opposed to the laws of nature. That is the whole point of the Church’s judgment against the same-sex attraction as “disorientation.” Just because men can have sexual gratification through the wrongful exploitation of virgins, men, children and animals do not make such actions moral or according to natural law. Men and women can share the marital act and become co-creators with God with the conception and eventual birth of new human beings. The natural law is revealed in the proper use of certain human powers or faculties.

    My other reservation is with how we throw around the word, “love.” Too often it is used to devalue others for selfish reasons. Love is best understood in terms of sacrifice, giving and sharing. It raises up the beloved and never minimizes him or her as a commodity. A person’s body cannot be reduced to a toy for pleasure; but must be respected as the outward and immediate sign of a person with incommensurate worth and inviolate dignity.

  15. I grew up in a small strict Protestant church. I was taught that sex was a sin— period; and if you did it you were going to hell— period.

    Our Lady told us that most people go to hell for sins of the flesh. So there you have it. The only other sin of the flesh that I can think of is gluttony.

    It could be forgiven if you were doing it to have children but you still had to repent. Every time they talked about the unforgivable sin, I knew what they were talking about.

    Joanne in Ohio


    You were taught wrong. It is true that there are a few sects that label all sex as sinful; this mentality afflicted Martin Luther who at one point argued that even consensual sex between married spouses was venial sin. Catholics struggled with something of this mentality in the heresy of Jansenism. Let me correct you. God is the author of human sexuality and all that God creates is good. Human sin can corrupt or misdirect a good, but God is never the direct author of evil. Sex between spouses, the marital act, is a holy thing that consummates the marriage and makes possible the creation of new human beings into which God will infuse immortal souls. Lust is always a sin but the yearning and intimacy of holy passion makes possible marital fidelity and the family. It is because of the high place given this sacramental act or great mystery that the misuse of sex through abuse, contraception, homosexuality, pedophilia and adultery is so very wrong.

    Sex is not the unforgivable sin. Indeed, condemnation of the marital act as sinful might be regarded as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit— just as serious as those who accused Jesus of healing and working miracles through the intervention of demons. It is this blasphemy that is unforgivable for one cannot both embrace and reject the powerful mercy of God. While there is mortal life, there is hope; at death our state before the Lord becomes fixed.

  16. Monasticism (or priesthood) has been practiced for a long time; Wouldn’t be the end if every single person adopted priesthood (or Monasticism), females to be nuns and males to become priests, aiming to get close to God?
    Look forward to your kind answer.

    FATHER JOE: Not everyone is called to this life. So such will not happen.

  17. Hi Fr. Joe,
    Thank you for your generous gift of time, energy, and patience answering our questions. My question is about the Holy Spirit. Was the Holy Spirit present on earth in the same way before Pentacost as after Pentacost? What changed at Pentacost? I thought that the Ascension of Jesus was necessary so that He could leave behind for us the gift of the Holy Spirit as our intercessor. Does that mean that the world was void of the Holy Spirit before Pentacost? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: The Spirit of God hovered over the waters of creation. The Holy Spirit was always present. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit upon the infant Church. The Holy Spirit inspires the Scriptures, protects the Church, preserves the Magisterium in the truth and gives efficacy to the sacraments.

  18. Hi father, is the Charismatic Movement supported by the Catholic Church? I’ve been reading the prophetic words of prophets or intercessors on individual blogs or on sites like Elijah List or Spirit Fuel. The blogs I read usually make statements like “the words I heard in prayer this morning are…”. The blogs of prophets I do read don’t claim to be psychics (if they did I wouldn’t read it or anything related to the Occult. The prophet I am drawn to reading more says she feels call to share these words to help the body of Christ. Are there modern day prophets in the Catholic Church?

    FATHER JOE: The Charismatic Renewal Movement is alive in the Church and I would direct your attention to Dr. Ralph Martin: https://www.renewalministries.net/category/ralph-martin/

  19. I need some St Benedict medals blessed. Can I just pour holy water on them, or does a priest need to bless them? Thank you father

    FATHER JOE: You should find a priest.

  20. Jeff please do not do it. When we hurt ourselves we also hurt others . we may not realize it but it is very true and (we may not realize it in the midst of our on pain) Please listen to our Lord. Listen to others get help. I’ve been there.

  21. I hope you can find some help. Suicide is not the answer. Went we hurt our selfs we are really hurting others ( we just don’t realize that in the midst of our pain) just like when we hurt others we hurt our selfs. Please wait , get help. God is there listen to him.

  22. Father Joe, what are your thoughts about seeking psychic advice from a Christian pastor, who clearly professes faith in God and tells those who seek her advice that they should pray to God? She claims her gifts are from God.

    Seems similar to some of our Catholic saints who were psychics/mystics as well (e.g., Padre Pio)

    FATHER JOE: In my estimation it still smacks of the occult or outright deception.

  23. Hello Father, I am here as in my younger years I would say I was quite religious but not perfect. I lost lot of will to follow god when my grandparents passed away before their time. They were both good people and had never harmed anyone or anything. Other things followed which meant my belief diminished. People told me these things happened as they were a test from God. If they were a test of my faith then I failed my test. Although I no longer attend church or lead a particularly religious life style I find myself talking to God but not through pray but through general conversation. I have found myself asking him for forgiveness now and then if I feel I have done something wrong. I find I ask him questions of why he lets certain things happen but I get no response. Now this might sound crazy but at times I will ask him for help with minor things and they tend to happen and come through for me. We aren’t talking winning the lottery etc. Just minor Asks. I suppose my questions are why does the lord choose to test our faith. What is the reason for him doing so. If he loves us why does he sometimes make life so hard? Also I admit to fully failing my test of faith and not leading a fully Christian lifestyle ( I am still kind to others and help where I can) why does he still listen and answer my smaller prayers with results or are they just coincidence


    Life is not really a test. The point of existence is not to secure as many points as we can upon a scorecard. God wants to establish a real and saving relationship with us, both personally and communally. The latter points to the Church and to the communion of the saints (where your grandparents continue to love and pray for you).

    It is true that some seem to have a harder time than others. Indeed, millions of people cannot get out of the womb alive. Others suffer birth defects or tragic injuries or suffer losses of family and friends. You are right, life is hard. The faith tells us that we brought about this disharmony and struggle because of disobedience. Sin brought suffering, sickness and death into the world. This is the reality we face— all of us. The great equalizer is death. He comes for the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak. The promise of Christ is that he can restore everything that the world, the flesh and the devil can take away. Ours is a God who does not dismiss our sin or watch from a distance; rather in Jesus Christ the Lord has entered into a profound solidarity with us. He chooses to take upon himself the price of our sin so that the rift between heaven and earth can be healed— that sins can be forgiven— that we might have a place in his house where there is no more sickness, no more suffering and death— where all tears are wiped away. Our prayer to God must acknowledge this truth and how our greatest prayers of supplication have already been answered. Conversation with God is prayer. Sometimes he gives us what we want. Sometimes he says no and sometimes he says, not now. We need humility in accepting the providential will of God. It is within this acceptance that we can truly approach the Lord with prayers of praise, of thanks, of contrition, of supplication, and of loving reflection.

  24. Hello Father, I have a delicate question. I’m a young man who is interested in other men. Since I was young I’ve been interested in both genders. I’ve always seen myself ending up with a woman and raising a family but at the moment I’m single. My question is would it be so bad if I go on one date with another man? The most I would do with him is a kiss but even that worries me. I’m worried that me going forth with my date will resulted in going to hell. Thank you Father and I understand if you don’t want to answer.

    FATHER JOE: Avoid the near occasion of sin. If you are attracted to women then date or court a woman.

  25. I have been saying rosaries and novenas for my son Gabriel as was diagnosed with a brain tumor which was removed and now it’s a rare lymphoma. Prayed so hard that he would be fine and have prayed all my life to keep them safe. Why is God not hearing me and why are my prayers not being answered?

    FATHER JOE: I will add my prayers. God hears but his response and will for us is often a difficult mystery.

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