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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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  1. I would like to find some counseling about something I am living. My 83-years-old grandmother has been for the last 4 years in coma in bed. Every night I visit her and talk to her, but I feel really sad and I cannot go on with this situation. I feel really afraid of talking to a priest in my nearby about euthanasia, but I feel I need to. I feel lost and it will be very helpful for me to talk by mail with someone sincerely and in depth. May it be possible to write a priest to find some spiritual help to overcome my internal fight?”.

    FATHER JOE: You can write me but I would recommend talking with a local priest who might anoint your grandmother and give you counsel. Often those in coma or who seem unresponsive possess an internal life about which we are not aware. Situations of this sort take us to the cross, emotionally and financially. Active euthanasia is rejected by the Church as direct killing. A person should receive hydration and nutrition. Too often “comfort care” is a term extended to starving those who are critically ill. While we are not morally bound to employ every possible “extraordinary” means to preserve life; we are obliged to implement ordinary means.

  2. Father, first off thank you very much for your kindness and generosity in answering all these questions.

    I have made a mistake and I am trying to determine how to proceed. A few months ago I made the conscious choice to make a particular reparation in penance until resolution was reached on a situation. The sacrifice I chose was one that is difficult – but I have managed not to break during this time. (for the sake of clarity – to wear only skirts or dresses which has been a little entertaining lately with -60 F wind chill where we live!)

    Over the past month or two it has become innately clear there will very likely never be a clear resolution to this situation. I never intended for this reparation to last in perpetuity – on the contrary I initially believed there would be resolution in 1-2 weeks tops!

    Am I bound to remain in this reparation until this is resolved or is it permissible to cease or possibly substitute with a different option?

    FATHER JOE: I do not think you properly understand what reparation means so I would argue that you need not keep the resolution. While true reparation or satisfaction for sin is accomplished by Christ; we can participate in such propitiation with activities like the Mass, adoration of the Eucharist, litanies to the Sacred Heart and penitential sacrifices. Wearing skirts is not an adequate oblation as the Church regards it as normative for women.

  3. I have been married for 48 years. My husband and I still have sex monthly. Is it okay if he brings me to orgasm with touching (fingers) after we have intercourse? Is it a sin? Is it a sin to have intercourse even we won’t be reproducing any children?

    FATHER JOE: The older Catholic manuals assert that completing the marital act with touching subsequent to intercourse is permissible. The marital act does not require natural fertility, merely that it be that “type of act” through which children are normally generated. The spousal duty to have relations continues after the child-bearing years as an expression of fidelity.

  4. FATHER JOE: Marijuana is only sinful if it is dangerous to health and is civilly illegal. Alcohol may be legal and morally okay to drink but drunkenness is a sin. Similarly, if a drug is legalized and is also employed for legitimate health reasons, why would it then be sinful? There is nothing “inherently” immoral about it. However, the context and exploitation of the drug is where ethical questions arise.

  5. Hello Father JOE, I just want to know your opinion on Epicurean paradox. Thanks for answer.

    FATHER JOE:

    The riddle poses a series of questions but offers no solution to the problem of evil. Indeed, it is similar to the following logic problem: “Can God create a rock that is too heavy for him to pick up?” If you argue that God can do anything so of course he could make such a rock, then an inner contradiction is formed as lifting the rock is the one action he cannot accomplish. If you argue that he cannot create such a heavy rock then again the inner contradiction arises as to whether he is really all-powerful. The question is thrown out for inconsistencies or logical fallacies. It is really no question at all.

    As for the Epicurean paradox, it would help to place the statements within the context of the Christian kerygma.

    God wills to take away evil but is unable. (It is argued that such a deity is not omnipotent.)

    God does not directly will evil. He permits or allows evil through what we call his passive will. Evil comes from our side of the equation. It is the consequence of the misuse of freedom. God prizes a creation made in his image and this includes freedom. He does not fashion us as pre-programmed robots or insects moved solely by instinct. Where possible, as with human beings in the world, God would prefer to have evil transformed to good. Nevertheless, both among men and angels some will remain fixed upon evil. God has infinite creative power but the utter eradication of evil would require an act of annulation. Here is the inner contradiction. Such violates the divine economy— what God creates, he creates. There is no erasure of the chalkboard.

    God is able to take away evil but is unwilling. (It is argued that such a deity is malevolent.)

    God is good. God creates solidarity with mankind in Jesus Christ. He takes upon himself the price of sin through his passion and crucifixion. The effects of the fall are still with us and will be unraveled in time, particularly at the final consummation. Meanwhile, sin can be forgiven even as we must still struggle with concupiscence and a wounded world. This is the measure of divine love and benediction, not malevolence. If God creates us simply to watch and to enjoy our suffering then he would indeed be a monster. However, just as with Jesus, the Father directly desires our fidelity not that we suffer. A price comes with faithfulness. God wills to bring mercy and grace to us; but again, he respects human freedom. Indeed, he makes himself the victim of our evil and indifference. Again, respecting freedom— God makes an offer and he would have us take him up on it. But he will not force or manipulate us. The subtraction of our freedom to preserve harmony would in itself be evil. Here is another contradiction.

    God is willing and able to take away evil. (It is argued then as to what is the source of evil.)

    God is neither willing nor able to take away evil. (It is argued that he is neither all powerful nor all good.)

    These two statements are much the same. But note that there are no delineations or definitions as to what God wills. The Christian God is understood as both all good and all powerful. Indeed, it is hubris for men to seek full disclosure as to the inner life of the Trinity and the mystery of divine providence. God’s providence will be accomplished and crooked ways will be made straight. The grandeur of heaven will never be held hostage by the speck that is hell. It is God who determines what is good and evil— not men and not the devils— no matter how many apparent goods might attract our attention. There is no second-guessing what God does or supposing that we have better ideas and would have done things differently. The Triduum of Holy Week brings home how the tragedy of the fall and sin have merited us such a wondrous Savior in Christ— a light shining brilliantly against the darkness. God has his reasons for what he does and allows even if we should not fully understand what they are.

  6. [edited from two postings]

    My questions regard the Our Father prayer, saints, and the giving of one’s soul in the Holy Family prayer.

    It may sound cynical, but should the Our Father prayer be written differently? More like, “leads us into temptation and deliver us into the enemy’s hands”? Where is the archangel and where is Jesus’ help and mercy for so many people? Although licensed in two fields, I walked away from my last job because of barbarian lies and slander, not to mention insults hurled at me. Padre Pio refused to look at his guardian angel in one such instance. The prayers of the Church seem so simplistic and pleasing at first glance; that is until Jesus causes or allows a 38 pound tumor to take over one’s body or various other sundry human punishments and fears to overtake his unsuspecting followers.

    FATHER JOE: There are various translations of the Lord’s Prayer but it is not composed by men or the Church but given to us by Jesus Christ in teaching his apostles how to pray. Not even the Pope has the authority to rewrite or reverse elements of the oration. Yes, what you write does indeed sound cynical and no doubt emerges from one who has known hardship and feels abandoned by God. I will pray for your healing. As with Jesus in the garden of his agony, we can desire and pray for many things but the Christian posture is always, “thy will be done.” It may be that some temptations are too much to bear and thus it is okay to pray for deliverance from certain tests. God is not out to get us or to deliver us into the hands of the enemy. Indeed, the sacrifice of Christ redeems us and the graces can make possible spiritual deliverance from the “evil one” which is Satan. When others lied and slandered you, how did you respond? Did you pray for them? Did you forgive them? Did you make any effort to love them? Too often the pattern of response that Jesus gives us is not pursued. Too often we respond in kind with anger or we run away. Our Lord came into the world that we might be free and know healing, mercy and life. We are not promised perfect happiness in this world. Our God is not the author of evil but one who embraces the effects of sin to be in saving solidarity with us. We are redeemed and can know salvation; however, the effects of sin (weakness, suffering, sickness and death) must still be endured. These elements of the darkness are even now unraveling and all will be made well at the final consummation. We need humility to accept the things of God that we do not understand. (You mention Padre Pio turning his face from his guardian angel because he felt abandoned; however, he relates that his angelic guardian told him that even outside of mystical visions he remained near and that the experience was to teach him gratitude.)

    The other question is why is Saint Therese the Little Flower is labeled a small saint by Jesus? Having tuberculosis is nothing to sneeze at. That’s some excruciating pain as far as I can see.

    FATHER JOE: The Church and the faithful give St. Therese the label “The Little Flower of Jesus” to emphasize her path to holiness through simplicity and embracing the ordinary things and struggles of mortal life with spiritual fervor and trust.

    I wanted to give my soul to the Holy Family in prayer but I’m terrified of the thought. I’m trying to find the mercy in these things.

    FATHER JOE:

    I am not entirely sure as to what prayer to the Holy Family you refer. I will suggest the following from the Missionaries of the Holy Family:

    O most loving Jesus, who did hallow by your surpassing virtues and the example of your home life the household you chose to live in while upon earth, mercifully look down upon this family, whose members, humbly prostrate before you, implore your protection. Remember that we are yours; bound and consecrated to you by a special devotion. Protect us in your mercy; deliver us from danger; help us in our necessities; and impart to us strength to persevere always in the imitation of your Holy Family so that by serving and loving you faithfully during this mortal life, we may at length give you eternal praise in heaven.

    O Mary, dearest Mother, we implore your assistance, knowing that your divine Son will harken to your petitions.

    And do you most glorious patriarch, Saint Joseph, help us with your powerful patronage and place our petitions in Mary’s hands, that she may offer them to Jesus Christ.

    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you. Amen.

    The incarnation of Christ consecrates humanity and the family as a means for holiness as the “little church.” His resurrection elevates our humanity and perfects it in divine grace. Our Lord makes a home among us so that we might one find ourselves in the family of God as adopted sons and daughters of the Father, kin to Christ and children of Mary our Queen Mother. If you fear to give your heart, mind and soul to this then you have yet to know the promises of the Gospel and the joy that comes with a loving and obedient faith.

    Flogger Joe, I am not sure I need a reply to this posting as I scrolled down to another post and your reply there is questionable at best.

    FATHER JOE: You would mock me? I forgive you. I might agree with you that my efforts fall far short and that there are many more reliable sites on the internet for answers. I hope and pray that you will find the answers you seek. God bless you!

  7. I am thinking about taking a job as a food delivery driver. I always strive to uphold teachings of the Church. Where do we draw the line when it comes to direct vs. indirect participation in immorality? For example, I considered that this company that I may work for could make charitable donations to Planned Parenthood, for example, or I could be delivering food to a restaurant that would be used for a gay wedding celebration. Would either of these examples constitute direct participation and would it be permissible to take a job like this? I do not want to become overly obsessive but I want to be faithful to teachings of our faith.

    FATHER JOE: Would a person give up the teaching profession because the union supports Planned Parenthood? Would you quit a catering service that provided meat-meals during the season of Lent? Would you quit working at the drug store because some customers bought questionable magazines or condoms? Would you abandon the food industry for possibly supplying a gay wedding celebration? The questions contain something of the answer. You may have personal scruples about any or all of this but the Church would not dictate that you would have to abandon such preoccupations. It is all indirect cooperation. There is nothing inherently immoral about food and we all patronize drug stories, for odd-and-ends as well as for prescriptions. The rental of halls often fall under civil law and while churches can discriminate for parishioners, even the Knights of Columbus cannot legally prohibit gay wedding receptions in its halls.

  8. Hello Father good day 🙂

    I would like to ask, is admiring a celebrity a mortal sin? Like I really admire a famous personality and I can’t easily get rid of watching her. Her videos aren’t evil , its just that I really like who she is . Is that a mortal sin?
    I will really appreciate the respond. Thank you and GOD BLESS 🙂

    FATHER JOE: There is nothing immoral about fandom.

  9. Hi my name is Savannah and I’m 15 years old. I am currently on my faith journey and have been ever since I was a little girl. As I’m finally starting high school, my faith has gotten stronger and stronger. Meanwhile while I’m attending to my relationship with God, my mind ponders. I don’t want to hurt God. I don’t want to hurt our relationship for things to which I don’t know the answer. I see so many “answers” and “opinions” online for certain topics related to God or Christianity or the Bible, etc. to the point where I don’t know what to think or if it hurts God or not. As a growing teen, I am trying to strive for a positive life and be wiser like my Creator. Throughout my life I’m looking at things people have suggested that will help my mind to improve. A lot of people, including my Christian parents, suggest yoga to calm my mind and through physical activity to help my body grow. (I suffer with anxiety/depression). I really like the idea of yoga and have always been into it, but, like I said, I don’t want to hurt my relationship with God. I don’t know if it is good or bad, based upon peoples “answers.” So I’m simply asking you this heart to heart: If I do yoga daily, is it a sin? Why would God be disappointed if it were to help me? Will God be proud of me? Is yoga “praying to other Gods?” Will it tear apart my relationship with God? Will God be mad at me if I do it? The last thing I want to do is to make God disappointed in me.

    FATHER JOE:

    First, while your parents may not always be right you should always respect their authority and honor them. All good parents desire the happiness and well-being of their children. I would not want in any way to diminish their standing in your eyes. Second, as for the status of yoga, this is a complicated question as it is both a physical and spiritual discipline from a non-Christian religion. Many have tried to remove the religious elements with mixed results. Yoga as traditionally observed is incompatible with the Christian faith.

    Yoga is a spiritual-physical discipline of Hinduism that seeks enlightenment through various exercises. The body postures and breathing exercises are understood as integral to a spiritual path or journey. While given all sorts of names, it is likely that preternatural forces are invoked. While body postures (in themselves) are neutral, ascribing magical effects is superstition and an offense to almighty God. There are a number of inherent heresies: Monism (often expressed in mantras of oneness that collapse the distinction between God and his creation) and Gnosticism (a detachment that views the material world as illusory).

    Can you as a Christian pursue yoga? If you desire to explore it as a spiritual path then I would say definitely not. If you can strip out the meditational elements then you might find the physical exercises and postures meaningful for good health. I personally would recommend something else.

  10. Dear Father, While I am clear with the teaching of the Church on ex opere operato for the sacraments (cf. CCC 1128), I am not sure about ex opere operantis for sacramentals. If a baptism conferred validly and licitly by a priest in a state of mortal sin is as efficacious as a priest in a state of grace, can we say the same for the sacramentals, or, according to what I have read elsewhere, is a priest in a state of mortal sin not at all able to bless efficaciously, for example, water (to become, of course, holy water), or rosaries, or any other sacramental???

    FATHER JOE: The term “ex opere operantis” is in reference to the recipient, not the agent of a sacramental act. While the sacraments and other ritual acts of a priest are efficacious for grace in terms of the agent, one must be properly disposed to receive the graces or benefits.

  11. This may be a touchy subject but I wanted to ask about your perspective of interfaith marriage. Specifically Sikh and Catholic marriage. Can a Sikh and Catholic get married without converting? If they choose into get married in both the temple and the church, is that possible? Or if they get married in the temple and have a priest marry them as well outdoors if it’s not possible in a church?
    Thank you for your time.

    FATHER JOE: The question you ask is complicated. First, is it legal in the country where the couple finds themselves? Second, how serious is the Sikh partner about his or her faith? This is important because Sikhism only permits marriage between two Sikhs. The marriage to a Catholic will not be recognized by the non-Christian religion. Third, the wedding would have to take place or be witnessed before a Catholic priest or deacon. Fourth, along with the required preparation, a dispensation will be required to marry a non-baptized person. This dispensation requires that the Catholic party will do all in his or her power to baptize and to raise any children in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic must be aware of this promise and there must be some assurance that he or she will not seek to block its fulfillment. The marriage will constitute a natural bond. There cannot be two marriages both in a temple and in a church. Once you are truly married, you cannot pretend to get married again. This is why marriage renewals are also generally frowned upon by Catholicism. The Sikhs are monotheists like Christians, Jews and Moslems. Because of the danger to the true faith, I would counsel against such marriages.

  12. Dear Father,

    Can I buy a new Apple laptop even though I know that Apple supports an organization that supports abortion? The good thing with an Apple Macbook is that you can install a very effective parental control software that cannot be bypassed by anyone (I am currently addicted to bad websites and I need to get out of it).

    The only alternative besides an Apple laptop is a Linux laptop because the microprocessor provider of said laptop is the lesser evil when it comes to supporting organizations that support abortion. The only problem is that the Linux laptop’s parental control features can be easily bypassed and disabled.

    In short, Apple is not a near occasion of sin when it comes to bad websites but it is more evil when it comes to supporting organizations that support abortion; while Linux is a near occasion of sin when it comes to bad websites but it is the lesser evil when it comes to supporting organizations that support abortion.

    I need to use a good parental control software because I am going to work as an online software tester.

    May I have your opinion about this matter?

    Thanks.

    Best Regards,
    J. Asker

    FATHER JOE: Your objective is to purchase a good computer, not to condone where the money goes after that. You can get the computer.

  13. Hi Father, yesterday I worked with a new intern at work. Yesterday was the first time I met him. I experienced him as coming across as aggressive being it was the first day I met him. He asked if I’d be comfortable giving him a copy of my curriculum vitae to help him write his. I said ok, even though I’m not comfortable and wanted to say no. But because I do worry if people like me, I tend to break my own boundaries in order to please others. I will help students if I think they’re good people. I have a bad feeling about this intern. The phrase “don’t throw your pearls before swine” keeps crossing my mind. I’m afraid I’m not being a good Christian if I tell him no, and I’m not comfortable sharing my CV with him since we don’t have an established relationship.
    Would that be un-Christianlike to say no to giving him my CV, and suggesting he ask a preceptor he knows better instead?

    FATHER JOE: Tell him that you have been advised for security reasons not to share your curriculum vitae as it is a confidential resume that includes much personal information that pertains to your identity. Suggest that he ask assistance from someone who knows him better. Let him know that you have nothing against him and that he should also be careful as to whom he shares his personal information given that identity theft and fraud is rampant in our society.

  14. Father Joe thank-you for your good and Holy work. I am struggling greatly with our new Administration in the White House and with Catholics who voted it in. Many are saying ” the Pope said we should vote for him” or “you should be happy, Biden is Catholic”. Just looking for direction on how I should respond. Thanks in advance for your time. Carol

    FATHER JOE: The Pope did not tell anyone how to vote. Regarding how to respond, sometimes it is better to keep one’s counsel to oneself. Peace!

  15. Hi! I’m struggling with my Catholic faith. I’m a cradle Catholic and I never would have dreamed that I would be considering leaving the church but here I am. I have 10 children and 7 are grown and out of the house. Of the seven only one goes to mass regularly but even that one is not in full communion with the church as she was married outside the church. One son has become baptist and he goes to church regularly. It seems like the church makes it so complicated to be a practicing Catholic that my kids are never going to be able to be in full communion with the church. Over the years I have been hurt personally by priests and hurt by the scandals in the church and it has made me question if I can really trust what the church teaches when the bishops and even popes have been guilty of protecting these sinful priests. I have always believed what the church teaches and I’ve tried to be faithful. I teach ccd. I never miss mass and I go to confession regularly. But I’m not sure anymore. I don’t know what to do. Is it a sin to leave the church and go to another church? I read one of your replies that we should rather die than betray our Catholic faith but I feel like I have been betrayed by the church! How can I trust an institution that protects priests who have molested children? And why would the pope call and congratulate joe Biden on winning the presidency when it’s a well known fact that joe Biden is the most pro abortion president and he gives Catholics a bad name?! I’m so confused right now I don’t even know if I can believe anything the church teaches anymore

    FATHER JOE: Stories like yours I hear every day. You can email me apart from this blog. The scandals among church leaders are what they are. I am also troubled by the duplicity and confusion in the Church today. As a man who tries to be a good priest, it brings me to tears. So many of the children I taught and who served at my altar have abandoned the faith. Like any good parent, even priests place the guilt upon themselves. How did I fail them? I love the Church and like you, feel deeply betrayed and wounded. Can we make a bargain? Stick with the Church, go to Mass and say your prayers. Know that I will also be praying for you. I firmly believe that the Catholic Church is the house Jesus built— even when our shepherds fail us and when so many in the pews do not live out our faith and values. We have the Word and the Eucharist. The Baptists have the one but not the other. Let us remember those who have abandoned the faith when we take Holy Communion. Let us not judge or hate, but in love pray for those who have failed us or who have walked away. We can witness to the truths of faith as a testimony that we trust the promises of Christ when sinful men fail us. Even Jesus had his Judas. Let us be more like Peter. It was love that restored him to the charge given by Christ. I often ponder those who have most deeply hurt me; I target them for my most fervent love and prayers. This “remembrance” even includes a few bishops and priests. But I also remember those clergy who most reflected the compassion and mercy of our Lord. You mention hurtful priests, were there none they you knew as caring men who sought to bring healing? I hope so. We have never met, but I hope you will read these words and know that they come from my heart. Place your trust in God before men. Do not allow anyone or anything to separate you from your Catholic faith, even if you should find yourself alone. Find solace in the Eucharistic presence. God bless and keep you. (Father Joe)

  16. Hi father, are salt lamps satanic? Also, are oil reed diffusers satanic? I read salt lamps are of the occult because they’re part of the new age movement. I haven’t found anything that oil reed diffusers or essential oils are something to avoid.

    FATHER JOE: All I know is that they are pretty… but possibly toxic to cats and dogs.

  17. Hello Father,

    I have a few questions that came up during an RCIA meeting that I feel I can confidently answer but are a little sensitive and I thought getting answers from a priest might be helpful. Thank you in advance for answering.

    1. Commandant 6 is “Thou shall not kill”, can abortion be forgiven? Is there a situation, like rape, that makes abortion not a sin.

    2. Is it ok for a Catholic to not always see eye to eye with God or the Catholic Church’s teachings? Examples would be, not agreeing with marriage only being between a man and women or women’s positions within the church.

    3. Can the Holly Spirit work in a person’s life before being baptized?

    Peace,
    Mary

    FATHER JOE:

    1. Abortion is regularly forgiven in the confessional and most priests have faculties to remove the censure of excommunication as well. A direct and intended abortion for any reason is always a violation of the commandment and a mortal sin.

    2. One might struggle in conscience with what God reveals and the Church teaches but a Catholic is required to give practical assent all the same. The sacrament of marriage is understood as a covenant between a man and woman to share a life which is consummated by the marital act (vaginal intercourse) or that type of act that is open to the generation of new human life. The sacrament is built upon natural law. A reinterpretation for same-sex unions not only violates Scripture and Church teaching but is a violation of the natural order. The disorientation creates a conflict with material reality.

    3. The Holy Spirit is active in many creative ways and is responsible for the movement of faith. Baptism makes us temples of the Holy Spirit and the anointing with chrism makes possible the Confirmation of our Baptism with a more full share of the Spirit.

  18. I am a senior citizen, widowed 3 years. Catholic. I live alone. I have no intention of ever re-marrying. Yet, a “convenience” relationship with a like minded woman seems like a worse transgression of God’s plan than masturbation would be.
    I understand the Church’s position on masturbation. It is the Church’s job to interpret God’s plan to the best of their ability.
    Yet, it seems, from a practical standpoint, that masturbation could function like the safety pressure release valve on a water heater tank. If the safety pressure release valve doesn’t work, the result is far worse.
    But where does pragmatism give way to rationalization? Where am I choosing to just make life easier; or when am I avoiding the temptation and the pressure of choosing something worse?
    Christ said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” But when we stumble and fall, wouldn’t it be better to relax a bit and fall on some rocks, instead of over a cliff?
    If I fall on the rocks, ( No porn, just pressure release ) do I refrain from communion?

    FATHER JOE: You would place self-manipulation over a relationship with another person? Relationships need not be sexual, but if attracted that way and both are single or widowed, there would be no wrong in marrying again late in life. It is reductionist to view sexual satisfaction as letting steam out of the hot water tank. We are not beasts but human beings. Lust even in marriage is a sin. Lust is narcissistic in seeking only its own satisfaction and/or at reducing the beloved to a commodity to exploit. Holy passion embraces the beloved as a person of immeasurable worth and is inherently outward looking and sacrificial. I would say aim high and if you fall, make a good act of contrition and make use of the sacraments.

  19. Hi Father Joe

    Is it a sin to work on government projects where in corruption exists? For example, there will always be a certain percentage of the project cost that is required to go to the politician. It is a bribe because a project’s budget could be 1 million, the cost with profit is 700,000, and then 300,000 will be for the politician. Is it a sin to be involved in something like that? Even if this is your business and you have no choice with the politician’s request for money?

    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: There is still a choice. Unlawful propositions can be reported. Graft is a grievous wrong and sin. If you are only a lower level worker on such a project and all this is speculation then be careful as not to commit calumny. If you have actively paid off politicians for projects then you have done a terrible wrong and need both to repent and to receive the Church’s absolution. Restitution may also be in order. Indeed, if brought to justice you would likely be seeing prison time.

  20. Jesus is God the Son, but is not God the Father.

    But isn’t the role of sons to grow up to become fathers?

    Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church is bride. This marriage is eternal and everlasting. The wedding feast is in heaven. Who would be the offspring of this marriage?

    What happens after the end of history? Jesus and the faithful live in heaven happily ever after?

    What do we mean when we say we have a different mode of living in heaven?

    FATHER JOE:

    The distinction between there three divine Persons of the Trinity is called an analogy. It is not a physical or biological relationship. There is no growth or potency in God as a divine spirit. God the Father knows himself from all eternity and in this infinite knowing generates the Son. Between the Father and the Son there is infinite love, a love that generates the Holy Spirit. We can make distinctions about these relations, but taken too far they become erroneous.

    The bridal imagery between Christ and his Church is another analogy. This relationship comes to exist in time when Jesus founded the Church. Our Lord lays down his life for his spouse. St. Paul invokes this relationship in speaking about human husbands and wives. The Mass is an earthly participation in the heavenly nuptial banquet. The saints in heaven share this banquet and know the beatific vision. There is no propagation of children or offspring in heaven.

    At the final consummation there is judgment and two realities, heaven and hell.

    The saints in heaven will have their souls joined to glorified bodies. We will not be disembodied ghosts forever. The mode of living changes because there will be no more concupiscence and no more suffering, sickness or death.

  21. Hello, Father.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that one of the steps required for Christian unity is “dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and communities” (821). Since they reserve the word “dialogue” for theologians, does it mean that it’s not a good idea for me to engage in friendly debates with my Protestant friends, not being a theologian?

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Not knowing how much you know or what Protestants with whom you want to enter discussion, I cannot say. I find that most Catholics are not sufficiently grounded in their faith for such things.

  22. Hello Father,
    I am concerned that my taxes will go to worldwide abortions now. The Lord will not be happy. How can i honor God by not doing this.

    FATHER JOE: You cannot control where your tax dollars will go. There really is not much you can do.

  23. Father,

    Could narcissists go to Heaven?

    Thank you in advance.

    FATHER JOE: What is heaven if it is not the beatific vision. If one cannot tear himself away from his own reflection then how will he ever see God?

  24. I’m Catholic and I have been seeing the priest at my church for spiritual counseling for about five months. He has helped me a lot. He texted me the link to the popular “Bible in a Year” podcast. We meet regularly to discuss it. Other people in my church know about this popular “Bible in a Year” podcast; but don’t know that he meets with just me to discuss it. Last Friday the adoration chapel was closed and moved inside the church just for that day. He texted me to meet him in the adoration chapel. When I got there he told me to close the door, I am assuming because people were in the church across the hall. He was sitting in the last row in the corner and he was not wearing his clergy clothes. He was wearing his regular clothes. Is this normal behavior for a priest? Is it inappropriate?

    FATHER JOE: It seems to me that he has done nothing wrong. While priests most often wear clerics for their ministry, they do sometimes where regular clothing. There are a lot of reasons for this, everything from going or coming back from golf to having the blacks in the washer. What worries me is an unspoken insinuation that could be harmful to the priest’s reputation, especially if a lady is overly attached to him personally. I would ask you to think seriously about your own thoughts regarding to this priest. If what you feel is inappropriate then I would urge you to get another spiritual director.

  25. “26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body. [ASV]”. Which seems to be Paul (through saying “let a man prove himself”) telling to the early Christians to not turn anyone away from the Lords supper even if in eating and drinking he brings judgment on himself. Could you provide any clarification why the Catholic church then only serves the host to other Catholics and not all Christians? When Jesus, through Paul told Christians to let a man prove himself and all eat.

    FATHER JOE:

    The New American translation probably gives a clearer rendering: (verses 27-29):

    “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine (approve) himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

    The “proving” here is not dissimilar from an examination of conscience. It is connected to the next line about discerning the real presence of Christ. This presence is also understood as the saving activity. Jesus lays down his life for us. Jesus offers himself up for us and we must imitate this sacrifice in how we take up our own crosses and in how we participate in the re-presentation of Christ’s oblation in the Lord’s Supper or Mass.

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