• Our Blogger

    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Sarah on Ask a Priest
    Anonymous on Ask a Priest
    christina wilson on Ask a Priest
    Gerry on Ask a Priest
    Gerry on Ask a Priest

Ask a Priest

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





4,725 Responses

  1. Hello, I’m on the search to decipher the meaning of a particular ancient symbol. I’ve been looking all over the web & thought I’d ask here. Good or Bad, I seek its meaning. (It’s similar looking to ancient Hebrew..) It does correlate to previous dreams I’ve had.

    If I could share a picture of the symbol via email that would help a lot ~ thx

    FATHER JOE: Still waiting to see it.

  2. Hi Fr. Joe,
    I have a question about purgatory. I understand it to be a place of purification. Very often at my Church, I hear about praying for those in purgatory because they have no ability to pray for themselves and need us to pray from them in order to get out and make it to Heaven. However, wouldn’t the process of purification in purgatory be enough to make it to Heaven once the purification is complete?

    Can people only get out of purgatory if people pray for them? Or, can people get out on their own after the process of purification?

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Prayer is like wind on a flame, it amplifies the fire of love. While all the souls in purgation are ultimately assured of heaven, prayers and indulgences can speed them on their way. It is a testimony to our corporate faith in the Lord. We are still connected to out departed loved ones.

  3. Did the basket Moses was in taken, or was it left behind

    FATHER JOE: I was not there and cannot say.

  4. Hi! I’m part of the catholic church here in KY and I have a question that has been eating at me. So I was confirmed last year in my 8th grade class. We had to pick a name and had no consultation ever. I chose St.Uriel, but when I looked into it I’m not seeing where he comes into the catholic Bible. Was I even allowed to get confirmed under an Angel name?

    FATHER JOE: Yes, an angel patron is permitted for confirmation; indeed, the Anglicans regard Uriel as the patron for the sacrament. However, while he appears in ancient Jewish rabbinic and apocryphal Christian writings, he does not play much of a part in Catholic devotion. Indeed, the Church reduced the names of angels officially celebrated in the liturgical calendar and church life back in 745 AD. Modern New Age religion is seeking a restoration of the idolatry of angel-worship. The Catholic Church usually only identifies three angels by name: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

  5. My daughter and son in law are atheist. They would not consent to my grandchildren being baptized. I thought about baptizing them myself while they were sleeping but I am not sure it would be right. My grandson is 12, and he probably would not let me do it anyway and would tell his parents.

    FATHER JOE: At 12 he would need instruction and would have to consent himself to baptism, confirmation and First Communion.

  6. Hi Fr. Joe,
    I’m the only one in my whole family who practices any religion and attends Church. I live closely to my Catholic faith each day, and it brings me a great deal of joy and peace.
    It causes me heartbreak that my whole family is living without God in their lives. My siblings, kids, parents, nieces and nephews have no connection to any faith practice. My sister has 2 amazing kids who are now both in college. I love them greatly, and it saddens me that they were never baptized. I have a wonderful and loving extended family of people who do caring and good things in this world. But I worry about them going to Heaven. Can people who are never baptized make it to Heaven?
    And, if I make it, how could it be Heaven for me if the people I love most in this world aren’t in Heaven with me?
    Thank you Fr. Joe!


    Can people never baptized make it to Heaven?

    We know that the ordinary path begins with faith in Jesus and baptism. It is not for us to say who is saved and who is not. If he should choose to bring others to himself through some other way, Almighty God remains free to do as he pleases. God knows human hearts and what we most desire. I suspect he is more merciful than we could ever imagine. But does hell remain a real prospect for some? Yes, and it is so even for the baptized should their faith sour due to mortal sin.

    The next question is tough: “How could it be heaven for me if the people I most love in this world are not in heaven with me?”

    I would submit this is a cause of tears for us now but not when we find ourselves in heaven. (One priest online argued that there is amnesia in heaven regarding loved ones lost to hell. I would strongly reject this notion. I do not think you forget them anymore than God does.) He respects human freedom, even if misused, and he sustains the damned as his creatures in hell. However, by definition, heaven cannot be held hostage by hell. You will remember, but you will not be manipulated by this remembrance. There will be no sorrow because you will see God and thus know an infinite joy. There will be no space in you for pain or loss or any guilt served up by the damned. We can at least be content in knowing that souls get what they want— even if it is not union with the Lord. The damned would have you share hell with them but they would never step foot in heaven.

  7. Hi father. I was raised Episcopalean, but I married a Catholic woman a year and a half ago, the second marriage for both of us. We both have grown children and I had a vasectomy before our marriage. I am interested in taking the Catholic sacraments so that we can grow together spiritually, as a couple, but I don’t know if my sterilization will preclude me from taking communion or if it will somehow invalidate our marriage. Thanks for your advice.

    FATHER JOE: I urge you to talk to your local Catholic priest to find what you need to do. Did you both get annulments or declarations of nullity so as to be married in the Catholic Church? If not, that will be your first hurdle. As for the other matter, it is likely too much to ask for one to seek a reversal of a vasectomy. Often such efforts are both painful and unsuccessful. If already married in the Church, then you would likely be offered the sacrament of confession, religious preparation and then make an act of reception with confirmation. Peace!

  8. I am going to become Catholic. I have a gift of knowing things. Like I knew my sister conceived the day she did when we were living in different states and I had not seen or spoke to her in weeks (and she was not trying). It’s not something I sought. I’ve always been like this. Also my mother and her grandfather were. I know this is against the bible/church/God. But what am I supposed to do? It just happens. I have no control over it.

    FATHER JOE: If true, and it is not something you sought or exploited, why would it be against the Bible or the Church or the Lord? It may be a gift from God.

  9. hi father, is it proper and ok to call the Lord Jesus father, someone cited yes because the lord said he and his father are one. whats your advice father

    FATHER JOE: Given the revelation of the Trinity in Christ it is probably best to keep the traditional nomenclature: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. By faith and baptism we are made adopted sons and daughters to the Father. Mary is made our Queen Mother. Jesus is our elder “brother” in faith.

  10. I live in Ireland the land of saints and scholars. Now I weep as God has seen his flock abandon the faith. It is dark times in Ireland for the church. The people should understand God did not abandon us we abandoned him.

    Do u think there is hope father the church in Europe is in decline. Kevin.

    FATHER JOE: There is always hope but it may get worse before it gets better. The Church will survive. We have Christ’s promise for this. However, it may disappear from certain parts of the world and grow smaller.

  11. Hello my question pertains to sexual urges. I would like to apologize to come to you with this question because how if relates to this difficult context. As a 29 year old gay male ive always had sexual urges since i was a child. Lately ive made attempts to be more intuned with God. Despite my attempts i keep having difficulty in sexual urges. I tend to wonder that if i am deliberately letting them overcome me or if its a power out of my control. Theres a part of me as well that believes God has given me the wisdom to recognize these attempts and urges and endure them by being aware of them. Mostly in knowing that it seeks any and all manners of excuse to comit to it. I dont know if i should just endure them mentality, because i can abstain physically but mentally it is a constant. I have been wondering if watching videos and abstaining from physically committing sexual acts would be best or if this attemp is just another stumbling act? Thank you for your time and i am sorry of asking these type of questions, its just i am afraid to fail God and misinterpret these actions.

    FATHER JOE: Living a moral life is not furthered by compromises to chastity. Pornography is voyeurism which damages the will and makes a fall more likely. It also poisons the soul and how we look upon others. You cannot both reduce persons to commodities and rightly regard the dignity of persons. I would urge Catholics with a homosexual attraction to join the COURAGE program. It is an effort where men and women form a supportive faith community to know that they are not alone in living the faith and in abiding by Christian values. The apostolate pattern is that of daily prayer, embracing the gift of celibate love and pursuing service opportunities to help others.

  12. What happened Mary Magdalene after the resurrection? Where did she live her life?

    FATHER JOE: I do not know, the Bible does not say. The Eastern Church claims that she followed St. John the Evangelist to Ephesus where she died and was buried. French tradition claims that she witnessed the Gospel to Provence. But it is really just speculation.

  13. Is it only prophets who have conversed in conversation with God?

    FATHER JOE: Anyone who prays is in conversation with God.

  14. Hello Father,
    I recently went to a daily Mass and received the Holy Eucharist, but I’m worried that I might’ve received in a state of mortal sin. I had been fighting lustful temptations previous to going to Mass and when I was at Mass I was examining myself and I was torn on whether I should receive or not because I think I had briefly entertained the lustful thoughts. I know I never gave full consent to the temptations but maybe briefly only partially fought them. I want to make sure I’m not in mortal sin.

    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: You never gave full consent. It was okay to take the sacrament.

  15. Dear Father

    I think if someone were to tell me a funny story about how they got drunk, I would give scandal to them if I were to laugh, i.e., it could communicate to them that I think getting drunk is a trivial or maybe even a laudable thing?

    On shows such as the one linked below as an example. The guests will often tell funny stories about serious sins. I was wondering if laughing in the company of others about these stories would be similarly scandalous. Would that be over-thinking this?

    https://youtu.be/HrNHEoPNRBo 3:19

    Thank you for your time

    God bless

    FATHER JOE: The issue of humor is complicated because the usage may be as a critical parody and may be either generic or directed to a particular person or persons. There is no wrong in finding humor in the human condition. However, humor that advances bigotry and ridicule would be problematic and likely sinful.

  16. Hello sir my question is: I know that if a deacon gets married before he gets ordained he may stay married but can they have children even after ordination?

    FATHER JOE: Certainly. There is no pledge of celibacy. Marital duties can be fulfilled.

  17. Hello Father,

    I found out that the computer company Apple donates to Center for American Progress which is a pro-abortion organization.

    Does that mean that I have to stop buying Apple products such as iPhones and MacBooks?

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: You may find that many companies and organizations have their hands dirtied by such affiliations. While Catholics can personally opt to protest with boycotts, given the necessity of many products and technologies, as well as remote cooperation, believers may choose to acquire them.

  18. Dear Father,

    What are the moral implications or concerns for a Catholic who wants to go into business with a company whose owner is guilty of tax evasion?

    The owner of this small company doesn’t disclose around $100,000 of cash income annually to the IRS.

    Is it okay for a Catholic to form a business partnership with this person/company, knowing that the owner is guilty of tax fraud?

    Or would it be better from a moral standpoint to stay away?

    What about the moral implications of a Catholic working for this company and being paid cash under the table? The owner does not provide a W-2 or 1099.

    If it matters, neither the business nor the partnership would be necessary jobs for the Catholic in order to provide basic necessities. The work is more along the lines of being a hobby for the Catholic.

    Thank you for any advice you can offer!

    FATHER JOE: The failure to pay lawful taxes and debts is regarded as a form of stealing. You would likely want to avoid such affiliations, not only because such awareness has moral complications but also because any collaboration might also make you legally culpable. Fraud of this sort can lead to financial ruin once discovered. Further, as a pastor of souls, I can speak to the tragedy of having parishioners sent to prison for defrauding the government and others.

  19. Dear Father, I was married in the Church to my first husband, and after 18 years and six children, many separations due to his addictions and infidelity, we divorced. Many years later I met and married again with the hopes of having my first marriage annulled in the Church. However my second husband was also married before and so we were facing two annulment processes. We were willing to go through with it but he became ill and subsequently passed away. A year later my first husband also passed away. So here’s my question. Can I have my marriage to my second husband blessed, even though he has passed?

    FATHER JOE: Sorry, but there can be no blessing or con-validation of a marriage after the spouse or partner is deceased. The promises or vows of marriage are binding only until death. You can have a Mass said for the repose of his soul, but that is probably the most you can do. As for you, with the death of both spouses, there is now neither a regular nor an irregular union that is pressing.

  20. My husband and I recently had our first child. I was very seriously ill during the whole pregnancy and still with kidney problems to be sorted out, have been advised by doctors that if we want to have more children we should wait at least a year until my body can heal. We do want more children but while we need to wait some time until that will be medically safe, must we abstain from making love until then? This will be a strain on our marriage especially since we could not be together much during the pregnancy. We have not used natural family planning methods before and feel it is going to be too uncertain to rely on that to not conceive again too soon. In this case would using an extra contraceptive for the year be acceptable?

    FATHER JOE: First, I want you to know that I feel deeply about the struggle you face in maintaining your marital relationship and in preserving your health and future fertility. Second, in blunt honesty, such a situation would not make legitimate any use of artificial contraception. The Church does not view contraceptive intercourse as constituting the marital act. Third, the proper use of Natural Family Planning to space births has the same effectiveness as the Pill. What causes the numbers to look bad, particularly in statistics from Planned Parenthood, is that many couples compromise upon the periodic celibacy and many others employ NFP precisely to get pregnant. The same mechanisms of scheduling, temperature and mucus examination that inform about infertile stages can be used to know the optimum times for conception. Marriage is an occasion for both shared joy and for pain or sorrow. Soldiers have come home damaged from landmines or paralyzed and thus unable to engage in marital intimacy with spouses. Similarly, I have known women hurt or suffering serious illness (like cancer) that had to abstain from sexual relations. It is hard on couples but it can also be a heroic measure of sacrificial love and dedication to the vows which were for “better or worse, in sickness or health.” I will keep the two of you in prayer, that God will give you strength and confidence in his love. If you should engage in measures that the Church would frown upon, please remember that God is forgiving and that Christ in his incarnation appreciates the challenges of human weakness. Keep love alive and trust the Lord.

  21. My daughter is getting married by civil law. She has been living with this man for a while. Is it okay for me to attend ceremony?

    FATHER JOE: This question comes up again and again. As believers we know that a Catholic must be married before a priest or deacon. Civil marriages involving at least one Catholic are deemed both illicit and invalid by the Church. Pope Francis seems to believe that there is a quality or dimension to these marriages that we have failed to recognize. However, I cannot say that I understand what he might be saying. In any case, such marriages usually involve Catholics that have fallen away from the practice of their faith. It may be that they would feel hypocritical for visiting a church for a day and then returning to their unbelieving lifestyle. As a priest, I have felt the pain of such situations because as a representative of the Church I am explicitly forbidden to be present to witness bonds not formally recognized by the Church. Such decisions by family members can only be made by you. You should minimize participation, but I could certainly understand why as your child’s mother you would want to be there when she civilly marries a man she loves. You want to insure an ongoing relationship with her and the family that she may be starting. Get her a large Catholic Family Bible as a reminder that she and her intendent can always see a priest and have the union con-validated later in the Church and as a sacrament before God.

  22. Hello,
    My wife is on pelvic rest due to a miscarriage. We understand that oral sex causing ejaculation with the intent to not conceive is immoral and sinful; however, is it different if it is because of pelvic rest where we cannot physically have vaginal sex but still want to express ourselves and share our love for each other to the fullest extent possible?
    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: I hesitate to speak about such questions given that I am a celibate priest. What I can say is that there are many intimacies that come along with the marital act that are problematical when separated from it. While the lines of demarcation are sometimes blurred, it is important that couples always seek to delineate between lust which violates the person as a commodity and holy passion which celebrates a genuine love between persons of worth.

  23. Dear Father,
    I want to know if a Roman Catholic can use homeopathy medicines. Suffering from all of pain physical and emotional.
    Thank you.
    Love & Prayers : Francisca

    FATHER JOE: Is there a contradiction between homeopathy and the Catholic faith? I have heard of priests and nuns using homeopathy against pain and ailments that have not responded well to traditional medicine. Folk remedies sometimes work and given this, such usage is permissible for Catholics. However, if there should be any recourse to bad science or invisible healing energies— this would indeed be problematical, either with people fooling themselves or with the practice of superstitious witchcraft (as with Reiki therapy and new age religion).

  24. If a man has ED and is trying to have relations with his wife and she helps him masturbate is this a mortal sin?

    FATHER JOE: First, if this is a dysfunction that harms the life of the marriage, then the couple should certainly seek medical intervention. Second, couples should remain faithful and loving even if the marital act should be difficult or denied to them. Third, manipulation that is employed so as to complete the marital act might be permissible. However, masturbation as an alternative form of sexual activity in itself would be problematical and counter to its natural intent. Nothing should be done that caters to lust or that demeans the dignity of persons. As a celibate clergyman, I am hesitant to speak about such questions. The intimacy between a husband and wife needs no interlopers that might possibly cause a rift between spouses. Love and forgive one another. Know that we are all weak human beings who do the best we can and who need the grace of God. Peace.

  25. Hi Fr. Joe,
    I read a book on prayer recently. (“Thirsting for Prayer” by Jacques Philippe). In the book it talked about living every moment, place, and circumstance in God’s presence. What does it mean to fully “live in God’s presence”?

    FATHER JOE: Not having the book and thus not the context of the statement, I cannot say for sure. However, many spiritual masters speak of encountering the Lord in the “eternal now.” God is present and lives in us by grace.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: