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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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

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

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4,953 Responses

  1. Hi. I visited a the gravesite of my great grandfather & great grandmother today. They were Polish Catholic. The grave marker is a large cross. The back has the Roman numerals I – XIV. What does it mean?! Thank you!

    FATHER JOE: Not sure but likely the 14 stations of the Cross.

  2. Is a person forgiven for the sin of abortion once confessed to a priest? In this case, paying half of the free for the abortion resulting from premarital sex.

    FATHER JOE: Assisting a person to have an abortion is indeed grievously sinful. Yes, confession and absolution will remit guilt. However, the priest should also remove the automatic censure of excommunication as well.

  3. Hi,
    My bf and I got into a massive fight this weekend. He is a practicing Catholic and I went to Mass with him Sunday and participated in Communion which he told me I can not do. I was born Catholic and I (believe) I was baptized as a baby but don’t really have validity of what that was from my parent who were in a Catholic Church. I did make my communion in the Catholic Church but my family was not very involved and if so I don’t have many details. I did go far away from my faith for about 15 years and got rebaptized in a Christian church and it was a in the father son and Holy Spirit and what I believed the Catholic Church would be fine with. My intention was not to invalidate my first Baptism either getting Rebaptized. I personally thought it would be the right thing to do given the church. I do believe that it is the real blood and body and always have. My question is is the Catholic Church forbidding communion in these circumstances?

    FATHER JOE: You can only be validly baptized once thus the second effort has no weight whatsoever. You are a Catholic and have a right to the sacraments. However, you should go to confession. Then you can be fully restored to good standing. Peace!

  4. Dear Fr. Joe
    I am a married Catholic woman but not married in the church. My question is if I am not sexually active with my husband haven’t been in years can I receive communion now?
    Is it true that I am not married in the eyes of God because of the fact that we were not married in the church?
    I don’t believe I am living in sin anymore because I am not having sexual relations. I asked a priest once and he said NO. However my friend who is a practicing Catholic said that’s not true as long as your not having sexual relations your considered not married because you were never married in the church? I haven’t gone to church in along time but want to come back go to confession and receive communion. I don’t want to go to mass if I can’t receive communion. I tried that for years but was leaving mass unfulfilled.
    I know I’m committing sin by not attending mass anymore but at this point I’m just trying to set right my wrongs, ask for forgiveness and find some comfort.

    My husband is Catholic also and is not interested in getting married in the church so that’s not a possibility. He does not attend mass nor does he have any desire too.

    Any response would be appreciated.
    Thank you

    FATHER JOE:

    The marriages of Catholics “outside the Church” are not recognized as either licit or valid. Of course, given a license they have civil standing. What the priest told you makes no sense to me unless you saw the priest in confession as you would need to be absolved from past sin. It is true that couples in irregular unions who abstain from sexual relationships might be welcomed to receive Holy Communion. However, this usually includes a promise to the pastor that the couple will live as brother and sister. There has to be the avoidance of scandal. Ordinarily, cohabitation between men and women is itself considered sinful and is forbidden. Further, missing Mass (regardless of Eucharistic reception) is also a serious sin.

    What should you do? Make an appointment to speak with your local Catholic priest. Tell him your situation. If your husband would agree to repeat the vows, there can be a brief convalidation of the union. If he is resistant, a sanatio dispensation might be possible that would validate the marriage by reason of the former consent, now that the ecclesiastical impediment is removed. Peace!

  5. Hi Fr. Joe,
    In the Bible, we are reminded over and over to “Be not afraid”. But, I’m wondering if having “fear” is the same as being afraid. Having fear can sometimes be a good thing as far as self-preservation. Fear can also be a good motivator. If I’m truthful with myself, I have some fear. I’d say, this fear has me praying more, talking to God about it. In my fear, I’ve been praying for God’s help.

    Most of my fear is facing uncertainty in my life. I have found myself in circumstances that have been completely out of my control. For me, this fear is a feeling that’s difficult to control. But, I’d say this fear has me trying to turn to God for His help and guidance.

    So, I could say that I’m trying to manage the fear in my life. I’m human and it’s hard not to “be afraid” sometimes. Is this lack of faith, or just a normal part of being human? It seems easy to say, “Be not afraid”, but it’s much harder to carry that out.

    Thank you,
    Lauren

    FATHER JOE: The fear to which Jesus refers is anxiety and it is the flipside to the sin of despair. While we should all be responsible in caring for ourselves and others, you will not be able to prevent troubles, suffering, sickness and death. Appreciation that God is in charge and abandonment to providence is what we need to do. Self-preservation is fine as long as we remember that we cannot save ourselves (Pelagianism) — only God can save us. God sustains us in existence and we are utterly dependent upon him.

  6. My late husband had a lot of problems with his feet. After his funeral, I dreamt I that I had the opportunity to do his nails one last time before his cremation. But I opened his casket and his feet were perfect. And someone (Jesus?) told me “I already did that”. I was very frustrated because I wanted to do that for him. But since joining a church and attending Bible study, I wonder if that dream was meant to tell me that he was absolved of sin and made it into heaven, despite taking his own life due to mental illness. At the same time, I’m a little afraid of committing to Christianity because I’ve learned at Bible study that, if someone you love doesn’t go to heaven, you won’t remember them when you’re in heaven. I’m not sure that I would be saved anyway because my love for Jesus is contingent on my ability to be with my husband in the next life. I would really appreciate some guidance. It’s difficult to discuss these things with a devout community that loves me and prays for my salvation.

    FATHER JOE: This is not the first time that I have heard it said that the saints in heaven will have amnesia about the damned in hell. This seems ludicrous to me. It is argued that the saints could not be happy separated from loved ones in perdition. But how can we judge such a matter by earthly standards. The saints in heaven see and praise God. There is no space for pain or sorrow. This does not translate into forgetfulness. Rather, I suspect there is a profound appreciation that all is as it should be. Those who reject God’s friendship do this to themselves. God in his goodness has not annihilated them but sustains them still. I suspect the fire of hell is simply that spark of the divine presence that preserves them in existence. God will not force us to love him or one another. Having said all this, we can make no presumption about your late husband. All we can do is preserve hope and seek holiness in our own lives. Trust that God is loving and merciful.

  7. Hello Father,

    Firstly I want to say thank you for your writings. I have found your blog particularly helpful in coming back to the faith after a long time of being away from Him. I have a couple of specific questions to my situation.

    1. I am a manager at a restaurant, and I have a couple of questions regarding obedience. It is against our company policy (for obvious reasons) that making some food or drinks for yourself is not allowed if you don’t pay for them. Also, the crew people are not allowed to have 10/15 minute paid breaks to eat but they “have to clock out” for a 30 minute break, so that our operator does not have to pay them the full time. Is my allowing crew people to get food/drink and not making them clock out a sin against obedience? I am trying to avoid this sin if possible in the future and am not sure how.

    2. I have lived publicly very much against the church’s teachings (used poor language, judged others, etc) and may have led others astray through my actions. How can I work to right these wrongs?

    Thank you in advance Father!

    FATHER JOE: While rules are important it would seem to me that a manager has to make decisions and even concessions to employees so that operations run smoothly. As in the military, orders are given but there is a special acknowledgment of those leaders who have boots on the ground. You have a dual responsibility to the company (honesty in work) and to understanding the basic needs of employees. As for past wrongs, go to confession and then try to make a suitable amendment of life. Peace!

  8. I joined your blog in February and asked a question but in today’s email, other folks questions are in January 2022 and then drop down to Oct 2021. This is my first blogging and not sure if you answer thru this or get an answer in my email address only? You are so opened minded and answer the questions to ease our doubts. Elizabeth

    FATHER JOE: I have been ill and busy. Trying to respond. Sorry.

  9. Do all these people really have to be re-baptized? Isn’t the pouring of the water the main part of the baptism? Why does the wording matter so much; can’t the “we” mean the Catholic Church? Thank you

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/catholic-priest-arizona-resigned-discovering-072927816.html

    FATHER JOE: Form (the words) and matter (water) and intention constitute sacraments. If done incorrectly there are serious consequences.

  10. Dear Fr. Joe,
    I was wondering if I committed mortal sin in any of these two situations. I would like to know if I can receive the Eucharist or if I need to go to confession.
    1. I was really busy on Sunday, so I watched mass online while I was driving to and from places. I did not get to finish mass, I was at the part where the priest was consecrating the Eucharist. I was going to finish mass later, but I forgot to and the time I realized it, it was the next day. Is this mortal sin?
    2. I was looking at this woman and I looked at her with sexual thoughts (I am not a lesbian or bisexual), but then I repulsed the thoughts immediately. However, a couple minutes later I looked at her again for maybe three minutes before I looked away, I was claiming to read her shirt, but I think I was lying to myself. Is this mortal sin? Thank you for your help, and I hope you have a blessed day!

    Sincerely,
    Madie

    FATHER JOE:

    1. The dispensation given during the COVID crisis has expired. Watching Mass does not satisfy your obligation. Missing Sunday Mass through one’s own fault is counted as a matter of mortal sin.

    2. Fleeting sexual attraction or the allurement of beauty is usually not sinful.

  11. Hi Father,
    I have been away from the Church for a long time. I have not actively turned against it, and I do my best to live a just life with those that I meet. I dreamt yesterday that a nameless man led me to an ancient battlefield to show me the corpse of St. Michael the Archangel. He proceeded to scoop up the remains and consume them. I, too, scooped them into my hands and made a meal with them. I was appalled but also went along with it. I’m wondering how to interpret this dream. I would greatly appreciate any insights you could provide.

    Side note, but I’ve always felt that I’ve had a special connection with St Michael for as long as I can remember.

    -Yuki

    FATHER JOE: Probably just an idle dream. Makes no sense to me. St. Michael is an angel or pure spirit. He has no body that can die. Peace!

  12. Dear Fr. Joe,
    English is not my native language so If I made a mistake I’m really sorry. I desperately want to do a confession quickly, can you help me with that. Is it possible to confess my sins via a call

    FATHER JOE: No, you must actually go to a priest.

  13. Good day, Father.
    I am a volunteer church worker and I wanted to ask if a parish priest has the right to embarrass me in front of so many people and at the altar where the Blessed Sacrament is. He uttered satirical remarks to me without any bad comments coming from me. It hurts me.

    FATHER: This is a conversation you need to have with him. He may not know how he hurt you. I suspect he would apologize if you go to him. Peace.

  14. Hello Fr. Joe

    I am currently agnostic but I was born into the Catholic faith, but have stepped away from after some time. One of the reasons I choose to say that I have no knowledge of whether god exists is that I believe that if I proclaim that God is real, I only do it so I go to Heaven, not because I genuinely believe in God. I believe that if God does exist that it would be an insult to him if I only said I believed out of self preservation, and not because I believe he was the creator. I think it wouldn’t be genuine belief because I only say it with my mouth, but I don’t believe it in my heart. What is your view on my struggle and can you offer any advice?

    Thank you in advance

    FATHER JOE: God gives the gift of faith to those whom he wills. But are we always disposed? I suspect God knocks on many doors where those on the other side refuse to answer and pretend that there is no one there. Do you read Scripture? Do you pray? Do you participate at Mass? You cannot both step away from faith and then complain that you can’t find God. You have stopped looking. I will pray for you.

  15. Dear Father Joe,

    Hope all is well with you. Thank you so much for your advice for family to pray together. It is working to help family form faith.

    This prayer changed my life. It is the first prayer i ever saw that solely worships Jesus.

    https://osmm.org/about/fr-peter-rookey

  16. Hi Father Joe,
    My wife suffers from chronic headaches and migraines and has tried pretty much all the medications available at this point and they don’t give her relief. She was recently prescribed a new one to try, but it has side effects that can be adverse to pregnancy and it is highly recommended from her doctors to use birth control while on this medication.

    Now, we currently practice NFP, and if the birth control was allowed for the medication, we would continue to do so as usual and not “take advantage” of its use. Is this permissible in these circumstances, or is abstinence / extremely cautious NFP the only option? I want pain relief for my wife, I want to maintain our love life, but above all I don’t want to offend God. Thank you for any insight, Father.

    FATHER JOE: NFP is permissible but I would suggest seeking other possible remedies for her migraines that would allow for a family.

  17. I have a question. I have heard a lot about how we need to overcome sensuality. Wanting the comfortable position, eating only what I like, etc. I have trouble understanding why I can’t love God and still eat what I like. Why can’t I sit where I’m comfortable in my house or set the thermostat where it’s comfortable and still love God? Must I buy food I dislike and sit on the floor and always be cold or hot in order to prove I love Him? Must I deny myself warm water to bathe in, and generally seek out a life of misery in order to show I love Him? It sounds like a miserable way to live, and I am not at all certain I can accomplish it.

    FATHER JOE: Who have you been reading? I would suggest looking at Chesterton who views food, alcohol and even cigars as signs of God’s goodness and the wonder of creation.

  18. Father Joe,
    Can a married Catholic couple engage in oral foreplay prior to vaginal intercourse?

    FATHER JOE: I do not involve myself with such issues between spouses. The moral manuals assert that many things may be permissible if they help facilitate or conclude the marital act. However, truly human acts should reflect holy passion and not lust that objectifies the beloved.

  19. I work with hundreds of people around the world via email. I charge them fines for nonconformity. They frequently lie, try to manipulate me, are nasty, feign ignorance, etc. I have a bad attitude about them which I think is a reasonable Human reaction but is not what Christ wants (love your neighbor). I’ve tried to develop a loving attitude about them and failed miserably. Any suggestions?

    FATHER JOE: Only that you should be compassionate in understanding our broken human condition.

  20. Hi Father,
    If I usually fast on Friday but carelessly mess that up by eating something that may have had too many calories (but no meat), did I sin? I had a smoothie in the freezer and finished the whole thing and wasn’t hungry the rest of the day, like I usually am. I gave up meat, but I feel I ate too much to have kept my self imposed fast. I know I should have been more careful, but I am not sure whether it is sinful and I should confess it.

    FATHER JOE: It is my understanding that the Friday abstinence is restored in the UK. However, it is not mandatory in the U.S. One cannot sin when one forgets. Sin must be deliberate. Failing in one act of penance or mortification you can also substitute another. Peace!

  21. Am i possessed?
    I was watching a video of me and when i slowed it down my eyes shapeshifted into really pointy eyes and to confirm i did the eye thing infront of my friend and then my brother then again 2 times in the mirror. While i was discussing of my findings my head suddenly got a headache.I can send you the video incase you need any evidence, but yea what should i do

    FATHER JOE: I suspect it is an artifact of the video process.

  22. Hello, Father

    I know we are to forgive those who trespass against us. I do that with people. My question is whether institutions are also to be forgiven.

    The company I work for has a poor communication structure about procedures and policies. I have 6 or 7 bosses with the same title and function. They often give very different guidance about the way things should be done. They do have a higher boss who doesn’t seem to provide any clarity.

    I am often confused and frustrated by conflicting statements. I have no bad feelings toward any of the people involved.

    Does Jesus want me to forgive the dysfunction of this institution?

    Thank you and God bless you.

    Eric

    FATHER JOE: Do institutions need forgiveness? I suppose so but I would think they better need reform. Peace!

  23. Hi Fr. Joe,
    What age group would you consider it appropriate to be allowed to watch films such as Star Wars/Marvel?

    FATHER JOE: I would leave that to the discretion of parents.

  24. Is it proper to bless a bible? I never looked at the Bible as a sacramental but rather the word of God, blessed by God.

    FATHER JOE: Bibles are sometimes blessed.

  25. Father,
    I am married and have a question regarding contraception, etc. I understand that the Catholic Church teaches not to use contraception, but does “intentional withdrawal” fall under that category? I’ve heard many things and at the end of the day want to make sure I am not damaging my soul in any way. Recently I read about the story of Onan in the Bible, but have also heard different interpretations regarding this same story. Thanks for your time.

    FATHER JOE: Yes, “intentional withdrawal” is regarded as wrong in that it reflects a contraceptive intent.

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