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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!





5,028 Responses

  1. Hi Father,
    I believe in God. I pray. I have not been perfect and confessed sin. I have not been to church since March 10, 2022. My parish does not require masks and I cannot expose myself to covid-19. It is still a threat in my community. I am broken-hearted that my fellow parishioners have a total disregard for human life. Why would the church allow it. It’s playing Russian roulette with life. I watch the mass on television each Sunday. I have no family left. They have died. My boyfriend died in February. I have considered going back to church without a mask but what if I got covid and passed it to someone who died. Wearing a mask could save a life. I have been vaccinated and had the booster. That only protects me to some degree. I hate life. Would it really be such a sin to end it? I could go to church where people are so close together and tempt fate. I am at a loss. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you…Theresa

    FATHER JOE: The mandates have changed and in many places it is up to the worshipper whether he or she wears a mask. You are free to wear yours. COVID is not the only danger in this world. Are you very elderly? I am fearful as well, but I have my vocation to live out. Our Lord tells us, “Be not afraid.” There is no guarantee that even staying home you will not get sick. All of us will die one day. Go to Mass and receive the sacrament. You cannot participate in the sacrifice of the Mass on television or a computer. You need to be there.

  2. Hi father! I am a young lady and a member of a Native American tribe in California. A lot of tribal members that I know like to “smudge” (burn sage) as a method of cleansing. I obviously believe in so such thing, but I personally love the smell of sage. Would it be alright for me to burn it in my house, in the same way that I would burn a candle, simply for the smell of it? I believe in no way, shape, or form that it has any power; I just believe it is a creation of God with a very pleasant aroma (just like how roses do). Thank you and God Bless!

    I know a priest who burns sage like church incense. As long as there is no superstitious attribution, such is okay.

  3. Hello Fr
    I need your opinion on a matter that has been bugging me. I work in a government establishment as a lawyer. The problem is that ever since there has been a change in management, the work environment has become shabby and nothing works anymore. There’s no career growth. Because I need the money, I’m staying put at the job.
    Part of the workplace rule is that you can’t leave the office till break time which is 1pm to 2pm. The problem is that I want to leave the place but it pays more significantly than private law practice. So I decided to be attending court with a private law firm while still being able to reap the benefits of a monthly salary. I know that as a government lawyer, one isn’t supposed to engage in private practice for profit. I agreed to simply go to court to learn. Is it a sin to continue to go to court with this private law firm since I can’t leave till break time or should I just quit and go into private practice? I feel as though I want to retain my workplace for the money, while attached to the law firm for the experience. Please i need your advice in this dilemma. Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: Stealing is still stealing. You want to be honest.

  4. Hello Fr
    I wanted to ask, is it gluttony if I ate dinner when not hungry and because everybody around me was eating dinner? I had a not so heavy breakfast but wasn’t hungry towards evening, but still ate dinner. Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: You decide, I did not see you eat.

  5. My wife and I are interfaith. In regarding the Eucharist. I am well aware of the Catholic history and the Protestant Reformation and so on. But this is one question I cannot seem to answer her back on. She says that Jesus was preaching when the disciples told the kids to leave (go back to your parents). Jesus said, “No bring the children to me, for I am for everyone.” The Eucharist is an example of that. Suppose Jesus was giving out the Eucharist in Mass. He would not say, “your not Catholic bless you but you can’t receive”. Jesus is for everyone as I understand. My response is that Jesus would change everything at that point. But right now we are bound to Jesus’ words, “what you bound on earth is bound by my father in Heaven. What you do not bound is not bound by my father in heaven.” From Peter to Francis it has always been that way.
    How can you better explain this of Jesus himself giving out the Eucharist to Protestants without rejecting them?
    I always refrain from her Communion in her church in which she says I embarrass her.


    It is not a matter of hospitality or embarrassment. If you were to take the bread and wine in a non-Catholic Church you would commit sin and be a bad Catholic. What might be efficacious in some symbolic way for a Protestant would bring divine judgment down on you. The reception of the Eucharist is akin to a profession of faith. At Mass you say AMEN to the real presence of the risen Jesus, body and soul, humanity and divinity. You are also saying AMEN to the Catholic Church . . . her leadership, her teachings and her sacraments. We do not invite Protestants because we do not want to make liars out of them. Even Catholics who are not properly disposed for the sacrament will be convicted by the Eucharist. We as Catholics believe the host is Jesus and Jesus is God. Many Protestant ministers (not believing this) would argue that bending the knee to the host or receiving Holy Communion would be tantamount to idolatry. They do not believe what we believe. Similarly you would not receive the bread and juice in a Protestant Church because it would be interpreted as a renunciation of your faith in the Catholic Church and in the real presence. If your wife hungers for the sacrament then she should be formally received in the Catholic Church. Many Protestants focus exclusively upon encountering the Word in the Bible. Catholics view the Scriptures at Mass as a preparation for encountering our Lord in the Eucharist. Catholics place the gravity on the Eucharistic Christ.

    Lutherans and Episcopalians (Anglicans) are the closest ceremonial Christians to us but lacking apostolic succession there can be no priesthood and thus no true Mass or genuine real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. We may all love Jesus and believe in the Trinity, but there remain important differences between the creedal churches.

  6. I know venial sins can be forgiven via prayer but not mortal sins. What is the point of asking for forgiveness in prayer if forgiveness is only offered in confession? Should we ask for forgiveness of mortal sins in prayer? What if one can’t make it to confession but wants to be forgiven?

    FATHER JOE: We can repent from all sin, great and small and know God’s mercy. The Church asks us to bring mortal sins to confession for the assurance of absolution and the accompanying graces. The sacrament heals us precisely as members of the Church. Sin makes us a damaged part of the mystical body of Christ. We do not come to the Lord alone. Confession is not just personal healing but communal healing. You have a place in building up the body and in witnessing the love and compassion of Christ. We come together in holiness.

  7. Greetings
    I am a Norse Pagan and I follow the old gods. However a friend asked me to become a Godfather to a child who are Christians, can I be a godfather while still staying a Norse Pagan?

    FATHER JOE: No. A godparent must share the Christian faith and be in good standing. It signifies a perpetual spiritual relationship: insuring the child receives religious formation and the sacraments. You cannot give what you do not have. Peace!

  8. Hey Father Joe,
    I am not Catholic, but have been looking into the faith as well as Eastern Orthodoxy. I have felt a huge internal pressure I must give up on my dreams of having a family and children and take on a religious vocation or be damned. I have no desire at all to do this; I’ve wanted to be a husband and dad for as long as I can possibly remember. What’s the likelihood this could be the Enemy trying to push me away from the faith?

    FATHER JOE: One would not embrace a vocation out of fear but rather out of love. If there is intimidation then it is from the evil one.

  9. Hello, firstly I’m seeking god and ready to worship him but I’m lost…

    The Bible says in several places not to add to his words,

    how can this be true when other books were added afterwards?

    Also Leviticus 26:1 The Catholic Church has many graven images, idols; of baby Jesus, of Jesus on the cross, Mary, Peter, etc.

    And the Pope and Catholics bow to the statues and pray to them.

    It seems we cannot have a Christian holiday without it getting tangled in or with some pagan origins. but my issue is how do you no your bible is from god and truly I mean no disrespect but is it fair to say you have a biased view.. you seek answers from a bible.. like you wouldn’t study for an exam and just read one book… quick example

    Christianity (2.2 billion followers) – The Holy Bible (Old Testament and New Testament)
    Islam (1.6 billion followers) – The Quran
    Hinduism (1 billion followers) – The Vedas
    Buddhism (376 million followers) – Tripitaka (Pali Canon)
    Sikhism (23 million followers) – Guru Granth Sahib
    Judaism (14 million followers) – The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) Torah
    Bahá’í (7 million followers) – Kitáb-i-Aqdas
    Jainism (4.2 million followers) – Agam Sutras
    Shinto (4 million followers) – Kojiki
    Zoroastrianism (2.6 million followers) – Avesta

    so as you can see there are many bibles so firstly I need to address the question…… how do you no for sure your bible is right because if it is then I’m ready to give myself.. I truly wish to build a relationship with god I believe in him I truly do but don’t no how to worship him…. There’s to many religious.. roughly 4000 of them..
    I’m a lost sheep

    How did you get your faith and how do you truly know for sure your bible is the word of god


    First, there was no complete Bible, Old and New Testament until the canon was approved by bishops at the Council of Hippo in 393 AD. References to various books about not adding words only applied to certain books in the library called the Bible, not to the whole of Scripture. Such were warnings from the human authors not to have their words changed or omitted.

    Second, the commandment in Leviticus 26:1 must be properly understood and was never absolute. “Do not make idols for yourselves. You shall not erect a carved image or a sacred stone for yourselves, nor shall you set up a carved stone for worship in your land; for I, the LORD, am your God.” The Jews saw no problem with the images of angels on the Ark of the Covenant or bronze seraphs on poles employed by Moses. The economy of images is changed by the mystery of the incarnation as Jesus is the human face of God. Further, statues are venerated much like paintings or other images as representing saints or illustrating biblical stories. These objects are not worshipped and so there is no idolatry. The assertion that we pray “to statues” is an ignorant lie. They bring to mind holy persons or our Lord.

    Third, Christians embrace the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels, various letters and the Book of Revelation as inspired by the Holy Spirit. This assertion is made by the Church Jesus established. If there were no Catholic Church then Protestants would have no Bible. We believe all this because of our encounter with the risen Lord and his saving relationship with us. This element of faith is a precious gift.

    Fourth, just because there is a great deal of religious error is no argument that Catholicism is wrong. The unique elements of Christianity speak to our Lord’s solidarity with us and the forgiveness of sins. Such speaks to a basic need in the human heart. Catholic Christianity (supernatural faith) and Judaism (natural faith) signify true religion. False religions may possess splinters of the truth but are also weighed down with falsehood.

    Fifth, as to how you decide which religion is right certainly study is important. One need to ask which faith best responds to the most basic questions and needs of humanity. Further, despite miraculous elements there needs to be a degree of rationality about faith that reflects reality and the human condition. The Church has survived as an organization for two thousand years, despite the many sinners that have come to her— fulfilling our Lord’s promise to sustain her until he comes. Finally, there is the mysterious fact of election. God must give you the gift of faith. Each of us needs to be disposed or open to receive it.

  10. Hi Father,

    I have had these very intense feelings of punishment from God recently and I feel like I am in a crisis of faith. Me and husband are trying to conceive but so far we have not yet had success. The feeling of wanting to be a mother has been with me since I have been very young, not that I am old now. Me and my husband are in our early 20s so it shouldn’t be that impossible to get pregnant? I cant help but feel like this is a test or a lesson from God, like I have to grow as a person or improve in some aspect, but everytime I feel like I did something like that I am still here with no child, month after month after month that goes by and I am more beaten down. It feels like I am failing at something that should be natural or my responsibility. I see these couples at our church announcing pregnancies or having young babies and I get so down on myself. I don’t want to be angry with God, don’t want to see this as a punishment but I don’t know how to get out of this hole.


    First, it is okay to see a doctor to discern if there is a medical issue. When I was stationed in Washington, DC, I regularly referred couples to some Catholic doctors at Georgetown Hospital that specialized in fertility problems.

    Second, I have also known couples who used Natural Family Planning to try and discern the optimum times to engage in relations so as to conceive a child.

    Third, I have encouraged couples to remain calm as anxiety can inhibit conception and pregnancy. Along with this I would suggest making an appointment with your local priest and to ask for a special blessing for a child. One couple called me after five years of trying to have a child. I had married them and the woman was in tears. I prayed over them and soon thereafter she was pregnant. Another couple came to me and they had been trying for ten years to have a child. I prayed over them and, to everyone’s surprise, she soon conceived. A couple of years later the husband called me and announced that his wife was pregnant again. He then jokingly said, “Please Father, you can now stop praying for us!” I will pray for you, but see your local priest.

    Fourth, if a child is still not forthcoming, know that there are many children who need to be adopted or cared for within foster services. There are many ways to be open and nurturing of life. God bless you!

  11. My question is – if you are going through a divorce unwillingly, is it wrong, or sinful, to go on dates with another person, provided there is no sex? Or do you have to wait until divorce/annulment is completed? Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: Dating while still married to someone else is wrong and is a temptation to adultery.

  12. Hello Father. I have a question about investing in oil services companies. I currently own stock in a couple of these companies. I had looked and saw that some Catholic institutions also owned at least one of these companies that I do.

    But with the Russia/Ukraine war going on, I’m wondering what my responsibility is about this. I guess really the money from oil is misused by several countries, which was why I looked into the Catholic position on it to start with, but now it seems amplified in my mind.


    FATHER JOE: I do not know of any definitive Catholic position.

  13. Hello Father
    I have a question about annullment. If I am Catholic and my ex-husband is a baptized Christian can I get an annullment? We were married in the Catholic church. He says I cannot get an annullment because he is not Catholic even though I am. That does not seem right. Can you help?
    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: You could still apply for an annulment.

  14. Father Joe , I had prostate cancer , went through treatments , shots . I was told I would not be able to preform sexual acts for two years . It’s been two years and three months and can;t even get an erection . I it a sin to continue to keep trying ?

    FATHER JOE: As long as the effort is toward the marital act with your spouse then there is no wrong.

  15. For the past 4 months, I’ve been feeling like something tall n evil was walking around the bed, or pulling my sheets, 2 weeks ago I felt it crawl on the bed, and pin me down from behind, now last night, I felt it get on bed, pin me down n [deleted] me from behind. I felt like it raped me. I tried to scream. Yell, could not move at all. I am freaking terrified to sleep now. What can I do.

    FATHER JOE: Seek psychological counseling and say your prayers.

  16. Dear Father Joe,
    I would simply like to ask if risking a mortal sin is a sin in itself. For example, if a person isn’t completely sure he is in a state of grace, but decides to receive Communion, did he commit a mortal, venial, or no sin at all?
    Thank you,

    FATHER JOE: One does not accidentally commit mortal sin. People may sometimes try to fool themselves about the truth but I suspect most know whether or not they have severed their relationship with God.

  17. Hello Father,

    3 years ago I had contact with an Angel, at the time I didn’t know it was an Angel, I was in its presence for a few hours, I was hymning something for the whole duration, I didn’t really know what to make of it, 2 days ago I saw drawings of biblically accurate Angels described from Ezekiel, I just started crying and didn’t know why and then that moment from 3 years ago struck me, the drawing was exactly what I’d seen it was a Throne Angel, all of a sudden things started making more sense to me like for the past 3 years I’ve been obsessed with drawing eyes and intertwined rings which are the exact same appearance as the Angels described from Ezekiel and what I saw, I don’t really know what to do, I’ve never been a Christian and I don’t always agree with the Christians I’ve met but I know what I saw and felt, its presence was indescribable

    FATHER JOE: Unless it brings you to repentance and conversion it was likely not an angel from God.

  18. Hello, Father. I don’t have an inquiry, but a request for three blessings if you’re willing. I feel desperate and beg your mercy.

    1st. I ask for a blessing of healing from my mood disorder.

    2nd. I ask for a blessing of a stronger intellect and sharpness.

    3rd. I ask to be blessed with strong patience that I may always I remember the grace of these blessings and use them with love towards others.

    FATHER JOE: I prayed prayers of blessing for you this evening.

  19. Dear Father Joe, am disheartened by the
    Suffering of the war. I am also reminded of Ezekiel 13:10. Paraphrasing the writings of 40/50/60 years ago” any attempt at breakaway from the Russian bear wouldn’t
    be tolerated. May our lord and savior show his crown. It is by his suffering and death we breath new life.

  20. Please forgive me if this posted twice. WordPress is being obnoxious and I’m getting really frustrated. I am a fan of Outlander. I’ve read all the books and the new one is finally out and I don’t know if I can read it. The main character takes the Lord’s name in vain. I never liked it, but recently have refused to watch tv show or movies that do that because I have become more reluctant to risk offending God. I don’t honestly know if it is my scrupulosity or just good sense. My daughter is royally PO’d at me because I refused to watch the new Bond movie due to misuse of His name. She can’t stand my “holier than thou attitude”. Am I being too strict? I don’t have many things I can watch or read anymore due to this…apparently taking His name in vain sells? It’s in EVERYTHING, it seems. If I am being honest, I miss being able to enjoy some things, but the misuse of His name does temper that enjoyment.

    FATHER JOE: I have a friend who quietly says a brief aspiration prayer in reparation to the Holy Name when she hears such things. Maybe you could watch things with your daughter and just whisper something like “Praise Be the Name of Jesus.” But such is up to you. Unfortunately, bad language is everywhere.

  21. When it is said that he will raise us up on the last day does that mean our glorified body? If so what state is the soul in in the meantime?

    FATHER JOE: The exact time of the restoration is not known for sure. Mary is already assumed body and soul into heaven. However, upon the Judgment Day we do trust that the souls of the dead will be rejoined to their bodies. Glorified bodies will not suffer or die again.

  22. Hello Fr.Joe
    How would you respond to someone who compares ash Wednesday to Odins ashes on Odins day? I know as catholics the ashes are placed as a reminder for repentance and our mortality. I know the Bible does not specify to practice ash Wednesday but in many instances ashes were used as penance and repentance but when told I’m following pagan traditions I am unsure how to respond.

    FATHER JOE: The use of ashes is a biblical practice and Ash Wednesday has nothing to do with Odin . . . more deceptive nonsense from ignorant bigots of the Christian faith!

  23. Hello Fr. Joe
    Why as a catholic do we sometimes pray to saints when we can go directly to God himself? For example one might pray to Saint Anthony when something is lost. What is the point if I can ask God directly for help?

    FATHER JOE: Our Lord establishes a Church not a series of independent relationships. Along with the saints, we pray for and with each other. We approach God as his holy people. The Scriptures even speak of Christ presence among those who gather to pray. The saints are alive and they love and pray for us. The Church is in glory, on earth and in purgation.

  24. This may seem outside the box, but….I am an older but partly disabled Catholic woman living a couple of miles from Notre Dame University, Indiana. After calling several parishes over a year and a half, I cannot get help acquiring a ride to any church here to take part in Mass, Adoration, etc. What do I do?

    FATHER JOE: Especially during the COVID crisis, it has been particularly difficult to get drivers for homebound parishioners. Continue to call around and if that fails contact a parish to see if someone can bring you Holy Communion. When I was in the hospital recently I watched the Mass on television. I will keep you in prayer.

  25. A friend of mine was into the occult many, many years ago and has since come into the faith with a full head of steam. He has one problem in that he has still has in his possession a box full of his old occult “magick” tools that he wants to dispose of but is unsure of how to do this. He’s heard many things from burning them, burying them, throwing them in running water (river or stream), putting them in salt, or just doing it the regular way and dumping them in the city garbage. I don’t have a solid answer for him. Any advice from a Catholic priest’s perspective?

    FATHER JOE: Breaking them up and burning is what I would recommend.

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