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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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  1. Father, I have a question to which I haven’t had any response from other priests. I’m a non-religious Jewish man and I’m engaged to a beautiful Christian woman. We both believe in God. We have a 26 year age gap between us; but our love is not based on age or color of skin or religion. We base it on our hearts and minds.

    I plan on marrying this woman. Her name is Mercedes. My name is Cliff. We plan on marrying in Orlando, Florida. She’s picking the date.

    Question: How can I be a “reborn” Christian if possible? Will there be any problems in a church setting for us to be married?

    FATHER JOE: Too little is explained for a decisive response. The terminology of being a reborn Christian is more Protestant evangelical than Catholic. However, we do speak of a believer in faith and baptism as being reborn in Christ (into the likeness of our Lord). However, this demands that you actually believe in Jesus Christ as Messiah and savior and want to join the church he instituted. I could not speak to whatever requirements other churches have for marriages with non-Christians. If Mercedes should be Catholic, you would both have to be free to get married (meaning no living spouses from previous unions). A Jewish person would not have to convert to be married in the Catholic Church but the Catholic would have to promise to keep living her faith in the Church and (and if applicable) to raise any children in the faith. A marriage with a non-baptized person is regarded as a natural bond. A marriage to a baptized person is regarded as a sacramental bond. Couples who want to get married in the Catholic Church must first fill out documents for our records and give as much as six months to preparation. You should also be aware that the Jewish religion generally forbids marriage to Christians. However, there are a few rabbis who will work with priests so that marriages might be recognized in both religions. Such usually takes place on neutral ground, neither a church or a synagogue. Peace!

  2. Hello and to whom it may concern * I have a question not a comment. I have ask 2 of the biggest TV Show Pastors this and never received a reply… If Adam and Eve were the 1st then how does one explain the Caveman? I am a Christian btw. Thanks

    FATHER JOE: Is it not possible that a number of the first humans lived in caves?

  3. Hello my wife and I were married in 2020 and have a strong faith in God and in the Catholic Church. We always try to live by the commandments and the teachings of the church. I recently came across something I did not know about sexual acts in married couples. It was talking about unnatural sexual acts. My wife and I are in our 50s and our children are grown. I have always used oral , or manual stimulation for my wife right after intercourse because she cannot. Reach climax during natural sex acts. I discussed this with my wife and has troubled us and has caused a great deal of distress . We want to follow the church, but also don’t want anything to put a strain on our marriage. Please help Thank you

    FATHER JOE: The old Catholic moral manuals speak of various forms of touch that both make possible the marital act or complete the act. The entire encounter must be seen as a whole, not disjointed elements. Men and women are not robots. God understands.

  4. I work with people all over the world (they are not in the same company). I frequently get emails where they lie, deliberately misunderstand to try to get out of fines, etc. Sometimes its just ridiculous. I frequently insult them in my head or verbally to myself. It relieves stress and they will never know so it doesn’t hurt them. My emails are polite and fact based. Is this a sin? And if so is it mortal sin as Im potentially bearing false to their intelligence or character?

    FATHER JOE: Not acting upon such thoughts, they are likely venial. However, we must be careful to forgive and to love others, even those who make fools of themselves and engage in absurdities.

  5. I thought you might find this interesting:

    Priest’s Title Prompts a Formality Question
    Dear Abby by by Abigail Van Buren

    DEAR ABBY
    |
    APRIL 25TH, 2022
    |

    DEAR ABBY: I was wondering, even though we call our priests “Father,” can I also call him “Dad”? Why or why not? — PONDERING IN THE WEST

    DEAR PONDERING: I posed your question to Father Guy Gurath, a longtime friend in the Milwaukee archdiocese. He chuckled and told me this is a standing joke among Catholics, who have been known to refer to the rectory as the “Home for Unwed Fathers.” (!) He went on to say the formal answer to your question is no. Calling a priest “Dad” is likely to offend some people. He suggests the correct terms “Father,” “Reverend” or “Pastor” be used. Thank you, Father Guy.

  6. Hello Father, I made an appointment to see my priest to talk about some things weighing on me. I suffer from OCD and am quite scrupulous. One thing I talked to him about would have been a mortal sin, and he talked to me about it. After we talked, l asked to go to confession, and received absolution. After I said my penance and left, I questioned if I had mentioned, during my Confession, the mortal sin, I had talked to him about earlier. I felt guilty and sorry about it. Would receiving Absolution, removed that sin as well? I don’t want to keep worrying about it.

    FATHER JOE: The absolution is good.

  7. Hi Fr. Joe,
    Recently I was reading about Saint Catherine of Siena. It said that her head was in one Basilica and her body in another. I remember when Saint John Vianney’s heart was traveling around our diocese and people we getting pictures with it. Then I’ve heard that some of the Saints have had fingers removed so that fragments of bone can be make into relics.

    This is a very odd practice to me. Why is it in our Catholic tradition do we dismember our Saints in this way? Don’t we believe that the whole body must remain together in burial or cremation for the time when we rise in our glorified body? The body left behind is void of the soul at this point. Do we believe that these body parts of holy? How did this tradition start. Is it not the least bit strange? How would I explain this to a non-Catholic friend? Thank you!

    FATHER JOE: Over time societies go through cultural shifts. What seems weird today was once thought quite reasonable. Relics were placed in altars soon after the Church was legalized in the Roman empire. Relics are important as tangible elements connecting us to saints and their witness. They are powerful reminders that these men and women were real and that we (like them) can also obtain heaven.

  8. Hi, Father Joe

    I am a college student and we are assigned to ask people with different vocations and one of them is a priest. I found your site and if it’s alright with you, it would be a big help if I could ask you a few questions about your chosen vocation.

    1. What made you decide to be a priest? I read that you attended multiple seminaries. Has it always been your plan since you were a child to pursue this path?

    2. What commitments must one be ready for in pursuing a religious vocation? Are there any challenges that you experience as a priest? If so, what are they?

    3. Do you have any piece of wisdom you can give that you only got when you became a priest?

    Thank you so much for your time, Father Joe.

    FATHER JOE:

    RESPONSE 1

    The priest who baptized me placed me on the altar and prayed that I might be a priest.  My father deeply hoped I would be a priest and I can remember playing a priest as a child. The family was deeply devoted to the Catholic faith and we participated in the Mass every Sunday.  When I got older I was heavily attracted to girls and thought how nice it would be to have a spouse and a family of my own.  My high school year book has the word “physician” under my face and name. I was scheduled to study biology and pre-med at university. However, I had also applied to the seminary.  It was to my surprise that I was accepted into the program for priestly formation and so I returned my scholarships and grants.  Why did I apply? The process would take eight or more years, plenty of time for discernment. Many were sent home but by God’s providence I remained and flourished.  The sacrifices were very real to me, especially obedience (not just celibacy).  I did not fell worthy but what could be a greater calling than making possible the forgiveness of sins and making present the saving activity of Calvary and the real presence of Jesus Christ as our food for the journey?
     
    RESPONSE 2

    The priesthood demands a radical discipleship to love the Lord and to allow that love to spill over and to be expressed in caring for others. The life requires a commitment to daily prayer and service. Throughout one must be honest about motivation and practice. The academic life is also crucial and many men wash out because of intellectual demands. One must also be comfortable with “aloneness,” as priests are men set aside and frequently living by themselves. The promises or vows require genuine sacrifices. Celibacy is largely misunderstood as a negation of sexuality. Instead, the priest should be a manly man who embraces celibacy as a special and generous way of loving and relating to others. He belongs wholly to the Lord and the Church. He also pledges obedience, meaning he trusts the Lord and the teaching church more than his own pet ideas. He also goes where he is sent, accepting the divine will that is fostered by his superiors (bishops) and by the nature of his ministry. He treasures the faith and persons more than things.

    All callings have challenges but prayer or a living relationship with Jesus makes possible his fidelity. Many priests continue to do their work even though the world suspects them because of the crimes of a few. They take up their crosses and follow Jesus, knowing that theirs is a discipleship rooted in sacrifice and love. The best of priests struggle with broken hearts. Having faced the demons that secretly plague people’s lives, Good priests are wounded healers.

    RESPONSE 3

    Ours is not a Pollyanna faith. Life is hard. Not all stories in this world end happy ever after. The biggest awakening I discovered in my priesthood is how terribly sin places souls in spiritual bondage. There are far more “people of the lie” than I had imagined as a youth. There is a demonic oppression that inflicts many while avoiding the secular radar. It is the source for the devaluing of persons and for dismissing the sanctity of life. A priest is a source for mercy but he is also a sentinel for Christ to a world that will target him just as it did Jesus for speaking the truth and seeking to bring freedom from the devil’s bondage.

  9. Hi Fr. Joe,
    I’m interested in giving to charities (since I haven’t been doing this and think that I should be) and would like to know some charity recommendations from you. A big reason I ask this is because of numerous charities such as the Red Cross giving money to planned parenthood. Charities that I would particularly like to give to are those that help people in 3rd world countries.

    FATHER JOE: Catholic Charities is good. The Knights of Columbus will sometimes run special initiatives where they will match funds for overseas relief.

  10. Dear Fr.,

    I am reading a book entitled SINS OF THE TONGUE. According to my understanding of this this book, I now feel that I can have no counsel or confidant but Jesus, His Holy Mother, the Saints, and my guardian angel.

    Yet, I find myself in distress. This is because I have no means (even on a sliding scale) to pay for counseling with Catholic Charities. My life and life stressor are things I am unable to do anything about. I do frequent Mass, confession, and Eucharistic Adoration. My once contemplative prayer life….I have lost. At this point though I pray, I feel trapped, stuck, imprisoned. No, this is not simply a spiritual dark night. This has factors of my past failures, my difficult living circumstances, health, etc. I fear I will never find someone to listen to whom I can talk to for discernment, counsel and wisdom. My heart tells me that maybe I just never have surrendered enough, but my responsibilities overwhelm me. I am sharing my life with my octogenarian Mom. We try to help keep one another going, but are often both in need and sorrow over a situation of another family member in our home. That’s on top of health issues and personal weakness, failings, and ongoing physical, mental and emotional pain. I can no longer seem to manage coping with everything, but feel there is no one I am permitted to discuss with. What would you suggest?

    FATHER JOE: There are many sins of the tongue. Is it about detraction? I am unfamiliar with the book. I am having trouble following what the problem may be. What is a “life stresser?” I would think that Catholic Charities would work with you if there is a real need for counseling. Prayer to the Lord or petition and intercessory prayer has value; but, this is not the same as spiritual counseling or psychological therapy. Is there someone in your home that is causing agitation? Again, your situation is too vague or unclear for me to appropriately respond. Have you sat down with your parish priest for guidance?

  11. Hi Father. I have been having a hard time finding a answer if it’s sinful to eat out on Sundays (resturants, fast food, etc.). Same for activities in national parks or areas that require you to pay a fee. Thank you!

    https://bloggerpriest.com/2022/05/01/keeping-the-sabbath-or-sunday-observance/

  12. Hi Father, recently I been thinking of why Our Lady of Fatima tells the 3 children to pray and do sacrifices for the conversion of sinners (since many have gone to hell).

    My question is: How can our prayers and sacrifices help convert souls?

    FATHER JOE: Salvation is not merely a personal affair, but as with the nature of the Church has a corporate or communal nature. We can pray for others and those prayers may be efficacious. Similarly, we can make sacrifices and add them to the cross or oblation of Jesus. They can merit grace for ourselves and others.

  13. Hi Father-

    I made a general confession naming mortal sins I had forgotten in previous confessions. Named them in kind and, as best I could, in number.

    Subsequent to that confession, I remembered another instance and felt compelled to confess that same kind of sin in regard to that instance. I am concerned that I may have committed sacrilege in confessing the same thing twice, even though my intention was to account for another instance that was not directly remembered when I previously confessed.

    Please let me know if this is something I need to correct. I know I struggle with scrupulosity.

    FATHER JOE: It is precisely scrupulosity. The sins are forgiven. Let it go.

  14. I want to know if a demon can be holy and can go to heaven. Bendy is a cartoon demon that’s has friends names Alice Angel and Boris the Wolf. Bendy always wants to do good and to never commit sin. Even if he does he always finds away to make up for his bad actions. Bendy cares about everyone around him and he wants to make them happy. Bendy also hates Satan. So cam demon like Bendy be holy and can go to heaven.

    FATHER JOE: First, Bendy is a cartoon demon and is not real. He does not exist and thus he cannot go anywhere. Second, real demons hate God and have rebelled against divine authority. Demons are fallen angels and they do not change their minds. Thus demons cannot be holy, cannot do good and want nothing to do with heaven. While in this world, we as human beings can repent and be saved. However, if we die in mortal sin or as damned, then our status will also become permanent.

  15. We have been married for 43 years. We’ve had our issues financially and emotionally. My husband had an “affair of the heart” in 2018 with a much younger woman. Fortunately she did not respond in kind and eventually she remarried. My husband has several medical issues and lost his job in 2019 and has floundered and I believe crossed the line many times.
    Now he has signed up on several dating websites and set up profiles. He says he is “just chatting” on the sites, is that considered cheating?He also set up a new email address and password for said sites.

    My heart is broken and I am not sure what to do.

    Thank you.

    FATHER JOE: I am so sorry, but yes what you describe counts as cheating. Have you seen a counselor? Do you have a priest or minister? He needs to change his act. I will keep you in prayer.

  16. So my friend told me that he slept in his girlfriend’s bed one night, however, he says that nothing happened (no sex, no foreplay, not even kissing). I told him that I believe that is a near occasion of sin after watching Fr. Mike Schmitz’s video. But he asked me if that would be a mortal near occasion or not, which I had no answer to. Not including the scandal part (since I am the only one who knows), would that be a mortal sin since nothing even close happened? And if it is just a venial sin, is it a mortal sin to lead the girlfriend down that path (even if she’s not Christian and is okay with it?)
    Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: The question of mortal sin in such situation is a subjective matter hard to determine. It is certainly serious matter and I have to wonder if you are being told the truth. Yes, like cohabitation it constitutes a near occasion of sin. But how many guys do you know could sleep in the same bed with their girlfriend and “nothing happens”? Is there a problem with his orientation? Were there no sinful thoughts? Was sleeping the only activity? How did it affect his girlfriend? It seems to me that he is playing with fire.

  17. Hi Father,
    Is it wrong to use services that have a “new age” bend if you don’t subscribe to it yourself? I have heavy metal poisoning. It’s hard to treat and I was told that using saunas can be effective (before trying a more aggressive therapy). Unfortunately, the only sauna place within a reasonable distance describes itself with some new age terms like “balance,” “energy,” “color therapy,” “meditative,” etc. Would it be wrong to go for strictly medical purposes? Many thanks, Father.


    FATHER JOE:
    The use of a sauna is morally neutral.

  18. Hello Father Joe

    Is anal stimulation a sin?

    If one committed murder and confessed my sins, would I be free of sin? What if I were baptized, would that make me free of sin? How many times could I be baptized?


    FATHER JOE:
    Yes, aberrant sexual acts are always grievously sinful. Are you struggling with homosexuality? As for serious sins of any type, including murder, confession to a priest can forgive all sins, large and small. However, there has to be sorrow for sin. Indeed there should be a firm resolve to repent. In addition to penance, sins that hurt others often require some form of reparation. Along with a firm amendment of life, the penitent needs to be disposed to absolution. As for baptism, it can only be given once and any who have reached the age of reason should be sincere in the faith and ready to profess the faith. Baptism forgives all sin, both original and personal.

  19. I would like to ask a question the question is..
    Why am i not moved by God….am i just spiritually numb? Why do i find interest in so many different religious ideas?

    FATHER JOE: Not knowing you, I cannot say. Maybe you are more moved by “religious ideas” and less open to a personal encounter with the living God? But I do not know.

  20. Happy Easter! I have a question regarding proper treatment of the Host. I apologize for the length of this explanation but I am very worried and my situation necessitates detail.
    I attended Easter vigil Mass this evening where a friend was being received into the Faith. My friend’s wife, who is not Catholic and goes to a non-denominational Christian church, was also there and I was cognizant during Mass of trying to make her not think anything incorrect about the Faith or of Mass in general. I am concerned that she has an anti-Catholic belief and I worry about her perceiving the Mass incorrectly. I believe this played into my mistake.
    While receiving Holy Communion, I received in the hand and then placed the host in my mouth before turning to walk back to my pew. Being a crowded Mass and with people going all different ways, it was a little confusing getting back to the pew I’d been sitting in. My friend’s wife had remained sitting in the pew and saw the confusion as I and another woman tried to get back to our pew. Once I got back and was edging into the pew past my friend’s wife, I said “that was a little confusing.” As I said that, I believe something small and white popped out of my mouth about three feet in front of me. I think it may have been a portion of the Host. I looked to see if I could see any portion of Host on the ground but I couldn’t see anything but I also couldn’t clearly see where it may have fallen. I’m worried someone may have stepped on it, if it was in fact a piece of the Host. I am heartsick that I mistreated the Host, both in being distracted by worrying about perception rather than concentrating on receiving the Holy Eucharist, and by not making people move to check the floor more carefully for any small particle of the Host. I am planning on going to Confession about this. I would like your opinion: did I commit a sin in my actions this evening? Thank you. God bless you.

    FATHER JOE: https://bloggerpriest.com/2022/05/05/accidents-happen-was-that-a-flying-host/

  21. My wife and I use streaming services like Netflix, HBO max and directTV stream. If we got the password for directTV stream from the mother in-law, in order to watch it at our own house… Is that considered a mortal sin, like stealing? People tell me it’s not a big deal, but I need to know if what I’m doing is wrong or if I’m just being scrupulous. And with that being said, I let my mother use one of my streaming accounts so she can watch it at her home. Would that make me guilty of sin or an occasion of sin since I’m allowing her to view my account by password sharing? Thanks so much

    FATHER JOE: I do not know what the written regulations are for sharing with family members. I regularly share dvds but can you reasonable share a digital copy that you rent or own online? Sorry, I am not much help on this one. I suspect wholesale sharing with others might be stealing but is this also the case with close friends and relations? I really prefer physical items like cds, albums, tapes, dvds, etc.

  22. Dear Fr Joe,

    To begin, I do not have a marriage in need of an annulment decision. My current very happy 40-year marriage is the validity question I that have, however. Here is my story:

    In 1976 at the age of 18 I married a man in my local parish. It was a very bad situation and we only lived together 2 months and then divorced. Due to low self-esteem at the time the next year I became pregnant and married another man in a civil ceremony. He was abusive and the marriage ended after 5 months and then divorce. After a year or so I met a wonderful guy (my current husband) and we married a few years later in his Lutheran church (he converted to Catholicism in 1999). I was not ready to tackle an annulment of my first marriage right away, but around our 5-year anniversary I petitioned for an annulment, and it was granted by the Archdiocese Tribunal. At the time and not until recently did I hear that I should have brought up the second civil marriage to be looked at well (is that correct?). My assumption was that the first marriage was my impediment to having my marriage blessed in the Church. So in 1987, my husband and I had our marriage blessed. In 1998 my second (civil marriage) husband died. So, my question is this: Is my current 40-yearmarriage valid since I didn’t know that the second marriage could pose an issue? It was blessed while my second husband was still alive. Do we need to have it blessed again?

    Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

    FATHER JOE: https://bloggerpriest.com/2022/05/05/need-to-be-thorough-with-marriage-cases/

  23. A husband and wife were married and wanted to engage in the sexual act, but we’re not ready to have kids or they were done having kids. The husband 100% believes in NFP and is totally against contraception. However, the wife does not fully believe that contraception is intrinsically evil.

    1. Would it be sinful for the husband to engage in the sexual act if he did not use any means of contraception but his wife did? He also continually praying for his wife to stop using contraception. Would this mean they wouldn’t be able to engage in the sexual act all?

    2. Are there any legitimate reasons under the Catholic Church teaching when one is permitted to use contraception.

    Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: The Church allows certain medications to relieve pain and to control blood flow even though they might also have a contraceptive side-effect. Otherwise, no artificial contraceptives should ever be used. The Church permits NFP; however, there must be no contraceptive intent. If so, then it can become immoral as well. A wife who uses a contraceptive against the wishes of her spouse is guilty of both coercion and infidelity.

  24. My step cousin and I are in love we want to have a relationship we are both in our 60s is there anything wrong with this?

    FATHER JOE: The rules in the Church mostly have to do with the affinity between blood relatives.

  25. Hello Father,

    I have a question about mortal sin and the conditions of mortal sin. I understand that they are:

    1. Grave matter
    2. Full knowledge
    3. Deliberate Consent

    For my question I really just want to focus on full knowledge and what that means as I have heard “sufficient reflection” as well. Does that mean we just categorically know that an act is grave matter and if we do it anyway that is a sin? Or does it mean that in the particular moment of an act we know that what we are doing is sinful and we just do it anyway?

    For example, I know that from learning about sins that gossiping about someone could be grave matter, but in a particular moment that I am gossiping about something I’m not thinking in my head “oh this is sinful I should stop.” Would that be considered a mortal sin? If a few days later I realize that I did gossip about that person am I guilty of a mortal sin then?

    FATHER JOE: Is all gossiping mortal sin? That would condemn even sharing good news. Calumny is usually what we mean. If we know that something is seriously harmful to one’s reputation and we take delight in sharing it then it is obviously wrong. Full consent is as you say, you know something is terribly wrong and you freely do it anyway.

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