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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!





5,114 Responses

  1. Need to get rid of Evil

    FATHER JOE: Say an act of contrition.

  2. Father, when you confess your sins you name them but some the priest doesn’t know if they are mortal or venial eg lies .gossip .Does that matter .?What if the person confessing isn’t sure either ?

    FATHER JOE: Confessed sins are absolved regardless.

  3. Why did God create the world? I thought it was for man. And then through the fall we messed up the gift and the world once made to be a paradise for us became and has remained difficult. I have heard others say it was for the pleasure of Jesus. Any help on clarification would be appreciated.

    FATHER JOE: God created to further express his glory and to share his life with us. Mankind is unique in that we can consciously respond to God by knowing and loving him in return.

  4. My husband and I were married outside the Catholic Church, but at the time we married I had left the Catholic Church. I have come back and received an annulment for my previous marriage and he is going through the annulment process now. (He received a letter that he has 20 days to review evidence and then they will make decision. We are past 20 days and eagerly awaiting the decision). In the mean time, we have stopped being intimate. I want to wait until our marriage is valid in the Catholic Church, so I can receive communion and not be living in a perpetual state of mortal sin. I love Jesus and the Blessed Mother. Any sin I commit now is so upsetting to me and the thought of living in a state of mortal sin is completely unacceptable to me.
    My question is: my husband has said we are married. He believes we are validly married. He has asked me “we have been together thousands of times, what is the difference of a few more? “How do I answer this? I tried to say once you know something is a sin you don’t just keep doing it, but he doesn’t get that.
    How do I answer him?

    FATHER JOE: While I can appreciate his point of view, the fact remains that the Church does not recognize your marriage. Once free to marry, a validation will sanctify your union as a sacrament in the eyes of God.

  5. I am married and my husband has received a diagnosis of infertility after having cancer. I had always assumed that my call was to marriage and motherhood. I am not currently working as I had always planned to be a stay at home mom. We don’t feel (at this time) like the call to adoption has been put on our hearts. We’d be open to it, but the desire on our hearts isn’t there.
    I’ve since been trying to figure out what to do next. I’ve owned small businesses in the past and worked in the corporate world, but I am honestly just at peace with not working right now and just focusing on being a wife and loving those around me. I lend a helping hand whenever I can. I love to volunteer. I write and create art, but so far for no other purpose than it brings me joy, I’m not “putting it out there” for others to see. I’m there for my husband in our difficult marriage. And we get a lot of quality time together. He says that I introduced him to Jesus and that he wouldn’t be Catholic or know God at all if it weren’t for that.
    But because I am not “working” or “being productive” by the world’s standards, I worry sometimes that I am a waste or that I am the “branch that didn’t bear fruit”. My friends, siblings and even my parents seem so belittling when they ask me “what I’m doing with my life” or “what I do all day”. Maybe they really are curious, but it seems like they are looking down on me. I think they assume I sit around all day. I do not. God has certainly blessed me with some gifts, (creativity, writing, empathy, compassion, art, design/decorating) and I do share them with those whom I encounter. I’ve used them for my businesses in the past. But right now, we have “enough” financially and it seems like to make more money would be gluttonous. We don’t need it. And we do share what we already have.
    If I don’t “work”
    Am I enough?
    I would love to hear your advice on how to discern what my purpose might be.
    I frequent the sacraments and I pray daily. But I guess my biggest fear is that there’s some call from him that I am missing. That his will is right in front of my face and I don’t see it. That someday I will die and meet Jesus, and he will say “why didn’t you do more?! THIS (xyz…) was your purpose and you didn’t do it” even though I don’t “hear” answers when I ask for his will to be revealed in my life. I want so badly to do his will. And I pray frequently for him to put me on the right path. But I really struggle with feelings of being a waste, being not enough, not doing enough, etc. and losing my salvation because I “didn’t bear fruit”.
    Could you offer some words of wisdom?

    FATHER JOE: Caring for a home, children or no children, is still work. I cannot say what the Lord might be speaking to your heart, only you can say. When it comes to the decision to work outside the home or not, that is a decision that must be made in concert with your husband. There is nothing wrong with exploring your creativity or with working to improve the financial situation. The main thing for both you and your husband is your vocation to marriage. Peace!

  6. Why do I keep seeing the number 6?, why do I feel my life isn’t as good as it used to be. I have accepted Jesus Christ, but what is the right way to truly accept him?, I want to know Jesus but I feel like I haven’t done everything I had to do to accept Christ. The devils number 6 also keeps appearing, what does this mean?

    FATHER JOE: The devil’s number is NOT 6. Indeed there are 6 days of creation in Genesis with God resting on the seventh. I would say you are experiencing coincidence. You are reading too much into this. Do not be superstitious.

  7. I many times see and witness people ask questions that involve the choices of others and it’s not right or wrong. However, given the short overview of your daughters circumstance and perhaps emotional and mental condition, there are many factors that go into a path of recovery and dealing with what she’s going through.

    The most important thing is that YOU have reached out for guidance. Your best foot forward is forgiveness, unconditional love, patience, peaceful communication, being still for her, loving no matter what, and remain true to an unconditional relationship with your daughter.
    Seek guidance from the Lord to navigate you to a path of understanding. The emotional chemicals In the female life especially in todays world of the exposures we are all exposed too, has great impacts on all of us. We must be armed with Gods presence to walk through this life but not of this life.
    Comfort your daughter. Emotionally there is a strain, and many times will compress the mind to repeat conditions of what it’s familiar to feel no matter good or bad. The chemical gets released and become a train wreck to no discovery of healing.
    Nervous break downs basically.
    Anyhow, focus on only what you can do based on your own personal relationship with your identity and with God. And pray for her and pay attention to what Gods presence is within you to comfort her, and be still in any condition, in order to hear Gods voice through conscious and understanding the value of Free will boundaries , yet builds relationship with her of what to say what not to say when to say it etc. the love languages of our existence can help your communication with her and generate a mutual understanding and continue to keep relationships close no matter what condition comes your way.

    Peace be with you.

  8. How can a loving god allow ravaging diseases and suffering with war?
    He supposedly could stop it all if he wanted.
    If he does exist he needs to get his act together and stop all the suffering.
    Sure seems to act more like the devil.
    Show me a miracle, something that can be proven with actual fact.


    The Christian response to the question of suffering, sickness and pain is that it is due to a misuse of human freedom and is the result of sin. God permits such things within his passive will but he desires neither evil nor affliction. Indeed, when God does intervene, he does so from our side of the equation and our Lord takes upon himself the punishment due to sin by embracing the Cross. This witnesses a sublime solidarity that God has established with us— while we live in the hope of ultimate healing and life, ours is a God who chooses to share in our lot and to transform a sign of death into one of hope and redemption. The Lord’s mercy is a gift and yet many refuse it. Jesus died for us and now he asks that we might take up our crosses and to die to self for him. If we surrender ourselves as spiritually grafted to Christ then we can hope for a share in his reward. When the heavenly Father looks upon us, he will see his Son alive in us. We will share his likeness by grace. The proof of the redemptive work is the resurrection, the witness of the saints and the Church though out history, and the sense that believers have in their real relationship of friendship with the risen Christ. The early Christians and apostles experienced the risen Christ and testified to this truth by their own martyrdom. They trusted that if they died with Christ, they would live with him. It is not so likely they would have done so if it were all a lie. The Lord has given us the living Word and the sacraments so that we may also encounter and know him. We are made adopted children of the Father in baptism, given mercy in penance and nourished by the Eucharist. He sends the Holy Spirit so that we might have faith and that this faith might be maintained. The Spirit of God inspires the Scriptures and gives efficacy to the sacraments. We are not abandoned by God. We are not orphaned. No one is forgotten. Indeed, in his divinity, he offered his life for each and every one of us by name.

    As for the devil, be careful because you may inadvertently become Satan’s mouthpiece. Remember his three efforts to tempt Christ? Our Lord worked many miracles and signs but our Lord lamented that the crowd was never satisfied. We are still surrounded by miracles from God if one has eyes to see. The mere fact that we exist and are self-aware is incredible— we can know and love. Yes, we grow old and die. But we trust in a world unseen. And, as for natural miracles, the birth of a child is the greatest of these.

  9. Dear Fr. Joe,

    Is a Catholic Priest, ultimately my brother.
    As I am a lay Catholic

    Sincere Regards

    FATHER JOE: I am not sure what you are asking. Believers are brothers and sisters in Christ.

  10. Dear Father Joe,

    I am at a loss. When a friend’s children went through RCIA for some and sacrament catch up, it was noted that one of the children had been baptized and so she caught up and did first communion and confirmation. It turns out, dad did not actually go through with it due to an impending hurricane. Mom attested that it happened since dad was not in the picture but was serving in the military on a training mission and so assumed it was fine to attest to and she could just get her baptismal certificate.

    She was never baptized. What happens now? Mom has tried to scooch around like, “She feels left out from her siblings all having gotten it together but not her” and whatnot, but hasn’t confessed because she is in desperate fear her family will be treated worse than they already are. The church really is the only family and community this family has.

    She is now talking about presbyterian baptism just to make sure she receives the gift and sacrament but not “ruining their relationships”

    What do I tell her? She tells me that while God forgives, man does not, and that few things are as permanently damaging as the ire of Irish Catholic families.

    What happens to someone who doesn’t get baptized, does RCIA, receives the other sacraments based on misinformation but doesn’t have the desire to continue practicing, thus negating even a baptism by desire?

    What happens to someone who swears to incorrect information but never confesses?

    FATHER JOE: What you write is confusing. Baptism is necessary for all the other sacraments. Records are kept by churches. If one is not baptized as an adult or older child then there should be religious formation leading to baptism, first communion and confirmation. I am not sure what the problem might be. It is a fairly easy process.

  11. Dear Father Joe,

    The words in Rev 13:6 apply to the eucharist service.

    his name
    his dwelling
    those who dwell in heaven
    tabernacle ( holiest and most revered place in Church. tabernacle exists in some versions of bible)

    The entire verse refers to words spoken as offensive against GOD, his dwelling, those in heaven and tabernacle. Unless there is another interpretation, it seems GOD is not pleased with Eucharistic Sin during the Eucharist Service. Can you comment on this?


    Sincere Regards,

    FATHER JOE: Notice that the beast combines features we find in Daniel 7:2-28. The seven heads represent the emperors of the Roman Empire. The insistence upon divine titles constitutes a blasphemy before God. The devil commissions “the beast” to oppress the Church. The antichrist is historically connected to the emperor Nero. There is a folk legend that he might come back from the dead to persecute the faithful. However, I would argue that the antichrist has many successors in the history of the world who also ruthlessly attack the saints. Indeed, the emperor Domitian who follows is just as ruthless and also insists upon divine titles and honors. At the time of the prophecy the Church had little in the ways of buildings for Mass or for the reservation of the sacrament. I suppose in retrospect one might give the interpretation you offer but it remains in the area of speculation. Given Catholic tradition, how might we answer the question, “Who can compare with the beast or who can fight against it?” I suppose the Church would respond with St. Michael. The devil and his minions as creatures in no way can be compared to the LORD. St. Michael has not only angelic power but also grace which Satan and his sycophants have forfeited. The beast violates the first of all the commandments by blaspheming against God’s name. The Lord’s dwelling is indeed in the Eucharist but even more primary is his abiding presence in the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. Just as St. Paul learned on the road of his conversion, the Lord identifies himself with his people. There is a profound solidarity within the communion of the saints; thus to attack the one (earthly pilgrims) is also to target or to impugn the other (the saints in heaven). The time of martyrdom is permitted by God as the devil and the beast cannot force his hand. God’s people become a sign of contradiction, a sign that is opposed, in a world conquered by the beast. Christians are tempted to false worship and idolatry. Many of those who refuse are tortured and put to death. But those who take up their cross and follow the Lamb that was slain (Christ) will find their names written in the Book of Life. In other words, they will be rewarded.

  12. I’m glad to hear you are doing better. I didn’t know you were sick, but I’m glad you’re ok.

  13. Fr Joe,
    I had no idea you were ill. I’m glad you are feeling better. Thank you for this service. It is valuable and much appreciated.

    FATHER JOE: Eleven days in the hospital.

  14. As within my own Catholic Marriage, I try my best to help bring more understanding to our relationships of intimate love within our marriage.
    Bottom line is the bedroom is a sacred place brother. Anything permissible within the natural state of being of the human body. (No toys or anything like that).
    Having said that, the relationship will fulfill the desires. Many times I’m approached by people about this topic, and with the exposure to so much filth we have at our fingertips, the human body has now been tarnished as a shameful thing as a naked body. God made us to desire. Either as the marriage or celibacy to the church.
    One not crossing boundaries of the other.

    As for as what you can and can’t do, as long as it’s natural states of being, you both must be open to the will of choice to fulfill desire of making love.

    In my opinion and my own actions as a man, I make sure my wife is served on many levels before the sexual acts. Many of us go through seasons of life that touch on more of the “erotic” side of sexual acts, and when a couple is not in alignment to that, many times you see one going to a different partner and many times had not even had a conversation about sexual desires.
    So be mindful of patience and understanding, emotions, mental state, hormonal shifts, just many things we as men have to pay attention to before we just say or do or think what we want.
    If it bears good fruit of relationship and thrives identity, and build unity within the family from
    The fulfillment of desire, then be joyful.
    If not, I would redirect you energy and back up.

    You don’t want lust to be the forefront of the foreplay.

    Hope that helps

    Peace be with you.

  15. Dear Fr. Joe.

    Will be praying for your health.

    Sincerest Regards,

  16. Dear Father Joe
    i have asked a question in the past to an online priest and called a local priest to ask the same question but he did not want to respond,
    i was raised a catholic i was an alter boy, but as i left school church became less important to me , now I’m 60 we just buried my mum a staunch catholic, and i am hoping you can answer my question its not an easy question, and i wonder if you will answer it because its important to me .
    i am probably now agnostic i am spiritual but i have difficulty in believing in Jesus i am a historian i know he existed but so did many preachers at this time exist what makes Jesus the real thing, how can i believe in the son of god as many cultures have man gods, i don’t ask this question out of anything other than i want to believe but i have difficulty in this day an age on being sure i hope you will be the change to the rule and answer my question god bless you father

    FATHER JOE: There have been many men who thought they were a god. But they were mortal and died. And they stayed dead. There are also many Eastern religions where gods appear as men (or other things) but as in the Gnostic heresy, they only pretended to be human. The incarnation of Christ is unique on many levels. Jesus takes upon himself the sins of the world. He dies but does not remain dead. There are hundreds of witnesses of his resurrection. Believers have experienced his risen presence in their faith and the sacraments. Chesterton has suggested that if there were no Christianity we would have to invent it because there is no other credo that satisfies human longing and needs. We need to know that we are not cosmic accidents. We need to believe in something greater than ourselves and that we matter. The world often seems cold and yet the faith tells us that we are loved and that death is not the end. The Church has survived 2,000 years despite the many sinners that populate her and the challenges she has faced. All this is a testimony to the truth. Further, the truth of the message reflects back upon the messenger. The Church which is the mystical Body of Christ has become the conscience for the world when it comes to questions about the sanctity of life and the dignity of human persons. Further, when it comes to the problem of pain, there is a profound solidarity with Christ who embraces the Cross. Such is the intimacy that the Lord wants with us. All this fuels my faith and certainty that Catholicism is the house that Jesus built and that Jesus is the Son of God.

  17. Ahhhhh this sounds like many marriages unfortunately. I call this subconscious living. Not by judgment, by by paying attention to what this is. We many times can fall
    Into traps of the subconscious mind my friend.
    We wake up, we eat, we go to work, we see and talk to same people, we think about the same things, we come home, we feel same way, we do some chores maybe, we see the family, we eat supper, we shower, watch tv or devices now, we slow down, then go to bed and start whole
    Thing over again. The real inter part of that, is the subconscious mind builds neurotransmitters and will repeat whatever is familiar. Even in “goingnto church”. What are we going for? Are we going to fulfill our faith or just check it off the list as the rest of the week was? The brain can easily captivate our true creation of the conscious by building walls around the subconscious.

    We are made to CREATE though. And we must learn to be still in order to tap into the conscious.
    It’s and order just like the church is an order.
    Not by repetition of tradition, but by fulfilling all we have that the church overs.

    Same thing in our personal identity and within the marriage. We have to create.
    Create desire, create longing, create relationships, create peace, create love, create patience, create forgiveness, create create create.
    By being still, purifying our soul and allow God to dwell his spirit within us to fulfill life.

    Having said that, with what you have informed, YOU are the one. You are head of household.
    Don’t allow feelings of emotions of any member of your family tarnish your true ability.
    Sink your feet into your relationship
    First with your identity, relationship with God, the. Your wife, then kids. I’m that order.
    Don’t worry about time if the past. Even as you said 5 years of no sex. Time of the flesh is nothing. Plant your feet down now, “set your hand to the plow and don’t look back”!

    Imitate Jesus’s being with your own. Through your own personality, and who you really are, but imitate his presence.

    Lastly, respect Free Will. Although we want to correct and guide and lead, we HAVE to pay attention to the free will
    Of others by age and gender and by the order of the household. I can’t stress enough how order is so important just as the true church brother.

    Peace be with you.

    FATHER JOE: Thanks for sharing.

  18. Hello, I’d like to comment on this as a fulfilled husband of marriage of 23 years Sacramental marriage. Just a few thoughts to consider.
    First off, sex should be only a small portion of intimacy, however, the more the love in the bedroom, the more love should be outside the bedroom. We can’t just be two people living under the same roof. Intimacy must be created to set fulfilled love on fire. Relationship short falls is very common in marriage today and although the “physical/sexual” part of intimacy is the many times the first to shortfall, it’s because of the neurological feeling we get or not get from sex just as an act. However, when it’s fulfilled by true intimacy which is thriving on the full power of the whole intimacy of the relationship, that same
    “Act” of sex becomes fulfilled by true climax. Way above just feeling a climax of the physical body.

    So although we may many times want to fix a problem with feeling good, if we slow down and really
    Look at the true intimacy of what God has made us to experience and fulfill, our sex lode becomes thriving with both partners becoming aligned with what our desires are and fulfill by true intimacy of understanding each other without even saying a word. It’s above WhT our emotional desires are of wanting a feeling. WAY ABOVE.
    Hope that helps

    Peace Be with you

    FATHER JOE: Thanks for sharing.

  19. What marital act is left when an erection is impossible? No orgasm for either of us ever again!

    FATHER JOE: When such things are taken away, there can still be spousal friendship love and intimacy.

  20. Hi father, is it a sin to go through my husbands phone without him knowing if I suspect he’s cheating? I haven’t gone through his phone, but have been praying for God to reveal the truth if there’s something that needs to be revealed. I am getting impatient waiting.

    FATHER JOE: Maybe I am wrong, but I always assumed that phones among married constitute community property . . . his phone is your phone and your phone is his. Peace.

  21. Hello,
    I was wondering if you could help us with an ethical issue and difference of opinion that we appear to be having within the family and what your own personal opinion and indeed the churches view is on said matter and on how best to proceed.

    A close female relative of ours (who was raised catholic and who was married in the catholic church) has within the past 2 years split up with her husband of 10+ years and is currently having relations with another man in a separate household. She has no intentions of applying for a divorce nor of wishing to rebuild her relationship with her husband and for many within the family this is deeply unpalatable and a difficult matter to process. It is not even just a matter of catholic scripture which is the issue here. Even members of the family who are not catholic but hold traditional family and christian values find the whole situation quite uncomfortable and are not sure on how to proceed as it just feels wrong her being married to one man yet having sexual relations with another. Any help, advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Kind regards
    Gary Brown

    FATHER JOE: Such would definitely be a concern for the overall family. The Church’s position is clear. She should seek reconciliation with her husband. Sexual relations outside of marriage constitute adultery which is a grievous sin. None of us should be mean-spirited to such people, but neither can such immorality be condoned.

  22. Fr. Joe,
    I thought your response to “Regretful and Ashamed” about letting go of past sins and trusting in the mercy and forgiveness of God was beautiful and compassionate. It’s true, God wouldn’t want us to let our past failures keep us from the amazing life he has in store for us in the present and future. He does not want us torturing ourselves. I know I forget this at times, so thank you for that reminder.

  23. Hi Father,

    I have another question. How do I ask the holy spirit a question and how do I know if he is answering me? Will I see it as a word or image in my mind or as a voice outside my head? How do I know its not from the enemy? Could I ask question such as if someone I once knew has died?


    FATHER JOE: You are missing the whole point of prayer. Praise God! Thank God! Ask for what you need! Tell him you are sorry! Ask for inspiration and grace! Don’t ask the Lord 20 questions. Rad your Bible and catechism.

  24. Dear Father Joe,

    My Catholic friend of over 20 years, doesn’t believe GOD is punitive when he is not happy with the behaviour of mortals. She sees GOD as loving and merciful.

    1) Can GOD be punitive to mortals on earth?

    2) Can GOD take a broad stroke, and be punitive to the innocent when he is serving Justice to those who are the root cause?

    3) Are there some examples in the bible of GOD serving Justice to mortals on earth?

    4) Is the end times, GOD serving Justice?

    Sincere Regards

    FATHER JOE: The LORD God is all merciful. Punishment is always a manifestation of his justice. Look to the Old Testament and his people were there are many examples of divine justice in regard to infidelity to his covenant.

  25. Dear Father Joe,
    I used to think Abortion was acceptable when I was younger. I admit I was wrong. I am completely against abortion now. In fact I tried to adopt in order to prevent an abortion in my 40s.

    When I was younger I influenced another individual to think abortion was acceptable. In fact that person revealed to me she had committed an abortion after a vacation fling. Her way of life became liberal as she got older.

    I feel somewhat responsible for her pro abortion stance. I want to talk to this person to tell her abortion is wrong, but there is no reason to listen to me. She wouldn’t. We have not talked in over 20 years.

    How do I approach this with GOD? How can I ask for forgiveness when I can’t correct or try to influence this person’s behaviour to stop abortion. I feel I created a pro abortionist by my former pro abortion views.

    Sincere Regards,

    FATHER JOE: There are many things we cannot undo. We confess our sins and move on.

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