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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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54 Responses

  1. Hello Father , my mother scolded my daughter for trying to put up Christmas decorations and sing Christmas songs. She told my daughter that it was disrespectful to God and that she would not be able to come over if she did this. Is my mother taking it too far?

    Thanks!

    FATHER JOE: How is it disrespectful of God? Especially if there be an emphasis upon the nativity and the Christ Child– how is it ever wrong to celebrate the INCARNATION? Yes, it sounds like your mother goes too far.

  2. Good day Father

    Would you say it is wrong to have a tattoo? Even if it has special meaning to the individual. Is it wrong for a Christian to wear an Ankh?

    Thank you

    FATHER JOE: It is not a Christian symbol. There is no strict prohibition in Catholicism against tattoos; but I have always associated it with the wrong of disfiguring the human body. But such is only my personal opinion.

  3. Hello! I have an inquiry about marriage. I’m 21 and in the middle of discerning whether or not marriage is for me. Presently, it’s rather difficult for me to envision marriage considering I’ve lived a very socially isolated life that has included unsociable homeschooling and, most recently, online college classes. As I make friends and relationships with a job over the summer, I wish to closer come to a discernment considering I’ve had minimal experience with friendships and thus no boyfriend.
    My main concern is that I might not make the best parent presently since instead of raising my kids, I imagine I would focus on creating memories for myself and experiencing activities I did not experience as a child or ever (that includes sports and long-term inclusive activities). This need stems from my parents helping provide my basic needs but not my social needs when they were able. This term has become to be known as a form of childhood emotional neglect.
    Since I feel rather ashamed of not wanting kids right now, I really hope I better develop myself so I can better discern later. What are your thoughts?

    FATHER JOE:

    Give yourself time. Unless there is a man in your life whom you love and to whom you want to be a wife and with whom to be a parent, the question is rather mute. You are over-thinking matters. One can ponder marriage in general, but it is only in regard to a special person that the question becomes enfleshed and real. Study, work and worship with others. Be open to possibilities as you discern your vocation.

  4. Hi Father.
    My nephew is marrying another man in three weeks.
    It is a black tie event with about 300 people to attend in Chicago.
    His dad, (my brother), is sick about it but has asked my 4 other brothers to go to the wedding so he doesn’t have to go through the thing alone. It’s not only my brothers but most of their families – college age mostly. His wife totally supports her son stating she knew he was gay when he was 5.

    About three weeks ago, I stopped at my brother’s house to invite both he and his wife either with me or alone to a Blessed Sacrament chapel.
    Together, they both responded, “Why”. I stated that it was because od the thing that was going to take place in Chicago. My sister-in-law blew up at me … I ended up stating it was a mortal sin and a few other things before they told me to leave.

    At my brother’s request, I wrote a note of apology for causing injury to her.

    I got to thinkin’ a bit and wondered if to offer more of an olive branch, it would be right to send my nephew a monetary gift – not for the “nuptials” – maybe for another reason that just doesn’t come to mind.

    My nieces and nephews, boyfriends, and all but one of their spouses, plus myself and my mom are not engaging.

    I really don’t know what the charitable thing is to do.
    It is so irritating to hear my sister-in-laws and nieces go on about their gowns and it being this huge party … event …. I don’t want to be around any of them. I’ve spoken to a couple of them in private. They agree it’s weird.

    I just don’t know. It is breaking my mom’s heart because she was close to this one nephew.

    FATHER JOE:

    First, while Catholics might sometimes attend dubious but “natural” bonds; I know of no argument that would permit a believer to participate or to attend a same-sex union. We are called as Christian believers to witness to the truths of the faith. Both in Scripture and Tradition, homosexual acts are judged as sinful. Second, many do not accept the notion that we can love and affirm persons while disagreeing with their actions and life-decisions. The Church would judge homosexuality as a “disorientation” and not as normative or neutral. There is no sin in the disorientation; however, attempts at public marriage and activity would be deemed as wrong. Third, you are doing the right thing but you will pay a price for it. Today, perhaps more than ever before in our society, Genuine Christians are called to be loving signs of contradiction. You will be accused by so-called tolerant people of being “intolerant.” Pressure is growing from the so-called tolerant to FORCE others into an acceptance of same-sex bonds. You must be strong. Fourth, accept that there is no fixing the situation so as to feel better. This is an inherently difficult and painful situation… even as others seem to exhibit only happiness. Others will have to make their own decisions. Many are more formed by the world than by the Gospel.

    What do you do? A monetary gift would probably be okay. If he was raised a Catholic, consider a religious gift: like a higher quality rosary or a family bible or a nice statue or a piece of religious art, especially of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Such might be a beautiful gesture… unless hearts have utterly closed to faith. Let him and his friend know, that there is no ill-will and that you will continue to love and care about him. Let him know that if there is ever any trouble, you will be available to help. Ask him to please understand that you struggle in conscience about the matter of his “marriage” and not to interpret your absence as enmity against either him or his friend. Tell him that you wish them both every happiness and that you will keep them both in your prayers.

  5. Hi Father Joe,
    Recently you helped me. But I had another question.

    I was curious to know about purgatory. I have confessed and received forgiveness for a couple of grave/mortal sins. I am truly sorry for these past sins. I know God knows my heart and my situation at the time that led me to these sins. Still, it took me many years to accept his forgiveness.

    About 2 years ago, I started fully practicing my Catholic faith and returned to receiving the sacrament of reconciliation after over 18 years of being away from the sacrament. I am now trying to live with God at the center of my life and trying to fully live the life he calls me to live.

    My question is this….just because we are forgiven and in a state of grace, doesn’t necessarily mean we will go straight to heaven, correct? How do we know if we have fully atoned for our past sins? I pray a variety of prayers….the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, Examen, etc…..not all every day, but consistently. Is there something more I should be aware of as far as making amends for these grave sins? I would like to do everything possible to please God and avoid purgatory. There is nothing I want more than being united with our loving God at the end of my life. Sorry, heavy question. But I appreciate it!!
    Thank you, Lauren

    FATHER JOE: Remember that the souls of purgatory are filled with joy in knowing that heaven is now assured. The fire of God’s love purifies and perfects us as we approach the Lord. It may be that most people pass through purgation. Those who believe and walk with Christ can have assurance of their salvation, “the sure and certain hope” mentioned in the Church’s funeral rites. In addition to prayer, penance or mortification and acts of charity are various means toward earthly purification. Amends must be made toward temporal punishment. We must be weaned away from habitual sins or vices. Indeed, virtue must supplant vice.

  6. Hello,
    Is it a sin to eat Ramen chicken flavored soup during Lent? I avoid any meat flavored soup, but some people in my family eat it on Fridays during Lent. Am I obligated to tell them not to? And if they already have, should I tell them to go to Confession? I tend to be very scrupulous. Thanks for your help.

    UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS (website):

    Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs – all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.

  7. Father my daughter-in-law went into labor on January 22 and my firstborn grandson was born on January 23. His name is Vincent Anthony. Vincent is after his great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather and Anthony after his father and grandfather. I love his name because it has such meaning and am even more in love with it when finding out that it is also the feast of St Vincent. However, certain information I read says the feast day for St. Vincent is January 22 and some say January 23. Do you know what is correct and which day is it? Thank you

    FATHER JOE: Both January 22 and 23 are correct. The memorial for St. Vincent (the deacon and martyr) is traditionally celebrated on January 22. However, in the United States we celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on January 22. Thus, the current sanctoral calendar in the United States moves the memorial to January 23.

  8. Blessing of the Medal of St. Benedict, can this be done on you tube by a Catholic Priest?

    FATHER JOE:

    There are two types of blessings: invocative and constitutive. The invocative blessing is not unique to clerics. It is akin to the blessing of parents or grandparents over the children. We request a favor or help from God. Blessings before meals also fall within this category. We acknowledge the goodness that God has shown us. The constitutive blessing by a bishop, priest or deacon is of a different order. There is a change of condition. Something is forever sanctified. A person or thing is dedicated to a sacred or holy purpose. Religious receiving their veils or making vows are so blessed. Altars are dedicated and consecrated. Sacred vessels are blessed. Constitutive blessings require immediate proximity. YouTube fails in this regard. Blessings cannot be extended as a recording, but must be temporally immediate.

  9. Hello father,

    I would like to have a tattoo of a verse from bible,but first i would like to know if tattoos is a sin? Or its okay to have it.thank you in advance.

    FATHER JOE: The levitical laws of the Jews forbade such markings. While the Church has no definite prohibition against tattoos, I would urge patience and deliberation prior to having your skin permanently inked. It would be better to have Scripture imprinted upon your heart and mind than upon your flesh. The question of morality and tattoos is debated, but my personal opinion is that it might be challenged as a mutilation of the body.

  10. I thought I would never sin after I was baptized. I loved Jesus so much and was full of the Holy Spirit.

    But later on, sexual sin came in and I got tangled in it to the point of complete and utter destruction/corruption— the slippery slope of sinning unto death. I have done things I said I would never do. I obviously had no respect for myself or for others. I lost my virginity. It all started with detective magazine pictures. I led a completely immoral life, looking for love in all the wrong places. I turned away from God the Father. I am ashamed. I caused scandal. Many people know of my sins. I attempted suicide because of the guilt. Sin took me to the pit of hell. I am guilty before God and man of grievous offenses. I have lost everything. I cannot undo or atone for what I have done. Other than confession, I am not sure what to do to atone for these grave sins. My sins of commission and omission are long and they have done deplorable damage to others. I gave myself over to sin, my master.

    I lost my job as I kept calling in “sick,” pondering the weight of my sins and my wasted life. How can I ask forgiveness from those I harmed? Most are now dead or have run away, as they should have. I want to apologize to the world. I sought God with all my heart. I desired forgiveness. I was made clean, like a virgin, but the war went on. I need/want to make reparation for my offenses.

    I had my insane non-marriage annulled. I realize now that I probably should have stuck to remaining single for the rest of my life. I am now remarried (annulled, him a Catholic, me a newbie). Due to age, we were never able to consummate the marriage. I was a little girl that longed for love and a normal marriage, like most others. I wanted to be cherished. There is nothing left for me now. I am worn out.

    FATHER JOE: Do you suffer from some form of clinical depression? Left to ourselves, we cannot make satisfaction for sin. It is Jesus Christ who makes atonement through the wood of his Cross. It is Jesus as the Divine Mercy that makes forgiveness possible. He has paid the price for us.

  11. Father,

    I have been married twice before.

    My first marriage was in the Church and ended in divorce, and my ex has since passed away.

    My second marriage was not in the Church and also ended in divorce due to a mental disorder of my ex.

    I am engaged and would like to, again, marry in the Church. I believe I am free to marry in the church. My question is about my fiancé. He is not Catholic and was married before. The person, to whom he was married, had been married and divorced before she married him. Does my fiancé have to get an annulment?

    FATHER JOE: Obviously, there is no longer an issue with the first marriage. However, you may need to furnish proof that he is deceased. As for your second bond, you will need to apply for a Declaration of Nullity Due to a Lack (or Defect) from Canonical Form. A priest can help you fill out the form. Since the marriage was not witnessed by a priest or deacon, the second marriage was not a sacrament. Along with the form you will need to furnish a copy of your baptismal certificate, a copy of your marriage license and a copy of the divorce decree. That is pretty cut-and-dry. The more significant problem may be the status of the man you now want to marry. He is not Catholic. But do you know if his first wife were Catholic or not? If the marriage were in the Church, it would still be deemed as binding. If neither of them were Catholic then we would generally accept as valid the prior bond, no matter whether it took place in a church or in a courthouse. Non-Catholics are not held accountable to our laws about being married before a priest or deacon. If his first spouse were not Catholic, then he would require a formal annulment (full essay with evidence) prior to any marriage taking place within the Catholic Church. If he is not baptized there might be another course of action but that should be discussed with your local Catholic pastor.

  12. What does the book of Amos Ch 9:14-15 mean when the Lord says that He will restore the fortunes of His people Israel…and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land which He has given them? It seems this has not been fulfilled. Thank you for your time. (Catholic Scripture Study RSV Saint Benedict Press 2010)

    FATHER JOE: I suspect that the fulfillment of the prophecy is interpreted as the end of the Babylonian Exile when God’s people returned to the land of Israel. Certain Christian authorities argued that the actual fulfillment was the establishment of the Church and the new kingdom of Christ.

  13. Hello-
    I have purchased tickets to a concert that I now realize will have some inappropriate songs. Some of the songs have only a few lines that are inappropriate. I’m thinking maybe about 6 or 7 out of 14 songs are questionable. I can’t sell these tickets. Is it wrong for me to go to this concert since some of the songs aren’t really appropriate? I bought the tickets simply because I really liked this artist when he was in this band and now he went solo and I wanted to see him! Thanks for your help.

    FATHER JOE: I do not know the singer or the songs. This makes it impossible for me to respond. Is the inappropriate material systemic to his work and identity or only peripheral? You will have to judge it for yourself. Sorry.

  14. Hello!
    I have kind of a complicated question. My cousin is getting married (he is not Catholic) to a girl but I am not sure if the girl is Catholic or not. They are not getting married in a church so I assume she is not Catholic, but I could be wrong. My cousin and his fiance are living together before marriage. Now, I am not attending the wedding (because I’m not invited), but they are having an engagement party which I am invited to. Is it wrong for me to attend that party since they are living together before marriage? Would I somehow be committing scandal? Also, would it be wrong since the fiance could be Catholic, and they are not getting married in the church? (I really don’t think she is catholic, but I’m not 100% sure. Also it would be kind of weird for me to ask her because I am not really close to these people at all- I only see these cousins around the holidays if that). But on the other hand if I didn’t go the party they might be offended. Thanks for your help. If you haven’t noticed, I struggle with scrupulosity.

    FATHER JOE:

    Given that neither is a Catholic, the presumption is that their upcoming marriage will be licit and valid. Attending the engagement party is a celebration that they will be getting married. This means the scandalous period of cohabitation will be coming to an end. It seems to me that the engagement party (as long as the entertainment is moral) and the upcoming marriage are positive events that should be welcomed by friends and family. It would probably be good and right for you to attend the celebration.

    The engagement party is not a wedding and you have no knowledge of her being a Catholic. You cannot be judged for something that may not be true. I would again say that it is fine to attend the party.

  15. Cutting

    Hi Father is cutting a mortal sin? Should it be confessed every time? What prayers and scripture passages you recommend to stop someone cutting themselves.

    FATHER JOE: It is a manifestation of mental disease. If one were not sick and lacking control, then such damage to the human body would constitute serious sin.

  16. Fr. I received a text at home from a person driving a car. They wanted an answer if they could come to my house early. I thought about how texting while driving is wrong/dangerous but answered quick with. 👍😍. Was this a mortal sin on my part?? Easter next week and I want to take communion !! Thank you!

    FATHER JOE: I cannot talk to the gravity of sin. Certainly it is stupid and dangerous to text while driving. If someone were hurt or killed because of your lack of appropriate attention to the road, you would be morally culpable. In any case, it is illegal and you are obliged to follow all just laws.

  17. My boyfriend and I are in our fifties and in a committed relationship that includes intimacy. We were both previously married in the Catholic Church and in the process of seeking marriage annulment. Can we receive Communion and participate in church ministries?

    FATHER JOE: You should continue to be faithful to Mass, saying your prayers and to efforts of charity. The problems with taking Holy Communion and pursuing ministries are two-fold: (1) the danger of scandal and (2) not being spiritually disposed to benefit from the graces of the sacrament. Indeed, the moralists tell us that instead of spiritual nourishment and healing, the reception of the Eucharist while in serious sin brings judgment upon us. But in this age of accompaniment under Pope Francis, I would urge you to talk with your proper pastor on this matter. He is the one given charge of the souls under his jurisdiction. I urge you to pursue the annulments and I will keep you and your boyfriend in prayer.

  18. As a Christian should I date another Christian who has had sex?

    FATHER JOE: I responded to this question 3 days ago.

  19. Is it wrong to pray to your deceased parents?

    FATHER JOE: You should pray for them. They may be saints but they have not been declared such by the Church.

  20. Could you tell me if a physical feeling or sexual arousal is a sin in itself.

    FATHER JOE: Human passions are NOT sinful in themselves. However, the solicitation of sexual feelings can be sinful, as in looking at pornography or fantasizing about committing sin. Human sexuality has its place, both in our sense of gender identity and in courtship and marriage. It is God’s gift to us. But remember, gifts can be misdirected and corrupted. You cannot sin while dreaming and you do not have absolute control of the body or human chemistry. There is a difference between a boy who might be aroused at the sight of a pretty but modest girl and a person who undresses girls with his eyes and imagines committing sins with them. Young people might also know a level of arousal just by contemplating the joys of marriage and family life. But this is not generally sinful because such is also naturally intended by God.

  21. Dear Father,
    I am struggling with an issue that has me so bitter I have not attended mass at my home parish since June. Long story short, the Catholic school that my children had attended hired the son of a financial benefactor who is a convicted felon with a long and detailed history of abuse towards women. When we asked or parish priest about this he made every excuse why this man should be in the school building with the children, from forgiveness, to second chances. I feel like the trust I placed in the church to educate my children has been violated. We have since changed Catholic schools for my children. Is it wrong to switch parishes due to this issue?

    FATHER JOE:

    Many questions come to my mind:

    (1) How do you know the nature of the charges and that he is a convicted felon? (If the person’s name is on the online sexual offender registry, then the diocese itself should be contacted. The new policies take seriously any type of sexual abuse.)

    (2) What exactly is the person’s job? Is it finance, teaching, custodial, what?

    (3) Were you on the finance council or parish council? How would you know that his father is an important financial benefactor?

    You can switch parishes and schools, but I suspect you are going to find sinners anywhere you go… and yes, some might have gotten in trouble with the law.

  22. Dear Father, I kissed my mom’s boyfriend’s nephew more than once and he touched me inappropriately while we were kissing. I have got myself into sexual sin… can God forgive me? I also kissed my aunt’s husband’s nephew which is also not related too me. I kissed him more then once. He’s four years younger then me and he also touched me a tiny bit inappropriately. That is another sexual sin. Can he forgive me if it happened several times with different people on different occasions.

    FATHER JOE: If we have contrite hearts, God can forgive our sins, no matter how many or what they are.

  23. Hello Father,
    I think I would have problems interacting with my ‘transwoman’ professor. I think he would be very sensitive with the pronouns and honorifics I use. How do I handle this without coming off as bigoted? I really would like to get along with him for the rest of my semester.

    FATHER JOE: I would try hard not to use gender specific pronouns… for the sake of peace, civility and grades. However, in truth the society would probably argue that I am bigoted because I would reject these emerging “politically correct” gender specifications. Pray for your professor. We live in a world that justifies as rights, issues that were once largely regarded as cases of mental illness or moral shortcoming. No matter what labels are given, disorientation is disorientation.

  24. Dear father ,

    I love my mother very much and she is always trying to do and believe the right thing . I almost think to a fault where she has a hard time being in the midst of normal every day society . She is worried for all souls rightfully so . I just worry that what she is feeling is going to become overwhelming for her . Recently she was invited to join a Catholic group that prays about the end of times – it scares me that her obsession is growing . What does the Catholic Church say about this ? How can I help her find more peace in her everyday life ? Thank you so much !

    FATHER JOE: Jesus tells us, “Be not afraid.” Whatever comes, Jesus will be there with us.

  25. Dear Father…
    If a woman had resolutely decided to have an abortion and the father of the baby told her he did not believe in abortion as he was a Catholic..yet she told him she had already made complete arrangements to do so, financially and otherwise, without his involvement, and was going through with it despite knowing how he was against abortion, is he in any way responsible for the abortion if she goes through with it?

    FATHER JOE: Unless the woman is his wife, his complicity is in the sin of fornication that brought about this innocent life. Had he not copulated with this woman, there would be no baby to destroy. She bears the greater burden, but he is not untouched by the crime.

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