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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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A Priest’s Personal Blog

Recently a bigot and dissenter argued that priests like me had no right to share our views.  He would silence our voices on blogs, Facebook, twitter… what have you.  The critic sought to use our conservatism and orthodoxy against us.  He argued that unless a priest’s blog was promoted on the diocesan website or endorsed by the bishop, then he had no right to communicate on the Internet.  The only exception he would allow was if the priest denied his priesthood and title.  That, of course, is ridiculous.  That would force us to reject our presbyteral identity.

It is enough to say that this is a PERSONAL Blog that is neither directly associated with nor endorsed by my parish or the Archdiocese. However, it is a fulfillment of a papal command from Pope Benedict XVI to priests on January 24, 2010:

The spread of multimedia communications and its rich ‘menu of options’ might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different ‘voices’ provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.

LINK:  Does a parish priest have time to blog?

LINK:  List of Clergy Blogs

CANON LAW

Can. 831 §1. Except for a just and reasonable cause, the Christian faithful are not to write anything for newspapers, magazines, or periodicals which are accustomed to attack openly the Catholic religion or good morals; clerics and members of religious institutes, however, are to do so only with the permission of the local ordinary.

§2. It is for the conference of bishops to establish norms concerning the requirements for clerics and members of religious institutes to take part on radio or television in dealing with questions of Catholic doctrine or morals.

General guidelines vary from one diocese to the next. For instance, in the Archdiocese of Washington a priest is required to get permission before giving public interviews on television or radio.  The new social media is a separate matter and the Church has opted for freedom so that the voice of the Gospel will be heard and not overwhelmed.  Every priest in good standing is an apostle and evangelizer.  This electronic forum is one of his instruments in the NEW EVANGELIZATION.

Just as parish bulletins with weekly messages are posted online by pastors, many priests blog and use social networking to communicate with family, friends, parishioners and others. There was some speculation a few years ago that new legislation would shut down priest-bloggers, particularly because a few proved an embarrassment. However, Pope Benedict XVI made his statement to ensure the continued clerical (orthodox) voice in the new public forum.

I am proud to say that I was one of the first priests in the nation on the World Wide Web. I established a parish web page in the mid-1990s. While blogging sites did not exist, I ran several informative personal websites (mostly defunct now) and the old message boards. Years later when the Archdiocese decided to ramp up its web presence and to add blogs, a priest friend called me to let me know first. Little did I know that my pattern of blogging, if not my poor or silly messages, would become a model for others. Today I still blog, but not every day. I am also increasing restrained by charity and an abiding respect for others (even when I disagree with them). In a sense I have stepped back for clerics and others who are far better than I am at communicating the things that matter.

Who is my favorite priest blogger in the Archdiocese? I am divided but can list these as the ones I regularly read and have the most intense respect:

Father Scott Hurd

Father Kevin Cusick

Msgr. Charles Pope

Donald Cardinal Wuerl

More Snow at Holy Family in Mitchellville, MD

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Fuzzy Geezus and his pals Green Thang, Fat One-Eyed Thang and Skinny One-Eyed Thang hang out and watch the falling snow at Holy Family Parish.

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BBC Radio – Dangerous Visions Series

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Dramas that explore contemporary takes on future dystopias. You will be disturbed, as you see the present reflected in the glass of an uneasy future.

  • DV 01 The Keepers
  • DV 02 Dark Minds
  • DV 03 Message of Unknown Purpose
  • DV 04 The Martian Chronicles
  • DV 05 The Two Georges
  • DV 06 The Zone 1
  • DV 07 The Zone 2
  • DV 08 Iz
  • DV 09 The Bee Maker
  • DV 10 Do Androids Dream Electric Sleep? 1
  • DV 11 Do Androids Dream Electric Sleep? 2
  • DV 12 The Problem with Talitha
  • DV 13 The Illustrated Man
  • DV 14 Concrete Island
  • DV 15 Jane Rogers – The Testament of Jessie Lamb Omnibus
  • DV 16 Death Duty
  • DV 17 London Bridge
  • DV 18 Invasion
  • DV 19 Billions
  • DV 20 Face to Face with JG Ballard
  • DV 21 The Drowned World
  • DV 22 The Sleeper

I listened to the whole series. Wish we still had radio drama in the U.S.

Counseling for Catholic Marriages

Catholics with marital problems should have readily available avenues within the Church for professional counseling in the hopes of salvaging their marriages.

More can be done to prepare priests for this kind of work but I think there is also a need for full-time professionals with training in psychology and intervention-counseling. These counselors should be well-versed with the Catholic faith. If they are not on the same page with us about human sexuality and the value of marriage, then they can escalate a problem instead of being part of the solution.

  • When red lights appear in the Pre-Cana preparation, referrals can be made before marriages in the Church.
  • When problems develop within marriages, referrals can be made to facilitate healing or reconciliation.
  • When questions arise about sexual identity and remaining in good standing with the Church, referrals might be made to assist people in coping and to counteract bias from non-Catholic sources.

While there are good independent counselors who charge fees, I would also recommend that there be professionals hired directly by the Church. Their salaries might be shared between parishes as within deaneries. They would work closely with pastors, while preserving confidentiality, to either prevent bad marriages or to salvage troubled ones. Such staffing should be viewed as serious as religious education directors, office managers and bookkeepers. In any case, a public list of counselors vetted by the Archdiocese should be readily available to pastors and the people they serve.

Catholic marriage counseling is necessarily different from that which is offered by those who do not share our understanding of marriage or our views about human sexuality. These counselors need to discern how a troubled Catholic marriage might be fixed. The truths of faith are integrated into our appreciation of psychology. The goal is to have couples living a daily vocation where there is both joy and sacrificial love. Marriage is viewed as a covenant and as a permanent union. Too many quickly jump to divorce as the answer. Catholics should see that as an option generally taken off the table.

Instead of urging an immediate divorce, a separation might be promoted so as to further the conversation or to prevent verbal and/or physical abuse. If a marriage has terminal problems and cannot be salvaged, then the counselor might suggest an annulment. That is where the pastor and/or the officials on a Church Tribunal would enter the picture. However, this is inherently always a sad or tragic situation. It means that avenues to save a marriage have failed.

Right now we have noble efforts like Retrouvaille but there is a pressing need for something more clinical.

Love the Knights of Columbus!

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Here am I with the Maryland State Treasurer (Dale Trott) and the State Deputy for the Knights of Columbus (Stephen Adamczyk) at the Bishop McNamara Chapter of Grand Knights.

40 Days for Life

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From September 24 through November 2, you’re invited to join other Christians for 40 Days for Life – 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.

You’re also invited to stand and peacefully pray during a 40-day vigil in the public right-of-way outside Metropolitan Family Planning, 5915 Greenbelt Road, College Park, MD.

If you’d like more information – and especially if you’d like to volunteer to pray, please contact: Tom Trunk at 240-593-6982 or 40daysforlifeMD@gmail.com.

Visit the website at http://www.40daysforlife.com/collegepark.

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Father Joseph Jenkins, our Council Chaplain and the Pastor of Holy Family Parish was scheduled to lead the Rosary in front of the Greenbelt Abortion Clinic on the first day of the prayer vigils, Wednesday, September 24 at 1:00 PM. He was accompanied by Jim Murry, PGK, PFN. He was joined by other Council Knights, Jimmy Cardano, DGK and Roger Doucet, Fraternal Benefits Advisor. Various others had come from other councils and parishes. People came and left, although numbers swelled into the 20’s at one point. A young woman came over and told us that the happiest day of her life was when she had an abortion and that she did not regret it. We did not debate her but simply let her know that we were praying for the unborn children, including hers, and for the conversion of the hearts and minds of mothers and fathers to the Gospel of Life. It was clear to see that she came over to incite some negative action. Instead, we extended love and prayers. After the Rosary was offered, Father Jenkins offered an extemporaneous prayer, invoking the grace and aid of the Holy Spirit upon the prayer champions for life and for this woman in particular. That she might come to repentance and instead of dispairing when her eyes are opened, that she might find hope in Christ’s mercy. A few people beeped their car horns at us. In the past we have had people shout and gesture obscenities. Our reaction is always non-violence. We hate no one and do not want to hurt anyone.

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Every year when we do this prayer of protest there are women who will also tell us that we made them rethink what they were doing and turn around. Babies are saved. Father Jenkins also made mention of SPIRITUAL ADOPTION and how our prayers are an expression that all children are miracles and wanted. We are Christians proclaiming the Gospel of Life. There is no such thing as a pro-abortion Christianity. We witness to life. The Council Knights and their families were urged to come throughout the month and to offer their prayers and rosaries, both outside the clinic and wherever else they find themselves. We should pray unceasingly against the scourge in our society. Father Jenkins was very defiant and exclaimed, “When the child in the womb is not safe, none of us are safe!”

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Installation of the Bishop Walsh Chapter of the K of C

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