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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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ATHEIST COMMANDMENT 8

“We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.”

landscape-with-a-tree-swirl-cloud-4545-largeWhy? God is out of the picture, so why care? No matter what we do, top scientists tell us that the universe is doomed. It is hard enough to care for ourselves and find happiness. Does it really make sense to care for others and generations unborn? We already abort half a million unborn children in the U.S. each year. If the living does not matter then caring about prospective people seems arbitrary and meaningless. Cold and honest atheistic logic cries out: “Maybe it would be better to let the poor and the defective die outright? If we eliminate the world’s refuse, then there will be more for us and the Western elite. We can make the world safe for endangered species by subtracting overcrowding populations of humans. Do we have any more right to the earth than the animals? Show me scientifically that we have an obligation to others and the future! Prove it or give it up. Our personal world might be better off if there were a few less mouths to feed.”

Anyway, we are all such hypocrites. Look at all the stuff we buy these days that comes from slave labor and where people are oppressed. If it is cheaper, it is better… that is today’s mantra. We take advantage of the poor and the worker. The host of Mythbusters can make up this commandment… but even his television show bobble heads and DVDs are manufactured in Chinese sweatshops. We can thus avoid paying local workers at all and pay others a non-livable wage. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer! Yeah, we really care about others… NOT!

As a Christian, I believe that every person has an incommensurate worth. All human life is sacred and we are called to be good stewards of creation. I believe that there is something immortal and lasting about every person conceived into this world. We are all God’s children and God loves you no more or less than he does me. I believe there is an order and a divine plan. It is important to play our part as instruments of divine providence.

ATHEIST COMMANDMENT 4

“Every person has the right to control over their body.”

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This modern commandment is directly connected to the issue of legalized abortion. Atheists deny the existence of a soul. Thus it is easy for many of them to discount the embryonic as human with rights. Despite a human developmental trajectory, the unborn (at least at early stages) is judged as no more than tissue or at most, only a human being “in potency.” This commandment would have more credibility if there were respect for the body and/or the separate but dependent integrity of the unborn child. Frequently language games will be employed to avoid the truth about the child’s humanity in the womb. When it comes to issues like partial birth infanticide an irrationality takes hold. It is argued that it would be cruel to adopt a child out to strangers; and yet, with adoption they would become a loving family. The blindness of selfishness is heinous. If there be a physical defect, a strained comeback might point to a dubious or difficult quality of life. Frequently there is an appeal to overall viability although medical science is saving the lives of increasing premature babies. Certain ethicists have noted that young children (up to maybe three years of age) are not really viable without constant adult intervention. They just do not know how to care for themselves. That is why a few rogues are proposing “post-birth abortion.” Beyond the logical inconsistencies, the pro-abortion position gives rights to some and strips them entirely from other persons. The definition of a baby becomes shallow: “it is only a baby if you want it.”

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Life issues are often interconnected. A consequence of this maxim would also be assisted suicide. If the person has absolute dominion over the body then he or she can terminate the life of that body whenever he or she deems to do so. With God extracted from the equation, he no longer has sovereignty and out goes the fifth commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” Turning to lesser matters, it would also permit all sorts of bizarre tattoos and piercings. Indeed, one could turn his or her body into a for-profit advertising banner if so desired. This is really a monstrous commandment and points out that separated from God; we really do not know how to be good. Since we are our bodies, this permissive commandment would also open the door to all sorts of distortions in sexual behavior, way beyond the evils of artificial contraception and fornication. The Christian would argue that personal control of the body is not absolute. We must respect that all life belongs to God and the plan of nature by which we are made. We must also respect others, including the little people who start out in the womb.

A Courageous or Timid Church?

Msgr. Pope touches a cord on the Archdiocesan Blog that is very dear to my heart, the fact that a “timid” Church is in contradiction to its very nature as a sign of contradiction in the world.

Msgr. Pope speaks of the new secularized faith as “Sad, pathetic, wrong, and cowardly—hardly the revolutionary faith that got Paul arrested. . . . We have got to rediscover how revolutionary our Catholic faith truly is to this world gone mad. And as we proclaim healing and an allegiance to something other than this world, we will become increasingly obnoxious to the world around us. . . . No tame, domesticated Christianity will threaten or change this world. When Paul preached, the people rioted. Modern preaching too often incites only yawns and indifference.”

St. Paul and the other apostles did not qualify the Gospel and so they faced arrest, torture and martyrdom. The early Church was persecuted precisely because the truths of Christ allowed for no compromise or tolerance for participation in false worship. Even a pinch of incense to the Roman gods or to the so-called divine emperor was too much. Today’s world misconstrues the incident of the Roman coin and the likeness of the emperor. When Jesus said give to God what belongs to God and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, he was avoiding a trick to have him either arrested by the authorities or to be rejected by the crowds as a traitor. Ours is a jealous God. What belongs to him? The answer is everything, even Caesar! Many in contemporary society play games with their Christianity. They create a false image of Christ to follow, one that would have fit in nicely with the pantheon of ancient pagan deities. Indeed, the battle over religious liberty is a symptom of this— as if believers could restrict their faith and values to the inside walls of churches and during Mass. And yet, the dismissal at the end of Mass echoes our commission to take the Good News out into the world. The ideal is not co-existence with the world or evil but rather to plant the seeds for repentance and conversion. Today many Catholics are silent upon important issues. A candidate for the office of governor in Maryland is a “practicing Catholic” and yet he is on the record as pro-abortion, yes even for allowing partial-birth infanticide. How can we reconcile this with the faith? The issues continue to mount: no fault divorce and remarriage, same-sex marriages, lack of support for parochial schools, contraception giveaways in public schools, free contraception, abortion on demand and growing sympathies for euthanasia. Sins are counted as rights and Catholics and their Church are expected to fall in line. Wimpish silence satisfied in the past, and that was bad enough, but today complicity is demanded.

St. Paul would exorcize the demonic, not try to accommodate it. Too often we hear from churchmen that we do not want to alienate politicians on “other issues” that are important to us, like the status of immigrants, or just employment, or the dismissal of capital punishment, or tax breaks for churches, etc. We cower to the power of the secular world when we should bring the authority of Christ to bear on the challenges of our day.

Christianity was persecuted by the Roman Empire precisely because it was viewed as intolerant. Today, much of the faith has lost its teeth. The enablers for the murder of children are invited without sanction to take Holy Communion. Even high level shepherds hypothesize ways to get around or to turn a blind eye to homosexuality, adultery and fornication. We are urged to find a new language, removed from that used in Scripture, so that no one might get their feelings hurt. The fact that these activities might cost people the kingdom and their share in everlasting life does not seem to measure up anymore. Who are we to judge? We are the people given the gift of the Holy Spirit and who follow the Light of the World, dispelling the darkness. What is saving faith? It is courageous obedience to God, qualified by charity. That’s who we are and what we are about!

Racism, Semen & the Designer Child

The article entitled “White woman sues sperm bank after she mistakenly gets black donor’s sperm,” by Lindsey Bever ran on October 2, 2014 in THE WASHINGTON POST about a white lesbian couple litigating against the sperm bank that gave them semen from a black donor when they had specifically asked for white only.

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Jennifer is all upset about the mix-up. She lives in a white Ohio neighborhood and says that she does not want her daughter to face the discrimination she has suffered. The little girl conceived is now two years old. She is suing the sperm bank for “wrongful birth and breach of warranty and economic damage.” Her money was refunded and she was given an apology, but this is not enough for her.

She seems blind to her own initial prejudice and how the whole process reduced a child to property or a commodity. Every child conceived (even if in sin) is a unique individual. Different semen would have meant that a different child would have entered their lives. Instead of prizing the child they have been given, the couple are lamenting the loss of a child they might have had. This is petty and sickening.

Would they look this little black (or bi-racial) girl in the eyes and tell her that they would rather trade her in for a straight haired, blue-eyed white child? Probably not, but in a fashion that is what the lawsuit is doing as they project their anger and disappointment upon the sperm bank. Such places should not exist so I would shed no tears if they should have to close. But I have no sympathy for this couple either. My sadness is for this child.

Instead of rejoicing in the miracle of her child, the article says the mother wept about the mistake. “All of the thought, care and planning that she and Amanda had undertaken to control their baby’s parentage had been rendered meaningless. In an instant, Jennifer’s excitement and anticipation of her pregnancy was replaced with anger, disappointment and fear.”

We are told that not all her friends and families are “racially sensitive.” In other words, her circle is composed of racial bigots. It sounds to me that this couple was not “sensitive” either. They are saying that they wish they could do it over again. Where is the gratitude in this? Would they trade her in for a white child? There is an old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” One is known by his or her friends. The problem is not the child, but the people with whom the couple associates.

The fact remains that same-sex couples cannot naturally have children. They must conceive either through heterosexual fornication or immoral medical intervention. There is no actual sharing of DNA even if they find donors of the same race. In this vein, there is a fiction or personal deception that taints this situation. The silliness of the upset is amplified when the mother talks about problems in finding hair care for an “African American girl.” Did she imagine brushing the blond hair of her pasty white girl with curls? Now she wants to hold others accountable when in my estimation they are all guilty, that is everyone but the child.

This is just the beginnings of a moral issue that will grow worse in the years to come, especially with increased DNA manipulation. The issue is human selfishness and the desire for designer children. Would she have aborted the child had it been a boy? Were boy fetuses aborted?

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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Marriage Still Matters

wedding_16Numbness in conscience inflicts many of the members of our modern society. It is as if people have lost the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong. The values of traditional faith and Scripture are not taken into consideration as credible when moral decisions are made. Further, there is a rupture between our nature and the laws that can be discerned by reason. This leads to a profound disconnect from objective reality. Instead, the notion that man is the measure of all things is extended to a fanciful absurdity. The unborn child in the womb is denied the personhood that comes along with his very presence. The purpose of the marital act is reduced to recreation with the reproductive ends subtracted by contraception. The bodies of men and women are complementary and yet same-sex attraction is made into a legal right even though it is a fiction and not fact. The aberration is counted as normal and any emphasis upon genuine normalcy is discounted as intolerance. The institution of marriage is bombarded by all sorts of threats: divorce, adultery, fornication, cohabitation, etc. Any stigma or embarrassment for having children outside of wedlock is measured as insensitive and mean-spirited. Marriage is regarded as a mere piece of paper, even by Catholics who were taught that it was a sacrament to give grace.

What a mess with which we are living!

Msgr. Pope rightly laments on his blog that many regard “living” in sin as “no big deal.” The misnomer here is that one does not really LIVE in sin; instead, one begins to DIE in sin. Sin by its very definition brings forth suffering and death. It alienates us from the one who created us and from the life present in the soul.

Pastors are challenged when they preach about sin and punishment. They are challenged for stressing judgment when our Lord was apparently all about mercy and love. However, the dispensation of Christ is neither magic nor capricious. You have to love in return. You have to want to be forgiven. Too many live as if there will be no judgment and no hell. While the catechism teaches about the universal call to salvation, this is not the heresy of universalism. God’s gifts can be ignored or rejected. Using a medical analogy, a doctor might be able to treat you but you must be willing to seek him out. The divine physician would heal our souls, but millions prefer the spiritual sickness that comes with hedonism, greed or a spiritual ennui.

I like straight talk and yet such is almost always found offensive by someone. People these days do not like to be told their business. There is an arrogance to sin today that has smothered the guilt that once brought contrition and repentance. Do you want proof? Tell a couple who are having sex outside of marriage that unless they repent they will go to hell. See how they respond. “What we do is none of your business! Who are you to talk to us that way? You can go to hell, yourself! Who are you to judge? We love each other, what is so wrong with that? Who is being hurt by what we do?” The fact that it violates God’s Word is given little or no measure in their evaluation. What they are really saying is this: “No one can tell us what to do, not you and NOT God!”

Msgr. Pope gives us a list of Scriptures that we would do well to review.  If we believe that the Bible is God’s Word, then we should take to heart the saving message:

  • Matthew 5:27-30; 15:19-20
  • Mark 7:21
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 15-20
  • Galatians 5:16-21
  • Ephesians 5:3-7
  • Colossians 3:5-6
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • 1 Timothy 1:8-11
  • Hebrews 13:4
  • Revelation 21:5-8; 22:14-16

We Awaken to the Problem

The defection from faith is an important issue and why for the past two years I invited a young FOCUS missionary named Katie to give her appeal in the parish. Along with other young adults, FOCUS ministers to our youth on college campuses. The statistics are frightful. Some 80% of our youth fall way while at college. These young adults put their careers and much about their personal lives on hold so that they might make a difference for others.

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I think in truth the issues began long before our teens headed off for college or entered the work force. Minimally Catholic kids suddenly find that they do not have the watchful eyes of parents upon them. Quickly, they are influenced by peers who have no quarter in their lives for organized religion or traditional values. Liberal faculties deride Christianity and mock the sacraments as the domain of ignorance. Professor Paul Zachary Myers is the most blatant on this list, urging college students to steal consecrated hosts so that he can document on the Internet his desecration of the Eucharist. This is not representative of a civil debate about belief; rather, it is an emotional and militant attack upon people of faith.

College campuses will sometimes have Newman Centers and/or Catholic Student Associations. But many of the Catholic students fail to get involved. The attendance of Catholic students at Mass, even at Catholic schools is often pathetic. The best numbers I have heard are at places like St. Francis in Steubenville, Ohio and Ave Maria in Florida. I know one school where the chaplain schedules Masses at midnight so that students will have less competition for their time. One is more likely to see lewd photos on Facebook than posts about religious epiphanies and retreats or time before the Blessed Sacrament. Of course, many parents might not know because they are quickly blocked from seeing what is actually going on.

I am not saying that efforts to evangelize in college are in vain. Rather, I am suggesting that more could have been done (or done differently) earlier to minimize the damage later on. Catholic schools could also be more proactive with single-sex dorms, expectations about participation at Mass, and an uncompromised message about fidelity to the faith and the living out of the commandments. However, we have a problem— when honors are granted to those who seek to strip the Church of her religious liberty— when organizations that promote a homosexual agenda and lifestyle are given funds and recognition— when health service referrals include artificial contraception and abortions— and when crucifixes are removed from classroom walls so as not to offend— then we have become our own worst enemy.

Beginning & End of Life Intervention

QUESTION (Deirdre):

I would like to preface my comments by saying that I was raised Catholic. I was baptized, received communion and was confirmed. I am confused on the Church’s stance on fertility treatments to conceive a child. Why is it not okay to use fertility treatments to “artificially” create life but it is strictly enforced to use “modern medicine” and any means necessary to artificially pro-long life, i.e. feeding tubes, ventilators etc.?

RESPONSE:

First, certain fertility treatments are permitted by the Church. This would include medications to induce ovulation, increase sperm count, etc. Second, it is judged wrong to manipulate the elements of life through artificial insemination or in vitro technologies to create new human persons. The reasoning for the prohibition has to do with the meaning of the marital act and the dignity of human persons. The child should never be reduced to a commodity. Further, the Church views every fertilized embryo as a human person with an immortal soul. The freezing of human beings and/or the mass destruction of embryos that are part of this process is judged as the killing of persons.

You make the false presumption that the Church would agree without qualification about technologies that keep people alive. Pope Paul VI established that we are not morally obliged to use every extraordinary means to prolong human life. What the Church would insist on is that we provide necessary hydration and nutrition. Also, we should not employ “active” euthanasia as in suffocating someone with a pillow or injecting them with a deadly poison. Feeding tubes should not be judged as medicinal; however, the stomach can reach a point where because of swelling and infection, such processes of feeding will no longer work. A person may also suffer great discomfort and pain, making such a procedure difficult or impossible to employ. Painkillers like morphine might also inadvertently speed up death, but are permissible as long as out immediate intent is to relieve suffering or pain. The rule about ventilators is also not absolute, especially if there has been liquefaction of the brain. Although, I must say, there is a serious debate among ethicists as to what signifies true death of the human being. The late Pope John Paul II resisted extraordinary means at the end of his life. The Church has no issue with a terminally ill person who wants to die at home or in their own bed. While the Church has important ethical principles, each case varies from another and needs specific attention.

Marriage & Willingness for Children

QUESTION (Deirdre):

I was diagnosed as bi-polar when I was 15 years old. I have been on medication for the last 16 years to control my disease. I have always wanted children; however, as I mature, I have realized that being on medication while pregnant is not wise. Neither would I want to bring a child into a situation that could be potentially unstable. So recently, I have been thinking about whether or not I should indeed have a child. If this is the course of action I choose to take, is it accurate that in the eyes of the Church I should never be allowed to get married, to share my life with someone, or enjoy the marital bed all because I chose not to have children?

RESPONSE:

I know bi-polar people who have children and do quite well. You are correct that there are certain medications that can make pregnancy problematical. I have seen this especially with paranoid schizophrenics. As for your question, unless you are married then it is entirely academic as you cannot morally have children as a single person. The Church views marriage as having two purposes: the propagation of the human race and the fidelity of the spouses. Older couples might be infertile but they can still get married. The marital act must still be that type of act that generates new human life even if such an eventuality is unlikely or impossible. Younger couples must want to have children in order to get married in the Church. The priest will ask this question as part of the prenuptial investigation. Rejecting the possibility makes marriage impossible. Indeed, if there is deceit about this, it is grounds for the annulment of a bond. Depending how long you wait to get married, the issue may become academic as the clock is always ticking on female fertility. You can be happy unmarried and there are joys other than those of the marriage bed.

Holy Family Hosted Student Marchers for Life

About a hundred students stayed with us from Purdue, Butler and Marian Universities.

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We had a pro-life Mass on Wednesday morning before the March. The students from Marian were largely in attendance.

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Here are some of the Purdue and Butler students posing before our Cemetery of the Innocents.

God bless these pro-life champions. They braved freezing cold and snow to make a difference.