The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Jay Leno, bigot

This item crossed over the wire this afternoon:

On last night’s “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno said the following: “Oh, and a Catholic priest in Connecticut has been charged with stealing $1.3 million in church money and using the money for male escorts. Of course, his parish is very upset about this–except the altar boys. They’re going, huh, dodged a bullet on that one. Yeah, he spent $1.3 million on male escorts and, of course, the other priests were very confused. They said: Why buy the escort when the altar boys are free?”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented as follows:

Jay Leno called many years ago to apologize for insulting Catholics. I accepted his apology and told him why he crossed the line. At that time, he was making fun of the Eucharist. He got the point, and the conversation ended amicably. But now I know the man is insincere.

For the past several years, wayward priests have been fodder for his material; miscreant rabbis and imams never seem to get mentioned. Occasionally, he sticks to the culprit, which is not necessarily objectionable, but most of the time he indicts all priests. He did that last night in a most vicious way.

The priest he was talking about was a homosexual; so are most of the abusing priests. Does Jay Leno have the guts to tell jokes about gay priests? Not that he should, but he doesn’t. So he takes the cheap way out and sticks it to over 40,000 priests.

Jay Leno’s jokes painting all priests as child abusers is not comedy. It is bigotry. He has crossed the line too many times.

Contact the executive producer, Debbie Vickers:

Comments read comments(27)
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Eugene Pagano

posted July 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm

The spiel is cruel and unjust — especially in view of Leno’s own predatory sexual misconduct but the past clericalist attitudes protecting pedophiles practically guaranteed this reaction once the scandal emerged.
And what about the administrative failures that allowed the embezzlement to go on for years?

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posted July 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm

“The priest he was talking about was a homosexual; so are most of the abusing priests.”
It seems as if Mr. Donohus has completely ignored the findings of the USCCB study that claimed no association exists between pedophilia and homosexuality. Showing your own bigotry doesn’t help to combat the bigotry of others.

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Gerard Nadal

posted July 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Donohue has a point about ignoring Rabbis and Imams. However, the derivative benefit of the exclusive focus on the Catholic Clergy is that our children are far safer today because of bigots like Leno who make money and laughs at the expense of Catholic child victims.
I’m glad to see public school parents, 9% of whose children will be victims of sex abuse according to the US Dept. of Education, throwing their children under the bus by ignoring the magnitude of THEIR scandal so my kids can live more safely. Ditto for the Protestants, Jews, and Muslims. What can one say in response to such selflessness, but “Thank You!”?

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Jerald Franklin Archer

posted July 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm

I have battled the anti-Catholic establishment for many, many years. With the barrage of words that I can use to defend the faith, often I am shot down with one sobering point from my opponents that supposedly justify (in their own philosophy)their actions: the right of the freedom of speech or expression.
Freedom of speech or expression seems not to entail common respect today, which is an abuse of the freedom itself. As we fancifully believe ourselves advanced due to the great technology we have today, the ideas we express are sometimes very barbaric in nature. Ironically, when it comes to freedom of expression or speech, it seems that we cut our own throats with the same tool we are using in good faith. It seems, in my experience in these matters, that it rarely opens a course of intelligent dialogue, but always takes on the burden of constant defense of one’s faith.
Now, this is a rather philosophical argument, but where should the line be drawn? Logically, one should start at the source as to why we have freedom of speech and expression, being the laws themselves. What steps in legislation are being taken to change anti-Catholic rhetoric? I am not seeing results in that area…not yet. As some view them as only “words”, those who are not as educated as to what the Church really is or does, use the remarks as a basis of their argument, which in turn gives more fuel to the fire of anti-Catholic sentiments. The circle becomes a vicious one that seems to have no end. That is until a law is made and people cry that their freedom of speech is being denied. I cannot fathom where freedom to expression should be categorized with disrespect. Some would say it is really just an impossible situation, but one that allows at least some level of legal bigotry and prejudices to happen, since racial and anti-semitic remarks are off limits to the well-versed bigot today. It is hate, pure and simple. The media believes it is good for the ratings, even with an empty apology involved. The logic is twisted as much as the mind who would conceive it to be useful in any form whatsoever.
It often seems like a lost battle, but if history proves anything it is that people who suffered oppression had to struggle to find acceptance and understanding. The laws were changed, and few people would think of making derogatory statements of racial or anti-Semitic nature without fear of some penalty being imposed upon them. Using the sad cases that the Church has been plagued with recently, just to get a laugh out of people is a disturbing sign of the state of the society in which we live.
Catholics (and anyone who favors respect for and from others) must be patient and take the stripes for the sake of freedom of speech which is being exercised in this and work with their lawmakers to get things done to better define what freedom of speech really means and where it’s socially respectful and moral limits lie. People should say what they want, but use a little sense in the process. The real freedom of speech lies in the use of it to help and edify others, not for hate and the promotion of ignorance. And never for a laugh.

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posted July 8, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Uh – he is a comedian. They say stuff like this. He offends everyone equally – more equally if they try to take high and puffy tones. By the way – the guy did both these things. Leno simply amplified and exaggerated what is so. That is usually the source of the best comedy. Are you more upset about Leno’s comments or about what the priest did? Priorities!

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Jerald Franklin Archer

posted July 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I should think that respect would be of the highest priority. Just because the man is a paid clown does not justify that he be disrespectful. The facts are as they are, I will admit, but what reason would there be to use such a serious situation for laughs. I can think of many historical situations that we do not dare attempt to lampoon at today.

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posted July 9, 2010 at 12:01 am

I have to agree with jestrfyl, where is the shame and outrage at what the priest did? after all the church has done to get back some face, he is able to steal over a million dollars and spends it on escorts and vacations and we are upset because a comedian makes fun of it? something is very wrong for this to happen, if you dont want people to make jokes then dont give them much amunition.

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Jerald Franklin Archer

posted July 9, 2010 at 12:10 am

Don’t get me wrong here, I am just as outraged as anyone else about the priests and their misdeeds. It seems that the argument you giving is always the one I get. There is no amount of words that will help me here. Finding comedy in tragedy is rather base, but that is my opinion. I realize it is done all the time and we often forget when we are laughing of the real situations the people of that time were really facing.
My comment basically deals with the values of being respectful, an often misunderstood and foreign word today. It is one of the principal reasons for all of ours problems.
I don’t want too much more read into what should be a simple understanding of that. I am quite aware of the Church’s situation in the matters, and that is being dealt with now.

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posted July 9, 2010 at 12:19 am

As unfair is the comment from Leno, the comment from Donohue “Most of the abusers are homosexual” – is unfortunate and unhelpful:

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Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

posted July 9, 2010 at 1:20 am

Here’s my response:
Dear Ms. Vickers:
First of all, I need to tell you that I was molested by a Catholic priest when I was a little girl. I also am a practicing Catholic who loves my Church.
Jay Leno’s comments about the priest who was charged with stealing money to pay for male escorts, and Mr. Leno’s joke about why he should have just molested altar servers for free was in the worst possible taste. First of all, Mr. Leno should know by now (eight years after the story first broke in the Boston Globe about clergy sexual abuse) that sexual abuse of children and adolescents is no joke. Believe me, as a victim/survivor of this terrible crime, I have suffered my entire life with the effects, including depression, suicidal thoughts, sexual dysfunction, and anxiety.
Mr. Leno’s comments were bigoted and hateful. There are many faithful, honest, kind and good Catholic priests who have never harmed children. The victims and the Church have been gravely wounded by the crimes of the men who broke their vows and broke the law. Mr. Leno’s thoughtless comments poured salt on a wound that will never heal.
I am requesting that Mr. Leno immediately apologize for his comments and to show his penitence, make a large contribution to Catholic Relief Services. It is the least he can do.
Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher
Douglas, Alaska

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posted July 9, 2010 at 1:22 am

Leno can not help himself. Most probably, like millions of others Jay Leno needs this to try to justify his own actions and misconduct. He must continue to do this until he is off the air, which may not be that long from now.

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John B.

posted July 9, 2010 at 1:29 am

No matter how often we insist “only a minority of priests were guilty,” the bishops’ coverup and enabling of further abuse was in fact widespread. To the other, much more horrific consequences of wrecked lives, billions of dollars lost, and the forfeit of moral credibility, we must simply add comedians’ ridicule. (Donahue’s comments actually made me cringe though.)

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Mr Monty

posted July 9, 2010 at 5:14 am

I think most of you folks are missing the big picture in the attack on Mr. Leno. While it could be rightly argued his comments were insensitive the real issue lies at the heart of Catholicism. The greatest problem the Catholic Church faces is itself. Its unreasonable and unbiblical demands that its church Priests be unmarried celibate men is at the core of this particular issue. This demand has and will attract a large number of gay and otherwise sexual predators to the fold of the Catholic Church and we have seen the unfortunate consequences of this flawed Catholic doctrine. While history reveals there are sick and evil people imbedded in almost every organizations including ones of a noble cause like Doctors, Policemen, and Clergy it’s interesting this issue of sexual abuse with children is quite common only in the Catholic Church. While it has happened in other churches of various denominations it seems highly pervasive among the Catholic Church. I go back again to the fact all other denominations allow their church leader to be married thus greatly avoiding the possibility of a homosexual or pedophile to infiltrate the church. But this is just one of the many unbiblical and unchristian practices of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately too many people have been indoctrinated into Catholicism it at an early age and most never are willing to open their eyes and minds to the truth. I could write a book on the flawed and unbiblical teachings of the Catholic Church but time and space won’t allow besides there are many already written.

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posted July 9, 2010 at 5:34 am

Well, i think the Catholic church is cannon fodder for these jokes for one reason: they refuse to deal with the issue as a whole, and prefer to let it simmer and then boil over years after people knew what was going on. Sometimes the church leaders knowingly ignore the problem completely. They should also probably not try to impose more laws on leadership than the Bible itself gives. I’m not saying that allowing the priests to marry would solve the issue, but rather that there would be more willing, properly qualified, holy men willing to take the job.

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posted July 9, 2010 at 6:08 am

The head of NBC is Jewish. Jay’s writers are mostly Jewish. Christians bother them. Simple as that. Look how Jay and SNL treat Palin.

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posted July 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

The way to stop or reduce the homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood : reinforce the identity of the priest as Imago Chrisi and Alter Christi and diss off much the utopianism common in the Church today.
A group of men into some utopian idea is by definition a group of homosexuals.
And make Henri Nouwen’s identity of the priest as “wounded healer” very secondary, not primary. This definition, although it has some validity tends to give “wounded” priests too much of a pass.

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Bill G

posted July 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

No kidding, “only a minority of priests are guilty”?? That’s funny. Whenever someone makes a joke about this (and no one would make a joke about it if people didn’t think it funny), the church wants to shoot the messenger instead of getting to the root of the PROBLEM. Jay Leno happens to have been raised Catholic in a very Catholic area, so maybe it was the church’s attitude that caused him to act differently now.

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posted July 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm

No one likes these jokes. And they are jokes, even though they are painful to catholics. Just like jokes about gays, or Jews or Blondes or whatever. The jokes will pass over time. The more we complain, the more they will come.
The incredible deviant acts by priests have opened the entire church to these attacks. Whether we like it or not, we all have to pay and suffer for the raping and manipulation of children and young men by perverts who claimed to be men of God. Complaining on a blog will not stop the attacks. Only christian love and charity will. Get to work

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Deacon Dana Garry

posted July 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Come Holy Spirit…fill the hearts and minds of Jay Leno and his writers, …They are in serious need of your help. In Jay’s world, if it gets a laugh, anything is fair game for his sad offensive humor.

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Jerald Franklin Archer

posted July 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Mr. Monty,
Few who understand the problems of the Church know them from studying the “big picture”, of which attitudes and erroneous beliefs like yours are part of the problem. All those books you must be reading are confusing you, A priest chooses celibacy as a lifestyle that imitates Christ, it has nothing to do with producing a degenerate priest or even being “unbiblical”. To make such claims (and some other rather blanketed statements as you do) is to tread on a very thin sheet of ice with what is the very truth you claim to know or profess.
Despite the theories of Dan Brown and some others, Our Lord was not married, therefore that argument is already blown out of the water. Celibacy is not only a very difficult discipline, but a very blessed sacrifice as well. Those men who cannot handle the situation should not become priests, but reality is reality and there are some priests who are confused at to their place in the big picture.
A priest is a human being and human beings have problems. The errant priests have been like that one proverbial apple in the barrel that spoils the bunch. Yet, in your comment, you are blaming the Church, not the person, and leaving no room to consider the real problem that should be addressed. If a person cannot do a job, then they find another job to do. The problem you are citing happens in every kind of work, not just with priests–you stated this, but had to place emphasis on the Church using the worst kind of logic one could.
Celibacy honors the lifestyle and ministry of Jesus Christ. Catholic tradition asserts that Jesus never married; instead He devoted his life to his family of followers and to His ministry. Modern priests emulate Christ’s lifestyle.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1599 In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying celibate for the love of God’s kingdom and the service of men.
2349 “People should cultivate [chastity] in the way that is suited to their state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single.” Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practice chastity in continence:
There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others. . . . This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church.
915 Christ proposes the evangelical counsels, in their great variety, to every disciple. The perfection of charity, to which all the faithful are called, entails for those who freely follow the call to consecrated life the obligation of practicing chastity in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, poverty and obedience. It is the profession of these counsels, within a permanent state of life recognized by the Church, that characterizes the life consecrated to God.
1579 All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to “the affairs of the Lord,” they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.
1580 In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities. Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.
As you stated, there are a number of books written about the so-called unbiblical teaching of the Catholic Church. There are also many books written as to why the Church is correct in Her teachings, and the Bible is the principal source of all of them. Tradition, as well is important, but often undermined by those who misunderstand it’s place in the Church. I have a strong feeling the writers of those books are not Catholic, so how would you possibly be able to make any claim of what is truth, using such resources?
I would highly suggest that if you really want to write a book worthy of any consideration of scholarship and of any value to the salvation of the souls of others, to use those tomes in your research along with reputable CATHOLIC CHURCH resources. As you yourself research into the truths that the Catholic Church teaches, those errors which you were taught by the writers of those who attempt to disprove the Catholic Church, will undoubtedly become apparent to you. Be aware of the fact that no one, not even the most persuasive or learned scholar of biblical studies or anyone existing today, yesterday or tomorrow will ever be able to disprove the truths of the Catholic Church. Attempting to do so is a waste of paper, ink and energy, but still they try. God Bless You.

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posted July 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm

How is it that Jay Leno is the bad guy when it’s YOUR leaders that are sexual deviates? My best friend was a victim of the typical sexual abuse that seems to be rampant in this religon. He still has nightmares after 40 years. It’s rape.
You assume that Jay was raised Catholic. I believe that is false. I thank Jay for exposing the truths and I laugh but don’t really think it’s funny. I’d close the church.

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Jerald Franklin Archer

posted July 10, 2010 at 12:02 am

Close down the Church?….now for some realistic facts.
The Myth of Pedophile Priests
By Father Longnecker
As more pedophile priest scandals blow up across Europe we should be ashamed of the offenders and those who sheltered them and oppressed the victims. The guilty should be weeded out, removed from office and handed over to the civil authorities where they are guilty of crimes. Systems to avoid abuse must be established and rigorously maintained, and victims should be justly compensated for their suffering.
However, Penn State professor Philip Jenkins (who is not a Catholic) has written the most objective book on the subject, and he summarizes his arguments in this excellent article. In light of his work, we should remember some basic facts and principles:
 Priestly celibacy is not the issue – married men are more likely to abuse children than unmarried
 Most child abuse takes place within the home.
 All religious groups have pedophile scandals, and the Catholics (while the largest religious group) are at the bottom of the list statistically.
 Child abuse is prevalent in all areas of society: schools, youth organizations, sports, etc.
 Statistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend. Doctors, Farmers and Teachers are the professions most likely to abuse children–not clergy.
 Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend.
 Catholic cases of pedophilia make more headlines because of anti Catholic prejudice and because the Catholic Church is bigger and more lucrative to sue.
 Pedophilia and Euphebophilia are different problems. The former is sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. The latter is attraction to teenagers. Most cases branded ‘pedophilia’ are actually ‘euphebophila.’
 Most of the cases of euphebophilia are homosexual in nature, however the politically correct do not want this problem to be associated with homosexuality.
 The number of Catholic priests guilty of pedophilia is very small.
 What we now call ‘cover up’ was often done in a different cultural context, when the problem was not fully understood and when all establishment organizations hushed scandals. They did so for what seemed good reasons at the time: protection of the victims and their families, opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender, the avoidance of scandal to others. It is unfair to judge events thirty years ago by today’s standards.
 When lawsuits are looming people smell money. We must be wary of false accusations.
 The accused must be entitled to a fair hearing. The church should insist on hard proof of the abuse, and for the sake of justice, ensure that the innocent are not prosecuted.
 When guilt is established the offender must be punished, not sheltered.
 Distinctions must be made between types of abuse. Some offenses are worse than others. Verbal abuse or corporal punishment during a time when that was acceptable, while lamentable, is not the same as sexual abuse or extreme physical abuse.
 Sexual abuse of an adult, or a sexually experienced older teenager is wrong, and damaging, and should be punished, but it is not the same as the sexual abuse of a younger, innocent child.
 Number of offenses must be considered. One lapse is not of the same seriousness as repeated, persistent and premeditated offenses.
I am in no way wishing to be soft of pedophiles and those who covered for them, however justice and truth demand an objective analysis of the facts.

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posted July 10, 2010 at 1:01 am

“I’d close down the church.”
Why would you ever want to bring gunpowder and blood into the issue?

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posted July 10, 2010 at 2:41 am

Jerald Franklin Archer: this is a good post.
There is one important caveat missing, however, and that is simply that there was indeed something of a “bubble” of pederests and pediphiles in the Catholic priesthood, at least in America in about the 1960-1985 period. This has to be admitted.
The “bubble” may well have existed in other church groups also in this timeframe, but we do not have anyway to confirm this.

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Jerald Franklin Archer

posted July 10, 2010 at 4:09 am

Gopdguyex, I agree with you on your observation. With all of the bad situations already brought to light, one should hope that it will serve to be a lesson as to what the Church needs to do to prevent it in the future. Realistically, there are going to be incidents in the future, but your average Joe-in-the-street does not realize (or often even takes time to learn) the internal workings and complex administration processes of such a vast institution as the Catholic Church. The Church is on the job to weed the garden and plant only fruitful seeds by being even more strict than ever. I believe discipline in many areas slacked greatly after the years of Vatican 2. Both good and bad was produced by V2, but the years you cited seem to be the very time-frame where many modernistic and liberalist thoughts were taking hold. It is pure human nature to always condemn that with is not understood, and easier to spot the trash in another neighbor’s yard, rather than clean up one’s own yard.
Personally, I would be very questioning about any church where everything is “perfect”. The criticism of the Church is nothing new, but bad media, misleading historical accounts and badly produced movies and books don’t help matters much. Jay Leno and his jokes are a small, but rather disturbing example of how indifferent some individuals are. I have learned persecution comes with the territory, but never hope to have any defense of the Church misunderstood with defending bad priests. One does not chop down the whole tree just for the fact there may be a few rotten branches.

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Your Name

posted July 10, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Father Longenecker, they were all PRIESTS!

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Jerald Franklin Archer

posted July 11, 2010 at 1:14 am

—Father Longenecker, they were all PRIESTS!—
This is a great example of how this issue is often generalized with such astute observation of the occupation of the man, but not considering the man themselves as an individual. If the word priest had been replaced with preacher, fireman, policeman or bank president, the basic problem is the same. The list attempts to clear up MYTHS, but generalized statements that categorize all priests as pedophiles is illogical, ridiculous and rude.
If you had read the post properly, you would have come to the understanding of what is being said, which is presenting rather sobering facts, but in an objective manner. The actual percentage of those priests accused of the crimes is less that %1.6. This is an estimated percentage, as there is no way to know of each and every case, and who what guilty and not guilty. Most of the priests have been dead for some time. These are points many don’t realize, but only believe what the media spews out when it can.
The percentage of false accusation and fortune seekers who cry wolf are much more higher than those of the priests, guilty or otherwise. Do research from reliable Vatican sources. The numbers are out there, but so are the flakes.
Father Longnecker is just relating to what is in Jenkins’ book. You should read Jenkins’ works to understand better. Jenkins is not even Catholic, so Fr. Longnecker has a strong point in presenting them.

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