In the know with Father Joe

Is it really wrong to cheat on exams? Isn’t it just ‘helping’ each other?

Dear Fr. Joe: A lot of my friends cheat on their exams and don’t see anything wrong with it. They feel they are just helping each other out. I really believe this is wrong, but do I have an obligation to turn them in?

This is an important question that affects a lot of students at all levels of education. I even have folks talking to me about people cheating at work in different ways. It’s tough to know what to do in these situations. The good news is that our Catholic faith gives us some solid underlying principles that can help us.

Why should I stay Catholic?

Dear Fr. Joe: It seems to me that every day there is a new scandal in the Church. I struggle with understanding – how can I stay Catholic?

Thank you for your question – things can be very difficult for us right now and your sincere and honest expression of what you are feeling is a gift. I’ll do my best to share well why I not only chose to stay Catholic, but to serve in the Church as a priest. I hope that what I share helps you.

How can we forget that our son stole from us?

Dear Fr. Joe: Our son stole a lot of money from us. He has apologized, and we forgave him, but I don’t really feel I can trust him. What does forgiveness look like? Should I just move on and forget this happened?



I’m so sorry that this happened with your son. It is such a painful thing when people whom we love hurt us or let us down. I thank God for your response to this situation: forgiveness is a command from God to us and, like all of God’s commands, it is good for us. Let’s get right to it.

How do I keep my New Year’s resolution to be holy?

Dear Fr. Joe: It seems that once again, we’re approaching another new year and, more than anything, I want to use the new year to really grow spiritually. I always have great goals to do better, but never seem to hit them. Can you help me?

Ahhhh – the New Year and its resolutions! I think your experience is one that many share – including me! Based on my own past struggles and resolutions, I do have some advice that I hope will help you.

How do I shake this funk I am in?

Dear Fr. Joe: I’m really in a funk and I can’t shake it. At college, I find that I really don’t have good friends and I’m struggling in my prayer life … everyone around me seems to be happy but me. What can I do?

I’m so sorry that things are like this right now. Life is a challenge most days; at times, these struggles can threaten to overwhelm us. I’m glad you asked for help and pray that God guides my words.

Recently, I went through an exceptionally difficult time in my life and was really struggling. A lot of things crashed in on me and I felt lost and scared.

What’s the point of asking God for what we want?

Dear Fr. Joe: Why do we ask God for things? Doesn’t he just do what he wants and what is best for us?

What a great question! The answer to this can help us understand God and his workings a bit better, as well as ourselves. Let’s dive right in. The first thing we’ve got to establish is that God wants to hear our petitions. That means asking God to do something. Look at 1Timothy 2:1:

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people …”

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