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Fr. James Martin at Boston College, 2014. Youtube.

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September 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Father James Martin is one of the most vocal advocates for the Catholic Church’s acceptance of active homosexuality.

Since the publication of his book Building a Bridge, the Jesuit priest and newly made Vatican advisor has pushed his message to major media outlets and through his large social media following.

In an August 29 talk at Villanova University, Fr. Martin made some of his most extreme statements yet on homosexuality and Catholicism. He said a Catholic attending a same-sex “wedding” is just as acceptable as a Catholic attending a Jewish wedding. He blasted nearly everyone who opposes same-sex “marriage” as “homophobic” and repeated his mantra that his critics are just secretly gay. He also suggested that opposing same-sex “marriage” is like opposing interracial marriage and that African Catholics are one of the biggest obstacles to Church acceptance of homosexuality.


1) Church teaching on homosexuality isn’t ‘authoritative’

At Villanova, Fr. Martin said:

Briefly put, I mean and I’m no theologian, but, you know, for a teaching to be really, um, authoritative it is expected that it will be received by the people of God, by the faithful. So you look at something, like, say, the Assumption…people accept that. They go to the Feast of the Assumption, they believe in the Assumption. It’s received. From what I can tell, in the LGBT community, the teaching that LGBT people must be celibate their entire lives – not just before marriage as it is for most people but their entire lives – has not been received. Now, I say this and people go crazy. And this is simply based on LGBT people that I speak to. Now there are some that believe that – I would say it’s a very small percentage of people, right – but that’s a simple fact. You can say that they don’t agree with it. I would say the teaching therefore has not been received by the community to which it was largely directed. And so the question is, you know, what do we do with that? Now that’s the kind of question to circle back to your original question – that reflection, you know, what do we do with a teaching that has seemingly not been received by the community to which it was directed – is a theological question that bishops and LGBT people need to think about.

By Fr. Martin’s logic, Catholic teaching on the Eucharist wouldn't be authoritative because of how many Catholics reject it. Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist – and many other things – was rejected by Martin Luther and led to large numbers of Catholics committing apostasy. The Jews rejected what Jesus said about eating His flesh and blood, and they were some of the first people to whom He preached that teaching.

What about the many Christians (and more specifically, Catholics) who don’t believe in the Resurrection of the Body, even though they recite the Apostle’s Creed every Sunday?

And what about Church teaching on premarital sex and contraception? Those doctrines are openly rejected by a large number of Catholics today, and the sexual revolution’s hold on the culture makes it unlikely that that will change in the near future.

2) A Catholic attending a same-sex ‘wedding’ is just like a Catholic attending a Jewish wedding

Fr. Martin mused:

Why is it so terrible to go to a gay wedding, but it is not terrible to go to a Jewish wedding? You know, let’s say – seriously – if your daughter, let’s say if you decided to convert to Judaism and you married Andy who was Jewish, right, your parents would probably be disappointed, I would assume, you know, or confused, or whatever. But the idea that they couldn’t go or would refuse to go um, it’s very surprising to me. So I think Catholics need to see it in light of that, that it is a different tradition…different belief system than most Catholics are used to…but it’s supporting the person that you love. So it’s very sad to me that people still agonize over this.

Fr. Martin maintains that going to a same-sex “wedding” is just attending a “civil affair.”

“How is that, why is that any worse, in a sense, [than going to] a Jewish wedding?” he asked. “I have a very hard time with that.”

Catholics refusing to attend same-sex weddings are “saying is it’s worse to be a Christian and gay than it is to reject Jesus and be straight,” he claimed.

Converting to another religion and entering a same-sex “marriage” are both rejections of Catholic teaching, a fact Fr. Martin muddied with this analogy.

The Catholic Church teaches that if an unbaptized man and woman get married, even though their marriage isn’t sacramental, it’s still a valid marriage.

As My Catholic Faith, a 1949 version of the Baltimore Catechism explains: “A marriage between two unbaptized persons, although not a sacrament, if contracted validly, is recognized valid by the Church and is indissoluble” (page 339).

However, it would be considered sinful for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic outside of the Catholic Church. 

But a same-sex “marriage” will never be valid because it’s not a man-woman covenant ordered toward the procreation and education of children. Nor can it be moral because the Church labels sodomy one of the four sins that “cries out to heaven for vengence.”

3) Same-sex couples should be able to kiss during Mass: 'What's the terrible thing?'

When an openly gay man said that he and his partner don't kiss during the Sign of Peace during Mass, Fr. Martin said he hopes that “in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or, you know, soon to be your husband.” 

He said:

I always say that LGBT people have more faith than, I think, straight people because of that. I mean imagine you – what you have just described is really interesting, Brandon. You have internalized rejection already. You don’t need to even be told that you’re rejected in the Church, you’ve internalized it and that’s very sad… A lot of the people that Jesus came into contact with did the same thing. Think of like the woman with the hemorrhage, right, who doesn’t even feel worthy to kind of stand up and greet him, she reaches down and touches the hem of the garment; or the Samaritan women, right, who comes to the well at noon in the heat of the day because… we think, she’s been married five times and she’s probably embarrassed. Maybe people didn’t know enough to tell her you’re not welcome to come out at the regular time when other women come; she comes because she is embarrassed and she kinda internalized that and that’s sad. So I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or, you know, soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing? And think of all the people in Church who have all sorts of other things on their conscience…it’s up to the institutional Church I think to make you feel welcome.

Catholics who agree with the Church's teaching on sexuality would likely say that the “terrible thing” about two men kissing during Mass would simply be that the Church teaches it's sinful. 

Same-sex relationships are “intrinsically disordered,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Sodomy is one of the four most serious sins, a sin that “cries out to heaven.” 

Why would any priest want people to seemingly affirm that…especially during Mass?

Why would any priest want young children to be exposed to that…especially during Mass?

And why would any priest call two men engaging in sodomy “husbands” when the Church teaches they never can be that for each other? 

Yes, everyone at Mass has sins “on their conscience.” And if those sins are serious, they may not receive Holy Communion until they've gone to Confession.

But not everyone at Mass is openly flouting the Church's teaching and demanding the Church “welcome” it. 

Lastly, is Fr. Martin suggesting that being in a same-sex relationship is something that should bother one's conscience? That would seem to go against everything else he is saying.

4) It’s very hard to oppose redefining marriage and not be ‘homophobic’

Regarding the question of if it’s possible for someone to oppose same-sex “marriage” and not be homophobic, Fr. Martin said:

I would tend to agree with you because I would say that there – you could have some uh, hard and fast, and legitimate and reasonable theological objections [to same-sex marriage] in terms of the sacramentality, in terms of uh Biblical…and even though we shouldn’t read the Bible literally – Catholics don’t read the Bible literally – um…but I also think that, for the most part, I do find that there is a very high correlation between people who are against that [same-sex marriage] and people who are in fact homophobic. And so it’s that whole ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ argument, I know it’s not exactly the same, but it reminds me of that in a sense – people say, well I can be against gay marriage and not be homophobic. But then when you hear a lot of people, they sound pretty damn homophobic. And I can say, ‘hate the sin and love the sinner,’ but when you listen to them, there’s no sense of love at all.

Such people don’t have gay friends or “it’s all former gays,” said Fr. Martin.  “I often find that the people who do oppose those things [same-sex marriage] are very homophobic and that is easily discerned, I mean, just by the way they talk about LGBT people and the language they use and the snottiness they have…”

Fr. Martin, is it homophobic to encourage people to seek holiness, which the Church teaches will help them get to heaven?

5) His critics are secretly gay themselves

Regarding the “rage” Fr. Martin says he experiences online: “I said to this psychiatrist friend of mine, ‘where does that come from?’ …the sort of turning red in the face and screaming at me, and this psychiatrist, not, you know, alone, said, ‘it’s their own complicated sexuality’…and psychiatrist will tell us, and psychologists, that we’re all on a continuum. We’re all on a spectrum, right? You know, there’s bisexuality in most people.”

Fr. Martin says his LGBT advocacy is “terribly threatening” for people who fear their own “complex sexuality.”

“Rather than directing the anger internally they direct it out,” he said.  “I know just for the record that a lot of people who are critiquing me online are self-professed…they will say this on their websites, former gays.”

“There’s a lot of conflict going on,” he said. “It’s sad because what happens is their own junk inside gets focused outwards on people who are actually trying to live a more integrated life. Celibacy is supposed to be a gift. Or it’s something that you choose. For the LGBT person, it’s uh you know, in terms of the Catechism and in terms of many Catholic thinkers and Catholic leaders…it is seen by many LGBT people as an imposition, which is what it sounds like you feel it is.”

6) Church teaching from 1968 is ‘old’

“Look at Humanae Vitae. Humanae Vitae is still in effect, and as far as I can tell, the large majority of Western Catholics have made their peace with that. And yet that Church teaching has not changed. And that’s a much older Church teaching. I mean, in the sense that’s – Humanae Vitae’s 1968 and a lot of stuff we’re talking about is, you know, very new.”

7) ‘Your love is beautiful’

It’s a “great story that they can celebrate with you,” Fr. Martin said of a man sharing how his Pentecostal parents gradually became more accepting of his homosexuality.

“Your love is beautiful,” he said. It’s unclear whether he was referring to the sodomitical relationship or the parent-child relationship.

“I mean, I would say, not so much what would Jesus do…[but] how could God not rejoice in that kind of reconciliation and bridge-building?” he asked.

8) Being against gay “marriage” is like being racist

Let’s say somebody in your office…if someone in an office said to you, well, you know, I hear you’re marrying that person from West Africa and I just cannot bring myself to go to the wedding. You would feel angry and probably insulted – you probably also would feel sorry for that person. Like, wow, in this day and age, that person is still racist? Where is that coming from? So, I think pity is probably a – Jesus, when he meets people who don’t understand things, he says his heart was moved with pity. And also to always be open to those people changing. Because I think that happens a lot, actually.

Actually, Catholics, not the ‘LGBT community,’ are marginalized within the Church

An honest question for Fr. Martin: Do you support same-sex “marriage”? Or are you just one of the very few people who is against it but isn’t a bigot? Can you point me to times when you have actually explicitly affirmed the Church’s teaching that homosexual activity can never be permitted, and that the legal recognition of same-sex unions must be opposed?

Fr. Martin paints a picture of the Church as a giant homophobic institution that shuns people who are same-sex attracted. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Most Catholic priests in the United States – those from Fr. Martin’s generation, at least – bend over backwards to not preach Church teaching on sexual morality. Most Catholics can go their whole lives without hearing a homily on homosexuality or contraception.

(Fr. Martin accidentally acknowledges this when he says that a large number of Catholic clergy themselves are homosexual.)

The people actually at the peripheries of the Catholic Church are those who believe in and strive to follow the Church’s moral teachings. They are constantly vilified by clerics and the secular media alike.

Many left-leaning priests affirm people’s homosexual desires as aligned with God’s will more readily than they will affirm people’s desires for Latin-heavy liturgy or homilies about mortal sin.

For all of Fr. Martin’s talk about welcoming people and being “inclusive,” he sure seems to marginalize and exclude anyone who disagrees with him.

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As a journalist and editor for LifeSiteNews, Claire Chretien has written more than 1,500 articles about abortion, human dignity, bioethics, the Catholic Church, politics, and related topics. Claire holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama. It was there that she first became involved in pro-life activism.