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Fr. James Martin in a March 7, 2018 America Magazine Youtube video titled ‘Spiritual Insights for LGBT Catholics.’ America Magazine / Youtube

WASHINGTON, DC, February 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this month, Fr. James Martin, SJ came to the nation’s capital to speak to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), urging school presidents to promote “inclusion” on their campuses by instituting “LGBT-affirming liturgies,” permitting students to choose their own pronouns, and holding “Lavender Graduations.” 

He was “warmly welcomed” by the gathering where he pitched a message which he has delivered, in one form or another, hundreds of times in print, in parishes, in high schools and colleges, and church gatherings around the globe.  

In 2018, he grabbed his biggest stage and widest audience at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland.  

One of Martin’s admirers — or perhaps, enablers — is Pope Francis, who granted his fellow Jesuit a very public ‘private audience,’ in October, lending him the aura of papal approval regarding his mission to normalize homosexuality and transgenderism within the Roman Catholic Church.  We do not know what was said between the two, but the optics were enough to bestow an implied imprimatur from the Holy See. 

The Vatican meeting armor-plated Martin, rendering him unassailable to prelates like the now former Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, who in one of his last official efforts just days before Martin’s meeting with Pope Francis, issued a public correction of Martin and his teachings.  

Rather than support Chaput’s effort, the vast majority of his brother bishops chose to remain silent, essentially lending their tacit approval to Martin’s ministry. 

Martin is clever.  He claims that nothing he preaches is opposed to Church teaching, and his fellow academics back him up because he has threaded the needle with such precision that they feel his messaging cannot be outright condemned.  

Prelates fear him, and conservative academics are confounded by him, and so the infiltration of his pro-LGBT messaging proceeds unimpeded into the lives of Catholics, especially young people.  

Curiously, the loudest voices in the public square sounding the alarm about Martin tend to be men who formerly lived as ‘gay,’ such as Joseph Sciambra, Michael Voris, myself, and others. We persist despite the fact that we are mostly ignored and sometimes ridiculed.    

That’s OK, we have no reputation, social standing, or rank within the Church to protect, but being men, we do seek to protect Christ’s flock from wolves, from sexual revolutionaries and marauders.  

Where does Fr. Martin’s LGBT ‘Catholic’ teaching come from?  

In the same way that the Supreme Court of the United States performed a feat of magic in 1973 and pulled a ‘constitutional right’ to abortion from what some lawyers like to call the “penumbra” surrounding the U.S. Constitution, in a similar way, Martin relies on a shadowy interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to justify his pro-LGBT messaging.  

“Penumbra” is a term which, until the court’s Griswold v Connecticut decision, belonged pretty much exclusively to the world of astronomy.  From the Latin “paene umbra” meaning “almost a shadow,” it is a word which describes the fuzzy, partially shaded outer region of a shadow, for instance, as cast by the earth or moon over an area experiencing a partial eclipse.

The so-called right to take the life of an innocent unborn child could not be found in the constitution, but the authors of Roe v Wade were able to justify it according to their own shadowy interpretation of the Constitution. Similarly, the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on same-sex “marriage” — and let’s call it what it really is: Genderless, anti-conjugal, anti-complementarity, anti-rational marriage — has no anchor in the Constitution. It too was pulled from the shadowy twilight surrounding our Constitution, despite the enormous cumulative mass of human history, of every single major world religion and tradition, of biology, of human reason and natural powers of observation which weigh against what five men and women, robed in black, seated on the highest court in the land, have wrought.  

One wonders: How had the so-called rights to abortion and to homosexual “marriage” eluded the nation’s brightest legal minds for centuries, until a few justices finally ‘discovered’ these “rights” hidden in the shadows of the U.S. Constitution? Interestingly, these two landmark decisions which have most damaged society were based not on the Constitution, but on a miasma engulfing the Constitution in the minds of a few men.  

Martin’s modus operandi is no different from these justices.  He has discovered what he believes is Christian affirmation for homosexuality and transgenderism emanating from the Bible and the Catechism, which no doctor of the Church or saint was wise or bright enough to detect – until Martin came along. 

Martin occupies this space that he has created — a fuzzy, indistinct region around Church teaching — by blurring the truth.  He takes irrefutable principles and precepts found in the heart of the Gospel, and states as fact conclusions drawn from his own shadowy interpretations of God’s Word.   

He doesn’t outright challenge Church teaching – he doesn’t need to in order to accomplish his normalization goals.  As long as he preaches from the shadows while claiming to be in the light, he will be permitted to continue.

J.D. Flynn, in an excellent essay published at First Things, explains Martin’s strategy this way:  

There is a difference between choosing not to defy Catholic doctrine and choosing to teach it in its fullness. And the doctrine of the Church extends far beyond issues of sexuality. While Martin may not be teaching error on that subject, his work fails to express, or even take into account, Catholic teaching on a fundamental issue: what it means to be a person at all. The consequence of that failure is confusion.

Casting his own dark shadow

In a recent video justifying his positions, Martin stands in front of the washed-out colors of the rainbow flag, blurring his allegiance to that flag while simultaneously making clear those are in fact his true colors.

More significantly, by standing in front of those garish, ragged-edged blotches, Martin blurs his allegiance to Church teaching.  

In preaching his shadowy interpretation of Catholicism regarding homosexuality and transgenderism, Fr. Martin draws countless Catholics away from God’s light and truth and into the demonic shadowlands of confusion and error. Wherever he goes, Martin draws large groups of people, many of whom already walk in darkness when it comes to Catholic sexual teaching. They, who are blind, turn to this Jesuit priest for guidance, allowing themselves to be led by the blind. Instead of preaching to them the liberating truth of the Gospel, Fr. Martin leads them into a pit by affirming them in their disordered LGBT inclinations and desires.

‘Love, mercy, and compassion’

“Church teaching on LGBT people is a great deal more than just a few lines in the catechism that deal with homosexuality,” said Martin in the video. “At heart, Church teaching is Jesus and his message of love, mercy, and compassion.”

Nobody would deny that, but the “great deal more” that he sees emanating from the catechism is his own shadowy interpretation, that reflects the teachings of this world and its ruler, the father of lies, more than it reflects the truth contained in the catechism. 

Martin took a detour during his presentation to the ACCU, asserting that treating same-sex attracted and gender dysphoric students with “respect, compassion and sensitivity,” requires: 

  • Calling people by their preferred names and pronouns;
  • Highlighting LGBT faculty and staff as role models;
  • Introducing LGBT-affirming spiritualities, theologies, liturgies.

Instead of leading people to actual Church teaching, he diverts them into the shadows where they find human affirmation, not life-giving Divine truth.

‘Chastity needn’t be brought up to gays and lesbians’ 

“One reason I don’t focus on [chastity] is because every LGBT Catholic I’ve ever met, every member of their family, and pretty much every Catholic, already knows Church teaching on celibacy and chastity when it comes to homosexuality,” claimed Martin.

But the fact that people may be familiar with the teaching does not mean that they are leading chaste lives.  Preaching chastity and helping same-sex attracted persons to live it is the most loving thing Martin could possibly do for those who come to him, but he chooses not to. Instead, he holds no one accountable, handing them empty affirmation and permission, not mercy.  

Martin’s message keeps people chained to a debilitating sexual identity that the world has unfairly thrust upon them, rather than breaking those chains and delivering them into freedom. 

‘LGBT issues are life issues’

In an astonishing statement at the end of the video, Martin catapults LGBT concerns into the same strata as abortion and euthanasia as he asserts that “LGBT issues are life issues.”  

He wants the Church to affirm the same-sex attracted as “gay” and “lesbian” and the gender dysphoric as “trans men” and “trans women,” in place of their true identity as children of God.  

J.D. Flynn is absolutely right:  Martin’s message presents “a vision of the human person at odds with Catholic teaching, and it urges a set of pastoral practices that will lead to heartbreak and disappointment, not to the freedom of Jesus Christ.”

Martin undermines clergy and laity who stalwartly embrace the Church’s wisdom and best pastoral practices regarding same-sex attraction, as he asserts that “most LGBT Catholics have been deeply wounded by the church.”  

In the weekly intro to his famous TV show, Rod Serling described the Twilight Zone as “the middle ground between light and shadow.”  That’s where Fr. James Martin resides,  and where he beckons others to join him.  

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Doug Mainwaring is a journalist for LifeSiteNews, an author, and a marriage, family and children's rights activist.  He has testified before the United States Congress and state legislative bodies, originated and co-authored amicus briefs for the United States Supreme Court, and has been a guest on numerous TV and radio programs.  Doug and his family live in the Washington, DC suburbs.