WASHINGTON, DC., September 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Jesuit author and pro-gay activist Fr. James Martin, SJ’s invitation to speak at Catholic University of America’s (CUA) Theological College has been rescinded, and he’s searching for scapegoats to explain this and other recent rejections.
A statement released by the College says that “[S]ince the publication of his book, Building a Bridge, Theological College has experienced increasing negative feedback from various social media sites regarding the seminary’s invitation. As a result, after consulting with University and archdiocesan advisors, the decision was made to withdraw the invitation.”
Martin suggests that an orchestrated “campaign caused a storm of phone calls, emails and messages to Theological College, which included, I was told, people screaming at the receptionists who answered the phone. In the end, they felt that the expected protests and negative publicity would distract from Alumni Day.”
While Fr. Martin may think that there was a ‘campaign’ launched against him, the backlash against his invitation to speak at CUA arose from grassroots concerns. LifeSiteNews was initially made aware of Fr. Martin’s Theological College invitation by a concerned local Catholic.
Unmentioned by Martin is Cardinal Sarah’s recently penned op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, How Catholics Can Welcome LGBT Believers, which gently but firmly seeks to correct Fr. Martin’s pastoral approach for the same-sex attracted.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church insists on “honesty, stating that the church’s message to the world must ‘reveal in all clarity the joy and demands of the way of Christ,” wrote Cardinal Sarah. “Those who speak on behalf of the church must be faithful to the unchanging teachings of Christ, because only through living in harmony with God’s creative design do people find deep and lasting fulfillment.”
Cardinal Sarah’s plea for faithful adherence to Church teaching stands in contrast to Fr. Martin’s affirmation of homosexuality and apparent support of homosexual activity.
Martin suggests the Church should change the language in its catechism on homosexuality and same-sex inclinations to be more welcoming to LGBT-identifying Catholics while simultaneously avoiding speaking about homosexual acts as sinful.
Other invitations withdrawn
According to Martin, the rescinded CUA invitation “follows the cancellation of another lecture at the Annual Investiture Dinner of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York City, scheduled on Oct. 21. The organizers told me that they had received angry emails and calls from several members of the Order.”
“That follows an earlier cancellation of a lecture in London for Cafod (Catholic International Development Charity in England) which was scheduled for the third week in October,” added Fr. Martin.
Catholic University: Correct response, wrong reason
Shockingly, the president of The Catholic University of America, Dr. John Garvey, denounced Fr. Martin’s critics.
“The campaigns by various groups to paint Fr. Martin’s talk as controversial reflect the same pressure being applied by the left for universities to withdraw speaker invitations,” Garvey said. “Universities and their related entities should be places for the free, civil exchange of ideas. Our culture is increasingly hostile to this idea. It is problematic that individuals and groups within our Church demonstrate this same inability to make distinctions and to exercise charity.”
Interestingly, it is President Garvey who is unable or unwilling to draw needed distinctions. Catholic University, like Fr. James Martin, misses the point that the issue here is not about squashing free speech. It’s about Catholic clergy and institutions contravening the directive to not give speaking platforms to individuals who openly contradict church teaching.
Backlash against Fr. Martin at Catholic University coincides with backlash against Bradley Manning at Harvard
Yesterday, in a quick about face, Harvard University hastily disinvited transgender felon Bradley Manning after suffering a firestorm of criticism for naming Manning a ‘Visiting Fellow’ for the upcoming school year.
Shortly after Harvard announced its first ever ‘transgender fellow,’ former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell resigned from his position as a Senior Fellow at the Ivy League school. “I cannot be part of an organization – The Kennedy School – that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”
Current CIA Director Mike Pompeo then canceled an appearance Thursday evening at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Forum, saying, “[A]fter much deliberation in the wake of Harvard’s announcement of American traitor Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Politics, my conscience and duty to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency will not permit me to betray their trust by appearing to support Harvard’s decision with my appearance at tonight’s event.”
Reaching the limits of progressive ideology?
While many Americans identify Bradley Manning as a ‘traitor’ to his country, many Catholics have legitimate concerns about Fr. Martin’s allegiance to church teaching and the impact of his efforts to promote homosexuality from within the church.
Maybe the recent rejections that both men have experienced signal the beginning of a turning tide. Time will tell. But if nothing else, these events clearly demonstrate that there are, in fact, limits to how far the progressive left can push its ideology unimpeded.