Thursday May 20, 2010

Catholic Mag Quietly Edits Article Calling Pope’s Abortion/Marriage Comments ‘Bizarre’

By Kathleen Gilbert

NEW YORK, May 20, 2010 ( – A column for the Jesuit magazine America, in which Rev. James Martin, S.J. criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s pro-life and pro-family message in Portugal as “bizarre,” and implied it was contrary to the Gospel, has been revised to omit the strongest language.

Martin, who serves as Culture Editor at the publication, took issue with the pope’s recent statement that abortion and same-sex “marriage” rank among “some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.”

“The equation of abortion, something that clearly is about a threat to life, with same-sex marriage, which no matter how you look at it, does not mean that anyone is going to die, is bizarre,” he wrote. In a later version of the column, “bizarre” was deleted and replaced with “unhelpful at best.”

Wrote the priest: “Why has same-sex marriage been equated with abortion? Are they really equivalent ‘threats’ to life?

“If you’re looking for a life issue with stakes as high as abortion, why not something that actually threatens life? Like war? Or the death penalty? Or the kind of poverty and destitution that lead to death?” he continued. “The great danger is that this increasingly popular equation will seem to many as having less to do with moral equivalency and more to do with a simple dislike, or even a hatred, of gays and lesbians.

The final sentence, which read, “And that goes against not simply Catholic teaching, but against the Gospel,” was removed from the column as of Thursday.

The Very Rev. David Ciancimino, S.J., the Provincial for the New York Province of the Jesuit order, did not respond to’s (LSN) request for comment as of press time.

In an email sent to LSN, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, severely criticized Martin’s “intellectual laziness and dishonesty,” saying the priest “nefariously misrepresents the words and intentions of the Holy Father.”

“If the Holy Father’s proclamation of the unchanging truth makes Father Martin uncomfortable, then it’s time for Father Martin to hang up his collar,” wrote Euteneuer. “How dare he misrepresent His Holiness’s intent just to ingratiate himself further with the secular left, who find no sin in homosexual behavior! How dare he even imply that the Holy Father, by speaking the truth, somehow contradicts the Gospel and Catholic teaching!

“That such an offense would come from within the bowels of America Magazine is perhaps predictable, but no less infuriating.”

Euteneuer pointed out that “mentioning two sins in the same sentence,” i.e., abortion and same-sex “marriage,” “does not imply moral equivalence.” “For Father Martin to imply differently betrays either a defect in critical thinking skills or a willingness to embarrass Pope Benedict. Either way, it is truly revolting,” he said.

In another portion of the article, Martin also declared that the Boston Archdiocese was acting “more wisely” than the Denver Archdiocese by distancing itself from a parish school’s decision not to admit a child whose guardians were a lesbian couple. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput had endorsed a similar action as that of the Boston school in his own diocese, saying that teaching the Catholic faith in its fullness “simply can’t be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents.”


V. Rev. David S. Ciancimino, S.J., Provincial, Jesuits New York Province

[email protected]


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