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Fr. James Martin.James Martin / Twitter

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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – At a meeting in the nation’s capital, Fr. James Martin, S.J. – the most prominent clergyman arguing for the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism within the Church – addressed 150 Catholic college and university presidents, urging them to promote “inclusion” on their campuses by promoting “LGBT-affirming liturgies,” permitting students to choose their own pronouns, and holding “Lavender Graduations.”  

Martin offered his remarks at the annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), where school presidents were joined by nearly 200 top staff for a three-day conference at D.C.’s swanky Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

ACCU President Fr. Dennis H. Holtschneider said the group “welcomed Martin very warmly,” according to The Washington Post.  

Holtschneider told the group that the session was not about “challenging Church teaching” but about “delving into it.”

Jim Towey, past president of St. Vincent College and Ave Maria University – two schools with reputations as orthodox Catholic institutions – expressed receptivity to Fr. Martin’s message. 

The “perception by some of Pope Francis’s openness on LGBT outreach,” indicates that “there is a shift underway,” Towey told the Post. “Martin’s talk could signal the beginning of a larger debate on these contentious issues.” 

Martin’s presence at the ACCU meeting may very well be evidence of a quiet seismic shift in some Catholic schools: A serious erosion of their Catholic identity and a further abandonment of Catholic moral teaching.  

Last summer, the alumni publication of Mount St. Mary’s University, a Catholic institution in Maryland which until recently was seen as a bastion of orthodoxy, included for the first time an “engagement” announcement for a same-sex couple.

“One dean of a university in the Northeast said that while you may have trouble with ‘reluctant trustees, bishops[,] or other constituents’ over the moral case, the practical case is strong,” recounted Martin.  

The gaying and transgendering of Catholic Schools

Martin filled his speech with suggestions for making Catholic campuses “more inclusive,” often drawing from the experience of senior staff who have already forged ahead with normalizing homosexuality and transgenderism at their schools.    

Martin avoided speaking about the Courage Apostolate and how it might help “LGBT students” to live chaste lives in accordance with Church teaching. 

Instead, he chose to speak about “the undercurrent of ‘conversion therapy’ that runs through our church like a polluted stream.” 

Yet no one in the Catholic Church advocates for so-called conversion therapy. It is a term which pro-LGBT activists like Martin employ in order to discredit and undermine the efforts of those with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria to seek psychological counseling in the pursuit of wholeness and happiness.

Selectively quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Martin asserted that treating same-sex attracted and gender-confused students with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” requires using pronouns that do not correspond with reality and enshrining “sexual orientation and gender identity” into nondiscrimination policies.

He argued: 

  • Calling people by the names and pronouns they choose is part of respect;
  • Providing L.G.B.T.-inclusive benefits reflects compassion;  
  • Including sexual orientation and gender identity in nondiscrimination policies shows sensitivity. 

Martin proposed:

  • Highlighting L.G.B.T. faculty and staff as role models;
  • Introducing L.G.B.T.-affirming spiritualities, theologies, liturgies;
  • Following the example of a Catholic school which has a Lavender Graduation, where L.G.B.T. faculty and staff wear purple stoles over their academic regalia;
  • Allowing transgender students to “live in housing that matches their gender identity”; 
  • Ensuring that school health insurance should cover gender “transition”-related services;
  • Ensuring that students can change their names/gender on records, and that faculty members use the student’s preferred name and pronouns.

Resisting Fr. Martin’s advice

Janet Smith, recently retired professor of moral theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, challenged Catholic school leaders who might easily accept Martin’s message.

“Any university or college president who does not subject each and every claim of Martin to a close analysis doesn’t deserve the position,” Smith told LifeSiteNews. “It won’t take long; his arguments fall like a house of cards for anyone who possesses the least amount of logical skills.”  

“And if these presidents aren’t objecting strenuously to being subjected to Martin’s blather when they could be getting guidance on these difficult questions based on legitimate science, and sound philosophy and theology, they don’t know what the responsibilities of Catholic education entail,” she continued. 

Smith pointed out the flawed nature of Fr. Martin’s presentation:

Saint John Paul II taught that our dignity lies in our ability to know the truth and our freedom to act in accord with it.  Sadly, unsurprisingly, the word “truth” never appears in Martin’s speech. 

He studiously ignores the truth that no scientific studies establish that transitioning from one sex to another has any real benefits; he does not take up the truth that operations to change people’s sex are acts of harmful mutilation; he never talks about the need to understand God’s plan for sexuality; to see that the body expresses our calling to live lives of complete self-giving.  

“This only serves to remind Catholic families of the importance of choosing colleges that fully embrace the Catholic faith, without reserve,” Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society, told LifeSiteNews.  

“The most compassionate educators are those who teach and witness to the Church’s wisdom and moral clarity. Others who compromise their witness and fidelity do great harm and burden young people with confusion and despair. We see it across the world today.”

Although Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, was unavailable for comment, he recently took to Twitter to criticize an upcoming Fordham University pro-homosexual Catholic ministry conference which Martin had promoted.

“May those who join in this Conference share the full message of Catholic teaching. If Catholics minister without calling sinful behavior sinful then their work is neither truly Catholic nor true ministry. True compassion calls the person from sin to virtue.”

LifeSiteNews reached out to an array of bishops, Catholic university and college presidents, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – all of whom either declined to comment on or ignored LifeSite’s invitation to offer reactions to Martin’s speech.  

Martin’s past record 

Fr. Martin’s lengthy record of pro-gay activism ranges from his many speeches and media appearances promoting homosexuality to his retweeting of a complaint that priests can’t “bless” gay unions to suggesting that the Church is full of “homophobia” and “marginalizes” the same-sex attracted.

He supports gay men kissing each other during the sign of peace at Mass, says that a Catholic attending a same-sex “wedding” is like attending a Jewish wedding, and suggests that his critics are secretly gay themselves.

The Jesuit says homosexual priests should “come out” about their sexual proclivities, but has publicly declined to say whether he himself is gay.

In 2018, he told participants at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland that active homosexuals “should be invited into parish ministries” specifically mentioning them becoming “eucharistic ministers” in order to make them welcomed and accepted in the Catholic Church.