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

ATLANTA, Georgia, October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Lay Catholics will pray at two Atlanta Catholic churches this weekend where Archbishop Wilton Gregory has provided a venue for a leading pro-homosexual Jesuit priest to spread his pro-LGBT message.

A Rosary for Reparation is scheduled for Saturday evening at St. Thomas More Catholic Church and Sunday morning at Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception where Father James Martin, SJ, will give his “Building a Bridge” talk at the invitation of Gregory.

Building a Bridge is the main title of the homosexual-affirming Jesuit’s book based upon the November 2016 address he gave when accepting an award from New Ways Ministry,  a pro-gay group that has been condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the U.S. Catholic bishops. 

Martin has continually promoted the book and its pro-LGBT message since its June 2017 release. He told participants at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland in August 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.

Opposition to Martin from Catholics, whether lay or clergy, stems from his persistent push to normalize homosexuality.

Martin’s LGBT-affirming campaign has led noted Professor Janet Smith, a moral theologian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, to pose that the need exists for the US Bishops to assess the faithfulness of his work. 

“I am thinking we should all write our bishops and ask them to ask the US Bishops to determine the fidelity of Fr. James Martin's work,” she said on Facebook. “And if anyone is interested in getting up a petition, I am sure we could collect a zillion signatures.”

Gregory’s invitation for Martin to speak at two of his parishes, which is emphasized in Martin’s tweet about the invitation and on an accompanying flyer, follows Martin having been disinvited from a number of speaking engagements in the last year after Catholics protested his controversial message that homosexuality should be normalized in the Catholic Church. The pastor for the Shrine parish, long regarded as the “gay parish” in the archdiocese, was recently photographed attending a performance in an Atlanta drag bar

Catholic lay group Tradition Family and Property (TFP) is organizing the Rosary of Reparation. 

The group said that reparation needs to be made “because, as a Catholic priest, Fr. Martin promotes unnatural vice within the Church. He also favors transgenderism for children and undermines the sacred institution of marriage.”

In Roman Catholic tradition, an act of reparation is a prayer or devotion with the intent to make amends for sin.

TFP lists some of Martin’s many controversial assertions in its information on the two rosary gatherings.

Martin should not be giving the addresses, it says, because he:

  • Said Catholics should “reverence” homosexual “marriage;”
  • Supports transgenderism for children;
  • Favors homosexual kissing during Mass;
  • Called dissident, pro-homosexual nun a “saint;”
  • Welcomed award from group condemned by the USCCB.

In its bulletin, TFP then provides details and links to each of the particular examples provided among Martin’s troubling positions.

“We live in a time when Church teaching is under attack from all sides on the very controversial issue of homosexual sin,” TFP Vice-president John Horvat says in an email to Catholics on the rosary rallies. “On Judgment Day, we don't want to have to answer to God for staying silent while souls were subjected to an address by a priest who contradicts Church teaching on the crucial issue of homosexual sin.”

“Given the confusion and ambiguity promoted by wolves in sheep's clothing,” Horvat continues, “let us reiterate what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches regarding homosexuality.”

He then cites #2357 in the Church’s Catechism:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (2357)

Martin, editor-at-large of Jesuit-run America magazine and Consultor to the Vatican on its Communications, says the Church’s teaching on homosexuality in the Catechism should be updated because of what is currently known about homosexuality – though Martin's not clear what he thinks is known now about the inclination and activity that was not previously known. 

Martin claims as well that the Catechism’s defining the homosexual inclination as objectively disordered is needlessly hurtful. 

In March of this year Archbishop Dennis Schnurr from Cincinnati, Ohio issued a statement unequivocally distancing his diocese from an event at a local secular university featuring Martin and his “Building Bridges” speech. 

Martin has made myriad problematic statements in regard to homosexuality that depart from Church teaching, including that some saints in Heaven “were probably gay,” that “God made (LGBTQ people) who they are” and also that Church teaching on homosexuality isn’t ‘authoritative.’

Despite this, he continues to be booked as a speaker, most often with this message, at Catholic venues, including the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families in August. 

Since last year Martin has lost speaking engagements at Catholic institutions after pushback by Catholics concerned over his campaign to normalize homosexuality in the Church.

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York City and CAFOD, the Catholic international development charity in England and Wales in London, rescinded invitations for Martin to speak last year, as did the Theological College in Washington, D.C. 

Martin’s appearance for Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Whitehouse, New Jersey was canceled earlier this year after TFP launched a petition against the event.

Following the series of Martin disinvites, Church prelates supportive of Martin’s homosexual-affirming message have purposely invited him to appear in their dioceses.

Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich invited Martin to speak at his cathedral on two evenings last Lent. Cupich has expressed support for those in same-sex relationships to be permitted to receive the sacraments.

Cupich told the Chicago-Sun Times he’d been talking with Martin about speaking in the Chicago archdiocese for some time, but also said the disinvites of Martin factored into his decision to have him appear there.

“I wanted to make sure that I affirmed what he was doing,” Cupich said, “and I think that those moments of not inviting him or disinviting him were very unfortunate, and I wanted to let him know that I support him.”

The sentiment in Atlanta is ostensibly similar.

“Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta has graciously invited me to his archdiocese to speak,” Martin tweeted about Gregory’s invitation for him to give a Building a Bridge presentation at two churched there.

Gregory has been in the news in recent months for having appointed a homosexual-affirming priest who heads a gay-affirming parish to be diocesan spiritual director for victims of sexual abuse by clergy. 

Msgr. Henry Gracz is pastor for Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, one of the churches at which Martin is schedule to speak this weekend.

The Shrine has a gay Pride Outreach that includes running a booth at Atlanta’s gay pride week. It has sent a parish group to march in Atlanta’s Pride parade for years and was registered to participate in the 2018 Pride parade as well. The parish also hosts GLBT potluck socials for couples and others.

In an August 1 Facebook posting, Msgr. Gracz announced he was celebrating with friends at “Lips,” a popular Atlanta drag bar. Gracz’s Facebook account is no longer visible to the public, but not before screenshots were captured of the photos with Gracz at the drag show. 

The first rosary rally will be held this Saturday, October 20 at 6:15 p.m. at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, located at 636 West Ponce de Leon Ave on Atlanta, specifically at the three way, where Ponce de Leon and Trinity meet.

The second rally will take place Sunday, October 21 at 8:45 a.m. at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, at 48 M.L.K. Jr. Drive, South West, in Atlanta. That rally will be on the public sidewalk outside the Shrine.

“Bring your rosary. Invite your friends,” Horvat and TFP exhort the Catholic laity. “Stand up for the perennial teachings of the Holy Catholic Church!”

Contact info to respectfully express concern about Father Martin’s appearances in the Atlanta archdiocese:

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

The Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Atlanta
2401 Lake Park Dr. SE,
Smyrna, GA 30080

Ph: 404-920-7800
Email: [email protected]