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October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Facebook apparently blocked, at least partially, a report detailing some of what Father James Martin said in a recent “Building a Bridge” to LGBT Catholics speaking appearance.
Joseph Sciambra, a same-sex-attracted Catholic who upholds the Church’s teaching on sexuality and performs outreach to same-sex-attracted individuals, frequently reports on the Church and its handling of homosexuality.
Sciambra’s posts are thorough, factual and charitable, and at the same time they are forthright. He speaks from the perspective of having been misled in his life by some priests and others about the nature of his same-sex attraction and how a Catholic should respond to it.
Late Thursday night, Sciambra shared a screenshot on his Facebook page of the social media platform blocking of his post.
“This post goes against our Community Standards,” Facebook’s notification informed Sciambra. “So no one else can see it.”
The original post, from his website JosephSciambra.com, had the headline, “James Martin says there is ‘not currently’ a Catholic ritual that recognizes same-sex relationships,” a factual restating of something Martin had said in his appearance.
It’s not clear which of Facebook’s stated Community Standards the post violated.
LifeSiteNews inquired but did not hear back from Sciambra as to whether Facebook had informed him of details related to blocking the post.
Facebook and other social media and web services such as Twitter, Google and YouTube have repeatedly come under fire in recent months for apparent large-scale censorship of conservative, Catholic, Christian, traditional and other non-progressive viewpoints on their platforms.
Late last week, Martin encouraged his social media followers to report LifeSiteNews, Church Militant, the Lepanto Institute and American TFP to Twitter and Facebook “when you see evidence of hate.”
Martin has alleged that LifeSite and the other groups of inciting violence for reporting on a now former San Diego Catholic Church employee who is openly homosexual and advocates for the LGBT cause.
Twitter locked LifeSite out of its account late last week due to an article posted four years ago that gave expert analysis on the rise in sexually transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The reason given was that the post contained “hateful content.”
LifeSiteNews appealed the decision, more than 7,300 people signed a petition for Twitter to unlock the account, and several prominent individuals decried Twitter’s move. The account was restored the following day.
The headline in Sciambra’s post referred to Martin’s response to a question at his speaking engagement on whether the Catholic Church would ever recognize same-sex relationships with a religious rite:
Asked “Is there room for any kind of ritual (in the Catholic Church) that recognizes same sex relationships,” Martin said, “Not currently, not currently.” And he smiled.
Sciambra’s reporting indicates Martin’s inference to be that the Church may someday change its principles to allow for same-sex relationship recognition, which is controversial because the Church cannot change Her teaching. That’s something Martin is known to have inferred in the past, and something of interest to Catholics who observe the Church’s teaching on sexuality.
In addition, Sciambra’s article recounts a number of other things Martin said at the Atlanta-area talk.
Those included Martin telling his audience that people don’t choose their sexual orientation and that this has near consensus in the medical field, praising gay-affirmative ministries, referencing a man “married to his husband,” and saying “we need to learn” from their relationship and that it should be reverenced. He also stated that, “The more religious the family they come from, the more likely LGBT people are to attempt suicide.”
The Catholic Church teaches that “the psychological genesis” of homosexuality “remains largely unexplained.”
“Homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,” the Church’s Catechism states, and “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” they are “contrary to the natural law,” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”
The inclination of deep-seated homosexual tendencies is “objectively disordered,” the Church says, and those experiencing this trial “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”
The Church also says “homosexual persons are called to chastity.”
Martin spoke two Atlanta-area parishes this past weekend at the invitation of Archbishop Wilton Gregory.
Lay Catholics had planned rosary rallies last Saturday and Sunday at both parishes to protest Martin being given a Catholic platform to present his LGBT-affirming message.
Some of Sciambra’s Facebook friends were able to access Sciambra’s post before Facebook made it inactive on his page, and some were able to share it.
Daren Mehl, formerly an active homosexual and now an advocate for chaste same-sex-attracted Christians, was one of many to criticize Facebook’s move in a post on Sciambra’s page.
“Why is Facebook preventing coverage of Martin?” Mehl asked, sharing the post. “Why do they consistently let Martin lie and teach bad doctrine but don't allow someone to speak truth to his lies?”
“Even a well-written journalistic piece is shut down as seen here,” he said. “This is not bullying or harassment of Martin or the LGBT community, but well articulated written article.”
“This excellent and innocuous post by Joseph Sciambra nonetheless (is) being targeted by Facebook because of the effective critique of any pro-homosexual narratives are quickly censored,” said Mehl.