(LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic diocese in Michigan is suffering the ire of mainstream media after Fr. James Martin brought attention to an instructive “Pastoral Care” document released by the diocese defending the faith against the LGBT agenda.
NBC News and other mainstream media outlets have directed their attention to the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan after Martin, a pro-LGBT Jesuit priest, pointed out on his popular Twitter account that the diocese had released an instructive document affirming authentic Church teaching and rejecting the LGBT agenda. Most notably, the diocese informed its pastors that those who are suffering from same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria must repent before they can receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion.
“From the Diocese of Marquette: ‘A person who publicly identifies as a different gender than his or her biological sex or has attempted ‘gender transitioning’ may not be Baptized, Confirmed, or received into full communion in the Church, unless the person has repented … ’” Martin tweeted December 7, attracting the eyes of the mainstream media.
“It is not a sin to be transgender. Transgender people are beloved children of God struggling to understand their identity. They need to be accepted with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity.’ As Cardinal (Wilton) Gregory told a trans person, ‘You belong to the heart of this church,’” the priest added.
While Martin’s comments suggesting that those suffering from gender dysphoria should be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” is true, the diocese’s document itself uses similar words, leading the reader to believe that Martin is advocating not for the true conversion of sinners but instead for the Church to accept sin without repentance, in the name of “respect.”
“Through the art of pastoral accompaniment, we meet people where they are and lead them step‐by‐step closer to Jesus Christ in a manner that is consistent with the Church’s teaching,” the diocese wrote in its heavily criticized statement. “Accompaniment requires patience. The path of conversion may take many years. For example, consider St. Monica’s accompaniment of her son, St. Augustine. A common error is to force conversion according to a set timeline on another person.”
“In general, conversion and a change of behavior seldom happen in an instant. St. Augustine listened to the preaching of St. Ambrose for a considerable time before he finally had a change in heart and embraced a life of chastity. Thus, we must be patient and lead others step‐by‐step along the way,” it added.
Despite the measured and charitable instruction from the diocese to help those struggling with “gender identity” and same-sex attraction, after Martin tweeted his disapproval of the diocese affirming official Church teaching, the Associated Press ran the headline, “Michigan diocese: Transgenders must ‘repent’ to be baptized,” and NBC wrote, “Catholic diocese says gay and trans people can’t be baptized or receive Communion.” Both articles featured criticism of the diocese, with “LGBTQ” activists suggesting these policies are largely responsible for “the trend of people opting out of Catholicism.”
Regardless of public outcry, the unchanging teaching of the Catholic Church states that while having feelings of gender dysphoria or same-sex attraction is not sinful in itself, acting upon the inclination is sinful.
Due to the gravity of these particular sins, a person who transgresses the moral law in these ways is in a state of grave sin, and unless the person repents, reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist constitute the sin of sacrilege on behalf of both the individual and the priest administering the Sacraments.
In effect, to willfully administer the Sacraments to someone who is living a life publicly opposed to the Catholic faith puts the soul of the priest and the unrepentant recipient in jeopardy, per Catholic doctrine.
Briefly explaining the issue in plain language, Fr. Ryan Hilderbrand, a Catholic priest in Indiana, tweeted:
(i) The Church considers bodily mutilation to be sinful.
(ii) The Church considers gender transitioning to be a form of bodily mutilation.
(iii) To confer a sacrament on someone in mortal sin & unrepentant is an act of sacrilege.