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Pope Francis meets with LGBT-activist Fr. James Martin in Rome, Sept. 30, 2019.Twitter/Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — Dissident Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin has thanked Pope Francis for his “love and affection for LGBTQ people” and his “support for all who minister among them.”

“Three years ago today I met with the Holy Father in the Apostolic Palace to discuss LGBTQ Catholic ministry,” tweeted Martin Friday morning. I want to thank Pope Francis for his love and affection for LGBTQ people, both inside and outside the church, and for his ongoing support for all who minister among them.”

As a priest with a longstanding record of promoting LGBT ideology in dissent from Catholic teaching, Martin’s gratitude to Francis highlights the question of whether Francis’ “love” for self-identified “LGBTQ people” conveys a call to chastity — as is required for Catholics with such inclinations — or a tacit acceptance of sin.

While the Catholic Church does not teach that same-sex attraction in itself is sinful, it does teach that “‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’ and “are contrary to the natural law,” adding explicitly that “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

Lending credence to the claim that Francis is affirming homosexuals in sin is the new announcement by Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp in Belgium, who claimed this week that Francis approves of the “blessing” of same-sex couples despite its condemnation by the Church. 

Just last week, Francis met with the large dissident Italian LGBT group “La Tenda di Gionata” at the conclusion of his weekly general audience, marking the fifth public occasion that Francis has met with a group advocating for heterodox LGBT ideology.

Moreover, during a private audience in May, Francis allegedly told dissident U.S. activist and professor Aaron Bianco, who is in a same-sex “marriage,” to continue his efforts to make the Church more open to homosexual unions.

Francis’ close relationship with Martin, who has been described as “arguably the most prominent [LGBT] activist” in the Church, has also led to speculation that Francis’ own views on homosexuality are heterodox. 

Among his most notorious actions, Martin has promoted a blasphemous drawing depicting Christ as a homosexual, has promoted same-sex civil unions, and has described viewing God as male as “damaging.”

Francis, who has himself repeatedly endorsed same-sex civil unions in a sharp departure from Church teaching, has expressed support for Martin’s dissident pro-LGBT activities in the past few years. 

In June, Francis praised Martin’s pro-LGBT conference which featured a range of pro-LGBT speakers advocating positions contrary to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

Nonetheless, Francis praised Martin for “working in the culture of encounter,” which, he said, “shortens distances and enriches us with our differences, just as Jesus did.”

As a sign of further support for Martin, the Jesuit priest was recently reappointed by Pope Francis to another five-year term as a consultor for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, despite his public, continued rejection of perennial Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

In fact, the Vatican invited him to speak at the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin specifically on an LGBT-related topic titled, “Exploring how Parishes can support those families with members who identify as LGBTI+.”

Francis and Martin met privately in September 2019, in what was reportedly already their third meeting, although their first substantial conversation. Both Martin, and America Magazine of which he is the “editor-at-large,” proclaimed the meeting as being “a public sign” of the pontiff’s “support” for Martin’s work promoting LGBT ideology in the name of Catholicism.