Prominent Jesuit will accept award from pro-homosexual group condemned by Vatican, US bishops
PIKESVILLE, Maryland, September 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the most prominent and well-known Jesuits in America is slated to accept an award from New Ways Ministry, a pro-homosexual group that rejects moral teachings of the Catholic Church, on October 30.
New Ways Ministry will honor Father James Martin, the editor at large of America magazine and the author of numerous books, with its Bridge Building Award, which “honors those individuals who by their scholarship, leadership, or witness have promoted discussion, understanding, and reconciliation between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church.”
The group chose Martin “as a recipient of our Bridge Building Award for his strong promotion of LGBT acceptance through his communication ministry.”
“With his hundreds of thousands of social media followers and as Editor at Large for ‘America’ magazine, Fr. Martin has initiated a dialogue on LGBT issues with Catholics across the political spectrum, opening minds and hearts to greater acceptance,” the award’s Facebook event page says.
In addition to promoting the “coming out” of “LGBT Catholics” for “the way God created them,” Martin supports a number of progressive political causes.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican have denounced New Ways Ministry for its opposition to Church teaching. The group has been banned from speaking in Catholic dioceses across the country but it maintains that it is a “Catholic” group.
New Ways Ministry describes itself as “a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.”
Part of its mission is to “identify and combat personal and structural homophobia,” and “work for changes in attitudes and promote the acceptance of LGBT people as full and equal members of church and society.”
The group has published a number of materials attempting to reconcile Catholic moral teaching with same-sex “marriage” and sodomy.
“In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith’s document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons instructs. “One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that sexual activity between people of the same sex is “intrinsically disordered,” but that the attraction itself is not necessarily a sin. Those who experience same-sex attraction should be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” and “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,” the Catechism says (CCC 2357 – 2358).
“I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States,” Cardinal Francis George wrote when he was the head of the U.S. bishops’ conference. “Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination."
Some of New Ways Ministry’s most recent causes include the promotion of same-sex parenting rather than “outdated family models” that include a mother and father, supporting a New Jersey high school student whose Catholic school wouldn’t let her dress as a boy, and “heartily” thanking Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine for suggesting that the Catholic Church will eventually accept same-sex “marriage.”
“Church history has shown time and again that important changes in the Church have always arisen from the bottom to the top, and not the other way around,” New Ways Ministry executive director Francis DeBernardo wrote after Kaine’s controversial statement. “So, it is only a matter of time before the church hierarchy begins to accept and affirm what Catholics like Tim Kaine already know: that love is love, and that all love is holy, for God is love … Catholic bishops and other church leaders need to follow Kaine’s example by opening their eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to the experiences of lesbian and gay couples and their families. Instead of being locked in an ivory tower, Catholic bishops need to do what the rest of the country and the world has been doing for decades: dialogue with lesbian and gay people so they can see they are not an enemy to be fought, but children of God, as are all human beings.”
In 1999, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith permanently banned New Ways Ministry co-founders Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent from any pastoral work involving people who experience same-sex attraction.
Martin’s Facebook fan page has nearly half a million “likes.” He frequently comments on church issues for secular media.