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Father James Martin, SJ

March 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-homosexual Jesuit priest James Martin redefined the meaning of Lent in an interview for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the powerhouse LGBT lobbying organization in Washington, D.C.  

Martin said that Lent is a time to prepare for Easter and to understand the sufferings of Christ, but then quickly switched gears and suggested that the lives of LGBT persons reflect the suffering of Christ. 

“So one of the invitations for Catholics (during Lent) is to unite yourself with people who are suffering, including LGBT people,” Martin said.  

Lent is “a time for people to engage more deeply with LGBT people,” he declared. 

The remainder of the published interview focused not on a Christocentric understanding of Lent but on how homosexual and the gender-confused people can be made to feel more comfortable about continuing their self-proclaimed sexual/gender identities and activities within the Catholic Church. 

The Jesuit suggested Lenten “spiritual exercises” in the form of questions for Catholics, focusing not on their relationship with Jesus Christ, but on their relationships with LGBT persons.

“Can you exercise humility, which is a virtue during Lent, and listen to people that you might not understand?” said Martin, pushing the idea that any negative impressions about the goodness of homosexuality and transgenderism are nothing more than “misunderstanding” based on “old stereotypes.” 

He also suggested that God might want to reveal himself to Catholics through homosexuals.  

“Can you be open to the fact that God may want to meet you through this LGBT person?” asked Martin, adding, “the person you thought was other is actually the person who reveals God to you.”  

As for “LGBT Catholics,” Martin pointed out that Jesus healed many people, and what he wants to do in the lives of self-identified homosexuals and the transgendered today is not to heal their proclivities or find God-given strength to master their same-sex inclinations, which the Church teaches are “disordered,” but to have them feel like they are no longer “on the margins” of the Church. 

“I hope … that the LGBTQ community can feel welcome in their own church,” he concluded.

Recent backlash to Martin’s ministry from prominent priests

In two essays, prominent Catholic priests have pushed back at Fr. Martin’s ministry.

Canon Lawyer and member of EWTN’s Papal Posse, Fr. Gerald Murray, said Martin’s recent presentation to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities was “in plain contradiction of Catholic teaching on the nature and purpose of God’s gift of human life.”

Martin had claimed that “The four years spent in college is an important experience for all students, but especially for LGBT youth, who are not only discovering their identity and navigating their relationship with parents but hoping to discover their own value.”

Murray wrote that Martin is wrong to assert that there are a variety of “identities” other than identity of being a male or a female, made by God, one for the other: 

The alternative identity he posits is actually a variety of identities: there are those males and females made by God for the purpose of engaging in homosexual sodomy (lesbians and gays); there are those made by God for the purpose of engaging in both marital relations and homosexual sodomy (bisexuals); and there are those made by God to rebel against their natural condition of being male or female in order to re-classify and present themselves, through various bodily mutilations, as being the opposite of what, in fact, they are: this is the category of men who insist they are women and women who insist they are men (transsexuals). 

He continued:

Fr. Martin’s extended project is to change the way the Church approaches the phenomenon of homosexuality in our Church and in our society. It is based on the erroneous conceit that the Church’s teaching on the nature of God‘s creation and his law are subject to revision by human beings who, unhappy with the way God made them and with how he commands them to act, discover a new “identity” founded upon God’s supposed alternate plan, for some people.

The human dignity of all persons is promoted by obedience to what God has established. That dignity is wounded and obscured by any rejection of God’s plan and purpose for humanity. The just and loving way to help people who affirm an imaginary LGBT identity is to guide them away from this mistaken idea and towards an appreciation of the true nature of who they are in the sight of the Good God.

Fr. John M. McDermott, a fellow Jesuit and former member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission who now teaches theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, identified Martin as a “minor churchman.”

“There is no salvation unless wounded people accept the cross and with free resolve follow Jesus,” wrote McDermott in a lengthy essay for Homiletic & Pastoral Review Magazine, adding that Martin apparently believes “they should not be confronted with negative prescriptions condemning homosexual behavior.”

“If she were to follow Fr. Martin’s recommendations, one wonders how long the Church must hold off informing such people of the Gospel’s prohibition of homosexual acts,” said McDermott. “Even more one fears lest silence be taken to imply consent. Young people especially will be exposed to great dangers in our sensualist society if they are deprived of the complete Gospel message, which is a message of freedom and self-mastery under grace.” 

McDermott continued:

Especially in our era of unleashed sensuality, the truth of the Gospel’s call to conversion should resound from the Church’s ministers. For such warning belongs to the essence of their vocation. Otherwise sinners will not be helped to recognize the grounds of their deep dissatisfaction and will remain in their guilt.  

However much Fr. Martin emphasizes compassion, it should be clear that compassion cannot consist in approving sinful behavior. That would only confirm people in their misery and not let them recognize that the homosexual lifestyle is the very reason for their distress. 

True compassion involves suffering with Christ, crucifying one’s own flesh and bearing recriminations and scorn from those who do not want now to be converted in the prayerful hope that one’s witness to the truth will ultimately be accepted by one’s enemies. Christian compassion entails suffering with Jesus crucified for the sake of converting others from sin for their salvation (Col 1:24).

HRC has promised to make available a video version of Fr. Martin’s interview