Friday, September 20, 2019

Archbishop Chaput Calls Out Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Finally, an American prelate had the courage to refute Fr. James Martin, SJ.  Fr. Martin has taken to task to be as sort of "bridge-builder" between homosexuals and the Catholic Church. He even wrote a book about "Building Bridges." However, his effort does not call for homosexuals to live a chaste life as the Church teaches, nor does it call them to repent for their homosexual sins. Rather, his tone is soft and often ambiguous which has left many confused, Catholics and homosexual.

Listening to Fr. Martin or reading his content, one would think that the Catholic Church endorses homosexual acts and so-called same-sex marriage. On his Facebook page, many people clearly support homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  Catholics such as myself who have dared to comment on his posts have been met with personal attacks and mockery. Father Martin in no instance jumps in to correct those who attack the Catholic teachings on homosexuality.

The silence from the Vatican and bishops has bothered many Catholics. Is the Church turning from the truth? Is she now going to become like the Episcopalians who endorse homosexuality?  This is what many Catholics dread. However, Archbishop Chaput gave us some hope. He publicly reprimanded Fr. Martin and made it clear that he is not an authority in the Catholic Church.  In a column on his diocese's website, he writes:

Father James Martin, S.J., spoke at St. Joseph’s University earlier this week (Tuesday, September 17) on themes related to his book Building A Bridge. And as I expected, quite a few emails arrived in my inbox questioning his teaching on same-sex related issues and urging me to prevent his appearance. A local bishop is typically unable to do that, since most Catholic universities operate under the authority of the religious community that sponsors them.
Father Martin has also, at times, been the target of bitter personal attacks. As I’ve said previously, such attacks are inexcusable and unChristian.
In reality, Father Martin has sought in a dedicated way to accompany and support people with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. Many of his efforts have been laudable, and we need to join him in stressing the dignity of persons in such situations.
At the same time, a pattern of ambiguity in his teachings tends to undermine his stated aims, alienating people from the very support they need for authentic human flourishing. Due to the confusion caused by his statements and activities regarding same-sex related (LGBT) issues,[i] I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims.
Among my concerns, I note the following:
Father Martin suggests that same-sex attracted people and those with gender dysphoria should be labeled according to their attraction and dysphoria, calling for use of the phrase “LGBT Catholic” in Church documents and language.[ii] But while the Church does teach that the body is integral to human identity, our sexual appetites do not define who we are. If we are primarily defined by our sexual attractions, then, in order to be fulfilled, it would follow that we must identify with and act on our attractions.
Anything calling for the denial or restraint of our sexual appetites would logically amount to repression and even cruelty. This is the opposite of the Gospel’s clear teaching that our identity is found in Jesus Christ, created in the image and likeness of God and called to be sons and daughters of God.
Father Martin has, in the past, suggested that people are born “gay.” In his own words, “[i]t is a fact that people are born this way … [a] psychological, psychiatric, and biological truth.”[iii] To his credit, Father Martin has seemed to modify this view; studies have recently shown that there is no “gay gene,” and homosexuality is the product of a variety of factors.
It’s true that many persons with same-sex attraction have experienced it for as long as they can remember, but no firm scientific consensus exists on the cause.  Moreover, genetic dispositions — to the degree they do exist — say nothing about the benefit or harm toward which they dispose those having them.
Any implication that a person’s behavior is predetermined, and that intellect and free will have little role in the formation and control of his or her sexual appetites, is both false and destructive, especially to young people.
Father Martin suggests that Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction as “objectively disordered” (for example, in CCC 2358) is cruel and should be modified. In his words, “saying that one of the deepest parts of a person — the part that gives and receives love — is disordered is needlessly hurtful.”[iv] But here Father Martin misrepresents Catholic belief. As the U.S. bishops stressed in their 2006 document, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care:
“It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church. Sometimes the Church is misinterpreted or misrepresented as teaching that persons with homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered, as if everything about them were disordered or rendered morally defective by this inclination. Rather, the disorder is in that particular inclination, which is not ordered toward the fulfillment of the natural ends of human sexuality. Because of this, acting in accord with such an inclination simply cannot contribute to the true good of the human person. Nevertheless, while the particular inclination to homosexual acts is disordered, the person retains his or her intrinsic human dignity and value.”[v]
It’s worth recalling here that the Catechism also describes lust, extra-marital relations, and contracepted sex (2351), masturbation (2352), and even non-sexual sins such as lying and calumny (1753), as intrinsically “disordered.” The suggestion that the wisdom of the Church, rooted in the Word of God and centuries of human experience, is somehow cruel or misguided does grave harm to her mission. Families have been destroyed because of this misperception, and Father Martin regrettably contributes ambiguity to issues that demand a liberating biblical clarity.
Father Martin partners with organizations like New Ways Ministry that oppose or ignore the teaching of the Church, and he endorses events, such as PRIDE month, that cause confusion for the faithful. To the contrary we need to reaffirm, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) stated in its 1986 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, that
“All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted.”
Father Martin — no doubt unintentionally — inspires hope that the Church’s teachings on human sexuality can be changed. In his book, Building A Bridge, he writes: “For a teaching to be really authoritative it is expected that it will be received by the people of God … From what I can tell, in the LGBT community, the teaching that LGBT people must be celibate their entire lives … has not been received.”[vi] One might easily, and falsely, infer from such language that the Church’s teaching on sexual intimacy lacks binding authority for same-sex attracted Catholics.
Again to his credit, Father Martin has stressed that, “as a Catholic priest, I have … never challenged [the Church’s] teachings, nor will I.” [vii] But what is implied or omitted often speaks as loudly as what is actually stated, and in the current climate, incomplete truths do, in fact, present a challenge to faithful Catholic belief.
When people hear that “the Church welcomes gay people” or needs to be more “inclusive and welcoming” without also hearing the conditions of an authentically Christian life set for all persons by Jesus Christ and his Church — namely, living a life of chastity — they can easily misunderstand the nature of Christian conversion and discipleship.
For this reason, Catholic teaching always requires more than polite affirmation or pro forma agreement, particularly from those who comment publicly on matters of doctrine. Faithful Catholics who are same-sex attracted need support and encouragement in the virtue of chastity.  They deserve to hear — as all people do — the truth about human sexuality spoken clearly and confidently. Anything less lacks both mercy and justice.
In its 1986 Letter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned us,
“This Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programs which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful.”
Supporters of Father Martin’s efforts will note, correctly, that several Church leaders have endorsed his work.   Those Churchmen are responsible for their words — as I am for mine, as pastor of the Church in Philadelphia.  And specifically in that role as pastor, I want to extend the CDF’s caution to all the faithful of the Church in Philadelphia, regarding the ambiguity about same-sex related issues found throughout the statements and activities of Father James Martin.
[i]      See, for example, Fr. Martin comments in “School defies Archdiocese of Indianapolis, refuses to fire teacher in same-sex marriage,” CBS News June 21, 2019
[ii]          Rev. James Martin, S.J., “Reflections on Two L.G.B.T. Questions at the Synod”, America, 12 October 2018; Rev. James Martin, S.J., Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity, Revised and expanded edition (New York: HarperCollins, 2018), 35.
[iii]         From a Facebook video entitled “Q&A about the Pope’s recent comment ‘God made you gay.’”
[iv]         Quoted in Jonathan Merritt, “This Vatican Adviser is Moving Catholics toward LGBT Inclusion”, Religion News Service, 6 June 2017.
[vii]        Rev. James Martin, S.J., “What is the Official Church Teaching on Homosexuality? Responding to a Commonly Asked Question”, America, 6 April 2018.


Those are fighting words and welcome!  Finally, a Catholic bishop stands up to Fr. Martin and publicly tells all that he is not an authority and his messages are not in line with the Catholic faith. However, Fr. Martin is not one to stay shut. He quickly offered a short response, he wrote:

I want to thank Archbishop Chaput for his thoughtful response to my recent lecture at St. Joseph’s University “Building a Bridge: Reaching Out to the Excluded in Our Church.” However, I was sorry that he felt the need to publish it.
I think my main response to his column is that it’s difficult to respond to critiques that I am “implying” things about church teaching, when I am assiduous in my writings and talks about not challenging church teaching on matters of sexual morality (or anything, for that matter). I have written clearly about that in America magazine, among other places, for example, in my article “What is Official Church Teaching on Homosexuality?”

Also, the lecture at St. Joseph’s University this week, which prompted his column, is the same lecture that I presented at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin last year, the text of which was vetted and approved beforehand by the Vatican.
One of the reasons that I don’t focus on same-sex relations and same-sex marriage, which I know are both impermissible (and immoral) under church teaching, is that LGBT Catholics have heard this repeatedly. Indeed, often that is the only thing that they hear from their church.
What I am trying to do instead is encourage Catholics to see LGBT people as more than just sexual beings, to see them in their totality, much as Jesus saw people on the margins, people who were also seen as “other” in his time.
I remain grateful for the Archbishop’s asking people not to engage in “ad hominem” attacks, and I appreciate the careful tone of his letter and have always appreciated his kind communications with me. And may I take this opportunity to thank him for his service to my beloved hometown of Philadelphia.
Rev. James Martin, S.J.
Editor at Large
America Media


I was shocked to read Fr. Martin finally acknowledge that same-sex relations and marriage are impermissible and immoral under Church teaching!  I almost fell out of my seat while reading his reply. This is probably the first time that Fr. Martin has told the truth regarding homosexuality and how the Catholic Church teaches on it.

Archbishop Chaput replied to Fr. Martin, he wrote:

I appreciate Father Martin’s typically gracious comments, which are consistent with the man. They do not, however, change the need for my column. I’m sure Father Martin would agree that “official” Church teaching (as opposed to some alternative, imagined, unofficial system of belief and practice) is simply what the Church believes based on the Word of God and centuries of experience with the human condition.
Moreover, the point is not to “not challenge” what the Church believes about human sexuality, but to preach and teach it with confidence, joy, and zeal. Biblical truth liberates; it is never a cause for embarrassment.
Finally, Father Martin and I emphatically agree that persons with same-sex attraction are children of God and well loved by him. Thus they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. The Church must earnestly seek to do that while remaining true to her convictions.
But it is clearly not true that the “only thing” Catholics with same-sex attraction hear from their Church is a message of rejection. Or if it is, perhaps the responsibility can lie as much with the listener as it does with the Church. We each have the freedom to choose. Listening, like teaching, is an act of the will.

Source (bottom of Fr. Martin's reply)

I hope more bishops and priests join in and offer their criticism of how Fr. Martin conducts ministry to homosexuals. The Catholic Church's mission is to bring the people back to God.  She is to go out in Jesus' name, baptize and teach, sanctify and forgive, admonish and show mercy. Reaching out to homosexuals is a must for the Church. They are not to be left behind. However, we do this by affirming what God has revealed to us about homosexuality and call for repentance and a change of behavior. Simply telling homosexuals that they are loved does not do much. It implicitly endorses their bad behavior (if they are active gays).  Calling on them to live holy lives is a must. This means accepting that one has homosexual tendencies, but not giving in to them.  Ironically, this same attitude applies to every other sin.

I hope Archbishop Chaput's words will not expedite the acceptance of his resignation. He turns 75 on September 26 and this is the age that is bishops must turn in their resignation as required by Canon Law. Archbishop Vigano had claimed that Pope Francis does not like Archbishop Chaput. Many have speculated this after Archbishop Chaput was never made a cardinal. If Pope Francis quickly accepts Archbishop Chaput's resignation, this may cement the theories.

Let us pray for Archbishop Chaput and Fr. James Martin, SJ.

What do you think?  Post your comment below on Disqus.  Remember to follow the rules on commenting.

News Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading and for your comment. All comments are subject to approval. They must be free of vulgarity, ad hominem and must be relevant to the blog posting subject matter.


Catholic Church (751) God (405) Atheism (342) Jesus (335) Bible (306) Jesus Christ (280) Pope Francis (229) Atheist (227) Liturgy of the Word (192) Science (152) LGBT (146) Christianity (138) Pope Benedict XVI (79) Rosa Rubicondior (79) Gay (78) Abortion (75) Prayer (65) President Obama (57) Physics (53) Philosophy (52) Liturgy (51) Vatican (50) Christian (49) Blessed Virgin Mary (43) Christmas (43) New York City (40) Psychology (40) Holy Eucharist (36) Politics (34) Women (34) Biology (30) Supreme Court (30) Baseball (29) Religious Freedom (27) NYPD (26) Traditionalists (24) priests (24) Space (23) Pope John Paul II (22) Racism (21) Evil (20) Health (20) First Amendment (19) Pro Abortion (19) Protestant (19) Theology (19) Christ (18) Astrophysics (17) Child Abuse (17) Death (17) Evangelization (17) Illegal Immigrants (17) Pro Choice (17) Apologetics (16) Donald Trump (16) Police (16) Priesthood (16) Pedophilia (15) Marriage (14) Vatican II (14) Divine Mercy (12) Blog (11) Eucharist (11) Autism (10) Gospel (10) Jewish (10) Morality (10) Muslims (10) Poverty (10) September 11 (10) Easter Sunday (9) Gender Theory (9) academia (9) Human Rights (8) Pentecostals (8) Personhood (8) Sacraments (8) Big Bang Theory (7) CUNY (7) Cognitive Psychology (7) Condoms (7) David Viviano (7) Ellif_dwulfe (7) Evidence (7) Barack Obama (6) Hell (6) Hispanics (6) Holy Trinity (6) Humanism (6) NY Yankees (6) Spiritual Life (6) Babies (5) Cyber Bullying (5) Gender Dysphoria Disorder (5) Massimo Pigliucci (5) Podcast (5) Pope Pius XII (5) The Walking Dead (5) Angels (4) Donations (4) Ephebophilia (4) Pope Paul VI (4) Catholic Bloggers (3) Death penalty (3) Evangelicals (3) Pluto (3) Pope John XXIII (3) Baby Jesus (2) Dan Arel (2) Eastern Orthodox (2) Encyclical (2) Founding Fathers (2) Freeatheism (2) Oxfam (2) Penn Jillette (2) Pew Research Center (2) Plenary Indulgence (2) Cursillo (1) Dan Savage (1) Divine Providence (1) Fear The Walking Dead (1) Pentecostales (1)