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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Attacks on Fr. James Martin SJ

There's been much in the Catholic news lately about attacks from conservatives on Fr. James Martin SJ because of his recent book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity (see: Fr. James Martin uninvited from talk at CUA seminary ... Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church ... The Real Scandal)

This whole thing isn't about changing doctrine, it's not even about changing tone since the catechism states that LGBT people must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. And yet the conservatives of our church have flipped their wigs over the idea of doing just that.

It should be mentioned that these people who are attacking Fr. Martin are really the lunatic fringe of the Western church - many polls have shown that a majority of lay Catholics in the US and Europe are much more liberal about LGBT issues than the hierarchy - most are in favor of marriage equality (Poll: Supermajority Of Catholics Now Support Same-Sex Marriage).

And while it's awful that these nuts are attacking Fr. Martin, I think we should pay attention to the bigger picture. The Catholic church is homophobic. No matter how nice it sounds that the Pope asked who am I to judge, the fact is that he and the church *do* judge. Here's what else the catechism teaches about LGBT people ...

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

And the Pope in his recent exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), made it clear that he believes that gay people have no right to get married like the rest of us ... There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family (If the pope loves gay people, he has a strange way of showing it).

So, yes, it's a bad thing that conservatives are attacking Fr. Martin for his view, but let's keep in mind how very limited his view is. The church's hierarchy and its tiny but vocal band of conservative followers no longer represent the views of most lay Catholics. It's past time for the Catholic church to re-examine its stance on LGBT people and their relationships, as other Christian churches have (3 Other Christian Denominations That Allow Gay Marriage).


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