Cardinal Sarah offers critique of L.G.B.T. book, Father James Martin responds

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is pictured at the Vatican in this Oct. 9, 2012, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Robert Sarah, a frequent defender of Catholicism’s teaching on human sexuality, rejected arguments presented in a book by a popular Jesuit writer that the church must be more respectful toward gay and lesbian Catholics. Instead, he said, Catholics have a duty to remind gays and lesbians that homosexual acts are sinful.

The cardinal, who serves as the Vatican’s chief liturgist, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that L.G.B.T. people “are always good because they are children of God.” But, he continues, homosexuality is “at odds with human nature” and sexual relations between two people of the same gender are “gravely sinful and harmful to the well-being of those who partake in them.”

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The essay directly addresses a new book by America editor-at-large James Martin, S.J., called Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.

The essay directly addresses a new book by America editor-at-large James Martin, S.J., called Building a Bridge.

In his book, which was approved by Jesuit authorities prior to publication and which received an endorsement from Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the head of the Vatican’s office on the family, Father Martin argues that church leaders and the L.G.B.T. community are often at odds because of a failure to respect one another. He does not challenge church teaching on homosexuality, but instead he calls for dialogue between the two sides.

In comments to America, Father Martin called Cardinal Sarah’s column “a step forward,” noting that the cardinal used the term “‘L.G.B.T.,’ which a few traditionalist Catholics reject.” (Part of Father Martin’s book urges church leaders to use the more colloquial phrase “gay and lesbian” rather than antiquated phrases preferred by some Catholics, such as “persons with same-sex attraction.”)

But, Father Martin said, the essay “misses a few important points,” including a failure to acknowledge “the immense suffering that L.G.B.T. Catholics have felt at the hands of their church.”

Father Martin called Cardinal Sarah’s column “a step forward.”

He also urged the cardinal to consider why the church’s teaching on homosexuality has been widely rejected by L.G.B.T. Catholics and their families.

“The only way that the church will be able to answer that question is by listening to them, which is part of the bridge building I am calling for in my book,” Father Martin said.

The cardinal describes Father Martin, who was appointed by Pope Francis to a Vatican communications commission earlier this year, as “one of the most outspoken critics of the church’s message with regards to sexuality,” a designation the Jesuit rejects.

“Cardinal Sarah’s op-ed inaccurately states that my book is critical of church teaching, which it is not. Nor am I,” Father Martin said. “Building a Bridge is not a book of moral theology nor a book on the sexual morality of L.G.B.T. people. It is an invitation to dialogue and to prayer, and I’m sure that Cardinal Sarah would agree on the importance of both.”

Father Martin: “Cardinal Sarah’s op-ed inaccurately states that my book is critical of church teaching, which it is not. Nor am I.”

Cardinal Sarah emerged from a contentious 2015 Vatican summit about family life as a defender of traditional Catholic morality, during which he lumped together homosexuality and Islamist terrorism as major threats to humanity.

He said that “gender ideology,” in which he includes homosexuality and radical Islam, were “two major threats to the family,” calling them “demonic” and saying they are both “destroyers of family.”

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century,” he continued, “Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic Fanaticism are today.”

In his essay, the cardinal said that Father Martin “is correct to argue that there should not be any double standard with regard to the virtue of chastity, which, challenging as it may be, is part of the good news of Jesus Christ for all Christians.”

“For the unmarried—no matter their attractions—faithful chastity requires abstention from sex,” he continued.

But he said the church must not soften its preaching when it comes to homosexuality.

“People who identify as members of the LGBT community are owed this truth in charity, especially from clergy who speak on behalf of the church about this complex and difficult topic,” he wrote. “To love someone as Christ loves us means to love that person in truth.”

Pope Francis has made several overtures to gay and lesbian Catholics, including perhaps his most famous utterance as pope—“Who am I to judge?”—when asked about gay priests in 2013. During his 2015 visit to the United States, he met with a former student and his partner during a private audience, and in 2016 he said he has provided pastoral care to gay people, even as pope.

For his part, Cardinal Sarah argues in his op-ed that the church should hold up the stories of Catholics with “same-sex inclinations” who refrain from sexual relations in order to live in accordance with church teaching.

“Their example deserves respect and attention, because they have much to teach all of us about how to better welcome and accompany our brothers and sisters in authentic pastoral charity,” he wrote.

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Henry George
2 years 11 months ago

Michael:

Why do you assume that an "erroneous conscience" binds someone ? After all God does not want us to commit a sin
whether we understand it to be a sin or not. The person who has an erroneous conscience should refrain from acting upon it and the Holy Spirit can help them not act.

Further up you said you "Understand full well..." I don't understand myself fully, I doubt you understand yourself fully,
so why would you assume to understand someone's written remarks fully ?

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

Henry,

Someone who has properly informed their conscience may not know it is erroneous. Thus, if a person's "informed" conscience judges the action of the person to be right even if it goes against a teaching of the Church must follow it. There are many examples where after informing one's conscience the person judges it to be right (e.g., Humanae Vitae, the birth control encyclical). Conscience should not be confused with the contemporary understanding that many people have, namely, anyone can do what they think is right. This is not an informed conscience.

There are two contemporary theologies of conscience: Germain Grisez and Bernard Haring. Grisez's theology of conscience is often referred to as one of 'conforming' (e.g. to the Church teachings) while Haring's theology of conscience is often referred to one of 'informing'. One informs their conscience properly, then they make a judgement of conscience and must follow it. Aquinas' teaching about conscience is closer to Haring, not Grisez.

I don't want to go into a lengthly discussion of Conscience. There are many books you can read.

Robert Lewis
2 years 11 months ago

Cardinal Newman's "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk" makes it quite clear that he would take the side of Haring. In that text, he calls conscience "the primeval voice of God" in human nature and clearly states that to obey a papal pronouncement whilst knowing, according to one's conscience, that it is erroneous may be a "MORTAL SIN." And, if I recall it correctly, he also writes in that text that he will "drink a toast" to the pope, but to "conscience first."

ghernyw@hotmail.com
2 years 11 months ago

Michael,

Is there not a difference between Properly Informing their conscience and have a correctly informed conscience ?
Why is Free Will ignored as if the Conscience were some sort of Compulsion ?
It is interesting that you support conscientious objection to Humane Vitae and other Church Teachings that you
object to, while dismissing it for those who oppose Church Teachings that you favour, or "modern" psychological
teachings.

I do not find your interpretation of Aquinas to be complete or correct.

As for Grizez and Haring, studied both, met one, though I disagreed with him.

How one "informs one conscience properly is an open question, for if you have done so correctly, you decision
should not go counter to the teachings of the Church.

You are a Protestant, at least in Intellect, in your views.
Which is your right, but you ought not to present yourself as a Catholic Theologian.

Michael Barberi
2 years 10 months ago

Your assertions about me are incorrect and highly misleading. For one thing, I do support one's informed conscience regarding Humanae Vitae as well as any other moral teaching of the Magisterium, whether one judges it right or wrong. I never said I dismiss someone's informed conscience if it disagreed with a moral teaching I favor. So, kindly spare me your irresponsible accusations.

Let me be clear: I do not denigrate, criticize, dishonor or disrespect anyone's informed conscience whether it agreed or disagreed with a moral teaching of the Magisterium. Equally important, an informed conscience based on legitimate and scholarly moral arguments for a rethinking of certain moral teachings of the Magisterium is not wrong or "Protestant". You can disagree for good reasons and still be a faithful Catholic.

If you studied Aquinas you would not say my interpretation of him is incorrect. My comments regarding Aquinas and conscience may be incomplete because comments on Am. Mag. have to be short and brief. However, while Aquinas never specified how one can know their conscience is mistaken, he did offer resources, namely, prudence and its allies, the role of the Holy Spirit and its gift of counsel and connaturality. Nevertheless, Aquinas taught that one should never go against one's informed conscience (so did Haring and B16). As mentioned in my previous comments, moral culpability is an matter. However, there is no moral culpability if one informs their conscience properly and reasonably, and this issue is not an open question as you claim. Moral theologians disagree all the time on various moral teachings of the Magisterium. Would you claim that these moral theologians that disagree with certain moral teachings have not informed their consciences properly? Or would you merely call them dissidents and heretics? Keep in mind that a 2002 Poll of Catholic Priests demonstrated that 40% of young and older priests did not think artificial birth control was morally wrong or sinful. Many priests disagree with some moral teachings of the Magisteriuml. Are they all Protestant in their intellect as well?

Grisez insists that 'nobody can have a right to follow his or her judgment of conscience contrary to the magisterium's teaching' (page 12 from "The Duty and Right to Follow One's Judgment of Conscience", Homiletic and Pastoral Review 89/7, April 1989). This seems to be your argument as well. If this be true, there would be "no role for free will and conscience". You don't have to think about it or educate yourself. All one has to do is blindly accept all moral teachings of the Magisterium. After all, according to you all moral teachings of the Magisterium are the absolute moral truth. Don't even think about Catholic history where many teachings that were taught as truth for centuries were eventually reformed.

The best book on Conscience I read, and suggest to you, is "Conscience and Catholicism: The Nature and Function of Conscience in Contemporary Roman Catholic Moral Theology" by Robert J. Smith. It thoroughly describes the theology of conscience of Aquinas, Haring and Grisez and compares them. Of course, there are plenty of other sources as well.

This is my last comment to you. I am not interested in protracted side arguments because that would take us far afield from the subject of this article.

Lisa Weber
2 years 11 months ago

Stuart,
You refer to "our own immediate past success" in evangelization. To what are you referring?

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 years 11 months ago

Lisa
Reference is to The African Catholic Church:
in 1900 there were several million Catholics in all of Africa with 130 million by the close of the centuryAND an an estimated 200 million in 2016, with a projected 460 million by 2040!!!
Cardinal Sarah is representative of a massive shift in the Catholic demographic. At 450million in 2040 , African Catholics they would be then equal to the entire world wide population of Catholics in 1950......after 2000 years of growth!

Anne Danielson
2 years 11 months ago

"Their same-sex inclinations have not been vanquished."

"With God’s grace and our perseverance, chastity is not only possible, but it will also become the source for true freedom for all of us."

If we desire to be chaste in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds, and accept Salvational Love, God's Gift of Grace and Mercy, chastity is possible.

Why not include those who struggle with a same-sex sexual attraction, least it appear that it is not possible to overcome this disordered sexual inclination.

Love, which is rightly ordered, "can make all things new again". Believe in the transformative nature of Salvational Love, God's Gift of Grace and Mercy. Christ Has Revealed through His Life, His Passion, and His Death On The Cross, that no Greater Love is there than this- to desire Salvation for one's beloved.

We are Catholic by God's Design

This is the meaning of life; that we should have eternal life through a Gift of Eternal Love, Perfect, life transforming, Salvational Love, God's Gift of Grace and Mercy.

"[11] He came unto his own, and his own received him not. [12] But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. [13] Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. [14] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

William Bannon
2 years 11 months ago

The word "natural" is being used to affirm gay genesis and thus gay acts. But that's a non Christian use of the word "natural". I could say I have a natural impulse since I was young to have three large helpings of pasta but that's actually gluttony not a natural degree of appetite. Sin can start early. A Christian should believe that Romans chapter one is not simply St. Paul talking as though we have the private letters of St. Paul. It is God moving St. Paul to state a truth....that gay acts are against nature and result from God delivering up men and women to shameful, unnatural behaviour which "delivering up" is a punishment for their ignoring Him for a previous time. This "delivering up" is never discussed in homilies because it is a purely adult topic and the homily audience includes children and thus our homilies never really treat of the severity of God. But Romans one (like Christ predicting Jerusalem's massacre in 70AD)....treats of God's severity as a component in the arrival of gay orientation. The problem in Catholicism lately is that Popes have ignored Romans 13:4 on the death penalty so it is no wonder that others have ignored Romans one here:
" While claiming to be wise, they became fools
23
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
24
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts* for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
25
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26
Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
27
and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.

Amazingly conservatives and liberals alike avoid what Romans one is saying about the pattern which can obtain even in young boys capable of mortal sin after seven years old: ignore God, don't thank or worship him// God in some sense gives them up to sinful passions// they therefore follow that direction which includes the unnatural. Conservatives instead seek the catechism and apparently flee something much scarier...the concept of gay orientation arising from a punishing withdrawal of God from those who ignored Him previous to gay acts.

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

People are not born gluttons, thieves or murderers. This is a learned desire either based on a lack of control, a tumultuous abusive upbringing and the like. Most homosexuals I know have fought their sexual inclination for years as they grew up. This has lead many into moral dilemma and confusion until they became young adults.

When it comes to controlling one's sexual desires, we all are called to control them as the responsible use of them are for marriage. The issue of homosexuality and homosexual acts within a marriage (e.g., irregular marriage: Civil, Christian or Jewish) is not merely a matter of chastity (a most misunderstood term) or a form of chastity called temperance. When the Church proclaims that homosexuals must practice a lifetime of sexual abstinence regardless if they are in an irregular marriage, they are also professing that God grace will be sufficient and such a burden is reasonable.

I have heard all the arguments for the Church's teaching and while I don't have all the answers, I do believe that the Church can find a pastoral way to minister to homosexuals without such an almost impossible mandatory requirement as lifetime sexual abstinence while denying them a licit and valid marriage. Even priests 'voluntarily' choose celibacy. However, they can get a dispensation, leave the priesthood and marry. They have this choice. However, there is no such dispensation for homosexuals. Homosexuals have only one choice, a mandatory requirement to practice lifetime sexual abstinence when at the same time they are told that they cannot enter into a valid and licit marriage (Civil, Christian or Jewish), much less a Catholic sacramental marriage.

If the Church can find a pastoral way of permitting Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried per Amoris Laetitia, they can find a pastoral way for homosexuals without the imposed requirement of lifetime sexual abstinence within a licit and valid marriage.

William Bannon
2 years 11 months ago

You believe yourself over the Holy Spirit. You're not alone. Three Popes in a row did the same ignore process on Rom.13:4....despite Dei Verbum of Vat,
.II saying that the magisterium is not above the Word but serves it.
Since Romans one says that God gives up certain people who ignore Him to degrading passions...then those same people can undo two things...undo their ignoring of God after which they can return to hetero sexual nature. The penis belongs by nature in the vagina during sex where it has an ultimate teleology inter alia that sometimes occurs.....it should not be in the mouth nor in the defecation tract by gays or heteros..since the nature of the process excludes such deadend actions. God has given you the answer through Romans one.
Perhaps prior to death you will finally honor Romans one.

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

I don't put myself over the Holy Spirit, so please spare me from such a ridiculous remark. There is much disagreement over the 1 Roman text you refer to. However, I don't think any interpretation that is not the Church's interpretation will not be convincing to you. I think we will have to leave this subject for another time.

William Bannon
2 years 11 months ago

Sure you do and the much disagreement comes from Catholic writer gays wanting sex. Fr. Raymond Brown was the premier liberal biblical scholar of the Church yet he dismissed the attempts of liberal scholars to allow for loving gay acts as opposed to sinful gay acts e.g. via "arsenokoitai". I quote him from pages 529-530 of " Introduction to the New Testament": " the linquistic composition of arsenokoitai lends little support to confining the term to using male prostitutes...The components arsen and koimasthai are found in Lev.18:22; 20:13, which forbid lying with a male as with a woman...surely Paul, whose basic bible was the LXX, had these passages in mind when he used the compound word to condemn homosexuality."
On chapter one of Romans, Brown sees no controvery worth addressing on page 566 where he observes my cited verses.
Neutral readers of a liberal slant....read perhaps in one's library, Brown in the pages I've given here.

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

I find your claim that I am putting myself ahead of the Holy Spirit insulting and irresponsible. You are not carefully reading what I wrote. In any case, our interchanges are not fruitful or productive and we will have to end them for now.

Joseph Jaglowicz
2 years 11 months ago

"You believe yourself over the Holy Spirit. You're not alone." And you know, How??? The Holy Spirit works among ALL the faithful, not just among the ordained, much less only among the hierarchs: "The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One,(111) cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters of faith when "from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful" (8*) they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God" (LG-12). Jesus approved of slavery (e.g., Luke 12:45-48). Vatican II condemned it.
Doctrine develops. We are witnessing it.

Dcn Cliff Britton
2 years 11 months ago

I appreciate the reasoned debate on the issue. I strongly object to any claim by Fr. Martin that he supports Church teaching on human sexuality. His writing in secular media (which are happy to give him column inches) more accurately reflect his true thoughts.
1. In a recent "counter statement" to the Nashville statement (an evangelical treatise on sexual morality that could have been lifted in its entirety from the CCC), Fr. Martin flippantly provided glib "teachings" that are true (in a more serious sense) but failed to provide the completeness of Catholic teaching on the subject.
2. His book does not address the fullness of Catholic teaching, only what is convenient
3. He has been honored at LBGT events without him speaking the totality of Catholic teaching
4. Cardinal O'Brien (recently of Baltimore) uninvited Fr. Martin from addressing the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre (God bless him!)

Finally, the whole "What did Jesus teach" is a false benchmark. St. John's gospel tells us the whole world could not hold the books it would take to capture all of Jesus' teachings. There are many issues left unaddressed by the Gospel writers. We cannot assume that Jesus concurred (or didn't object) to these issues just because the writers didn't including them. We turn to the rest of Scripture, tradition and the teaching magisterium to help fill in the blanks. Read today's 1st reading (1 Thes 4:1-8)

The Faithful must hold fast to Truth (Church teaching) while we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. And we must share this Truth with all those who actively seek the Lord.

Dcn Cliff - Archdiocese of Baltimore

William Bannon
2 years 11 months ago

And Romans chapter one which condemns gay acts of both sexes....was inspired by God according to Dei Verbum in Vatican II...." both testaments in all their parts have God as their author". Which means Christ at the deepest level "said" the epistles.

Joseph Jaglowicz
2 years 11 months ago

"And Romans chapter one which condemns gay acts..." And therein lies the rub. Does Paul condemn "gay acts"? Many educated and informed folks would disagree with your interpretation.

Frank Bergen
2 years 11 months ago

I read the first several posts and then skimmed quickly but not so quickly as miss the sad conclusion of the sex obsession which has hold on so many Catholics right up to the present day. I applaud Lisa Weber and the few others who say, in effect, leave it alone, it's none of your business. Too bad Rome hasn't come to see it that way. And Detroit: just read an article I'd never have allowed in print, about three formally, 'liturgically' consecrated virgins. Again, Ms Weber to the rescue attempt of rationality in the clutches of the sex-obsessed. The RCC's attitude toward human sexuality is a major cause of my becoming one of a handful of Anglican Jesuits.

Robert Klahn
2 years 11 months ago

I do not understand why there is any contradiction between speaking of the teachings of the church on homosexuality and being respectful.

Robert Klahn
2 years 11 months ago

"“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century,” he continued, “Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic Fanaticism are today.”"

Lumping homosexuality in with abortion and terrorism is most certainly offensive. There is very little in common, if anything.

I have been married, widowed, and married again, and no one else's sexual behavior has had any noticeable effect on my marriages. Islamic fanatics are even more fanatical about marriage.

There is no imaginable way homosexuality is a threat to humanity. No one is converting to homosexuality.

To consider it as a personal act with moral consequences is valid, to attach such outrageous dangers to it is dishonest.

As to abortion, I doubt very many women have abortions for the fun of it. The real threat to humanity is the failure to remove the reasons women have abortions, which I am convinced are overwhelmingly economic.

As to an Islamic threat, the very act of referring to it as Islamic fundamentalism or radicalism or any such is nothing more than a means of smearing Islam. Anyone with the intellect to present an intelligent argument should be able to understand that a great number will see the word "Islam" and their brain imprints at that point.

Call them by name or be silent.

Robert Levine
2 years 11 months ago

All self-righteous indignation aside, if you equivocate between same sex and Sacramental marriage, it's likely you were never married: 1. because you can't define marriage; it defines you, 2. because if you can't grasp how a confused concept of marriage weakens the family, your intention leads to a self-identifying society without secure family structure, and 3. because the suffering souls in Purgatory and the reprobate in Hell are pleading with you to help the Church teach what they ignored: millions according to the children at Fatima.

Joseph Jaglowicz
2 years 10 months ago

"...[I]t's likely you were never married..." And you know, How? Seriously, for your sake, don't ass-u-me. Not good for your argument.

"...because the suffering souls in Purgatory..." And again, you know, How? You've been there and are back here to tell us about your experience?

"...and the reprobate in Hell..." And, still again, you know, How? Is Hell a place? JPII regarded Hell as a state of being, not a place. Is anyone in Hell? The Church, which has exercised its infallible authority to declare saints in Heaven, has never used such authority to declare anyone in Hell. How can YOU love a God ready, willing, and able to condemn you to Hell (or let you condemn yourself to Hell)? Seriously. My favorite insights on God come from Jesus' teaching in Mt. 9:13 ("I desire mercy, not sacrifice") and Luke 15 where the Lord says it is God, not the sinner, who initiates our salvation. As the father tells his so-called "good son", the younger brother "was lost and has been found." Who did the finding, forgiveness, and healing?

michael baland
2 years 11 months ago

"... reflexively disliked by 'Pope' Francis". It was, in fact, Pope Francis who appointed Cardinal Sara as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Just think what Pope Francis would have done if he had "liked" him.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 years 11 months ago

One example when Pope Francis replied "Who am I to judge?" which is essentially a direct repudiation of Jesus's instructions to his Apostles "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." John 20-23
Just as the apostles were to carry Christ’s message to the whole world, so they were to carry his forgiveness or not, In other words to be judges.
Is it any wonder that different people hear different signals when the Pope writes or speaks?

Joseph Jaglowicz
2 years 10 months ago

Did Jesus, as you believe, expect his listeners including the Twelve to be "judges"? While Jesus mentions retaining sins, he doesn't tell his followers to do so, does he? (ANSWER: No, he doesn't.) In fact, Jesus tells Peter --- and, by extension, us --- to initiate unlimited forgiveness. Jesus says we will be forgiven to the extent that we forgive others. Jesus uses three parables in Luke 15 to show how God pursues folks "lost" in sin. God, not anyone else, takes the initiative in forgiving sinners. The earliest Christian communities were challenged by Jesus' example to forgive sinners who brought discredit or worse on their communities. Jesus instructed his followers not to judge others. The right to judge is God's alone. God's judgement, if the Gospel as a whole is any indication, is our salvation. We have already been saved. We are to forgive as God has forgiven --- and continues to forgive --- us.

THE CHRISTOFFERSONS
2 years 11 months ago

"He made them male and female, only male and female."

No, that is not what God did, any more than God made the sun revolve around the earth. It was Galileo's misfortune to have challenged the celestial wisdom absorbed by the Church from Aristotle, yet the history of Galileo is a helpful metaphor because we can examine it without the sexual and emotional overtones associated with gender.

A binary view of gender is the teaching of the Church, on its own authority. And we -- as members of the Church -- must be solicitous of what the Church does, even on its own authority. Cardinal Sarah is speaking for the Church.

There is nothing wrong with the Church acting upon its own authority. We need to address that as well. But the dichotomy between male and female -- to the exclusion of those in the LGBT community -- is a human construction, not a divine creation. To believe that the male/female dichotomy is God's idea is idolatry. That is what idolatry is, taking a human construction and avoiding dialogue by placing it in the mind of God.

We need to dialogue, as Fr. Martin suggests. About Galileo, because Galileo appreciated the wisdom of Augustine. Augustine understood that it is unwise for Christians who speak for the Church to interpret God's book of scripture in a manner that those outside the Church will see as being contrary to God's book of nature.

We need to dialogue about marriage, which is also a human construction that is better understood as an investment of love in a reality that is God's reality and therefore not the same as the human idealization of that reality.

And most of all we need to dialogue about mercy, which is rightly called God's justice. It is mercy with respect to human idealizations that brings us to the reign of God which Jesus preached. This attitude of mercy applies not only to human idealizations affecting the behavior of individuals. It also applies to the behavior of communities and institutions, and in particular to the institutional reality of the Church. Which is why we are wise to be respectful of what the Church does, even on its own authority.

The institutional Church does not yet recognize that it is acting on its own authority in teaching a binary view of gender. Many leaders in the Church -- Cardinal Sarah is only one example -- do not yet acknowledge that Augustine's wisdom applies to this matter. This should not surprise us, for it is in the nature of the human journey toward God.

All along this journey the Spirit has been active, and remains with us and remains with the Church even as we and the Church come to recognize our idolatries for what they are, more primitive inclinations of our consciousness.

And this very journey of humility demonstrates that we are children of an awesome God.

George Bell
2 years 11 months ago

As you allude to the Church's past interaction with Galileo, you might be interested in what science has to say on the whole matter. Like the Church, science also affirms a binary view of gender.

George Bell
2 years 11 months ago

Cardinal Sarah did not critique Fr. Martin's book. He only mentions the book when he writes that in it, Fr. Martin indicates a double standard on the Church's part with regard to how it upholds its teachings on sexuality. Fr. Martin did indeed make this observation in his book, so Cardinal Sarah's saying so is not a misrepresentation of the book, either.

That being said, I find it ironic how certain people are so ready to portray themselves as promoters of dialogue with this issue, yet as soon as Cardinal Sarah offers what may be a sincere attempt at just that, there is this knee-jerk playing of the victim card that he is critiquing Fr. Martin's book when that really didn't happen.

Steve Thompson
2 years 11 months ago

The notion that homosexuals are being treated unfairly by the Church is patently false. Joseph Sciambra, a prominent Catholic snd ex-homosexual, points this fact out. He recently said:

***
“In my 18 years as an ex-gay man, I have never once met a single person who said that a priest, or anyone for that matter – in the Church, told them that they were in any way ‘disordered’.

In truth, the principle complaints are that priests and ministries were typically overly facilitating and gay-approving.

The predominant message coming out from the Church on this issue is from gay-affirmative parishes, which in many dioceses have been allowed to flourish.

If the Church has been ‘disordered’ in any sense on this issue – it’s that Bishops have allowed for this confusion and open deception to continue completely unchecked.

The first thing ‘a gay person’ should hear is that they are in reality not a gay person. You do that by simply not calling them ‘gay’."

***

Father Martin has got it wrong.

James Addison
2 years 11 months ago

I'd like to consider this debate from a somewhat different perspective.
, one which requires perhaps a more careful distinction to be made between sexual relations, sexual relationships and sexual acts. Let us consider a hypothetical, heterosexual Catholic marriage. In this marriage, the husband and wife regularly use contraception when engaging in sexual acts (as do the majority of American catholic spouses). And to keep it real, let's assume that they also occasionally engage in oral sex. I believe that the Church's teaching here would be that these sexual acts are sinful, and that husband and wife would be expected to confess their sins and express true contrition and a desire not to sin again. Again, let's keep this a hypothetical. Being sinful creatures that they are, this couple still regularly commit the sins of contraception and oral sex. Is this marriage to be condemned? Does there priest regularly remind them that their acts are intrinsically and gravely disordered? Perhaps he does. And so we have a marriage between 2 sinful people who confess their sins and presumably life goes on. Now, let's consider a different hypothetical. Two men live together as partners, legally wed in a civil ceremony. And other than that, let's keep all of the other conditions the same. Is there a place for these 2 men in the Catholic Church? If so, under what conditions?

Steve Thompson
2 years 11 months ago

First off, there can *only* be heterosexual marriage. No other options are possible. Any attempt to compare homosexual relationships with marriage is an exremely flawed concept from beginning to end.

A husband and wife that commit sexual sins can repent, change their sexual behavior and live free of sin. Homosexuals can *never* engage in any type of sexual behavior without commiting sin. Further, we are all required to avoid occasions of sin, so those that are inclined toward homosexuality are required avoid situatuons where it is reasonable to expect temptations. Living together would obviouly fit into this category. Unnecessarily putring oneself in such an occasion of sin is itself a sin. Is there room for two such men in the Church? Yes, if they acknowledge their sin, repent, separate, and do their best to live chaste lives.

The process is the same for all of us who are disorderd due to original sin. We must all repent and struggle to not sin again. Any deviation from that fact is a cruel lie.

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

Steve,

How would you explain the situation between two Catholics who are divorced and remarried? The Church has taught for centuries that if you are divorced and remarried without an annulment you are committing mortal sin if you have sexual intercourse. Now, per Amoris Laetitia the pastoral application of this teaching has changed. Through discernment, accompaniment and the internal forum, it is possible that divorced and remarried Catholics may be permitted to receive Holy Communion under certain conditions. I ask: if this is possible why can't we find a way where gay and lesbian couples who are in an irregular marriage don't have to live as brothers and sisters for their salvation?

For those us who are heterosexual our tendency is to view all homosexual acts are an abomination, a form of idolatry and a perversion of the natural Divine order. However, as many have mentioned already this subject is complex. Some of us don't believe that homosexuality is something that people are born with. To some, homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder as the Church teaches. Yet, the Church has not offered one prominent scientific report that concludes that homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder. In fact, the Am. Psychological Association has studied this issue and concluded that homosexuality is not a intrinsic disorder.

I am a heterosexual and I married for 45 years to the same woman. I am a Knight of Columbus and a faithful Catholic. I studied moral theology for 7 years and I am a published author. See "The Origin of Humanae Vitae and the Impasse in Fundamental Theological Ethics" by Michael J. Barberi and Joseph A. Selling. Yet, I don't think the Catholic Church treats gays and lesbians with respect, dignity and compassion.

Steve Thompson
2 years 11 months ago

The Church's doctrine regarding the divorced and remarried has not changed. Further, as the cdf has reminded everyone, Amoris Laetitia must be interpreted in light of the whole doctrine of the Church, just as every other papal document must be. Some bishops have ignored this fact and have allowed some divorced and remarried to receive sacraments based on their personal interpretations. This is quite unfortunate due to the unchangeable fact that, objectively, this is not only a grave sin but also a sacrilege.

What some think versus what others think is irrelevant. What matters is that we form our minds according to the unchangeable deposit of faith that has been safeguarded and handed down to us from Christ and through His apostles and their successors. It is an unfortunate circumstance that there are many priests and bishops that have forgotten or willfully discarded this mandate from Christ, but this is the reason that Christ chose Judas to be an apostle - to warn us that betrayers would always be among us. I agree that both the divorced and remarried and homosexuals are in a very difficult position. It has been largely made this way because of these Judases in the Church. Had these been faithful to their obligations from the beginning of these crises, many that were previously becoming ensnared in these sins could have avoided the impossible situations that they now find themselves in. I also sympathize with the predicament that bishops have placed themselves, and am not surprised that they want an easy way out by doing more of the same, but there is no way out in the direction that they have chosen. There is absolutely nothing respectful, dignified or compassionate about allowing, even encouraging, sinners to remain in sin and holding these poor people in danger of being forever separated from all that is good in hell. I have alot to answer for myself, but I would not wish on anyone to be one of these faithless priests or bishops who will one day stand alone in front of our Lord.

By the way, it does not matter what the am psych assoc says, or if people were "born with it." We were all born with it under the title of original sin and concupiscence. We are all disordered and thus obligated to struggle and suffer to avoid sin and the near occasions of it. To teach anything else is the epitome of cruelty.

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

Steve,

You say that bishops who interpret Amoris Laetitia (AL) as permitting Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried under certain circumstances must consider the whole teaching doctrine of the Catholic Church. I agree as I believe every bishop is doing. With respect to AL, please recognize that Pope Francis himself approved the Guidelines of the Argentina bishops for Holy Communion for divorced and remarried. You can google his entire statements on this point. Since then, the bishops of Germany, Malta and dioceses like San Diego follow a similar interpretation. More bishops and Conferences of Bishops are expected do do the same.

I understand the division among worldwide bishops on this issue, but this issue is not an issue of changing doctrine but changing the pastoral application of doctrine which has to be nuanced and fully understood before casting negative claims like "priests and bishops (are) willfully discarding this mandate from Christ".

You can disagree with Pope Francis' AL as many bishops have. However, there are a significant number of bishops, as well as priests and theologians, who do agree with AL which is a pastoral application of doctrine.

Lastly, we are all not born with a same sex orientation/inclination under the title of original sin and concupiscence. If you are claiming that we are all born with a tendency to sin, then you are right but we are talking about an intrinsic disorder that the Church is claiming homosexuals are born with. They are not exaggerating or interpreting it as "under the title of original sin and concupiscence". Anyone who argues for good scholarly reasons for a re-thinkin of certain teachings are not the epitome of cruelty. If I can repeat what I said in other comments: It was in disagreement that many teachings of the Church were changed that were taught as truth for centuries. In our time, we are witnessing respectful disagreement and legitimate theological debate on a host of different moral issues. They are not to be confused with the deposit of faith even though some Scripture texts are being re-intrepreted based on respectful theological research. None of them are claiming they have found 'the absolute moral truth'. We all pray for enlightenment as we grow in our understanding of truth.

Thanks for your comments.

Steve Thompson
2 years 11 months ago

Michael,

if i may ask how many children do you have?

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

Steve,

I have two children. I also have one grandson and one granddaughter on the way.

Roberto Blum
2 years 10 months ago

"there can *only* be heterosexual marriage. No other options are possible." Who says so? It is obvious that gay marriage exists in the U.S. and in many other countries. If you want to call "marriage" only the heterosexual version, that is your privilege but it is obviously false and ignorant of reality.

Roberto Blum
2 years 10 months ago

"there can *only* be heterosexual marriage. No other options are possible." Who says so? It is obvious that gay marriage exists in the U.S. and in many other countries. If you want to call "marriage" only the heterosexual version, that is your privilege but it is obviously false and completely ignorant of reality.

Robert Levine
2 years 11 months ago

Christ, the natural law (cause & effect) Tradition govern the Church's teaching on Holy Matrimony; Motherhood. It's not likely to change.

It's not easy to get to heaven. The cost is the cross. If you're looking for sex apart from the Roman Catholic Church you will find it but it will not lead to peace, Fr Martin not with-standing.

Ellen B
2 years 11 months ago

The most terrible outcome of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal is that it's impossible to read Cardinal Sarah's comments "demonic", "destroyers of families"/ comparisons to "Nazi-Fascism" & "Communism" & think did he ever say anything this strong about the abuses going on at the hands of priests? But I forgot, they are forgiven & their sins should be covered up. Perhaps there are some demonic, destroyers of families a lot closer to home for him to worry about.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 11 months ago

Ellen:

I'm sure most would agree that the devil plays a role in the destruction of children through sex abuse or if they are killed, as with abortion. But, the idea of demonic relates to an inversion of a good, where someone says an evil is a good or a good is an evil. I do not know of any bishop or priest who has preached that child abuse is a good, whereas groups like NAMBLA did (they used to be a member of ILGA and marched in gay pride parades until they were kicked out in the 1990s - see wiki article on it). it was also a scandal of the German Green Party (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/past-pedophile-links-haunt-german-green-party-a-899544.html) and in the UK in the 1970s (see Wash Post article https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/07/a-big-political-cover-up-of-1980s-pedophile-ring-in-u-k-parliament/?utm_term=.ffa82834c72a). Recall that Jesus faced the same thing when the pharisees claimed His miracles were from the devil (see Matt 12:24). A typical example today is when some people try to say that abortion is a good and not an evil.

Al Cannistraro
2 years 11 months ago

I hope this comment will not be judged as too "off topic," especially given that I am no longer a pious Catholic. If it is deleted, I will not be surprised.

Cardinal Sarah is quoted as saying, “For the unmarried—no matter their attractions—faithful chastity requires abstention from sex.”

Reading the comments and highly contentious quibbling here -- most of which reflect attitudes of certainty regarding what is "true" about historical Jesus and within the spiritual realm-- I am reminded of why so many people outside the pious Roman Catholic bubble found Pope Francis so refreshing when he quipped, "Who am I to judge?".

The notion of Magisterium is harder and harder for modern people to accept, especially given the epic ethical and other failures of so many clerical and hierarchical representatives of the institutional RC Church over the centuries -- most notably in modern times regarding the treatment of children placed in clerical care, with the exposure of the church (in complicity with the Boy Scouts) in Guam being a very recent example.

Now comes objective research that throws into question the historical accuracy of most or all of the New Testament, and even the historicity of Jesus himself. In my opinion, these are truly fundamental issues that clear-eyed Catholics -- and objective thought leaders in the relevant academic schools and departments -- ought to be grappling with in order to save the Chuch (and all of non-fundamentalist Christianity) among non-third-world populations going forward. Otherwise, I doubt that there will be much of a Roman Catholic Church left in North America and western Europe in a few short decades.

I'm in my late 60s, and I certainly have seen a tremendous amount of RC Church shrinkage - or atrophy -- in my lifetime. I think the trend is accelerating, and for very understandable reasons. One is illustrated by the fact that Cardinal Sarah is viewed by so many readers of this intelligent journal as mainstream orthodox, while Fr. Martin is viewed by so many as an off-the-reservation maverick. I myself see Martin as middle-of-the-road, with the left side of the road being largely unrepresented here.

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

I myself view Fr. Martin as a compassionate, faithful and intelligent priest with the courage to speak out on the issue of homosexuality and the Church's treatment of gays and lesbians. I don't view him as a far right mainstream orthodox nor a far left revisionist. I believe he is an independent middle-of-the-road thinker who is trying to create a pathway between on-the-one-hand the development of doctrine and the pastoral application of it, and on-the-other-hand respecting the teachings of the Church but also calling for a re-thinking on the subject of homosexuality et al, and how the Church pastorally treats this group.

As for his recent book on this subject and his reply to Cardinal Sarah accusations, he is calling for a much neglected and highly important dialogue between priests and bishops, on one hand, and the gay and lesbian community on the other. While we know that this issue will boil down to the teaching about lifetime sexual abstinence and a denial of a Catholic sacramental marriage, I believe that it is within respectful dialogue that a solution can be formulated by the Holy Spirit. Fr. Martin is a refreshing moral voice that is trying to unite very polarized viewpoints. Bravo to Fr. Martin.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 11 months ago

I note that Fr. Martin, Cardinal Sarah and Pope Francis all have affirmed the teaching of the Catholic Church, as expressed in the Catechism: 1) all are loved by God; 2) desires not willfully chosen are not sinful 3) all homosexual acts are objectively wrong and against God's plan for mankind. They are unnatural in the sense that they are not directed to the natural ends of the human body, irrespective of the cause or intensity of the desires. Unfortunately, much of society and many who have written comments here have clearly departed from the Church's teaching.

The Pope, Cardinal & Priest agree (see the Cardinal's op-ed) that "there should not be any double standard with regard to the virtue of chastity, which, challenging as it may be, is part of the good news of Jesus Christ for all Christians. For the unmarried—no matter their attractions—faithful chastity requires abstention from sex." All three express great sympathy for the individuals struggling with same-sex desires and wish their salvation.

The Pope and Cardinal do probably differ with the Priest on the danger of the sin for the salvation of those actively engaged in gay relationships, and they definitely differ on the seriousness of the ideological challenge within society and within the Church (the "gay lobby" or militant gender ideology) and on the best way to reach out to those who have rejected the true teaching of the Church on these matters.

The Pope and Cardinal also are more wary of using the defective and inaccurate language of the gay lobby (such as LGBT, LGBTQ...), especially since this joins together for political reasons very different activities and sins. For example, while there is some plausibility on how much choice gays have with respect to their orientation, choice is the essence of bisexual activity, and transgenderism has the added grave concerns of self-mutilation and suicidal dysphoria. No one believes themselves an LGBT - it is a political union only, often with much tension within. So, Fr. Martin is incorrect to say that Cardinal Sarah in any way accepts the term LGBT. Cardinal Sarah used the phrase "people who identify as members of the LGBT community."

The Pope and Cardinal both believe that there are demonic forces at play in this departure from natural law and in its threat to society. Pope Francis, in a 2010 letter to Carmelite Nuns of Buenos Aires called the gay marriage political movement a "destructive attempt toward God's plan" and "the envy of the Devil" seeking to destroy the image of God - (http://www.catholichawaii.org/media/224245/bergoglio_to_carmelite_sisters.pdf) - certainly phrases no less strong than the Cardinal's in his Op-ed.

Pope & Cardinal are particularly concerned with the impact on children of the accompanying ideological adoption. In Oct 2015, in response to some media confusion, the Vatican released a document reiterating its teaching, saying that homosexual unions are in no way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.

With the gender ideology of the last few decades, we are at the beginning of a long hard fight for human souls, and many have already succumbed to the oldest trick of the Father of Lies - calling sins good and calling goods sins. No wonder the marches of the gay lobby are called Pride - the deadliest sin.

KATHERIN MARSH
2 years 11 months ago

Cardinal Sarah comes from Africa. During his formative years, he did not grow up with our then “undiagnosed” prejudices against Blacks. I remember segregation. It was hateful. It focused on the intelligence of blacks, it likened Blacks to monkeys, it called Blacks criminals. And especially it focused on purity and sexuality. I remember especially the fear in some sections that Blacks and Whites would marry or try to adopt children “outside” of their color.
In community college sociology class, I learned we each have a human nature which is biased and prejudiced. The teacher told us that our prejudices may be partly inborn, partly unintentionally nurtured. They are a primitive type of survival instinct. I am grateful to Oprah for teaching me that we can unlearn prejudices when we live in a global, and human family community. So when we are told to live our Baptism, we learn we must die to our judgements about clean and unclean other humans. And be reborn in Christ.

Jesus especially taught the religion's scribes, elders and priests that God is inclusive.

If I am in the grocery line, or movie theatre, or most especially in Mass, and imagining the sexual activity of the two Gay men in front of me, or judging that they don't belong there, then I am the one who is sinning.

Catholicism teaches that each of us is important to begin with because God made us, not because of our sexuality.

In an earlier reply someone quoted part of Matthew 18. And then another reply tells us that 1% of our population is LGBT. In another part of 18, Matthew tell us that the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to go after the 1.

Gay men are not allowed to give blood if at any one time they were sexually active. Gay men have highest incidences of sexually transmitted diseases. Gay men are at the highest risk of dying from STDs. Sexually active people, people with diseases, dying people, this is starting to sound like Jesus with his people in the bible..... We are to follow Jesus and not try to lead him.

I think Cardinal Sarah is confusing WHAT to teach with HOW. And forgetting that the Catholic Church is a learning institution, and sometimes each of us is on the left side of that curve.
We belong in dialogue with the LGBTs.

Tim O'Leary
2 years 11 months ago

Katherin - I concur we should be in dialogue with anyone who identifies themselves with the LGBT acronym (very few would identify with every letter in the acronym), as long as they also approach the dialogue with good will and tolerance for the Catholic position.

You make an interesting point about the possibility that "human nature... is biased and prejudiced," even "inborn" and "a primitive type of survival instinct." If that is true, it would be an innate orientation to racism, just like the claims that sexual orientations are innate. But, its innateness would still in no way justify racist activity. I think you have given a good example to show that the innateness of an orientation or tendency in no way makes it moral.

For the record, I do not subscribe to the notion that racism is an innate orientation beyond our control (I am more optimistic than that).

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

The Synod on the Family discussed the many issues facing individuals and families today. However, not all of these issues were adequately addressed such as homosexuality and irregular marriages. The Synod adequately addressed in large part the divorced and remarried. For the first time, Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) ushered into the pastoral praxis of the Church the internal forum (e.g., the informed conscience), discernment, virtue and accompaniment.

We now know that Pope Francis approved the guidelines of the Argentina bishops regarding Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried, and said that they had interpreted AL correctly. We also know that the Bishops of Germany and Malta followed by issuing similar guidelines as well as the Bishop of San Diego who is expected to do the same. More Conferences of Bishops will likely do the same.

With respect to the issue of the divorced and remarried, it is "most important to note", that doctrine has not changed. However, the pastoral application of doctrine did change. For most people this is a most difficult issue to grasp for many Catholics and there is much confusion and not enough discussion at the parish level yet about its understanding.

As for the issue of Homosexuality, it is a most complex issue and emotions run high on both sides, in particular over the imposed requirement of lifetime sexual abstinence while denying them a licit and valid marriage: Civil, Christian (non-Catholic) and a Jewish. I believe that the pastoral application of this teaching should change in a similar manner as Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried changed.

Let's pray that we are all enlighten in truth by the Holy Spirit so that those born homosexual and find themselves in moral dilemma can have a pathway to their salvation in much the same way that AL provided a pathway for Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried without an annulment.

Anne Danielson
2 years 11 months ago

Michael, The Holy Spirit affirms God's Truth regarding Love and sexual morality.

... [3] And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? ... [4] Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: ... [5] For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh.

... [6] Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

What separates marriage from every other form of Loving relationship, is the ability and desire to exist in relationship as husband and wife. Marriage cannot in essence be and not be existing in relationship as husband and wife simultaneously. The marital act is Life affirming and Life-sustaining and can only be consummated between a man and woman, united in marriage as husband and wife.
Let us Pray for respect for the Sanctity of the marital act, and The Sacrament of Marriage.
One should never underestimate the value of a Loving friendship that serves only for the Good of oneself and the other, while affirming that God Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage.

It is not Loving or Merciful to desire that we remain in our sin. God Desires that we desire to overcome our disordered inclinations and become transformed through Salvational Love, God's Gift of Grace and Mercy.

If it were true that it is Loving and Merciful to desire that we or a Loved one remain in our sin, and not desire to overcome our disordered inclinations, whatever they may be, we would not need our Savior, Jesus The Christ, The Way, The Truth, and The Life (Light) of Love.

Michael Barberi
2 years 11 months ago

Anne,

Thanks for your comment. I do appreciate them even though it seems we are on opposite sides of this argument over homosexuality, et al.

Your phrases such as "we remain in sin" or "our disordered 'inclinations" tells me you believe in the teachings of the Church on homosexuality, et al. I could go into a lengthly moral argument about such issues, inclusive of a different interpretation of Scripture, but I don't think you would be persuaded. More importantly, this will take us far afield from the subject of this article which concerns itself with the call for a 'dialogue between the institutional Church and the gay and lesbian community.

If I follow your logic then it seems to me that people who are divorced and remarried are living in mortal sin and should never receive Holy Communion unless they are granted an annulment or live as brothers and sisters. If this is your viewpoint then you don't agree with Pope Francis's Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia either. Do you also believe Catholic couples should use Natural Family Planning as a birth control method and never use the pill because it is intrinsically evil?

I bring up the issues of the responsible use of contraception as birth control, and Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried because, in my opinion, the same pastoral application of the teaching found in Amoris Laetitia (internal forum, discernment, virtue and accompaniment) applies here, as well as to the issue of gays and lesbians in an irregular marriage, et al. While some my disagree with my arguments, my disagreements do not make me any less a faithful Catholic than those who believe in every moral teaching of the magisterium. Nor do my disagreements classify me as terribly misguided who is leading faithful Catholics away from Church teachings. There has been a heated moral debate going on within our Church for decades on all of these issues.

In conclusion, I applaud Fr. Martin for his courageous book and hope that the institutional Church will turn to dialogue with the gay and lesbian community. While I am optimistic that some of the Church teachings on homosexuality et al will change because of the love, mercy and grace of God, guided by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, it is unfortunate and with great sadness, that it will take a long time.

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