Jesuit writer James Martin disinvited from talk at prestigious seminary

A tree in full autumn colors is seen Nov. 17, 2016 in front of Theological College of The Catholic University of America in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

One of the nation’s most prestigious Catholic seminaries rescinded an invitation to James Martin, S.J., the popular writer and editor at large of America who was set to deliver a talk about Jesus to a group of alumni, the latest in a string of cancellations following the priest’s publication of a book calling for church leaders to be more respectful to L.G.B.T. Catholics.

In a statement released late on Friday, Theological College, a seminary affiliated with the Catholic University of America, said that it had invited Father Martin more than a year ago and that it had been “delighted that Father Martin was willing to join the community and share his wisdom with its alumni.”

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But due to “increasing negative feedback from various social media sites,” the statement continues, “the decision was made to withdraw the invitation extended to Father Martin.”

The seminary said its decision was not a reflection on the merits of the claims against Father Martin, but was made “in the interest of avoiding distraction and controversy” at the school’s centennial celebration.

Theological College originally said the decision was made “after consulting with [Catholic] University and archdiocesan advisers.” But John Garvey, the university’s president, sought to distance the university from the decision in his own statement published Saturday.

He likened the campaign to rescind Father Martin’s invitation to efforts by left-leaning activists to shut down talks by controversial conservative speakers.

Universities and their related entities should be places for the free, civil exchange of ideas. Our culture is increasingly hostile to this idea.

“Universities and their related entities should be places for the free, civil exchange of ideas. Our culture is increasingly hostile to this idea. It is problematic that individuals and groups within our Church demonstrate this same inability to make distinctions and to exercise charity,” he said.

A version of Theological College’s statement available on the school’s website on Saturday afternoon, which appears to be amended from its initial statement, says that the decision was made “after considerable consultation with various constituencies.”

Mr. Garvey was in New York on Thursday for a previously scheduled visit about C.U.A. business and he met with the staff of America in the morning. Father Martin was delivering a talk at the Jesuit-run University of Scranton and he was not present at the meeting.The withdrawal of the invitation by Theological College had not been announced publicly or to the staff and it was not discussed during the staff meeting. Father Martin said Theological College made him aware of its decision on Thursday afternoon.

In a tweet published Saturday, Matt Malone, S.J., the president and editor in chief of America Media, expressed support for Father Martin:

Later on Saturday, Father Malone released a statement supporting Father Martin and calling the attacks against him the work of “a small but influential faction in the U.S. Church” and describing them as “unwarranted, uncharitable, and un-Christian.”

“In recent weeks, Father Martin has been subjected to repeated, calumnious attacks in social media and in print, involving invective that is as appalling as it is toxic,” he said. “It is one thing to engage in spirited debate. It is another thing to seek to stymy such debate through fear, misinformation, or blunt censorship.”

The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States also issued a statement supporting Father Martin.

The Catholic University statement said that the seminary’s decision to disinvite Father Martin was made independently of the university and that it does not follow the university’s policy on campus speakers. It notes that Father Martin addressed university students last year.

“We regret the implication that Catholic University supported yesterday’s decision,” the statement says.

Father David Poecking, a graduate of the seminary and a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said in an email to America that he is confused by the school’s decision, calling the press release from the school’s rector, Gerald McBrearity, P.S.S., “unclear.”

“He cites Father Martin’s book, Building a Bridge, as marking the beginning of (but not necessarily the cause of) negative feedback to Theological College on social media websites,” Father Poecking wrote. “So does Father McBrearity find fault with the book, or Father Martin, or the negative feedback, or the social media websites?”

“To offer insinuations of fault without making a clear judgment seems evasive,” he continued. “The public reactions of Father Martin and some alumni seem to undermine Father McBrearity’s claim that the disinvitation is in the ‘best interest of all parties.’”

The decision by Theological College is the third instance of an organization disinviting Father Martin because of backlash to his book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. The Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a lay charitable organization, and CAFOD, a Catholic charitable organization based in the United Kingdom, also rescinded invitations to Father Martin.

Father Martin told America that he expected criticism of the book—“from the far left it would be ‘Not far enough,’ and from the far right, ‘Too far,’” as he put it— but he said he has been surprised by the “the torrent of hatred that it would unleash from the Catholic alt right.” He noted that the book had been given approval by his Jesuit superior and that it has been endorsed by two cardinals and several bishops.

The level of hate, personal attacks and homophobia is breathtaking.

But, he said, “The level of hate, personal attacks and homophobia is breathtaking.”

He noted that the canceled talks were to be about Jesus, based on his 2014 book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, and not about the more controversial issue of L.G.B.T. people in the church. He questioned why the organizations that invited him succumbed to online pressure.

“I wasn’t there to talk about L.G.B.T. issues,” he said. “And as for handling pressure, what is the worst that could happen? A few protesters? Is that a reason to cancel a talk on Jesus?”

Conservative bloggers have been critical of Father Martin’s book and the invitations to him to speak at Catholic institutions.

ChurchMilitant.com, for example, called the invitation to Theological College “disagraceful” and LifeSiteNews.com promotes a petition urging the removal of Father Martin from a Vatican communications advisory committee, to which Pope Francis appointed him earlier this year.

Earlier this week, Father John Zuhlsdorf, who publishes a popular blog about traditionalist Catholicism, asked, “Does it seem right to you that a seminary should spotlight an open promotor [sic] of a homosexualist agenda?”

“I’ll grant you that a speaker might be capable of addressing more issues than just his primary focus. But there is no way around the fact that, right now at least, when Father Martin’s name comes up, the first thing you think is activist for a homosexualist agenda,” he continued. “I don’t get it.”

In a separate post on Saturday, Father Zuhlsdorf denied leading a campaign to rescind the invitation, writing, “I did NOT campaign for anything. I didn’t ask anyone to call [Theological College]. I asked some questions. Period.”

Other critics have questioned why Father Martin does not include a section in his book on church teaching, which prohibits sexual relations between two people of the same gender.

“The reason I avoided topics of sexuality is that it’s not a book on sexual morality or on the sexual behavior of L.G.B.T. people,” he said. “It’s on dialogue and prayer. It’s amazing that for some Catholics the only lens that they can see L.G.B.T. through is sex.”

As for the online commenters who call him a heretic or even a pansy, Father Martin said he simply mutes particularly aggressive Twitter accounts or deletes “hateful” comments left on his Facebook page.

But he said the institutional church faces a bigger challenge.

“The larger question is how will the church deal with trolls? How will the church deal with well-organized and well-funded online sites and individuals which are motivated by hatred, and which seem to have as much influence as local ordinaries in getting a lecture cancelled? Basically, how will we deal with Catholics who hate?” he asked.

Updated on Sept. 16 at 7:55 pm to include the statements issued by Father Malone, editor in chief of America, and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
JW Russell
1 month 1 week ago

Quoth Fr. James Martin, SJ, in a fresh podcast interview by a man who is soon to "marry" another man. (see link below)….

At around 17:00 Martin says: "...and I always say that LGBT people have more faith than, I think, straight people." [Martin says, because of "internalized rejection" from the Church toward the "gay" person]

At 18:00 he says, after hearing the gay interviewer tell about how he so far has hesitated to kiss his partner at the sign of peace during Mass:

"So I do hope in ten years you'll be able to kiss your partner, or, you know, soon to be your husband. Why not? What's the terrible thing?"

Mid-interview, Martin responds to the interviewer’s question why same-sex marriage is always THE moral issue people fixate upon, Martin responds that it's 1) fear, 2) hate, and 3) we're all on a "continuum" with our sexuality and the rage is caused by people not dealing with their own "complicated sexuality."

At 46:16, Martin says: "Why is it so terrible to go to a gay wedding but it is not terrible to go to a Jewish wedding?"

At 47:34, Martin says: "…because what you're saying is, it's worse to be a Christian and gay, than it is to reject Jesus and be straight--that's the implication....is that what we're really saying? and for a lot of Catholics and for a lot of Church leaders, I think they believe that...because again it is this elevation of the gay wedding as the worst of all possible public ceremonies."

http://theologyindialogue.org/category/podcast/

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

I was about to write a comment defending Fr. Martin's right to speak. However, after hearing this podcast, I have to say I think the call to Bridge-building is a charade.
1. Fr. Martin makes the point that a bridge builder would call someone what they want to be called (e.g. "gay"). Then he insists on calling those who believe the Church's teaching homophobes.
2. Fr. Martin in multiple ways tries to define those who leave the "gay life" and lead celibate lives as somehow "less integrated", as if it were a sickness to leave the gay lifestyle, This is an inversion of the truth.
3. Fr. Martin says the Church only focuses on gay sex as THE sin. But, it is Fr. Martin who has no problem calling out adultery, or racism as sins, but cannot call gay sex sinful. It is Fr. Martin who has the obsession, not his critics.
4. He even calls a gay marriage a "different belief system" like Judaism, and a Jewish marriage is as good or as bad as a gay marriage. What a misunderstanding of natural law.

I was willing to give Fr. Martin the benefit of the doubt that he accepted the fullness of the faith as the Church teaches, but many things he says in this podcast make it hard to avoid the idea he thinks what the Church teaches is essentially sinful, or homophobic as he terms it. He applauds the Andy and Brandon marriage and He denigrates "former gays" as self-hating homophobes. Everyone should listen to this podcast and judge for themselves. I have to conclude he has moved away from orthodox belief. I just wish he would be more honest, and less judgmental of those faithful to the Church.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

No, Mr. O'Leary, it's the WAY the Church teaches it that is definitely "sinful" and "homophobic." The Church's teachings on chastity and sacramental marriage might well be taught in a way that encourages "accompaniment" of those whose natural, God-given instincts incline them to feel sexual attraction to their own sex, so as to make them actually WANT to be witnesses--that is, PUBLIC witnesses, in their parishes--to Jesus's redeeming grace, but that's not being done, and you know it. The real issue regarding "gay marriage" (which I agree is sacramentally impossible in orthodox--not Protestant--theology) is not the desire to have genital contact (to be blunt) with a member of one's same sex, but, rather, to be accompanied in life by a partner, something which is a natural right, in secularist, liberal democracies that are majorly informed by the heretical, "companionate" marriage of the Protestants, who long ago, in their theologies, made marriage dissoluble. (Take a look, for instance, at John Milton's "Doctrine of Divorce.")

Christopher Lochner
1 month ago

Anyone can have a life partner, any healthy relationship does not have to be authorized by the state. But if you want a financial advantage on the other hand (or bragging rights or even the glory of a good book deal) it is supremely important. (The financial reasoning behind marriage is a whole nother issue.) So what is it really, love or sex or financial gain? Does love without money have any meaning? We already know the answer to this question in our modern times. And as for Fr. Martin, his Animal Farm belief in Christian acceptance, that we called to be welcoming to all just some more than others is plainly wrong but also current. This is not homophobic and hateful but "phony-phobic" if you will. There is a huge difference between Christ based teaching and an individualistic agenda based love. Does one go to worship to show off to others? Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is yes.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

I don't think you understand my position: I am NOT arguing in favour of "same sex marriage," but I AM arguing in favour of acceptance of "same sex attraction" as a valuable "cross" given some to bear which should be PUBLICLY honoured and affirmed, in order that they be helped by a truly Christian Church to bear it. Do you have any idea how many actual "same-sex-attracted" saints there have been? And do you know what hell some of them were put through simply because they could not find support for their affections, even though they actually WERE using them as oblations of the self? If you haven't, I suggest you take a look at the journals of Gerard Manley Hopkins, or, even better, read this book: https://www.amazon.com/Queer-Chivalry-Homoerotic-Asceticism-Literature/… But, no, of course, you haven't got the time or the interest. Instead, you only have the time to criticize someone who is trying to make life in the Catholic Church less difficult, less heart-breaking than it is.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

Rob - you're always flinging abusive epithets at people you disagree with, so do not pretend you are interested in any dialogue based on the truth. I would say anyone who uses the terms racist, homophobic, hate or fear at the person they are trying to engage in dialogue has a major credibility problem. Imagine if someone said they wanted to engage in dialogue with those hateful, fearful, Catholiphobe Lutherans in the truth claims regarding the Eucharist. How transparently false that would be! Fr. Martin needs to drop any of those terms (note his condescending insults are always in the direction of Catholics who are following Church teaching) if he wants to have any credibility as an honest broker in any dialogue.

Robert Klahn
1 month 1 week ago

There should be some criteria under which to consider the qualifications of a speaker at any university.

The first I see, is relevance. Unless the speaker is providing entertainment the speaker should be speaking on something of relevance to the intended audience. An entertainer should be paid out of tickets sold to the audience, not school funds.

Under relevance we also have the speaker's relevance to the subject. I took five undergrad classes in astronomy, which makes me far more qualified than the average citizen, but no where near qualified to lecture on writings by Stephen Hawkings or debate with Neil deGras Tyson. At least not on science. No one in congress is qualified to argue global warming, and most scientists are not qualified to debate climatologists on the subject.

A second point, and more relevant even than the first, is integrity. Someone known as a liar and a fraud would only be qualified to speak on fraud and lying. Even then one might not want to invite them. Under that rule Ann Coulter would be immediately disqualified, as well as under point one for the most part. Nor is there any reason to believe Steve Bannon would be honest, as he was CEO of Breitbart, a site infamous for fraudulent posting of videos and reports that have not only been proven fake, but clearly harmful.

Third, there is the question of conveying information of inflaming passions. Under this Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter would clearly be banned. Whether or not they are qualified in anything, their clear and demonstrated intent all too often inflammatory rather than informative.

The last, and still relevant, in my short list, is the speaker offensive to the integrity and purpose of the school. Yes, a speaker whose purpose is to undermine the Catholic Church could reasonably be banned, as well as one whose work is to promote hate, no matter how reasonably his teachings my be couched. Of course, such a speaker might also be allowed to be refuted by another, but that is a call for the school.

I do not see any of these applying to Fr. Martin, but I have not read his book, which was the reason for the objection, nor the book that was the reason for the invitation, so I can't call it. My outsider take is, he should have been allowed to speak.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

Father Martin has never questioned the Catholic Church's theology of sacramental marriage, which he understands, much better than his FAUX-"conservative" critics, is not at issue in the American attempts to allow the same-sex-attracted to seek refuge against loneliness and the shunning of their priests and parishioners. Those American attempts are informed both by secularist "Enlightenment" theories of governance, as well as by Reformation marriage theology, which, since the time of Luther's divorce of a nun from her vows, views the sanction against divorce in the Gospel of Matthew, to be the Redeemer's affirmation of man's natural concupiscence and his inability to "save himself" by any means other than Divinely-imparted grace.

Elisa Talavera
1 month 1 week ago

Considering that he is not fully in line with Church teaching it is no wonder they declined to have him speak at a seminary. It would have been controversial if he had.

I have read and heard many people defend Church teaching on homosexuality and most of the time they do not do it out of fear or hate. It is not only Church teaching that states that homosexual acts are disordered, it's part of natural law. Sex isn't just about love and attraction and you can't deny the procreative side of it. Only two people of the opposite sex can really become one flesh in a way that allows the reproductive systems to function. I think it's kind of silly how it seems that almost the whole argument for LGBTQ "rights" is based on feelings! It's all about love , hate, compassion... feel however you like, but don't make
it so political. Really, I think people just need to grow up. Anyone should be able to speak the truth or what they believe to be the truth without being condemned as "hateful" just because not everyone agrees. I thought we lived in a nation that respected freedom of speech, but I guess not anymore. Now it seems you only have freedom of speech if you don't say anything against liberal ideologies, because if you do you are " hateful". What is our nation coming to?

I am sure many people who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ group are great people and we should all love and accept them, but that does not mean we should accept homosexual lifestyles. The article stated that people only see LGBTQ people through the lens of sex, but it seems to me that it is those people who place themselves in a category based on sex or sexual identity- they are the ones putting themselves in a box. I would rather not view people based on that. And no one has to accept someone's actions, especially if they believe them to be wrong and harmful to the person and society- if they did just to avoid hurting some people's feelings that would be misguided "compassion".

Bennett Kalafut
1 month ago

Tit-for-tat is not the Christian way, but Fr Martin's bearing of false witness against CatholicVote, for which he has expressed no contrition, probably made this situation more likely. There are those who believe that one must fight fire with fire. And they probably think they're keeping it clean, since Fr Martin lied about threats of violence and they haven't employed that tactic.

It's the culture of "punch back twice as hard" infecting the Church.

Vince Killoran
1 month ago

Typical culture war stuff from conservatives who are OBSESSED about gays and lesbians. I chat now & again with a few of them in my parish. They never fail to bring up the issue. I wish that they would spend more time discussing the Beatitudes or Matthew 25: 35-45.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

Vince - you have it backward. It is the gender ideologues who are OBSESSED (possessed?) with sex, particularly with new ways to attack the constant "ever ancient, ever new" orthodox teaching. They are forever coming up with new sins, new insults and even new crimes which which to rail against the faithful and the Church, from pronouns to pro-choice or pro-gay, from homophobia to transphobia, to criminally enforced cake baking and bathrooms, ad nauseam. It never stops. Even your terms (gays and lesbians, how quaint) are no longer the center of gravity of liberal preoccupation on this issue. The whole effort of LGBT and its proliferating extension of new letters are all the rage. Declaring oneself transgender is sufficient to turn a traitor (Manning) into a Harvard fellow invitee, or a reality TV hasbeen (Jenner) into a go-to person for a quote on just about anything. It's never about tolerance or live and let live. Acceptance, approval and support is demanded, under pain of job loss, public shaming, and exclusion. In the podcast, Fr. Martin argues for an obligation to attend gay marriages. He wants approval of gay marriage. that is heterodox.

Vince Killoran
1 month ago

Tim: I was writing about our fellow Catholics, not the media buzz from all sides.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

No, he absolutely DOES NOT want Catholic sacramental marriage extended to same-sex couples, and I'm beginning to think that he understands better than you do why that is theologically impossible. I strongly suspect that your invincible ignorance regarding this fine theological point arises from your misunderstanding of the difference between Catholic marriage and conventional Protestant and secularist marriage in the United States, which, because of its dissoluble character has ALWAYS been "non-traditional" in the orthodox Christian sense, and has ALWAYS been an innovation against what Christ prescribes in that very Gospel of Matthew that you are always citing. The "serial monogamy" practised by American Protestants and secularists has ALWAYS been, logically, the forerunner of "gay marriage," because it is, in essence, no more than a "civil marriage" precisely because of the "right" implied in it to divorce. I have tried repeatedly to explain to you why we Catholics do not have "a dog" in this peculiarly American "fight" over so-called "gay marriage": it's because the heterosexual couple are, in the sacrament, as much marrying Jesus Christ as they are marrying each other. Luther precisely understood this when he divorced a nun from her "marriage" to her true Spouse, and married her himself. When he was challenged on this, he used the challenge to bolster his heresy of "salvation by faith alone." Do you know his reply? It's in his "Table Talk," and it's fascinating how it stands traditional orthodox Christian marriage theology on its head: he says "Yes, I know about that command, and I say that when the Redeemer gave us that command HE HAD HIS TONGUE FAR IN HIS CHEEK." Do you have any idea what that means, logically, in consistency with the rest of his heresy? It means that He gave Christians that command in order to CONVICT US OF OUR SINS, because He knew we could not follow it, because of our "concupiscence." That makes of Christ a "jester god," but as regards traditional Catholic marriage theology--of matrimony as a sacrament--it effectively ends it in the Protestant tradition, and it opens up the possibility--much enlarged upon during the so-called "Enlightenment"--of marriage being no more than what Milton called "companionate" in his "Doctrine of Divorce," and then, eventually, a CIVIL ARRANGEMENT. Our Catholic marriages have not been theirs for a long time, and we have no business telling our fellow Americans what they may or may not do with their essentially civil, non-sacramental marriage.

alan macdonald
1 month ago

Fr Martin's bridges with homosexuals is fine to a point. Yes, we should accept them as equals but when it comes to sexual acts and marriage, Fr Martin will not disavow this activity among them.
I support any seminary from having a priest with unorthodox views speak to them during their formation.

Neil Lamb
1 month ago

Basically The magazine need not give credibility to traditionalists and Voris by citing their articles.

Rick Cortright
1 month ago

Fr. Martin, sexual behavior is GRAVE MATTER for everyone! This has never been about HATE as you openly suggest. It is about clarity! You have intentionally exclude any direct talk of sexuality from your book and repetitively fail to address the need for chastity among the LGBTQI community.

From your work, some are drawing conclusions that the Church's view has evolved to accept sexually activity LGBTQI behavior. Many have suggested or directly asked you to provide the needed clarity. Don't cherry pick! Teach the fullness of Church teaching regarding both love and sexual behavior.

What is uncharitable is failing to condemn the sin while loving the sinner. We all love you as a brother. But we fear that your failure to be clear on this issue is providing our LGBTQI brothers and sisters a pass on behavioral issues that are of GRAVE MATTER!

Lonnie Barone
1 month ago

I listened to the podcast and see why some Catholics will be affronted by Fr. Martin's commentary. I see him as proposing something like what the ecumenical movement recommended, that we Catholics get to know protestants, Jews, even atheists (yep, atheists too rated significant ink amid the Vatican II documents). We are encouraged to engage in dialogue, even attend the worship ceremonies of other denominations and religious traditions. Honest Catholics my age (old) are well aware that we were taught that even entering a protestant church or a synagogue was characterized as a mortal sin. (I once confessed this sin; I had inadvertently looked at a Methodist church and, lo, the door was open and I peered inside. I knew I had committed a grievous offense.) There are many differences between a Jewish wedding and a gay wedding, but this similarity is what Fr. Martin was referencing, and it is an apt comparison.

Maybe a kind of straight-gay ecumenism is a good thing.

Henry George
4 weeks 1 day ago

Lonnie,

Did you really confess to peering inside a Methodist Church ?
And if it is not to much to ask, what did your Confessor say ?

In the military you went to the Base Chapel.
At 7:00 they had a Catholic Mass
at 9:00 they had a mainstream Protestant Service
at 11:00 AM they had a Catholic Mass
at 5:00 PM they had an Evangelical service.
on Saturday they had a Jewish Service.

Perhaps Pius XII gave permission for Catholics to use the Base Chapel.

I went to Funerals and Weddings for my Protestant/Jewish friends long before Vatican II
no Priest ever told me I shouldn't, even when were at the same Funeral of a friend of his and mine.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

In my opinion, the only possibility of bridge-building is if both sides come with an honest presentation of the radical truth of their position, coupled with compassion for their counterpart on the other side. All touchy-feely anodyne comments (like "why can't you kiss your gay husband in Church", or "LGBT people have more faith than others"...) or denigration of one's own side in the debate should be expunged. Cardinal Sarah's Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal, is the right way, and the only way to make some progress in understanding on both sides. He stated the truth of the Church's teaching AND offered clear sympathy and compassion for those "who identify as members of the LGBT community."

Yes, this will expose those who are not really interested in dialogue but only in doctinal change. But, truth is more important than peace, as Jesus said in Matt 10:34. Not only is it an obligation of all Christians to tell the truth. But, it is also an act of mercy. Cardinal Sarah: "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."

Cardinal Sarah begins that Catholics should reflect "to determine whether we, as the Lord’s disciples, are reaching out effectively to a group in need. Christians must always strive to follow the new commandment Jesus gave at the Last Supper: “Love one another, even as I have loved you.”

"To love someone as Christ loves us means to love that person in the truth. “For this I was born,” Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “to bear witness to the truth.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church reflects this insistence on honesty, stating that the church’s message to the world must “reveal in all clarity the joy and demands of the way of Christ.”

"Those who speak on behalf of the church must be faithful to the unchanging teachings of Christ, because only through living in harmony with God’s creative design do people find deep and lasting fulfillment. "

Cardinal Sarah goes on to describe the sacrifices and hardships those with same-sex attraction face today and shows real compassion for them (without departing in any way from the truth). Toward the end, he says the following:

"It is my prayer that the world will finally heed the voices of Christians who experience same-sex attractions and who have discovered peace and joy by living the truth of the Gospel. I have been blessed by my encounters with them, and their witness moves me deeply. "

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

Mr. O'Leary, have you actually READ Father Martin's book? If you haven't, why are you assuming that he has anywhere in it rejected Roman Catholic marriage theology? If no dialogue is established, how do you expect gay folks to come to understand the Church's reasoning--her theological position regarding the impossibility of extending the sacrament of marriage to them? I have suggested above that you do not even understand how different Catholic marriage theology is from that of the American mainstream, so how do you expect gay folks to be brought to understand it? The Church's position definitely should be that their lot is a chaste lifestyle, but one that includes PUBLIC celebration of their unique charism, and their unique calling to a certain kind of witness to the "Truth" within the broader Catholic community. But how can they understand the opportunity they have to be full sharers in the sacramental graces the Church dispenses, if the Church, in the persons of her ministers and lay people demand silence of them, and no dialogue at all? Once the unique difference of Catholic marriage theology--so utterly contrary to what passes for "marriage" in mainstream America--were carefully and clearly expounded, I doubt very seriously that any sincere gay Catholics would clamor for it. However, you and other "conservative" Catholics seem to think that if benefit of "civil unions", which are what mainstream American Protestants and secularists partake of, is extended to the same-sex-attracted, it will somehow pose a challenge to Catholic sacramental marriage. It cannot and will not, BECAUSE OUR MARRIAGES ARE NOT THEIRS!

Nicholas Mangieri
1 month ago

It is a shame that such organizations can't muster the moral courage to stand up to these bigots. Clearly these organizations are ignorant of how social media can magnify the effect these groups have. So while they thought they were receiving a "torrent" of criticism from a large number of objectors, what they were really receiving was a torrent of garbage from a small group that knows how to use social media to good effect.

Bruce Pitman
1 month ago

It is eye-opening, and disheartening, to see how many "Catholics" are prepared to slam the door on those who aren't orthodox -according to their definition of orthodoxy. And it is appalling to see the vitriol in comments and responses.
The Church's views on sexuality were hardened in the fourth century, largely driven by a misogynist who lived to regret the sexual shenanigans of his youth. Please, can we as a body of thinking men AND WOMEN, revisit the notion that sex, as a result of Adam getting hungry, is evil. And can the teachers in seminary, priests and pastoral associates, get over your hangups about how and with whom I am having sex, and start focusing on the more important mission of seeking justice, embracing mercy, and walking humbly with our God.

Vincent Gaglione
1 month ago

I have to ask, if only because some of the people who write here offend with terrible ad hominem attacks, is everyone who writes at least a subscriber?

If not, then I propose that all individuals who write be identified as either a subscriber or not. I'd like to know who the "fire-starters" are, those who are directed to the site seemingly for the purposes of invective.

Sister Lea
3 weeks 2 days ago

"“The larger question...How will the church...deal with Catholics who hate?” How might the Church deal with the hatred engendered between strongly divergent factions within its own "rank and file"?

Hate has been dividing the Church more deeply with every year during the past few decades. Meanwhile, with the world caught in its own hate cycle, often fueled by religion, surely the Catholic Church would want to be an example of the unity in diversity which IS part of Catholic tradition.

See: "Church Unity: NOT about merging disparate factions" on https://RiteBeyondRome.com. A discussion on how we might expand Cardinal Kasper's insights on ecumenical unity and apply them to the essential differences we have WITHIN our Catholic Church.

Cardinal Kasper's article in ORIGINS (Vol 45, no. 9 July 2, 2015) "Vatican II: Toward a Multifaceted Unity"

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A judge has overturned a finding of suicide and ruled that Ahmed Timol was murdered by South Africa’s Security Police 45 years ago.
Anthony EganOctober 23, 2017
Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion, outside of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.
Texas bishops: "No one -- the government, private individuals or organizations -- should be forced to be complicit in abortion."
Catholic News ServiceOctober 23, 2017
It is time for the laity to speak out and act like true disciples of Christ in spreading the joy of the Gospel. 
Thomas J. ReeseOctober 23, 2017
Pope Francis speaks from the Vatican as he addresses Canadian youths in a video message that was included in a Salt and Light Television program on Oct. 22 (CNS photo/courtesy Holy See Press Office).
“The world, the church, are in need of courageous young people, who are not cowed in the face of difficulties," the pope said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 23, 2017