Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church

Photos: iStock, composite: America MediaPhotos: iStock, composite: America Media

Father James Martin is a distinguished Jesuit author who has spent his life building bridges within the Catholic Church and between the church and the wider world. He has been particularly effective in bringing the Gospel message to the millennial generation. When we survey the vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church in the United States, it is clear that there could be no more compelling missionary outreach for the future of Catholicism than the terrain that Father Martin has passionately and eloquently pursued over the past two decades. There are few evangelizers who have engaged that terrain with more heart and skill and devotion.

Last year Father Martin undertook a particularly perilous project in this work of evangelization: building bridges between the church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States. He entered it knowing that the theological issues pertaining to homosexuality constituted perhaps the most volatile element of ecclesial life in U.S. culture.


It was this very volatility that spurred Father Martin to write his new book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity. Using a methodology that is fully consonant with Catholic teaching, employing Scripture, the rich pastoral heritage of the church and an unadulterated realism that makes clear both the difficulty and the imperative for establishing deeper dialogue, Father Martin opens a door for proclaiming that Jesus Christ and his church seek to embrace fully and immediately men and women in the L.G.B.T. community.

Jesus Christ and his church seek to embrace fully and immediately men and women in the L.G.B.T. community.

Building a Bridge is a serious book, and any such work invites substantive criticism and dialogue. This is particularly true with a complex subject like the relationship of the L.G.B.T. community and the church. Many analyses of Father Martin’s arguments have pointed to important problems that do not have easy answers and to the reality that dialogue must always proceed both in respect and in truth.

But alongside this legitimate and substantive criticism of Father Martin’s book, there has arisen both in Catholic journals and on social media a campaign to vilify Father Martin, to distort his work, to label him heterodox, to assassinate his personal character and to annihilate both the ideas and the dialogue that he has initiated.

This campaign of distortion must be challenged and exposed for what it is—not primarily for Father Martin’s sake but because this cancer of vilification is seeping into the institutional life of the church. Already, several major institutions have canceled Father Martin as a speaker. Faced with intense external pressures, these institutions have bought peace, but in doing so they have acceded to and reinforced a tactic and objectives that are deeply injurious to Catholic culture in the United States and to the church’s pastoral care for members of the L.G.B.T. communities.

There has arisen both in Catholic journals and on social media a campaign to vilify Father Martin.

The concerted attack on Father Martin’s work has been driven by three impulses: homophobia, a distortion of fundamental Catholic moral theology and a veiled attack on Pope Francis and his campaign against judgmentalism in the church.

The attacks on Building a Bridge tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community. The persons launching these attacks portray the reconciliation of the church and the L.G.B.T. community not as a worthy goal but as a grave cultural, religious and familial threat. Gay sexual activity is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased to the point that L.G.B.T. persons are to be effectively excluded from the family of the church. Pejorative language and labels are deployed regularly and strategically. The complex issues of sexual orientation and its discernment in the life of the individual are dismissed and ridiculed.

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


The coordinated attack on Building a Bridge must be a wake-up call for the Catholic community to look inward and purge itself of bigotry against the L.G.B.T. community. If we do not, we will build a gulf between the church and L.G.B.T. men and women and their families. Even more important, we will build an increasing gulf between the church and our God.

The attacks on ‘Building a Bridge’ tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community. 

The second corrosive impulse of the campaign against Building a Bridge flows from a distortion of Catholic moral theology. The goal of the Catholic moral life is to pattern our lives after that of Jesus Christ. We must model our interior and exterior selves on the virtues of faith, love, hope, mercy, compassion, integrity, sacrifice, prayerfulness, humility, prudence and more. One of these virtues is chastity. Chastity is a very important virtue of the Christian moral life. The disciple is obligated to confine genital sexual activity to marriage.

But chastity is not the central virtue in the Christian moral life. Our central call is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Many times, our discussions in the life of the church suggest that chastity has a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character or our relationship with God. It does not.

Our discussions in the life of the church suggest that chastity has a singularly powerful role in determining our relationship with God. It does not.

This distortion of our faith cripples many of our discussions of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. The overwhelming prism through which we should look at our moral lives is that we are all called to live out the virtues of Christ; we all succeed magnificently at some and fail at others. Those who emphasize the incompatibility of gay men or lesbian women living meaningfully within the church are ignoring the multidimensional nature of the Christian life of virtue or the sinfulness of us all or both.

The third impulse behind the campaign against Building a Bridge arises from a rejection of the pastoral theology that Pope Francis has brought into the heart of the church. Regarding the issue of homosexuality, in particular, many of those attacking Father Martin simply cannot forgive the Holy Father for uttering that historic phrase on the plane: “Who am I to judge?” The controversy over Building a Bridge is really a debate about whether we are willing to banish judgmentalism from the life of the church. Pope Francis continually reminds us that the Lord unceasingly called the disciples to reject the temptation to judge others, precisely because it is a sin so easy for us all to fall into and one so injurious to the life of the church.

The gulf between the L.G.B.T. community and the church is not primarily based on orientation; it is a gulf created by judgmentalism on both sides. That is the real starting point for a dialogue between the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States today. Father Martin should be thanked for pointing to this reality, not shunned.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Andrew Wolfe
2 years 4 months ago

Bishop McElroy would better discharge his teaching office to define what homophobia is, and why he considers it a problem, and why he broad-brushes large numbers of Catholics with that condemnation. It would be irresponsible for him to claim that questioning Martin reflects distortions of Catholic moral theology without explaining that theology and correcting those distortions. Most critics of Martin have no problem with the teaching on chastity; their problem is Martin consistently refuses to engage it regarding homosexuals. And given that obeying Divinely-given Church teaching on marriage is one of the small handful of strictures required for good standing in the Church, chastity's role in determining our relationship with God seems pretty strong to me. Finally, I feel unfairly judged and condemned by Bishop McElroy when he claims my questioning of Martin constitutes an attack on Pope Francis. Frankly, this whole piece is a disappointing, high-handed, one-sided, non-listening condemnation of those questioning Martin.

Don Campbell
2 years 4 months ago

Bishop McElroy is critical of those who hold the view that: "Gay sexual activity is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased...".

People who hold that view are simply following the teaching of the Church. Sodomy IS particularly offensive to God. It is not "just one sin among others". People are suspicious (and who can blame them in the current environment) that those who say that sodomy is "just one sin among others" are trying to normalize it.

Sodomy is one of the four "sins that cry to heaven for vengeance" (along with murder, oppression of the poor, and defrauding workers of their wages). CCC 1867 states: "The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are "sins that cry to heaven": the blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner."

Chivas Dudley
2 years 4 months ago

Sexual activity between two consenting adults is not sinful regardless of their sexual preference. The Church needs to get over itself and face reality. I would like to see the Bishop any for that matter and parish priest admonish his congregation telling them the opposite must be held or you are committing ' grave sin '. Their Sunday collection would drop. This bishop like many others as well as priests and the Catholic church in general need to jump into 2017 and beyond. It is a whole new sexual experience out there in the real world and in many cases has nothing to do with love between two or more people.

Tim Brantley
2 years 4 months ago

Let me guess...Fr. Martin fan?

Joseph Jaglowicz
2 years 3 months ago

I think your understanding of sex "between two consenting adults" is much too simplistic and needs some "fleshing out". If one regards Christian morality as *divinely informed common sense* and sin as *irresponsible behavior*, it is easy to conclude that not all consensual sex is responsible behavior. Aside from the fact that "hookups" and "relationships" can end with typical hurt feelings, etc. of one and/or other party, such behaviors can also dull one's appreciation for the values of monogamy and fidelity in human relationships (and not just sexual ones). Moral indifference to the needs and rights of others is not beneficial to human solidarity and cohesion. It's "Everyone for him- or herself". If one doesn't love oneself, one cannot at all love others. Not good for oneself or society.

Don Campbell
2 years 4 months ago

Everyone judges. Even Pope Francis, Bishop McElroy, and Fr. Martin.

Pope Francis can be particularly brutal in his judgment and condemnation of others. I have never heard the kind of scorn and derision toward others from a pope in my lifetime that I have heard from Pope Francis - ruthlessly denigrating people, calling them rigid "Pharisees" with hearts of stone and saying they must be mentally ill if they like the Latin Mass. Even mocking them. And he hurls particularly strong invective at those who he considers to be oppressing the poor or marginalized. So, he judges pretty severely. He just has his own pet sins that he wants to focus on, while using a soft glove on sexual sin.

Likewise, Bishop McElroy's entire article is a "judgment" on those whom he perceives as a "cancer" in the U.S. Church. It's pretty rich to write an article on non-judgmentalism, the whole purpose of which seems to be to express a negative judgment on an entire group of people. Now, I am not saying that Bishop McElroy's criticism is wrong, I am just saying, he too is judging people; i's just that his harsh judgment is reserved for people who are being mean to Fr. Martin and not for those who are engaged in sexual sins.

Those who promote the "Church of inclusion and non-judgmentalism" are easily exposed as hypocrites. I do not see any of them calling for the full integration of white supremacist racists into he life of the Church with out judgment of their behavior (and, of course, they shouldn't). Just see the USCCB's statement severely condemning racism, issued last week. Likewise, no one is advocating the full inclusion, without judgment, of unrepentant practicing Satanists into the Church, or militant atheists, Mafia hit men, or of those engaged in sex-slave traffic.

The point is: they are only insisting that a certain class sins not be judged and not result in exclusion: sexual sins. Why is that?

J Jones
2 years 3 months ago

Don, have you had success in engaging anyone in the Catholic LGBT community or their Catholic allies in dialogue by setting up any kind of moral equivalency between white supremacy and gay relationships? By suggesting that LGBT Catholics and their Catholic allies are hypocritical if they believe that the Church should respond differently to stable, committed gay couples in the parish community than it would to Catholic parishioners who self-identify as white supremacists engaged in violence against Jewish and Black neighbors or sex-traffickers kidnapping, raping and treating as animals for sexual abuse women , girls and boys?

I continue to be stunned by this rhetoric in which some seem unable to resist mixing the apple of homosexuality with the oranges and kiwis and watermelons of adultery, child abuse and, now, white supremacy, mafia hitmen and human traffickers!

I want to shout from the rooftop: "let's develop a sense of reason and proportion. people!" And then I breathe and I want to ask you to spend a day with me, praying in a room shared by a gay couple who ask to join us in prayer and also a human trafficker and his terrified human cargo. At the end of the day, after the human cargo has been denied food and water and access to the bathroom and thus have defecated and urinated on themselves and cried themselves to sleep in exhaustion and fear; after the four of us (you, me and the gay Catholic couple) have prayed for hours, I would ask you who you thought Jesus would stand and admonish? The gay couple joining us in prayer? The human trafficker getting ready to sell the degraded women in his possession? You and me for not stopping the prayer to chastise the couple for the homosexual contact we suspect they had last night? Or maybe he would say "hey, gay people, stop chastising that trafficker for the 12 year old he sold outside during lunch! You hypocrites had sex last night, didn't you? AND you haven't confessed, have you?! Pay attention to log in your own eyes before attending the sliver in the trafficker's!"

I pray to God the day will come that Catholics of sincere faith - and I trust that everyone here is - will stop making arguments like these. THIS is part of what Fr Martin is asking: that we stop abusing and alienating each other with outrageous rhetoric like this.

Raymond Marey
2 years 4 months ago

Your defense of Fr. Martin is justified. You speak of attacks on Fr Martin having roots in three impulses.
The first cause is bigotry against homosexuals which is an attack on reconciliation with the Church. Has the Catholic Church ever been at peace with this group. If so, when? How can the Church reconcile if there never has been acceptance of this group?
The second cause you state is not putting God's commandment to love others the priority it deserves. Other statements concerning doctrine opposing "genital sexual activity" outside of marriage are stated as the best way to moral character.
The third reason you give for the attacks against Fr Martin and his LGBT efforts, is a two-fold attack on the Pope and his attack on judgmentalism.
My conclusions after reading your article is to suppoort efforts for the Church to allow priests to be openly gay and allow Catholic priests to perform gay marriage ceremonies. Opposing these actions exposes the judgmentalism and bigotry the clergy have practiced against these minority groups.

Sharon Brown
2 years 4 months ago

Thank you Bishop McElroy for writing this article. And I mean that in a kind, positive way.

Colin Donovan
2 years 4 months ago

In fifty+ years of tromping around Catholic parishes I have never seen a shunning, whether of a homosexual or a heterosexual person. I do not doubt that same-sex oriented individuals, and couples shacking up," have had their behavior pointed out to them, but the claims made here seems more of a "hard case" offered to justified a lifestyle.

The central issue in most of the discussion of LGBT matters is the meaning of "disordered," and the pillaging of that term in order to justify calling it "ordered," as several commenters here do. Its meaning is quite simple, actually, the use of the sexual faculty is not properly ordered to its purpose, the procreation and generation of children. Sexual pleasure is not its *defining* purpose. If Scripture, faith and nature teach anything, it is that. Eating or drinking to gorge oneself on tasty treats or to get drunk is also disordered for the same reason, the abuse of a God-given faculty. Knowingly using speech to convey a lie rather than the truth is disordered, and on and on we can go through the Decalogue searching for the disordered fruits of concupiscence.

The politicization of "disordered" in order to claim "victim status" and demand recognition of a right to same-sex activity is no more justified than a single or married man claiming to be a victim of monogamous heterosexuality in order to justify the disordered use of his or her sexual faculties with real or virtual women to whom he is not married. Anything else is hubris in defense of sin - and to that extent "natural" to the fallen and disordered inclinations of all of us. Compassion for the sinner, yes! But clarity regarding the sin, any sin, is a necessary part of self-knowledge and conversion.

J Jones
2 years 4 months ago

Colin, the fact that you do not know of any events that might be summed up as "shunning" suggests to me that you may not know any openly gay Catholics who have been active parish members. Find a welcoming Catholic parish and get to know some of the LGBT parishioners and you will almost certainly learn of events that can be fairly summed up as "shunnnings".

Henry George
2 years 4 months ago

Thank You.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

The silly prurience of Rod Dreher, as he attacks Father Martin, is inadvertently called out by one of his readers:

“Sorry, but if an unmarried straight couple’s allowed to kiss during mass, then an unmarried gay couple is as well. Kissing is either sexual i.e. unchaste (by virtue of it being outside marriage [according to Dreher and company’s puritanical version of sexual morality, which is not shared by half the world, who find, say, kissing on both cheeks completely appropriate at mass]), or it’s not. Case closed.”

Accusations against Father Martin SJ, of being an equivocator of Catholic Truth:

The good Bishop’s defense of Father Martin has to go further than the above, and he or Father’s Jesuit brothers must address the charge of dissembling Catholic Truth. I claim that, just because he hasn’t fully explained the exceptional nature of Catholic marriage, as compared with that of all the other Christian sects and the secularists, doesn’t mean that he has told half-truths. I don’t agree with Dreher and those on this thread accusing Father Martin of dissembling Catholic marriage theology, but I also feel that more than half of the reason that they are so vehement in their accusations against “Building Bridges,” is that the Church hasn’t done a good job of explaining how MOST of all marriages in America are “intrinsically disordered,” BECAUSE they are instinctively assumed to be “dissoluble.”

However, I also insist, against those who claim that “traditional marriage” is threatened by the “civil marriage” that is the only thing “gay marriage” can possibly amount to, in Catholic terms, that, if they insist on branding it as contrary to what Jesus Christ instituted, they must also insist that Protestant marriage must also be condemned for its theologically dissoluble nature, as preached by Martin Luther, for the purposes of supporting his heresy of “salvation by faith alone,”* and that that kind of “marriage” must ALSO be branded as “intrinsically disordered.”

In terms of the Gospel of Matthew, either the innovation of the Mosaic Law made by Christ is “against natural law,” or Christ’s prescription of “sacramental marriage” as being “indissoluble” is the thing that is “natural” and “according to God’s plan.”

*Luther divorced a nun from her “marriage vow” to Christ and married her to himself. When challenged regarding Christ’s prohibition of divorce in the Gospel of Matthew, he proclaimed, in his "Table Talk," that the Savior gave us that command “with His tongue far in His cheek,” implying clearly, and in consistency with his heresy of “salvation by faith alone,” that it was a command that the Savior knew we could not keep, because of our “concupiscence.” This opened the door to the Protestant teaching of “companionate marriage,” as outlined by John Milton, in his “Doctrine of Divorce,” and, ultimately, during the Enlightenment, to the “serial monogamy” of a divorce culture. I maintain that this historical phenomenon made “gay marriage” logically inevitable, and that the Catholic Church’s efforts to stave off “gay marriage,” is akin to trying to shut the door of the stable, after the horses have been stampeded. Divorce is the elephant in the Church’s living room that CREATED “gay marriage,” and a society whose citizens think they have a “right” to divorce is a society that may not deny that “liberty” to the same-sex-attracted.

Again, I say THEIR MARRIAGES ARE NOT OUR MARRIAGES, and THEIR TOLERANCE OF GAY MARRIAGE POSES NO DIRECT OR IMPLICIT THREAT TO CATHOLIC MARRIAGE!—so long as Catholics properly understand the uniqueness and the separateness of “sacramental marriage” (which much of the writing on these threads convinces me they do not).

E.Patrick Mosman
2 years 4 months ago

"The attacks on ‘Building a Bridge’ tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community."
Wow, The ultimate in liberal/progressive argumentation Name Calling 101 of those who believe in and uphold the long-held teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.
Since when are the dogma's and teaching of Christ's Church built on the Rock of St Peter subject to the whims and fancies of the "Political Correctness" of the day preached by a priest and backed by a Bishop?

Susan Parlamento
2 years 4 months ago

Thank you Father McElroy for defending Father Martin. I am new to Catholicism and am only here because Father Martin's insights and compassion showed me a different Catholic Church, one more focused on Christ-like community, faith and interactions. I pray your message of acceptance and compassion is heard and embraced.

George Bell
2 years 4 months ago

Spare us the victim card, Bishop McElroy. Fr. Martin, et al., are putting forward a concerted effort to "update" (read: change) the Church's teachings on the objectively evil nature of the the act of sodomy, plain and simple. When others push back using, say, divinely revealed truths from Holy Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, it is not a matter of homophobia or whatever, but a matter, out of concern for the salvation of souls, of proclaiming the truth in contradiction to those who are trying to say there is really nothing wrong with certain types of sin, after all. Cardinal Sarah's recent article in the Wall Street Journal is a good example of how outreach to people with same sex attraction can be done with compassion and love without thinking we have to change the Church's teaching.

Carlos Leon
2 years 4 months ago

I just can't comprehend why Dr Martin would be portrayed as a bad person. His writings have made me think, question, pray, and laugh with the saints. I would ask those villifiers if they are without sin then cast that first stone in full view of us all. Working for justice does not mean judging by ones own standards. Please keep up the good work Bishop McElroy and Dr Martin also. Those institutions that disinvited Fr Martin should read the book and understand it's contents, instead of listening to someone who's only loud.

Michael Barberi
2 years 4 months ago

There were 103 comment on a recent article by Cardinal Sarah criticizing Fr. Martin's book. Now there are 85 comments (and counting) on an article by Bishop McElroy supporting Fr. Martin's book.

What I noticed are a few things. First, most of the comments against Fr. Martin's book often use proof texting without any idea as to the history of biblical stories and scripture texts, especially the contemporary moral scholarship on homosexuality. Second, there is also a firm and strict belief that what the Church teaches is the absolute moral truth with respect to the issue of homosexuality, same sex marriage et al. Third, there is a strong emphasis fixation on doctrine and not on what Pope Francis has ushered into the pastoral praxis of the Church, namely, the informed conscience (e.g., internal forum), accompaniment, virtue and discernment. Somehow, doctrine or the letter of the law seems to be what everyone must follow without criticism, while the spirit of the law or the pastoral application of doctrine seems to be relegated to the unimportant.

While I don not want to repeat a lengthly argument once again, if the Church can find a way to permit Holy Communion of the divorced and remarried without and annulment (e.g., Amoris Laetitia), then it can find a reasonable, compassionate, sensitive way for gays and lesbians in a Civil, Christian or Jewish marriage to be welcomed more fully into the Church instead of the oft-repeated teaching that they must live as brothers and sisters for their salvation.

As to the comments about chastity. Here are my views and the views of many moral theologians.

> Chastity is a virtue that means using our sexuality well in our thoughts, desires and deeds. It means not having any sexual activities before marriage or after marriage with a person who is not your spouse. Chastity-temperance is a virtue of well-ordered desires for pleasures. Within a marriage it means the moderation and proper use of sexual desires based on right reason. When spouses mutually engage in sexual activities and put the pleasure of their sexual acts at the service of love and fidelity, such acts are both chaste and temperate. This means that spouses are not having any impure thoughts of other men or women as this would be a from of adultery as Jesus said.

Keep in mind that according to Tradition (e.g., Clement of Alexandra), chastity in a marriage meant no sexual intercourse if the spouses had no intention of procreation. Sexual intercourse was immoral if it was not for procreation. Compare this today with the fact that couples who practice NFP have the same intention as those who take the pill. In other words, both intend by their thoughts and actions to ensure that their sexual intercourse is not procreative. In fact, NFP can be practiced for a long time or 'a lifetime' for good reasons (Pius XII). Also in the past, sexual intercourse during menstruation was immoral, sex during pregnancy was forbidden and sex with the woman on top was immoral. These teachings were taught as truth for centuries but were eventually abandoned or reformed. So were the teachings on slavery, usury and the freedom of religion.

For heterosexuals (I am heterosexual), any thought of homosexual acts go against every fiber of my nature and are considered by me as not normal. I cannot even think of any reason when I would voluntarily commit such an act. However, for most of those born with a same-sex orientation/inclination, homosexual acts are normal and natural and heterosexual acts are not. While this does not justify homosexual acts, there is the question about sexual acts between same sex individuals within an irregular marriage. While we can debate the doctrine and teachings about homosexuality, especially the Biblical passages mentioned often, the Church has not found any way to be treat gay and lesbian individuals with respect, compassion and sensitivity. This is a major problem. In truth they feel unwelcome and disenfranchised.

Fr. Martin's book is a clarion call for the institutional Church to enter into frequent, honest and serious dialogue with the gay and lesbian community, especially those Catholics who want to come back to the Church, and love and serve God and neighbor.

Will the Church change its doctrine about homosexuality and same sex marriage? It is certainly possible, but likely not probable, that doctrine will be developed. However, if it changes it will take a very long time. However, we need to start the dialogue especially if we are to treat gays and lesbians with the kind of pastoral love, mercy and compassion that Pope Francis has called worldwide Bishops to do with respect to the divorced and remarried. It is not simply of asking gay and lesbians in a permanent, loving and faithful marriage to live as brothers and sisters for their lifetime. It is not as simple as mustering up the courage to practice lifetime sexual abstinence while denying them a licit and valid marriage. It is not simply about arguing what Scripture says or does not say. Contemporary moral scholarship is challenging us that what we thought was the absolute moral truth in scripture may not be as hermetically sealed as we thought. I have been studying moral theology for 7 years and I am just beginning to understand it.

Bravo Fr. Martin and thank you Bishop McElroy for this article.

Tim Brantley
2 years 4 months ago

Some observations regarding James Martin.
He consistently refuses to affirm Church teaching as to the nature of homosexuality and homosexual activity. He's been asked and given the opportunity to do so countless times by countless people. He has not once, nor will he, affirm the teachings of the Catholic Church....why should a Catholic priest have any problem at all in affirming Church teaching??

He consistently promotes, supports, and recommends organizations that openly, publicly, blatantly, and strongly oppose Church teachings on the matter. Organizations which have been repeatedly condemned by the Teaching Authority of the Church...while there exist authentic, Church approved apostolates that started this "conversation" long before he came along (30 yrs. in Ministry) that welcome & help people who are same sex attracted to find hope & Communion w/ the Church..He says not one word of these in order to help people. Instead, he recommends "ministries" who advocate for same sex marriage and lifestyle in opposition to the Church. Why would a Catholic priest do this??

Although he claims to want dialogue, he will never publicly enter into dialogue with anyone who embraces and defends Church teaching. He will only preach to the choir in settings that are beneficial to himself. Why does a Catholic priest refuse to dialogue with anyone who supports Church teaching?? Why does a Catholic priest have any reservations about discussing Catholic teaching with someone who he should agree with??

If he would simply state his beliefs plainly, I could actually respect him. Why should anyone refuse to simply state whatever it is they believe?? If they believe it to be truth, why not just say so??

Tim O'Leary
2 years 4 months ago

Good comment Tim. It is worth listening to Fr. Martin In this podcast

In it you can hear the dog whistle to gay marriage advocates and against the Catechism. You hear demeaning of people trying to live chaste lives and follow the faith (he calls them "less integrated").

Whenever he is challenged for not raising Catholic doctrine, Fr. Martin uses the following form "the teaching of the Church is well known." Notice that is not an endorsement of Church doctrine, and certainly not a defense of Church teaching. If Fr. Martin does not believe in the teaching as in the Catechism, he should say so. If he does believe it, he should say so. It needs to be said. Or else, it leaves the impression he really does not accept Catholic teaching. Since Bishop McElroy also uses the anti-Catholic pejoratives like homophobia and bigotry, it would be helpful if he too would at least state his understanding of each paragraph in the Catechism. otherwise, we are left wondering what he is really trying to teach in this area of doctrine.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

Mr. O'Leary, you constantly demand of Father Martin that he "explain himself," but you will never reply to my arguments that Catholic sacramental marriage is not at all challenged by "gay marriage" because it is fundamentally different from the mainstream American marriage that has been shaped by secularism and the profoundly heretical marriage theology of Protestantism. You really should have been a member of the Spanish Inquisition. Its members also insisted that the accused "respond" to their "questioning," but they never entered into any real "dialogue" with the accused, either. You had better understand that Father James Martin S.J. is not some nobody standing before your tribunal; he has the full support, now, of his powerful and influential order and of the Magisterium in the Vatican.

Henry George
2 years 3 months ago

You were more likely to get a fair hearing before the Spanish Inquisition than you were a public court.
If Fr. Martin has the backing you claim he does, though he does not fully have it, why is he so reluctant
to answer questions - dubia - if you will ? He can certainly respond on this comment site - why does he not do so ?

Dan Acosta
2 years 4 months ago

Bishop McElroy, your claim of a campaign to vilify James Martin, SJ. and your charge of a conspiracy to impugn Martin's character is disingenuous and poisons the discussion of Martin's views and the views of those who disagree with him. Where is your proof that there is a "campaign" against Martin? Just because many people public criticize his views, that does not mean there is any concerted effort to discredit him. Rather, these are individuals expressing their individual or organizational (in the case of magazines, etc.) views. Be honest with yourself and your readers.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

You people really want to have it both ways about poor Father Martin: one minute you accuse him of never having expressed his "views" regarding orthodox Catholic marriage theology, and then the next minute you accuse him of having the "views" that the minute before you said he's never made plain. Anyone reading your vitriol easily recognizes in its illogic vicious calumny.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 years 4 months ago

Unfortunately many "Catholics", including Father Martin, use their own 'subjective conscience' to repudiate or modify teachings and beliefs of the Church while they express belief in its being, one and holy every time they celebrate or attend Mass and recite the Creed. It is evident that a number of Catholics believe that their own subjective conscience gives them the moral authority to decide which actions, behaviors, are right, which are wrong, which Church teachings can be rejected so as not to inhibit their secular life style in other words, to follow the crowd not the Church. They then resort to
labeling those who uphold the teachings as bigots, cancers or worse. Many believe that Vatican II provided this decision making authority but the authorities did not plaster over the wall of the Sistine Chapel on which Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment" appears. If a copy of The Last Judgment were to be placed behind the altar in every Church, the Sunday Sermon be could be reduced to the priest pointing to the painting and saying "That all folks. We report, you decide.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

You are aware, right, that Michelangelo was "same-sex-attracted" himself--that not only his art but also his poetry--particularly that which was addressed to Tomasso di Cavalieri--prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt? And it is also true that his powerful homoerotic energies were re-channeled into a mystical spiritual attraction to the corporeal form of Christ Himself, which kept him, later in life, "chaste," even though fully "gay." If you doubt it, I suggest you take a look at "Michelangelo and the Reinvention of the Human Body" by James Hall. Michelangelo is not the only "gay" saint whose "gayness" requires full acknowledgment by the Catholic Church, so as to make the lot of "gay" Catholics a more respectable one.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 years 4 months ago

Every historian writing about Michelangelo use the same references and come to the same conclusion on his sexual orientation. At the same time they conclude that he was as you pointed did not act on his "gayness" but led a chaste life. He should be a an example for those LGBT who wish to return to or join the Catholic Church.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

Actually, according to his own testimony of youthful "sinfulness," at one point in his life he did.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 years 4 months ago

Would you please by source, chapter and verse clarify what is meant by his "youthful sinfulness" in this. By the way what was your intent or purpose of your original comment since my reference was to his painting which had nothing to do with any sexual tendency.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

Please look here:'s_Poetry
and here:
Michelangelo wrote several poems bewailing the sinfulness of his love affairs, which he feared would put his salvation at risk:
Ah, Love how rapidly you do appear,
Armed and powerful, reckless and audacious,
And out of me you thrust
The thought of death even when it is timely…
Cruel revenge accompanies great sin…
How would you have me placed,
So that my last day, [which should be good,]
Should be the one of shame and disaster? [20]

Additionally, I will send you to the library:

Read carefully the chapters entitled “Movements,” “Humiliations,” and “Legacies” of Michelangelo and the Reinvention of the Human Body by James Hall.
Also read the chapter entitled “Michelangelo in Love” in The Loves of the Artists by Jonathan Ross.
Michelangelo, A Biography by George Bull is completely honest and objective about Michelangelo’s emotional involvements with younger men throughout his life, in youth and in old age.

Finally, allow me to give you a long quotation:

“As ‘The Punishment of Tityus’ suggests, Michelangelo seems to have taken to heart the Petrarchan dichotomy between physical desire and death. Throughout the verses he addresses to Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, he went to great lengths to stress that—because he recognized his own mortality—his love was utterly chaste. This was, indeed, the basis on which Michelangelo pleaded for greater intimacy with the distant young man. ‘Your soul,’ he claimed in a poem written in 1533, ‘more willing to respond/than I hope the chaste fire that glows/within me, will have pity and draw close.’
But despite his protestations, Michelangelo’s demeanor seemed to suggest that his intentions were not altogether pure. Already in late 1532 or early 1533, tongues had begun to wag. Gossips began to speculate that Michelangelo, far from being chaste, was in fact a dirty old man. When this reached Tommaso’s ears, he was unable entirely to dismiss his suspicions and actually refused to see the artist for a while. Distraught, Michelangelo felt obliged to pen a verse rejecting the accusations.
Although Michelangelo had sincerely endeavored to conquer his physical passions, he had been unable to succeed. Even as he protested his chastity, he admitted that he wanted to have ‘my sweet and longed-for lord forever stay/folded in these unworthy, ready arms.’ At times, he actually seemed to revel in his sexual longings and gave way to his libido with unashamed excitement while simultaneously recalling his pious intentions.” --Alexander Lee, The Ugly Renaissance: Sex, Greed, Violence and Depravity in an Age of Beauty, pp. 125-26

What Mr. Lee in his excellent book does not account for, however, is HOW Michelangelo endeavored “to conquer his physical passions,” which is well-explained in Mr. Hall’s book: it was by making a cult of the physical Body of Christ that was both mystical AND homoerotic.

Please don’t misunderstand me: I am definitely NOT trying to make of Michelangelo’s life and works a “justification” for homosexuality. Something that is as natural and permanent as the terrestrial globe and all of its phenomena does not require “justification.” In fact, I AM agreeing with you that Michelangelo, during the course of his lifetime, overcame the “temptations” provided to him naturally. However, if you want to use him as an example of “heroic sanctity,” then give some considerable respect to the “cross” he bore, which may, indeed, account for a large portion of the beauty and strength of his works, just as it probably does for the beauty and strength of much of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry. Saints are not born “sinless”—and THAT is a doctrine of orthodox Christianity.

Michael Barberi
2 years 4 months ago

Two issues keep repeating.

1. Fr. Martin implies by his words in his book and in his podcast that the teaching on homosexuality, et al, should be the subject of a re-thinking, and Fr. Martin should clearly say he disagrees or not with such teachings and/or the pastoral application of such teachings.

2. The subjective conscience is simply a cafeteria mentality where the agent chooses what teachings suit one's situation in life and which one's do not.

FIRST ISSUE: Father Martin made clear in his podcast that the reason he did not go into detail about doctrine, or the 'elephant in the room' is that he is not a moral theologian and not expert in arguing about such issues. However, I could discern from his remarks and those of the other theologian guest in the podcast, that he believes the teachings on homosexuality and/or the pastoral application of such teachings should be the subject of a rethinking by the institutional church. This is clear to me from his clarion call for dialogues. In truth, most bishops and priest have no idea about what it is to be gay but want to be welcomed into the Church. The often repeated letter of the law is not working and perhaps their should be a change in the pastoral application of the teaching on homosexuality, et al, like was done with respect to Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. Fr. Martin is trying to walk a very narrow line between outright dissent and respectful disagreement as well as between the letter of the law (doctrine) and the spirit of the law (pastoral application).

SECOND ISSUE: The theology of conscience has caused much confusion and is commonly misunderstood. Conscience is not to be thought of like most think of it today in our secular culture, namely, that a person can subjectively decide for themselves what is right and true in a given set of circumstances without adequately forming their conscience, period, full stop. The teaching of the Church is not about the subjective 'uninformed' conscience. Rather conscience is the ancient theology of conscience set forth in Vatican II's Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et specs. There is a recent article about this issue in Theological Studies, for those who want more detail.

However, what is important about the informed conscience is the discernment process between the person and their pastor. In this regard, Amoris Laetitia spells out a whole series of "ifs' that help to guarantee (as best as humanly possible) whether God has spoken directly to a person in the depths of their soul so that the agent's actions, at the moment, is what God understands is all that is reasonable possible for now.

The Bishops of Malta emphasis the importance of the discernment process: "If, at the end of the discernment, if it has been undertaken - as Amoris asks - with humility, discretion, and love for the Church and her teaching, if a divorced and civilly person has sincerely searched, with an informed conscience, for God’s will, and has a desire to respond more perfectly to it; and if, at the end of all that, they are “at peace with God,” then they “cannot be precluded” from the sacraments of the Reconciliation and the Eucharist.

The dispute and misunderstandings about conscience is not between priests who want to 'ignore' the letter of the Law or doctrine versus canon lawyers who insist on its rigid adherence. It is a theological argument over how the law is to be applied and what place conscience occupies. The teaching on conscience is not new. What is new is its development and integration in the praxis of the Church. The Church's teaching is clear: one must never go against their informed conscience even if it is in tension with Church teachings. Keep in mind that many teachings were proclaimed as truth for centuries by popes and councils but were eventually reformed.

Priests are called to form consciences, not to replace them. For those with a contrite heart, God never holds back his love and mercy. Thus, the role of conscience, as articulated in Vatican II, is now being applied to those who are divorced and remarried who want to come back to the Church. It is this teaching about conscience, discernment, accompaniment and virtue that should be the subject of a rethinking and applied to homosexuals in an irregular marriage who want to come back to the Church as well.

I believed that Fr. Martin's book, his podcast as well as Bishop McElroy's article reflects, in part, what I am saying.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

And I think you are absolutely correct in everything you wrote; it perfectly aligns with what John Henry Newman wrote about "conscience" in his "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk."

Henry George
2 years 4 months ago

You do not understand what conscience is and what its duties are.
And no, you are not obliged to follow your conscience, no matter how well formed you think it is,
if following your conscience leads you to do evil.
As for your last paragraph - please.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

John Henry Newman, in his "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk," disagrees with you. There is a quote from John Henry Cardinal Newman at the end of Section 5 of his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk where he famously remarks “I shall drink – to the Pope, if you please – still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.” This quote has been repeated many times to illustrate some of the complexity and power of the idea of conscience in Catholic teaching. Likewise, and in more technical language, St. Thomas Aquinas states that even an erring conscience binds. Under no circumstance is one to violate one’s own conscience, not if the Pope demands it, not if anyone demands it.

Henry George
2 years 3 months ago


I would hope that any person puts the formation of his conscience before his concern for the Pope.

As for Newman: "Quidquid fit contra conscientiam, ædificat ad gehennam." may or may not have been said in the
4th Lateran Council, let me know if you can find it there, as Newman is evidently quoting Cardinal Gousset.

But that is a well formed conscience, and so the question is whether those who vehemently disagree with the Church,
while considering themselves "good catholics" actually have a well formed - that is a proper conscience.

No, an erring conscience does not bind. One is not bound to do an evil act even if your ( ill ) - formed conscience tells you
to do so. One can always abstain from acting by saying: "I do not know what I should do" and there is no moral fault.
You misrepresent Aquinas in that you do not bring in Prudence.

A prudent Catholic will do their best to understand why the Church teaches in a way(s)
that seems to conflict with that person's conscience.
What a prudent Catholic will not do is assume that just because my conscience says I am free to do something
that the Church teaches is a sin, I am free to do it.
Prudence requires that you refrain from acting, if at all possible,
and to consult those wiser than yourself
as to why your conscience seems to disagree with the teachings of the Church.

Newman's quote is quoted out of context and Newman does not disagree with me, but rather with you.
Read the entire letter.

Michael Barberi
2 years 3 months ago


Your claim is ridiculous and unsubstantiated. I suggest you read: Conscience and Catholicism: The Nature and Function of Conscience in Contemporary Roman Catholic Moral Theology, by Robert J. Smith. This book provides a definitive description of the theology of conscience by Aquinas, Germain Grisez and Bernard Haring. You can also read a recent article in Theological Studies by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler on this issue.

You need to educate yourself because what you write is not true.

Henry George
2 years 3 months ago


My claim is not ridiculous and it is substantiated.

Please answer these questions:

a) If God told you to do something that you say: "Goes against my Conscience" would you do it ?

b) If you follow your conscience in all matters - do you ever sin, do you ever do what is not good ?

c) What, exactly, is a "well formed Conscience" ?

You and others are found of quoting Newman about toasting the Pope..which comes at the end of the Letter to the Duke of
Norfolk, Section 5, what you and others do not explain is that it comes at the end of a long discussion of what is meant by Conscience, and it is certainly not what you mean by it, and whose nuances you choose to leave out.

You fail, as others do to mention why Prudence must be interwoven with whether one is to act on what
one's conscience says or to refrain from acting via prudential judgement and duly considering what the Church teaches.
No one, save for medical reasons, is forced to use Birth Control, and so even - in how you characterise their consciences -
the couple feels they can use it as their consciences do not oppose it - they are mistaken - for while their desires for each
other are strong, they are not justified in their misuse of the sexual faculties.

I have read Conscience and Catholicism - it does not provide the definitive theology of Conscience - it provides his interpretation of what the theologians wrote - as for Grisez and Haring - I think very highly of Grisez and you would do
well to follow him rather than Haring.

As for Haring did he or did he not say: "Under difficult circumstances we may engage in the process of discernment which leads us to the commission of intrinsically evil acts".

Perhaps you could elucidate on that statement.

Nothing I write is True because only Jesus Christ can say what is true.

But what I write is a corrective to your too broad claims and your wish to upend Catholic Moral Teachings
on Marriage and Chastity.

You mean well Michael,
but you are too bound up in "Modern Moral Theology"
as if humans in the late 20th Century and 21st Century
were somehow exempt from any moral laws that came before
in areas where you disagree with the Church.

Michael Barberi
2 years 3 months ago


You embrace Grisez's theology of conscience which, in summary, is one of 'conforming to Church teachings'. In Grisez's theology of conscience, one has no right to make a judgment of conscience that is in tension with a teaching of the Magisterium. If you embrace this, then there is no role for an informed conscience at all even if your informed conscience tells you that following the Church's teaching is not the right thing to do in circumstances.

Below is a short description that might help you understand what an informed conscience is. It is not doing anything you think or desire, full stop. This is not a 'properly formed and informed conscience'.

> conscience is not infallible, it can err.
> one must form and inform one's conscience properly. In this regard, one must adequately education oneself as best they can about Church teachings and their rationale. One should ask questions until there are no more to ask. However, this does not mean that one should not comprehensively understand alternative scholarly viewpoints for reflection. Equally important, one must also be 'open to and seek further education' of the subject in question especially if one's judgment of his/her informed conscience might be in tension with a Church teaching. In this regard, one must also seek frequently priestly and theological advice, pray often for enlightenment and God's grace, and frequently embrace the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist.
> one must have humility and recognize that if one's informed conscience is in tension with a teaching of the magisterium, it must be a temporary judgment, which might last a long time or a lifetime.

In conclusion, we all sin and make bad decisions that some of us, including popes and councils, thought were right (e.g., slavery, denying freedom of religion). Nevertheless, we should not lose sight of the fact that while we need to look back at the past and learn and be guided by it (Church Tradition and Doctrine), we must also look forward to further education and understanding in terms of a rightful informed conscience with the help of the Holy Spirit and the virtue of prudence. This will not eliminate respectful disagreement but it will not plunge us into excessive guilt and doubt.

As Aquinas and the Church teaches, no one should go against their properly informed conscience even if it is in tension with a moral teaching of the Magisterium.

Lastly, I am not sowing doubt, heresy, or Protestantism. Nor am I misguided by contemporary moral theology. I am a faithful Catholic but respectfully disagree for good reasons with some teachings of the Magisterium and some pastoral practices.

This is my last comment Henry as I think further exchanges will not be productive.

God Bless.

Henry George
2 years 3 months ago


Did your conscience tell you that no further exchanges will be productive.

Thank you for your prescriptive explanation of a conscience.
I don't embrace anyone's theology, though I am partial to Saint Paul, Origen - seems like he should be a Saint, and
Augustine, Pascal and Kierkegaard.

There is, under your presentation, no possibility of every having a "Well Formed" Conscience as there is no end to adding
additional reflections to help form your conscience. [ Not sure I want to turn to Parish Priests for help in forming a conscience on the whole, given the near banality of some of their theology courses, nor turn to theologians who think
they must say something new or novel as they cannot go very deep. ]

Are we left, then, with Probabilism, or is it Probabiliorism, or even Tuitorism
when all that is needed is Fideism rather than Laxism unless of course you
like swimming in the sea of Aequiprobabilism.

As to whether a properly informed conscience can go against the Magisterium...

Sort of gets to the heart of what it means to be a Catholic in good standing...

Thank you for your replies Michael, I learned a lot from you.

Martha Long
2 years 4 months ago

I attended grammar school with the Bishop (though he may not remember me, he would remember my parents however) who, in an interview when he became a Bishop, said that Monsignor Richard W. Power, our pastor at Our Lady of Mercy in Daly City, CA, was the first priest to whom he credited his vocation. As someone who knew Msgr. Power very well, I would ask the Bishop how he thinks Msgr. Power would respond to his comments. Msgr. Power was a great priest who showed great pastoral care for his flock, but he would NEVER compromise tbe TRUTH. He would not be proud of the Bishop.

Michael Barberi
2 years 4 months ago


I lived in San Diego for the past 10 years, but recently moved to Charlotte, NC. I followed Bishop McElroy's Diocesan Synod on the Family and he is expected to issue guidelines for Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried per Amoris Laetitia and similar to the guidelines of other Conferences of Bishops including the guidelines issued by the Bishops of Argentina that Pope Francis approved.

We live in a divided Church and there is room for respectful disagreement. If not for respectful disagreement and the scholarly work of moral theologians and bishops the teachings on slavery, usury and freedom of religion, among other teachings, may never have changed. Such respectful disagreement and the constant pursuit of our 'understanding of truth' in scripture, tradition, reason (science et al) and collective human experience is what helps us love God and neighbor. We are just beginning to understand more fully the context, culture, beliefs, and mindsets of ancient times. Jesus taught us by parables that the spirit of the law was just as important, and in some cases more important, than the letter of the law. You can be a faithful Catholic (and bishop or priest) and disagree with certain moral teachings and/or its pastoral application.

J Jones
2 years 4 months ago

I am a straight Catholic woman living in community with two gay women, one of them also Catholic. We are all professionals with more than a hundred years of service in public safety and to the most vulnerable members of the community between us. I know nothing of their "bedroom activities", the narrow focus of so many Catholics once they learn my friends are gay. My friends are not interested in having anyone know anything about their "bedroom activities". Asked about their lives, they speak of the essential work they do in the community and the loving home life that fills and heals their hearts and souls, allowing them to serve the community the next day. For many people here and in the Catholic community, it is an announcement of "bedroom activities" when my friends introduce themselves as a family. For me, when they identify themselves as a loving family committed to serving the community, they announce the beauty of family and the shared joy of serving the community, even the people who reject them and would see them banned from Christ's table. They are the most Christian, generous women I know. These are the people Fr Martin is asking Catholics to meet in kind and loving and respectful dialogue.

Robert Lewis
2 years 4 months ago

God bless you, ma'am.

Jerome Colburn
2 years 4 months ago

Does chastity not have "a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character"? Ask all the Catholic women who decided to vote against the only non-pro-abortion presidential candidate last year after he was found to have boasted years earlier of liberties that some women had allegedly been allowing him to take at that time. As the ongoing conversation about rape culture and sexual harassment shows, chastity is essential to our efforts to practice justice and charity toward anyone in whom we might be inclined to take a sexual interest. Nor is it merely a matter of confining "genital sexual activity to marriage"; as our Lord says, it reaches all the way to the very thoughts we allow ourselves to entertain about a person—even our spouse, as St. John Paul II pointed out.

But it is not lust that creates the gulf between the Church and that which calls itself "the LGBT community." It is pride, the very pride that the latter considers a virtue. It denounces as "judgmentalism" the mildest attempt to demur from cooperating with it, just as the men of Sodom did in Gen. 19:9. Catholics, on the other hand, are people who accept the right of the Church to judge our behavior. Every time we go into the confessional, we not only acknowledge her right to do so but willingly join ourselves with her in the exercise of that right. Only so can we come in past judgment to mercy. We won't get mercy if we aren't interested in it because we insist we don't need it.

J Jones
2 years 4 months ago

Jerome -

The linking of sexual assault by entitled heterosexual men with the lives of LGBT Catholics is just the kind of barrier to sensible and loving dialogue MOST priests I know would object to, even those who disagree with Fr Martin on this issue. Sexual assault is more sensibly understood and analyzed in the context of violence against others and not in the context of chastity.

My gay Catholic friends in stable committed relationships and full-time service to the broader community have nothing related to the gender of their partners to confess during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Others may and will insist that they do. Thanks be to God, the Catholic community is blessed with many many priests who ask instead that penitents focus their attention on harms they have caused and wrongs they have done, and the gender of their loved one is simply not a harm or a wrong outside the imaginations of literalists. We all need mercy; and we have all done wrong and harm; and the gender of the person we love and share our lives with is just not one of them, Jerome.

Vincent Gaglione
2 years 4 months ago

Bishop McElroy, what a superb article! Truly Christian to be sure and very much descriptive of what has happened in and to our parishes.

The pews are emptying. In our larger society that gives more prominence to individual rights, the Catholic judgmentalism which you address has offended many, not just millenials, who want to belong to a collective belief institution like the Church but refuse to be regularly abused and weekly condemned as hopeless for their individual sinfulness.

Sexual morality, as you say, and as important as it is, is nonetheless not the core of Catholic Christian morality. One would never know it from what too many of us heard regularly in Catholic schools and continue to hear regularly at Sunday Mass.

Carol Cox
2 years 4 months ago

One of God's foremost commandments...Love One Another! Not, love only those people you "judge" worthy of love...We have one judge...God...It is our duty, as Christians and Catholics, to accept all of God's children. To read of priests who denounce the LGBTQtrans community for their "sins" is reprehensible to me. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." If only this much attention and denouncement was directed towards the pedophelia crisis raging among the clergy in the church! God help us!

Tom McGlinchey
2 years 4 months ago

Who am I to judge? In reaction to this scandal of homophobia and divisiveness, and an attack on the primacy of the Pope, I have subscribed to America. Cost me $50+ to put my money where my mouth is. Next, I will purchase the book. I hope that brave institutions will reach out and place Fr. Martin further into the spotlight so that he can continue to assist in guiding our thoughtful reflection on this set of issues.

Joseph Jaglowicz
2 years 3 months ago

I'm not "misinterpret[ing] Holy Scripture" unless you disagree with my Catholic Bible's definition of 'hospitality' preceding O.T. and N.T. references to the practice.

(your frustration is showing --- not recommended)

Henry George
2 years 3 months ago


If you think failing to offer hospitality is a sin worse than what the residents of S/G
demanded, you are simply deluded.
I am quite aware of the attempt to re-interpret the sins of S/G so as to exclude
Homosexual Rape but they fail as do your facile arguments.
As today's Gospel Reading - Luke 9:51 - 56 demonstrates.
God does not send fire from Heaven to destroy those who fail to show Hospitality
but He did for what those in S/G sought to and did do.


The latest from america

Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher leaves a military court on Naval Base San Diego on July 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
President Trump’s intervention in the military justice system undermines the idea that soldiers are moral agents at the service of the public good, writes Matthew Shadle of Marymount University.
Matthew ShadleJanuary 21, 2020
The challenges of attending church with a curious toddler are well known enough to be cliché, but like any set of new parents, they are new to us.
Emily KahmJanuary 21, 2020
Life at a refugee camp in Kindjani, Niger, for Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram in 2016: A young girl drinks water delivered to the community by Catholic Relief Services. (CNS photo/Michael Stulman, CRS)
The pastor’s murder is only the latest attacks in the West African nation. On Jan. 19, Boko Haram insurgents ambushed two separate Nigerian army patrols, killing 17, and slaughtered a bridal party on Dec. 27.
Shola Lawal January 21, 2020
Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops their job is to step back from partisan politics and help their faithful discern based on values.
Catholic News ServiceJanuary 20, 2020