Father James Martin to speak on welcoming L.G.B.T. Catholics at World Meeting of Families

When Pope Francis visits Dublin later this summer to participate in the World Meeting of Families, he will touch down in an Ireland that used the ballot box to express its dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church’s views on sexuality, ushering in same-sex marriage via popular vote in 2015. The decision, along with last month’s vote in support of legalizing abortion, highlighted the chasm that has grown between Irish citizens and the church.

But in an effort to bridge that gap, organizers of the World Meeting of Families announced on Monday that James Martin, S.J., an editor at America known in recent years for his ministry to L.G.B.T. Catholics, would speak at the August event.

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“The organizers have asked me to speak about how parishes can welcome L.G.B.T. Catholics, as well as their parents and families. So I hope to share ‘best practices’ from parishes that have successfully reached out to the L.G.B.T. Catholic community,” Father Martin told America.

Father Martin: “I hope to share ‘best practices’ from parishes that have successfully reached out to the L.G.B.T. Catholic community.”

The announcement came in aprogram published Monday, which says Father Martin will explore “how Parishes can support those families with members who identify as LGBTI+.”

The event includes a visit by Pope Francis, who will visit Ireland following referendums that have legalized same-sex marriage and signaled support for legalizing abortion.

“The visit of Pope Francis to the World Meeting of Families in Dublin must not be just a once off event. It comes as the Church in Ireland struggles to find a new place in Irish society and culture - a very different one from the dominant one it held in the past,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a press release on Monday.

According to the announcement, more than 30,000 people have registered for the event, which organizers say makes it the largest World Meeting of Families since Pope John Paul II launched it in Rome in 1994.

The event will focus on “Amoris Laetitia,” the pope’s 2016 letter about family life.

The event will focus on “Amoris Laetitia,” the pope’s 2016 letter about family life. More than 200 speakers, about half of whom are women, will focus on marriage preparation, Christian marriage and passing on faith in the home. Other topics include caring for creation, business and sports.

The last time the World Meeting of Families convened, in Philadelphia in 2015, L.G.B.T. issues were largely absent from official programming. But organizers of Dublin’s event havesaid for months that they planned to include outreach to families with L.G.B.T. members, though their efforts have not been without controversy.

Last summer, event organizers released a preparation booklet that includes a section about L.G.B.T. people, along with images that showed same-sex couples.

“While the Church upholds the ideal of marriage as a permanent commitment between a man and a woman, other unions exist which provide mutual support to [couples],” reads the document. “Pope Francis encourages us never to exclude but to accompany these couples also, with love, care and support.”

“Why wouldn't we want to help baptized Catholics feel included in their own church?” 

But by the start of 2018, following an online campaign by a Canadian anti-abortion group, the images had been removed and the text altered.

Father Martin said there is still some discomfort among some church leaders when it comes to expressing support for L.G.B.T. people in the church.

“ And that's tragic,” he said. “Why wouldn't we want to help baptized Catholics feel included in their own church? And the argument that they’re ‘sinful’ is beside the point because we’re all sinful. We need to see L.G.B.T. people as full members of the church, by virtue of their baptism. They need to know that God loves them and their church accepts them.”

As to what organizers were trying to say by inviting a priest who has called on church leaders to be more welcoming to L.G.B.T. people, Father Martin said it is clear.

“The message to L.G.B.T. Catholics seems straightforward: you're an important part of the church,” he said.

“I’m tremendously grateful for this invitation, not so much for what it says about my own ministry or writing but what it says to L.G.B.T. Catholics, a group of people who have for so long felt excluded,” he added. “I hope they see this invitation, which had to be approved by the Vatican, as an unmistakable sign of welcome from the church.”

alan macdonald
1 week ago

"Best practices" forms a herd mentality that foregoes rationality in favor of action. It usually means anything but "best practices" but the left use it as a convenient way to avoid examination. Fr Martin, a homosexualist, wants us to embrace LGBT Catholics, as we should, but this is only a first step in his very long agenda leading to same sex marriage.
Just say "No" to Fr Martin.

Robert Lewis
1 week ago

"Same sex marriage"--as opposed to some sort of rite of "sworn brotherhood," as proposed in Alan Bray's book, "The Friend" (because it is ALREADY centuries old in Church tradition)--is sacramentally and theologically impossible in the Catholic religion, and you know that Father Martin knows it because he has said as much many times over. Your threat of it is a brutal scare tactic, reflective of your homophobic design to continue to push lgbtq folks back into the shadows of our churches. But we, the majority of American Catholics, are determined to no longer tolerate that. Father Martin is doing a profoundly Christian work of reconciliation and conversion, and I am happy that the Jesuit order and the Magisterium in Rome seem solidly in support of it.

Theodore Seeber
1 week ago

If Fr. Martin knows this, then why does he speak against heterosexual marriage and in favor of the novel Jesuit doctrine of "received teaching" every chance he gets? Either there is one morality for all under Jesus Christ, or there is moral relativism in which each and every individual gets to pick and choose which doctrines they have "received" and should therefore follow. And I say if it is the later, then the Catholic Church has become a culture, not a religion, and one barely followed at all.

Robert Lewis
6 days 22 hours ago

Exactly WHERE does Fr. Martin "speak against heterosexual marriage" any more strongly than Christ Himself did, when He proclaimed there would be no "giving or taking" in marriage in His Father's house--or when He said that though it was a "hard" teaching, that the "eunuch's" state for "the Kingdom's" sake was preferable to marriage? The modern Church's cult of family upends the Apostolic preference of chastity and celibacy, and is ACTUALLY a "compromise" with the "modernism" of the Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation. The Christians of the medieval period knew better. This modern cult of heterosexual--or homosexual--romance contributes enormously to the disappearance, in social life, of almost every other kind of love. And it is also an instigator of the "serial monogamy," which is what modern so-called "traditional marriage" has become in all of those Protestant cultures that practice promiscuous divorce--which is a far greater threat to the Catholic and sacramental "indissoluble marriage" in those cultures than "gay marriage" could EVER purport to be!

Arthur Sullivan
5 days 23 hours ago

I am astonished that you would say such a thing about Father Martin, and I would be grateful if you would provide evidence. It seems to me he is close to what the Gospels are telling us, and that works for me.

Bob Hunt
6 days 20 hours ago

Mr. Lewis, why will you not tolerate Catholics with homophobic designs? Why wouldn't you want to help homophobic baptized Catholics feel included in their own church? And the argument that homophobic Catholics are ‘sinful’ is beside the point because we’re all sinful. We need to see homophobic people as full members of the church, by virtue of their baptism. They need to know that God loves them and their church accepts them.

Stock Market Guru
6 days 16 hours ago

DIRECT HIT !!!!!!!!!!! LOL

Robert Lewis
6 days 10 hours ago

I hope this is irony, but, if it is not, all I'll reply to it is that conversion to Christ is reckoned to take away all fear.

Mike Anderson
1 week ago

How about we reach out to encourage the adulterers in the Church? Why single out those who engage in same-sex sodomy?

Let's stop giving special attention to this one group of sinners and encourage all sinners to come to Church.

Theodore Seeber
1 week ago

And let us not consider the *people* to be equal to the *sin*- because they are not. God loves the sinner and hates the sin.

Robin Smith
1 week ago

When you prejudge a group of similar people as sinners, they will never come to your church. This is the view from outside your closed circle of life.

ron chandonia
1 week ago

Sounds as if this gathering will prove as beneficial for Catholicism in Ireland as the other recent developments mentioned in the article.

Kevin Murphy
1 week ago

Yes, we are all sinners, but we are supposed to try and change. Martin and Francis say keep on doing what you're doing. They just don't have the courage to state what they really want. This is further muddying of the waters, which is the modus operandi of this papacy.

Phillip Stone
6 days 23 hours ago

It seems to have been forgotten that a person recognised and self-identified as a Catholic Christian in a state of grace is living the normal CHRISTIAN life avoiding grave mortal sin most of the time and so appalled by committing one again that they can not rest until they are reconciled by admitting to it being a grave matter done with full knowledge and full consent of the will, cut to the quick by remorse leading to repentance and implementing restitution as far as it is in their power.

Whatever the impetus connected to the actual evil act; be it pride, envy or covetousness, lust, wrath, gluttony or sloth - performing the act is exercising free will as long as there is no insanity or brain damage.

I consider the embrace of "families" unrepentantly living in sexual sin the moral equivalent to embracing families of polygamists, Mafia families, families blatantly adulterous and families living on the proceeds of prostitution or abortion who are explicitly intending to continue their lives unchanged.

We could take our lead from St Paul and the early community of faith.
He preached the good news, called to repentance, ministered sacramentally and called out sin and error without fear or favour.
He persisted in most areas of his apostolic journeys for about one year or a bit more and then left them a growing community of believers or handed them over to Satan, recommending even ridding the evangelist's sandals of the dust of that place.
The fellowship of believers was also accustomed to having a period of probation upon aspiring new members, catechumens, whose acceptability in the fellowship was being discerned.

Another reminder that the life of faith is incompatible with cultural Marxism - we rightly judge and discriminate and count it as wisdom and prudence.

Bob Hunt
6 days 22 hours ago

Fr. Martin says, “Why wouldn't we want to help baptized Catholics feel included in their own church? And the argument that they’re ‘sinful’ is beside the point because we’re all sinful. We need to see L.G.B.T. people as full members of the church, by virtue of their baptism. They need to know that God loves them and their church accepts them.”
Fr. Martin is speaks half-truths, as usual. I read his book, "Building a Bridge." Fr. Martin is all about welcoming sinners, but has nothing to say about challenging, encouraging, guiding them to move beyond their sins. Thank God Fr. Martin wasn't my priest growing up, or I would likely be perfectly content to continue in my sinful patterns, rather than struggling to move beyond them. Fr Martin's ultimate goal is not to help LGBT Catholics recognize their place in the Church and move beyond a commitment to a lifestyle that rejects God's will for sexual love. Rather, his goal is to have the Church embrace the LGBT lifestyle as consistent with God's will for sexual love. Why Catholic leaders continue to take him seriously is beyond me, but doing so only serves to confuse the faithful and lead Catholics committed to an LGBT lifestyle astray.

Robert Lewis
6 days 10 hours ago

"God's will for sexual love" is chastity, which has many forms--a number of which may be lived out by those who are attracted to their same sex. The challenge to the Church--and to YOU--is to help them to find these ways in the context of living a fully Christian life. YOU, in your opposition to what Father Martin is trying to do, are directly preventing these folks from finding their way into communion with Christ and His Church. And so what you are doing, with your words, is sinful and hateful.
Please note, I said "chastity," not "celibacy"; they are not the same things.

Bob Hunt
5 days 21 hours ago

Mr. Lewis, You say, "God's will for sexual love is chastity." Well, we agree on this. If you are able to set your anger aside for a moment, you might be surprised at who you find on your side -- and who you don't. I embrace fully the Church's teaching that same-sex attraction, though disordered, is morally neutral. I support fully, and eagerly, those with same-sex attraction who desire and struggle mightily to live the life of chastity to which we are all called. But, that's not what we're talking about here, or at least that's not what I'm talking about here, and I don't think it's what Fr. Martin is talking about most of the time. What I am talking about are those committed to a homosexual lifestyle, that is actively sexual in a homosexual way, whether or not they are in committed same-sex relationship or same-sex "marriage." Fr. Martin has been less than explicit, in his book and in other venues, where he stands on the matter of Catholics committed to a homosexual sexual lifestyle or relationship. However, he does give some indication when he receives an award from and highly praises New Ways Ministry, an organization that has been condemned by the Church for explicitly insisting that homosexual sexual relations are consistent with God's will for sexual love and that same-sex marriage ought to be supported and blessed by the Church. Also, Fr. Martin has much praise for Out St. Paul, a ministry of St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York, which included on it's website on Jan 31, 2018, "The USCCB's Marriage Week is coming! Thank God for same-sex marriage and the testimony that LGBTQ Catholic spouses offer of God's work in their lives." It's not unreasonable to conclude that Fr. Martin's praise for two high-profile ministries that explicitly support the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage suggests Fr. Martin's support for these. Finally, in speaking at Fordham University on Sept 5, 2017 about a friend of his who is in a same-sex marriage, Fr. Martin said, "I have a hard time imagining how even the most traditionalist, homophobic, closed-minded Catholic cannot look at my friend and say, 'That is a loving act, and that is a form of love that I don't understand but I have to reverence...'" If you're interested, you can read my review of Fr. Martin's book, "Building a Bridge," at https://thoughtsandprayersforthefaithful.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/a-cri…

Robert Lewis
5 days 20 hours ago

Accepting an award or having a friend does not EVER necessarily imply agreeing with either the donor or the friend. Also, the one thing regarding the virtue of chastity as it is lived out by people in many different situations that is true is that it of necessity has a certain self-sacrificial quality, and implies that no human body will ever get used merely for another's pleasure. Although I believe that the best use, in a self-sacrificial manner, of each other's bodies by two same-sex-attracted lovers is that they should avoid genital sex, I can imagine a situation in which a lesser sin is committed, in order to avoid a greater one. In real life, such a moral quandary will frequently arise. It should be dealt with in the confessional, and not by some sort of public shaming, or "outing." That is why I recommend, for the re-institution of a rite of "sworn brotherhood," as described in Alan Bray's immensely erudite and well-researched tome, "The Friend," that the life-long chastity of the relationship being formally and publicly affirmed--as it was all during the Medieval period of Church history, and later, with shared Communion, in churches--be assumed by the faithful, regarding the couple promising permanent fraternal support, so as to avoid the loneliness and solitude of old age. The avoidance of solitude and loneliness is another one of those "human rights" for gay folk that Father Martin seems to be talking about, and he is quite right that the enforcement of such solitude through the Church's shunning of them is a "human rights abuse."

Bob Hunt
5 days 19 hours ago

I'm afraid you're far too naive about Fr. Martin to continue a reasonable conversation on the matter, so I'll move on. But, I would say, it is not the "best use" of each other's bodies by two same-sex attracted persons to avoid genital sex. That is the only godly use of their bodies. Sin is never justified, greater or lesser. It is never justified to commit an act that offends God out of some misguided notion that one is avoiding a greater offense against God. That is the devil's ruse. It's to this kind of misguided thinking that Fr. Martin's teaching leads.

Andrew Wolfe
6 days 20 hours ago

No action that God has revealed to the Church as "intrinsically sinful" and no inclination He told us is "intrinsically disordered" is just because God or the Church are hateful. The Church teaches us this because homosexuality damages the homosexual. It is not loving to endorse any self-destructive behavior. This is the challenge of dealing Fr Martin and with those who claim to advocate "charity" towards LGBT people without exhorting them to get help.

Robert Lewis
6 days 10 hours ago

Can you not understand that what Father Martin is trying to do is for the "same-sex-attracted," and not necessarily for those who are "behaving" in any specific way? Sometimes I suspect that heterosexual (or "homophobic"--see above) American males are just as much suspicious of and repulsed by chastity for men as they are by sodomy itself--as if they have a feeling that chastity isn't "normal." In fact, as far as I can tell from observing American popular culture, the divorce and abortion rates in this dissolute society, and the kinds of jokes that are told by men and women, "straight" and "gay," I think that just about ALL American sexual "behavior" is "intrinsically disordered"--even if "disorder" is held to merely mean "away from procreation," which formulations is a regressive inheritance from a very primitive--and not at all spiritual--version of "natural law."

Stock Market Guru
6 days ago

The problem for many of us isn't individual homosexuals, faithful to the Church's teaching or not. The problem is groups like Dignity and New Ways Ministry and their supporters (lay and clerical) who are CLEARLY advocating 180-degrees opposite to the teachings of the Magesterium. It's not even close.

You can throw in Catholics For Abortion and Catholics for Atheism, for good measure.

Šime Skelin
6 days 7 hours ago

I am happy! I can see us, pedophiles and cannibals, as respected members of our Church. We are all made by God and baptized by Church so I say: Thank you fr. Martin! PS. Why is Catholic Church so stubborn about a person called Christ in its teachings? It was acceptable during medieval era but now is obsolete.

Anthony Noble
6 days 7 hours ago

Gay and lesbian families with children already exist in the tens of thousands within legal marriages or other unions (mostly where no legal marriage exists). Many of these families are Catholic, lapsed Catholics, or former Catholics. Jesus Christ commands the Church to love and embrace all within the Body of Christ. The Church magesterium needs to review it's teaching on homosexuality since the current Catechism & proclamations do not hold up to theological and philosophical scrutiny. The Epistles perspective on sexuality does not address sexual orientation as such; celibacy for all Christians, including heterosexuals, was the ideal and marriage was for weak Christians to prevent the sin of fornication. Since Vatican II, marriage includes both the procreative and unitive, mutual loving and supportive bonding. Thus, post-menapausal women can marry without a necessary element of procreation. The Holy Spirit ensures that the Church is a living entity that makes the Catholic Church ever more perfect on Earth. Thus, like slavery, heliocentrism, and salvation outside the Church, the Church needs to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit and affirm sexual orientation and same-sex marriage as part of God's plan.

Robert Lewis
6 days 6 hours ago

Anthony, the problem with "same sex marriage" is that it offends against that part of the Church's Christology which holds that the sacramental and indissoluble marriage of the heterosexual couple images Jesus's sacrifice (the sacrifice of a male body) on the cross, and also Jesus Christ's "marriage" to His Church. Insofar as one aspect of that marriage of two heterosexuals is supernatural in effect, its "supernatural" aspect consists of a kind of "marriage" of the pair to Jesus Christ Himself. This is something that I think that all Catholics must accept, if and until the Church modifies this aspect of its Christology--and I wouldn't hold my breath, because this teaching has an intimate connection with the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Sacrament, something I wouldn't want the Church to give up. This is why I advocate the re-institution of an ancient rite that the Catholic and Anglican Churches once practised, and sanctified with reception of the Eucharist--a "sacramental" oath of lifelong "sworn brotherhood" (or "sisterhood"), so that the loneliness of gay lives be healed. ("It is not good for man to be alone" applies to gay lives, too.)

Stock Market Guru
6 days ago

Slavery and the orbits of the Sun and Earth have nothing to do with fundamental moral issues like abortion or sexuality which involve issues of black-and-white.

Slavery was NEVER intrinsically evil throughout history.

Stephen Adubato
4 days 19 hours ago

There were 2 events at the Philly WMF about SSA people. Ron Belgau spoke and they screened desire of the everlasting hills. Fyi

Carolyn Disco
2 days 19 hours ago

Fr. Jim Martin is a prophet in our time, a powerful witness. I say "Yes" to Fr. Martin with all my heart. His voice is priceless and long overdue. Bless him.

Leonard TIGHE
2 days 9 hours ago

Who am I to decide what makes a family. Single parents are new form of family. I would never have considered that 40 years ago. Divorced remarried twice maybe and their kids are not a family? The way the Catholic Church treats gay people and many others is irrational
As a priest of 40 years I learned that be gay, or divorced, are all abstract issues and maybe contrary to the way many interpret them. But I have never met an issue, I have never ministered to any abstract issues or theology. I have met persons, hundreds of people who fall into a category. But the Catholic Church condemning people and rejecting people who fall into our personal immoral category seems so contrary to the person of Jesus There must have been at least one or two gay folks listening to the Sermon on the Mount. At least one or two gay folks at the feeding of the 5,000. The apostles didn't hear confessions to decide who was worthy of the miracle. Imagine Jesus inspecting the crowd to judge who was worthy of a fish sandwich. If you don't like gay marriage don't marry someone of the same sex.

Michael Barberi
1 day ago

For most heterosexuals, homosexual acts are not normal because such acts go against every grain in their heterosexual nature. Let's face it, we as heterosexuals find it almost impossible to understand what it feels like to be a homosexual. If we take to the time to study this issue, it will become clear that most homosexuals are born with the same sexual inclinations similar to those of heterosexuals, except in their case it is a loving and sexual attraction for those of the same sex.

One common argument often heard is that the homosexual inclination must be resisted. In other words, homosexuals must practice chastity-temperance and live a lifetime of sexual abstinence. They must resist this inclination like so many other evil temptations such as stealing, murder, pedophilia, and adultery. However, what is almost never acknowledged and addressed in such an argument is the fact that humans are not 'born' with an innate inclination of theft, murder, and adultery, to name a few.

I fully understand the arguments against homosexual acts commited by heterosexuals. However, I am not convinced that homosexual acts between couples of the same sex in an irregular marriage are necessarily 'evil' if they are performed in the service of love and fidelity.

I have studied moral theology for 7 years now and homosexual relationships are complex. I understand the Church's teaching but I don't agree 100% with them. For example, I don't believe that the only way to salvation for homosexuals are to practice a lifetime of sexual abstinence while at the same time the Church denies them a licit marriage (e.g., civil marriage, Christian marriage in a Christian Church, an irregular marriage or union). It is like saying "too bad you are born with this innate intrinsic inclination that you did not choose, but you have to live a life of sexual abstinence". Consider for the moment that every Catholic has a 'choice' of remaining single and practicing sexual abstinence or to choose marriage where sexual relations are licit. Even a priest that takes a vow before God can get a dispensation, leave the priesthood, get married and have sexual relations with his spouse. Yet, there is no exception or dispensation for a gay or lesbian Catholic who is born with a homosexual inclination. They have 'no choice of remaining single or getting married. They are told they have only one choice, lifetime sexual abstinence, full stop.

To impose on homosexuals a mandatory requirement to live a lifetime of sexual abstinence is to force upon them an almost impossible burden. save for the very few who can adhere. I pray that some type of resolution is found.

For those with an open mind, I suggest reading some contributory scholarship on homosexuality by prominent theologians that may cause a rethinking on the Church's teaching.

As for Fr. Martin, he is calling for dialogue and understanding between the LGBT community and the institutional Church. This is a necessary good first step in order that the hierarchy can find a way to treat LGBT Catholics with respect, sensitivity and compassion. In the meantime, many will agree with the Church's teaching on homosexuality and some may respectfully call for its reform. However, we all should stop the stone throwing and disparaging and hateful name calling.

Frank Elliott
5 hours 58 min ago

I see no reason why Fr. Martin should make the trip. Pope Francis has said that only heterosexuals can form a family and that only that is created in the image of "God."

Roma locuta causa finita.

Save the airfare or change your ticket so that you can vacation. I hear Portugal is lovely this time of year.
Read the comments here.
Why bother with the scum that make up the Catholic church?
Hi, Ted.

Pancho Mulongeni
1 hour 9 min ago

The matter is far from finished. The fact Francis has stated this is not inconsistent with his Amoris Laetitia. : "'as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family". Yet he did also say: " Some forms of union radically contradict this ideal, while others realise it in at least a partial and analogous way. The Synod Fathers stated that the Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage."
The text speaks of the ideal being an heterosexual marriage. Now, a same-sex marriage is one that does not correspond to this. As he did not single out heterosexual unions that no longer correspond to this ideal, but said "those situations", as LGBT Catholics, we nevertheless cannot help but see embeded in this text a silent support for our unions. This is called a queer reading of the text. For those who wish to dispute it, go ahead.
As for the latest pronouncements, its clear he made those pronouncements to ease the fears of reactionary people in our Church.
So Father Martin should still go.

Michael Barberi
24 min 42 sec ago

Many read Amoris Laetitia this way. For those with a contrite heart who want to become part of the Church and live a life in all respects like heterosexual couples, then what Pope Frances is saying is that there are constructive elements in these situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage. The old argument that homosexual acts are not procreative is contradicted by the teaching about NFP where for so-called good reasons a married couple can practice NFP for a 'lifetime' where every marital sexual act is never procreative. It is not about abstinence full stop. NFP couples perform deliberate intentional acts to determine infertile times then limit all marital acts to these times ensuring that every marital act is not procreative. How then can NFP be 'open to procreation'?

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