Fr. Martin’s Bridge Too Far

This was a great article on why Fr. Martin is a doofus, but sadly, it doesn’t really address the overarching issue.  https://liturgyguy.com/2017/05/07/why-bishops-should-condemn-fr-martins-dangerous-bridge/  It’s spot on regarding why Fr. Martin is so wrong and should be condemned, but it’s as if people don’t realize that he’s so popular because he’s filling a void not met by our pastors.  You have to ask yourself why a laughable, hypocritical guy like him is being given any attention at all.  There are reasons why people embrace the suspension of reality.

First of all, the faithful Catholics suffering from same-sex attraction are not having their needs met by the Church.  Quite frankly, I don’t think the hierarchy (at least the part of it that  truly cares for souls) was prepared for the numbers affected, and they’ve got a priest shortage as it is. I mean, there’s an even bigger priest shortage for those who give a flying fig about Catholicism in general, but still, something needs to be done in this area.

The other problem I see is that many of the good priests, deacons, etc., simply don’t know how to handle them.  It’s almost like being the first-time parent of a teenager.  There’s a lot of feeling your way along.  Some parents indulge their teens, some try to be their buddies, and some simply ignore the problem hoping it will go away.  A good parent is going to try their hardest to see what it’s like for them, support them when they do right, correct them when they are wrong, and involve them in the Church.  That’s the only way any of us are going to survive our lot in life.  We need that Catholic community.

I’ve had more than one faithful, abstinent person suffering from same-sex attraction contact me, and the story is always the same.  They are so grateful for the Courage ministry, but it’s not given enough attention.  More often than not, the faithful bishops love the idea of Courage but don’t back it up with a chaplain who really has time to minister to those seeking counseling. (Highlighting suggested by one who knows the situation well.)  Quite frankly, this is why Martin sucks so many in.  This is the Church’s Iraq – a giant hole in leadership leads to stupid people taking advantage of the situation. 

People are hurting and looking for help to live heroic lives of virtue, but they are simply getting, “Here you go!  Good luck!” from many of the faithful bishops. And then you’ve got the folks on the flipside who are going to “accompany them” to “embrace their gift from God!”  If you’re suffering from SSA, which one is going to look more appealing to you?  This is where Martin scores.

Look at another problem people have, like depression.  Would a support group of depressed people be able to help each other without some spiritual guidance?  We need to figure out a way to build thriving communities of Courage and Encourage.  Sadly, this is a common issue. Well, at least it is here in California, where SSA is a trend before a reality.  In fact, it’s so prevalent and urgent that maybe it would behoove us to move past these small little groups and make it a parish mission to encourage all parishioners to help each other to morality, chastity, and everlasting life, no matter their affliction, station, vocation, etc.  If there aren’t enough priests to go around, this might be a better alternative than nothing.

Time and again, I’ve heard from my friends suffering from same-sex attraction that their biggest helps in life are their “straight” fellow parishioners who befriend them and welcome them into their families.  Yet treating someone like family doesn’t mean you agree with or understand every aspect of their life.  It means that you are simply there for them.  Thanks to those filling this growing void!

In a perfect world, every Courage/Encourage group would have a chaplain just for them. It would be a thriving community where they counseled each other how to live their lives to get them to an everlasting life with God.  In reality, there just aren’t enough priests to go around.  An even sadder reality is that the priests who are often ready and available to these groups are the Fr. Martins of the world.  Personally, I think they find them easy prey to pick off for their dissent brigade.  It’s the predator’s way to go after the vulnerable and they do.  We’re simply not doing enough to protect them from those who want to use them for their own devious ends of destroying the Truth found in the Church.

As I and my fellow pew sitters go, we spend a lot of time discussing why people are the way they are, how to prevent it, etc.  We can look at, say, Milo and discuss human nature or nurture till we’re blue in the face.  I have my beliefs on that issue, too, but when I’m talking to someone struggling from same-sex attraction who is trying to remain chaste when the world is telling them to do what feels good, nature or nurture ain’t going to solve the immediate problem at hand.  It’s also not going to help those friends who struggle with loneliness and depression, another big problem in the homosexual community.

I don’t have much pull in solving the priest shortage crisis by anything other than prayer and sacrifice and encouraging men to look at that vocation for their lives.  I can see this shortage hurts a lot of parishioners, but again, it’s especially hard for parishioners in crisis.  In my particular area, the bishops are overwhelmed with the amount of people who need help.  I mean, we were essentially deprived of the Faith for many years.  We have many struggling souls struggling with many different things.  We all, however, should have the same goal. 

Maybe we need to keep it simple?  Stop the hemorrhaging of people via bad catechesis and example, remind people that the devil wants to keep them from everlasting life, and start with some broader game plans to keep that from happening.  As descendants of Adam and Eve, we’re all struggling with something.  None of us is perfect. We’re all sinners, and we share some common struggles.  We all struggle with chastity.  We all struggle with temptation.  If we can’t focus on each individual affliction, maybe we should have programs in our parishes focusing first on the cardinal virtues instead of having the dioceses spending so much time on the idea in society at large.  You know, right the boat first before you start plucking people out of the water.  If we can’t aid people in our own parishes, how are we ever going to the rest of the world on board with prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance? 

Can you imagine a Church – dare I say world – where people have learned to overcome their temptations in life?  This might be one area where Fr. Martin is accidentally right.  People suffering from SSA could enrich the Church.  Of course, it won’t be by their afflictions and sins but by overcoming them!  Personally, my friends who suffer with SSA and still live the faithful Catholic life are an inspiration for me every bit as much as, say, St. Therese and St. Bernadette, who suffered so much physical pain here and kept their eyes on everlasting life with God.

James Martin, SJ, is building bridges to nowhere.  Like I said earlier, he knows how to find the vulnerable and prey upon their weaknesses like a pro. This is why people who have embraced Church teaching and have come out of the SSA lifestyle are so adamant that the Church needs to do something. They know firsthand how souls are lost in this area, and they can be a BIG help in fixing the problem.  The Church needs to reach these people before the Martins of the world get them onto the bridge with the big gaping hole in the middle of it and encourage them to drive right to their spiritual (and often physical) deaths.  He’s not going to be stopped by platitudes.  He’s going to be stopped by action.

I’d like to thank “Thomas from Michigan” for his input on my thoughts and for making suggestions.

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16 thoughts on “Fr. Martin’s Bridge Too Far

  1. Ironic Pope Francis expelled from the clergy a similar priest in Australia. Expelled there was a Dissident ex priest for Apostasy and open promotion of the Homosexual pederast agenda identical to that openly promoted by Alleged priest ..Martin. WHY???

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As a parish priest I’m working with two SSA individuals, one male and one female, in spiritual direction. To say that I initially felt unprepared would be an understatement. It’s a tough row to hoe, not just for the individual but for the priest as well. Things are better now as God’s grace is operative and human connections are made, but this is a particularly tough nut to crack. If I wasn’t in a medium-sized parish with multiple priests such that the priest to parishioner ratio wasn’t too extreme, I wonder if I would have had time to properly serve these two people.

    Courage on paper and in many places is great, but some local affiliates are indifferently led, leading to disaster.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You’ve tackled a really big subject, and done so with great compassion.

    While I am horrified at Father Martin’s message, i.e., that homosexuality is morally equal to heterosexuality, as someone who suffers from same-sex attraction, I can’t help but be impressed by his enthusiasm. He is certainly misguided, certainly arrogant, but at the same time, it would be wonderful if someone–anyone–in the Church hierarchy showed the same level of concern for those of us who suffer from same-sex attraction.

    That is not, in any way, a shot at Courage, the Church’s official apostolate for people with same-sex attraction. Father Philip Bochanski, and his predecessor, Father Paul Check, work wonders on a shoestring budget and minimal support from most bishops and priests. (I also have to give a shout-out to Bishop Paprocki and Cardinal Burke, who are among the most outspoken, steadfast supporters we have.)

    In my own archdiocese, it’s hard not to notice that our chapter of Courage cannot get a priest to attend our one monthly meeting, but Dignity gets a priest every week for its Sunday evening mass, held in the chapel of a local Catholic college. I think that speaks volumes about how we are regarded by the hierarchy. It seems to underscore our options: go with Father Martin and his ilk, or pretty much walk alone.

    While I’m grateful we have a priest who is willing to provide us with a space to meet and interviews potential new members, and I am painfully aware of how heavy his workload is, I know that there are about 600 priests in our archdiocese, nearly 400 of whom are diocesan. I think that the only way this would change is if thousands of people bombarded the the archbishop with letters asking that this change. I’m not even sure thousands of Catholics know we exist–or care about people with same-sex attraction. I sometimes get the feeling that many Catholics wish we would just go away.

    It’s ironic that Pope Francis and his cohorts evince so much concern for the “marginalized,” because I can’t think of a group that is more marginalized than same-sex attracted Catholics who want to live chaste lives, per the teachings of the Church. We’re about as countercultural as it gets.

    I could say much more, but I fear it would turn into a rant. I will conclude by asking readers to check out the Courage website: https://couragerc.org/ or read Father John Harvey’s book, “Homosexuality and the Catholic Church: Clear Answers to Difficult Questions.” Father Harvey started Courage at the request of Terrence Cardinal Cooke in New York City.

    Thanks One Mad Mom for caring.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What an interesting read: good to help people think. Speaking of thinking, here’s my thoughts.
    – nobody is suffering with being gay, any more than one might suffer for having brown eyes or being left-handed, or having a bad temper.
    – everyone is called to follow the same commandments; yes, everyone.
    – living the commandments in a community is much easier than being out on our own; so think carefully when someone new comes along, especially someone honest about themselves. If you chase them away by being harsh, unkind and more, who is really at fault?
    – Remember that story Jesus told about anyone causes some who believes to sin? Yeah, that one. That’s directed at us: you, me, the next lady. Us.
    – everyone is a tiny glimpse of the glorious creation, in some way. The Samaritan woman at the well, she with five husbands and her latest bloke, was the messenger who let her community come to believe in Christ. Amazing! She would be the last one we would expect, but that was what she did. We read about it quite clearly in the scriptures. We also read the implication that she sorted her situation out, so clearly she was a very capable lady who responded to a conversation with Christ, one which had challenges but also respect and giving her time and attention.
    – humans are very complex and always have situations which need sorting out. That’s a constant thing throughout history: nobody, not you and not me, is perfect.

    So have some time for your imperfect neighbour, for the new lady whom you saw at liturgy, the one who seemed really unsure, as if you’d say something nasty to her. Give her a surprise next time and say “Hello” instead of “You’re a….so you must go and do…” You’ve got no clue about her, none at all, but you’ve got lots of good example, kindness and patience to show. Give it a try and ask someone to stay instead of making her leave. Make a difference by being the true witness to keeping those commandments, starting with the simple kindness that you know you need for yourself.

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    1. I think I agree with all but the very first line. I do think that people suffer much more from being SSA than if they had brown eyes. Of course, there might be people suffering even more from some sort of other affliction but I don’t think you can say it’s just like being left-handed. Not everyone’s cross on earth is the same size and sometimes we need to be the Simon to their cross carrying.

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    2. While I agree with most of your remarks, I would respectfully disagree with your statement that “nobody is suffering with being gay.” Speaking from my own experience as a homosexual, I would say that “suffering” is an especially accurate term. I would also cite the following:

      “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a TRIAL.” (Paragraph 2358, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church.”)

      “God does not make people homosexual; God permits this particular SUFFERING to come to people for His own mysterious reasons.” (“Homosexuality & the Catholic Church,” by Fr. John F. Harvey, founder of Courage.)

      “I have never thought nor written that persons SUFFERING from same-sex attraction are evil. (Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Foreword to “Homosexuality & the Catholic Church,” by Fr. John F. Harvey.)

      “What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever SUFFERINGS and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross.” (Paragraph 12, “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1986.)

      Being “gay,” i.e., embracing and acting upon these disordered feelings, and identifying oneself by one’s sexual preferences, usually exacerbates the suffering that comes with same-sex attraction.

      This is what Father Martin offers those “suffering” from same-sex attraction. At best, he is misguided and naïve. At worst, he is intentionally leading people down a path that leads to dashed hopes, crushed spirits, and broken lives. Because I want to see the best in everyone, I prefer to believe that he is the former.

      I follow the teachings of the Church and live a celibate life, striving for pure chastity. I regard these teachings to be as profoundly compassionate. Ultimately, these teachings led me, a self-identified gay, agnostic, secular humanist to convert to Catholicism. I saw in the “Mater Ecclesiae” God’s divine love for all of his children, even me.

      The rest of your comments are spot on. We should all be more concerned for our brothers and sisters in Christ. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (Paragraph 1658), “No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who ‘labor and are heavy laden.’”

      Courage is an attempt to do just this. More support from bishops might improve things immensely, but I recognize that, from a cost-benefit analysis, it probably won’t get that. People with same-sex attraction represent less than five percent of the population, and those who are or want to live chaste lives are probably a small fraction of that. On the other hand, Jesus himself said: “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:4-7)

      God’s blessings.

      2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

      2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

      2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t read this article much past the point where you called Fr. Martin a “doofus.”

    Yes, I have big problems with much of what Fr. Martin says — and even, what he often doesn’t say, which gives his words a vagueness that seems intentionally evasive. I unfollowed him on Facebook months ago when I began to suspect that his moral positions on gay sex and LGBT issues might not be consonant with those of the Church.

    Nevertheless, whatever his faults and erroneous positions may be, I don’t like it when a person who has been consecrated to the service of God and who has the authority to effectuate transubstantiation during the sacrifice of the Mass is called insulting names, especially by those who profess to be speaking in defense of the Church. I’m quite sure that Jesus is not glorified by such language, and I don’t think it brings honor to the reputation of our religious tradition.

    Attack Father Martin’s positions all you want. If a priest does not support orthodoxy, he needs to be called out — plainly, directly, forcibly. But don’t personally attack a priest, whatever you may think of the degree of his holiness, the heretical positions he may or may not hold, or the erroneous moral positions he may take relative to those of the Church.

    If you were talking to Jesus, would you call one of His priests a “doofus” to His face?

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    1. The definition of doofus is a foolish person. You don’t get more foolish than leaving souls astray. Fr. Martin is the one who dishonors the reputation of our religious tradition and, worse than that, again, he’s leading souls astray. It’s not a minor issue.

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  6. I suffer from attraction to other peoples nice things, as well as an attraction to telling lies; but since it is wrong, I deny myself the satisfaction of fulfilling my wants. If only I could get some Doctor to tell the world that these are legitimate needs, perhaps this recognition will sway society to grant me these self conjured rights. Maybe yet, start a political movement based on these ideas… Oh Wait! I’m too late for that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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