In case you didn’t see it, Archbishop Chaput sent out a warning in his column today on Fr. James Martin, SJ. Clearly, Archbishop Chaput has done his homework and researched Fr. Martin and read his book. Here’s the good Archbishop’s missive here. And then Bishop Paprocki sent out a statement backing Archbishop Chaput’s caution. Even Bishop Stika weighed in on Twitter. I don’t always agree with him on non-theological things but I thank him for this. I expect (or at least hope) more bishops will follow. Lastly, I woke up this morning to find Archbishop Chaput responded to the response.
Now that we’re all caught up, Archbishop Chaput’s caution probably ruined Fr. Martin’s day, so he quickly sent out a reply. I’m going to reply to Father Martin’s reply so you can see even more clearly that Archbishop Chaput was dead on.
Archbishop Charles Chaput graciously sent me his column today before publication, and I welcome this thoughtful response to my lecture at St. Joseph’s University this week. Here is my response:
The Peace of Christ!
Many thanks for sending your column ahead of time. I’m sorry that you felt the need to publish it.
There is a way to fix it, Fr. Martin, and I hope you will listen very carefully to Archbishop Chaput, who has clearly been very nice to you and is trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.
I think my main response is that it’s difficult to respond to critiques that I am “implying” things, when I am assiduous in my writings and talks about not challenging church teaching. I have written clearly about that here, among other places: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/04/06/what-official-church-teaching-homosexuality-responding-commonly-asked-question
Saying you are not challenging Church teaching and then giving a wink and a nod to those that do is kind of the same thing. Here’s a few instances of you not really doing what you say you do. (Hat tip to LifeSiteNews.) https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/eight-extreme-things-fr.-james-martin-just-said-about-catholics-and
Briefly put, I mean and I’m no theologian, but, you know, for a teaching to be really, um, authoritative it is expected that it will be received by the people of God, by the faithful. So you look at something, like, say, the Assumption…people accept that. They go to the Feast of the Assumption, they believe in the Assumption. It’s received. From what I can tell, in the LGBT community, the teaching that LGBT people must be celibate their entire lives – not just before marriage as it is for most people but their entire lives – has not been received. Now, I say this and people go crazy. And this is simply based on LGBT people that I speak to. Now there are some that believe that – I would say it’s a very small percentage of people, right – but that’s a simple fact. You can say that they don’t agree with it. I would say the teaching therefore has not been received by the community to which it was largely directed. And so the question is, you know, what do we do with that? Now that’s the kind of question to circle back to your original question – that reflection, you know, what do we do with a teaching that has seemingly not been received by the community to which it was directed – is a theological question that bishops and LGBT people need to think about.” – Fr. James Martin, SJ
Church teaching is only authoritative if it is accepted by the faithful?!? Sigh. In other words, he’s saying that if you don’t believe it, then it’s not true. Yeah, no undermining of the faith there.
Why is it so terrible to go to a gay wedding, but it is not terrible to go to a Jewish wedding? You know, let’s say – seriously – if your daughter, let’s say if you decided to convert to Judaism and you married Andy who was Jewish, right, your parents would probably be disappointed, I would assume, you know, or confused, or whatever. But the idea that they couldn’t go or would refuse to go um, it’s very surprising to me. So I think Catholics need to see it in light of that, that it is a different tradition…different belief system than most Catholics are used to…but it’s supporting the person that you love. So it’s very sad to me that people still agonize over this. -Fr. James Martin, SJ
So much to unpack in this one. First, no, you should not go to the wedding of a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic. Now, what Fr. Martin is talking about, it seems, is an apostate to the faith – someone who says they are no longer Catholic and are now part of some other church. It’s a little fuzzier here, so maybe some sort of canonist can weigh in. Next, just in an effort to be clear, the Church does not bind non-Catholics to Canon Law so, of course, the Church recognizes the marriage of two Jews, unless the two Jews are a homosexual couple, because the Church is crystal clear that two men and two women are not proper matter for any marriage. It is not a marriage because, quite literally, no marriage can truly exist between two people of the same sex. There is only sodomy or masturbation, but the mutual self-giving and marriage of their bodies is absent. This can never be rectified as in an apostate marrying outside the Church. So, yes, it a terrible thing because you’d be witnessing a union that isn’t a union and can NEVER be under Natural Law or Canon Law.
I always say that LGBT people have more faith than, I think, straight people because of that. I mean imagine you – what you have just described is really interesting, Brandon. You have internalized rejection already. You don’t need to even be told that you’re rejected in the Church, you’ve internalized it and that’s very sad… A lot of the people that Jesus came into contact with did the same thing. Think of like the woman with the hemorrhage, right, who doesn’t even feel worthy to kind of stand up and greet him, she reaches down and touches the hem of the garment; or the Samaritan women, right, who comes to the well at noon in the heat of the day because… we think, she’s been married five times and she’s probably embarrassed. Maybe people didn’t know enough to tell her you’re not welcome to come out at the regular time when other women come; she comes because she is embarrassed and she kinda internalized that and that’s sad. So I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or, you know, soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing? And think of all the people in Church who have all sorts of other things on their conscience…it’s up to the institutional Church I think to make you feel welcome. -Fr. James Martin, SJ
I wonder why Fr. Martin didn’t offer this as proof he fully supports Church teaching and doesn’t seek to challenge it??? It’s never going to be OK for Brandon to kiss his partner in a romantic way, and he will NEVER have a husband. Your “assiduous” statements don’t look so assiduous when you contradict Church teaching repeatedly.
I would tend to agree with you because I would say that there – you could have some uh, hard and fast, and legitimate and reasonable theological objections [to same-sex marriage] in terms of the sacramentality, in terms of uh Biblical…and even though we shouldn’t read the Bible literally – Catholics don’t read the Bible literally – um…but I also think that, for the most part, I do find that there is a very high correlation between people who are against that [same-sex marriage] and people who are in fact homophobic. And so it’s that whole ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ argument, I know it’s not exactly the same, but it reminds me of that in a sense – people say, well I can be against gay marriage and not be homophobic. But then when you hear a lot of people, they sound pretty damn homophobic. And I can say, ‘hate the sin and love the sinner,’ but when you listen to them, there’s no sense of love at all. – Fr. James Martin, SJ
Uh, so is he saying that he’s homophobic or is he saying he’s for re-defining marriage?!?! Geez. Of course, he’ll deny both. But let’s just say that’s true. If he’s managed to not be “homophobic” but against re-defining marriage, where in the world does he get off saying the rest of the Catholic Church can’t possibly do the same???
Look at Humanae Vitae. Humanae Vitae is still in effect, and as far as I can tell, the large majority of Western Catholics have made their peace with that. And yet that Church teaching has not changed. And that’s a much older Church teaching. I mean, in the sense that’s – Humanae Vitae’s 1968 and a lot of stuff we’re talking about is, you know, very new. -Fr. James Martin, SJ
You’re going with “It’s outdated and doesn’t apply” argument, Fr. Martin? Yeah, Humanae Vitae is SO Old Testament. All of this crud we’re dealing with now is so new. Really? The world has never dealt with homosexuality? The struggle is actually biblical, Father.
Also, the lecture at St. Joseph’s University this week, which prompted your article, is the same lecture that I presented at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin last year, the text of which was vetted and approved beforehand by the Vatican.
And? That isn’t really a defense of the points Archbishop Chaput made. The list of tragic speakers at the World Meeting of Families was long and probably why
One of the reasons that I don’t focus on same-sex relations and same-sex marriage, which I know are both impermissible (and immoral) under church teaching, is that LGBT Catholics have heard this repeatedly. Indeed, often that is the only thing that they hear from their church.
The problem is, as shown above, you have indeed suggested, implied, etc., that the Church’s teachings will change. You can almost hear the good old Jesuit “mental reservation”: “…are both impermissible (and immoral) under church teaching as it stands right now.” Sorry. Sometimes you don’t hold your tongue well enough. Your slip is showing. You want to be a savior to same-sex attracted people instead of leading them to the Savior. The Church has said far more and you disparage Her to them.
I’ve only included what could be found in one nice neat place, but if you delved into Fr. Martin’s social media pages, you would find much more evidence of Archbishop Chaput’s points. Fr. Martin consistently highlights groups that completely contradict the Church like Out@StPaul and New Ways Ministry without ever correcting their errors. He’s just hoping you don’t know that.
What I am trying to do instead is encourage Catholics to see LGBT people as more than just sexual beings, to see them in their totality, much as Jesus saw people on the margins, people who were also seen as “other” in his time.
Wow! That’s a stretch, because from where most of us stand, you appear to encourage people to embrace being a slave to their sexual inclinations. Jesus totally went after the people on the margins. He didn’t, however, leave them there wallowing in their sin. He met them, told them to repent and sin no more, and told them the way was narrow. He didn’t just hang out with them acting as if all was grand with their lives.
I remain grateful for your asking people not to engage in ad hominem attacks, and I appreciate the careful tone of your letter and have always appreciated your kind communications with me.
Thanks again for sending this.
Most attacks are not ad hominem, they are quite substantiated with your own words, “Jim”.