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.