Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How to Distort the Synod - Quote Priests Like Fr. James Martin, SJ

I have been saddened to see a priest who is an editor of a national magazine saying things that are highly misleading, and thus providing fodder for all those looking to paint a completely distorted picture of the Synod on the Famly.

Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit, edits the national magazine America, and has been saying things that the national media have been quoting quite fervently.

One such statement from Fr. Martin is the following:

Did the Church ever say people living with same-sex attraction don't have any gifts?  Can he point to where the Church USED to say that?  Of course not.

Instead, Fr. Martin irresponsibly perpetuates a gigantic myth - namely that the Church "used to hate gays but are now warming up to them."  It is extremely irresponsible for a priest to perpetuate this myth because it is wrong on so many levels.

"gay people" is such a simplistic and false term.  Does Fr, Martin mean:
1) people living with same sex attraction
2) people having homosexual sex

EITHER WAY - even if a person is in a state of mortal sin - the Church doesn't say such people HAVE NO GIFTS!

Wouldn't that be a fascinating statement: "The Catholic Church would like to declare that those who are in a state of mortal sin have no gifts", or, even worse, "those who are in a state of mortal sin are not welcome."  It is sad to see a priest of the Church perpetuate these childish myths.  Perhaps it helps sell books, though?

Also from the desk of Fr. Martin:

We all struggle with humility in our own ways, but to put oneself forward as knowing when the Spirit is afoot and when it isn't so much afoot is not a power most claim for themselves.

We can't, in the same tweet, simultaneously PREDICT what the Holy Spirit is doing while saying it is UNpredictable.


  1. This is masterful spin FROM the Catholic church. They are saying nothing different, but sound much nicer. Why are you grumbling? The gay community is not fooled, however. Not when the CC is deeply involved in attempting to destroy their families.

    1. Masterful spin? The gay community not fooled? ...The gay community for the last twenty years has vilified everyone and every institution that has not conceded to its self-centered whims and demands. Not bending over backward to fulfill the gay vision does not mean the Church "is attempting to destroy their families." Show some perspective on this.

  2. I'm pretty sure you commented in your previous blog about the Holy Spirit being active. But when Fr. Martin makes the same claim, he has no humility. Interesting perspective you have.

    Also, nobody is saying that the Church has changed it's doctrine at all. We know the Church still does not accept same-sex marriage, marriage after divorce without an annulment, premarital sex, and so on. My understanding of the Synod's message is that pastoral care will be different. Perhaps priests will sound less judgmental, therefore being more welcoming to all, even those in a state of mortal sin.

    I know, I know, it's your job to tell people when they are sinning so that they can correct it. You think we don't know?! It's my understanding that you truly believe that you are welcoming to all, that you invite anyone into your parish. I learned at a young age that many times, it's not what you say, but how you say it. The way you present your message on same-sex marriage is the furthest thing from welcoming I have ever experienced. I thank God that there are other priests who do not send a confusing message about what the Church believes and teaches, yet do so in a loving, nurturing, welcoming way. If you were my only contact with the Catholic world, I would have left, running and screaming, long ago.

    I pray that all your readers who feel unwelcome and judged get to know another priest with a more loving tone. You often talk about how the Church's message is misunderstood. That all are welcome. That God loves us all, no matter our sexual orientation, we just can't do whatever we want. The video you helped create/fund tried to deliver that message in a way you never do. The way you write about SSM and especially the way you respond to commenters on your blog is distasteful, rude, and unwelcoming, particularly to those who may be reaching out and considering the Catholic Church. I expect more patience and love in the guidance a priest offers to others.


    1. Of course the Holy Spirit is active. We know that. Fr. Martin claims to know when the Holy Spirit is more present and when the Holy Spirit is less present. I find that ironic given that in the exact same tweet he noted that the Holy Spirit is unpredictable.

      As to the rest. Okay. Jesus was blunt in speech and welcoming in practice. You know nothing about my priesthood in practice.

    2. Father, whenever we get these "I don't like your tone" comments, it is sometimes good to test these by trying to elicit specifics. Can someone give a specific example of a priest or bishop that was both loving and compassionate AND made it unambiguously clear that all sexual contact outside of a man and a woman married to each other was immoral? Who and what exactly did they say and do that demonstrated BOTH of these?

  3. I read this blog. Is this blog not indicative of your priesthood in practice?

    1. Of course not. This is a pulpit. We are to be "lions from the pulpit and lambs in the confessional" as the saying goes.

      I can say things as forcefully as necessary on here because this mode of communication allows people to digest it in the comfort of their own home, wrestle with it internally, etc.

      When talking to a particular person face to face then things are much different.

  4. Perhaps the Synod is suggesting that the tone from the pulpit be a bit more loving so as to not drive Catholics or potential Catholics away when they feel berated and unwanted. Most people who read this blog and feel so judged and unwelcome are highly unlikely to see you in the confessional to hear your loving and welcoming spirit.

    1. And then again, perhaps the Synod ISN'T suggesting that

  5. Fr. I respect your opinion,but I must disagree. I don't think the CC in generals hates gays, however, many are not very accepting. Thus it makes it difficult for those of us with SSA to find a parish and or priest that is welcoming. I am a celibate male who struggles with SSA attraction and have faced many people who don't accept me and make it difficult to attend their parish. Consequently, I have opted to go to large churches where I can be inconspicuous. That is the reality of people with SSA who believe and want to follow church doctrine. But I accept that as my cross to bear. I certainly know that Christ had it much worse.

  6. Funny how most priest forget the historical context around the topic of homosexuality.