Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Instagram Give

 

by Luiz Sérgio Solimeo | January 24, 2018

 

A Catholic soul is filled with sadness when it must criticize a member of the once glorious Society of Jesus founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a religious order that did so much good for the Church. Alas, corruptio optimi pessima—the corruption of the best is the worst of all.

This reflection comes to mind looking at the book by Fr. James Martin, S.J., Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.1 Father Martin is an American Jesuit priest, writer, and editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine America. In April 2017, Pope Francis appointed him as a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.

A Serious Omission: the Distinction Between Homosexual Tendency and Act

Throughout the book, Father Martin carefully avoids distinguishing between persons with same-sex attraction who resist these deviant tendencies with the help of grace and those who indulge in unnatural proclivities, turning them into acts.

He refers to the “LGBT community” and “LGBT people”2 to designate homosexuals and “transgenders,” lumping together those who suffer from same-sex attraction but resist and those who succumb to unnatural vice. However, the “LGBT” acronym does not apply to those who resist temptation but only to activists who seek to impose on society the acceptance of their unnatural practices and way of life as normal and even excellent.

 

Dishonest Sleight-of-Hand

Father Martin uses a dishonest artifice to deceive the unwary. He takes the Catechism’s assertion that people with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” and that “unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,”3 and applies them to homosexual activists and “transgenders.” He devotes the entire first part of his book to commenting on how people should show “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” to members of the LGBT movement!

It is not with tricks that we show love for Truth and charity to neighbor, but by laboring honestly to free sinners from the enslavement of vice and restoring them to virtue and faithfulness to God and His Law.

 

The Condemned New Ways Ministry Is at the Book’s Origin

Fr. James Martin tells us how New Ways Ministry is at the origin of his book:

"When New Ways Ministry, a group that ministers to and advocates for LGBT Catholics, asked just a few weeks after the Orlando tragedy if I would accept their “Bridge Building Award” and give a talk at the time of the award ceremony, I agreed. The name of the award, as it turned out, inspired me to sketch out an idea for a “two-way bridge” that might help bring together both the institutional church and the LGBT community."

The bulk of this book is that talk, which has been expanded into a longer essay.4 

However, Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent, founders of New Ways Ministry, and authors of a 1992 book significantly titled Building Bridges: Gay and Lesbian Reality and the Catholic Church, were condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999.5 

Furthermore, New Ways Ministry itself was condemned in a 2010 statement by Francis Cardinal George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,6 and again in a 2011 statement signed by Donald Cardinal Wuerl and Bishop Salvatore Cordileone:

"In view of the recent booklet Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach, by Francis DeBernardo (published by New Ways Ministry), we, as the respective chairmen of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, wish to reaffirm Francis Cardinal George’s statement of February 12, 2010 and assure Catholics that in no manner is the position proposed by New Ways Ministry in conformity with Catholic teaching and in no manner is this organization authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church or to identify itself as a Catholic organization."7 

 

“Canonize” a Rebel, Pro-Homosexual Nun?

New Ways Ministry co-founder Sr. Jeannine Gramick declared her support for same-sex “marriage” publicly.8 Notwithstanding this and her Vatican condemnation, Father Martin expressed his admiration for her and suggested, perhaps in jest, that she should be canonized.9 

 

A Defense of Homosexuality and “Transgenderism”

Father Martin’s prayer “composed for all who feel excluded, rejected, marginalized, shamed or persecuted” (read: LGBT, etc.) at the end of the book, summarizes the thesis of the book:

"Loving God, you made me who I am…. And, God, help me remember that Jesus loves me. For he too was seen as an outcast. He too was misunderstood. He too was beaten and spat upon. Jesus understands me and loves me with a special love, because of the way you made me."10 

Father Martin blasphemously implies that it was God himself who made these individuals homosexual and “transgender.” Borrowing from Liberation Theology’s view of the “marginalized” and poor as “oppressed,”11 he suggests that they are persecuted because of a God-given unnatural deviation, and this condition supplies them with a redemptive character. In other words, just as Christ was despised, rejected, and immolated on the Cross to save men, so also those who allow themselves to be carried away by the vice of homosexuality or who revolt against the sex of their birth (which was indeed God-given), are “misunderstood” “outcast” “beaten and spat upon.” They are victims. Like other “Christs,” they suffer for the rest of men.

 

Normalizing Sexual Deviance

Given this implicit and shocking premise, everything the Church has taught about morality and sins against nature must be changed, beginning with this statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “This inclination [to same-sex attraction]…is objectively disordered.”12 

Now then, on page 46, this is precisely what Father Martin and others propose: “Some bishops have already called for the church to set aside the phrase ‘objectively disordered’ when it comes to describing the homosexual inclination.”13 

And, he continues, “Our sexuality, in a sense, touches everything we do, including the way that we love…. So to call a person’s sexuality ‘objectively disordered’ is to tell that person that all of his or her love, even the most chaste, is disordered. That seems unnecessarily cruel.”14 

 

In Freud’s Shadow

Here one sees Sigmund Freud’s shadow, with his theory that man is dominated and led by his sexual instinct: “Our sexuality, in a sense, touches everything we do…

However, what defines the human person is not sexuality but rationality and behavior according to the divine laws expressed in human nature. Instincts, including that of procreation, are only part of human nature, not its directive element. Unlike animals, which act blindly, impelled by instincts, thanks to his intellect and free will, man can dominate and guide his impulses, especially when he asks for the help of grace. God never refuses to listen to a “contrite and humbled heart” (Ps. 50:19).

Human love, though it has a procreative sexual dimension within marriage, is not rooted in that dimension but in a spiritual and affective affinity.

 

Homosexuality: a “Gift” for the Church?

Once one accepts the premise that God made homosexuals with their unnatural deviation and that this gives them a “redeeming” aspect, the logical conclusion is that homosexuals and “transgenders” should be seen as privileged members of the Church.

Father Martin explains: “LGBT Catholics bring unique gifts to the church—both as individuals and as a community. These gifts build up the church in special ways, as St. Paul wrote when he compared the People of God to a human body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).”15 

In the referenced passage, the Apostle is referring to the Mystical Body of Christ—the Church. It is a holy Body, to which those who have lost sanctifying grace through mortal sin do not belong. Although they continue being members of the Church, they are dead and dry branches that if they do not convert will be cut off and cast into the everlasting fire of Hell (cf. John 15:6).

Father Martin claims that homosexuals and so-called transgenders “build up the church” imply that he considers them to be in the state of grace and therefore living members of the Body of Christ. Moreover, he says that “these gifts” (homosexuality, lesbianism, “transgenderism”) “build up the church in special ways.” In other words, theirs is a privileged contribution, and the Church would somehow be less developed without their sins against nature!

 

Two Cardinals, a Bishop, and… Sister Gramick

Unfortunately, Father Martin’s deplorable efforts to change Church perennial moral teaching on the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts find wide acceptance among fellow Jesuits and in sectors of the Catholic hierarchy and clergy. In fact, two American bishops who were recently made cardinals by Pope Francis—Kevin Cardinal Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, and Joseph Cardinal Tobin, Archbishop of Newark—along with Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego and Sister Jeannine Gramick wrote rave reviews for Father Martin’s book.

 

Who Is the True Friend?

Father Martin presents himself as a great friend of homosexuals and “transgenders.” In reality, he is their enemy, for instead of seeking to remove them from the sin in which they objectively find themselves—as would be required by his priestly duty and by Christian charity—he works to convince them that they are in the friendship of God.Defending a Higher Law: Why We Must Resist Same Sex “Marriage” and the Homosexual Movement

True friendship and charity toward those who are in sin or in danger of falling into sin consist in helping them to give up vice or overcome temptation.

While everything must be done to help sinners, this cannot include helping them sin or remain in vice. Given human frailty, a sinner deserves pity and compassion. However, vice and sin themsleves must be excluded from this compassion, since sin can never be the proper object of compassion. When a misguided pity leads to supplying the sinner with the means of remaining attached to his vice, this assistance, be it material or moral, actually helps to keep the sinner chained to his evil ways.

Such action helps vice, not the person. Despite good intentions, the action is harmful. True compassion leads a sinner away from vice and back to virtue.

In short, according to the famous expression attributed to Saint Augustine, we “hate the sin but love the sinner.”16 And to love the sinner, as the same Doctor of the Church explains, is wishing for him the best we can possibly desire for ourselves, namely, “that he may love God with a perfect affection.”17 

In his book, Father Martin distorts the clear principles of Christian morality and natural law concerning the sins that led to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He confuses Catholics and reinforces in unnatural vice those who unfortunately have fallen into it. His book is, therefore, unacceptable.

 


 

Taking a Principled not a Personal Stand

As practicing Catholics, we are filled with compassion and pray for those who struggle against violent temptation to sin, be it toward homosexual sin or otherwise.

We are conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weaknesses and strive to overcome them and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride, and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. However, we pray for them too.

According to the expression attributed to Saint Augustine, we “hate the sin but love the sinner.” And to love the sinner, as the same Doctor of the Church explains, is to wish for him the best we can possibly desire for ourselves, namely, “that he may love God with a perfect affection.” (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, No. 49, www.newadvent.org/fathers/1401.htm)

  


Footnotes
1. James Martin, S.J., Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity (San Francisco: Harper One, 2017), 145. Father Martin’s book received an Imprimatur from the Very Rev. John Cecero, S.J., Provincial Superior, USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. In quotes from this book, all emphases are mine. [back to text]
2. Cf. Ibid., 19, 45. [back to text]
3. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358.[back to text]
4. Martin, Building a Bridge, 5.[back to text]
5.Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – Notification Regarding Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19990531_gramick-nugent-notification_en.html.[back to text]
6. “USCCB President Clarifies Status of New Ways Ministry,” Feb. 12, 2010, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, https://www.usccb.org/news/2010/10-028.cfm[back to text]
7. Catholic World News, “US bishops reaffirm: New Ways Ministry not a Catholic organization,” CatholicCulture.org, Mar. 17, 2011, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, https://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=9636[back to text]
8. Cf. Jeannine Gramick and Francis DeBernardo, “A Catholic case for same-sex marriage,” The Washington Post, Feb. 14, 2012, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-catholic-case-for-same-sex-marriage/2012/02/13/gIQAl4cwDR_story.html?utm_term=.345c1b1f424d; “Catholics Participate in Prayer Service and Demonstration at Supreme Court,” Mar. 27, 2013, New Ways Ministry, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, https://www.newwaysministry.org/2013/03/27/catholics-participate-in-prayer-service-and-demonstration-at-supreme-court/[back to text]
9. Cf. Ashley McKinless, “Father James Martin: L.G.B.T. Catholics have been treated like dirt. We can do better,” America, Jun. 16, 2017, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/06/16/father-james-martin-lgbt-catholics-have-been-treated-dirt-we-can-do-better. (“I’m going to canonize Sr. Jeannine Gramick.” See 32:14 of the audio recording.) [back to text]
10. Op. cit. p. 145. [back to text]
11. Cf. Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “‘Rehabilitation’ of Liberation Theology?” At https://www.tfp.org/rehabilitation-of-liberation-theology/; Idem, Liberation Theology, a KGB Invention? That Is Way Too Simple…, https://www.tfp.org/liberation-theology-a-kgb-invention-that-is-way-too-simple/, accessed Jan. 23, 2018. [back to text]
12. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm, accessed Jan. 23, 2018. [back to text]
13. Martin, Building a Bridge, 46. This wish seems to have been already fulfilled, at least in the Catechism’s English edition published by An Image Book – Doubleday, April 1995. It omits the phrase. Cf. page 625, No. 2358. [back to text]
14. Ibid., 46-47. [back to text]
15. Ibid., 24. [back to text]
16. Cf. Saint Augustine, Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Ps. 119, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, www.ccel.org/schaff/npnf108.ii.CXIX.xv.html[back to text]
17. Saint Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, No. 49, accessed Jan. 22, 2018, www.newadvent.org/fathers/1401.htm[back to text]


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for October 26, 2020

He who does not acquire the love of God will scarcely persev...

read link

October 26

 

He who does not acquire the love of God
will scarcely persevere in the grace of God, for
it is very difficult to renounce sin
merely through fear of chastisement.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


SIGN me UP as a 2021 Rosary Rally Captain

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Cedd of the East Saxons

Gaelic, early Welsh, Frankish, Old English and Latin speaker...

read link

St. Cedd of the East Saxons

What little is known about St. Cedd comes to us from the saintly Venerable Bede, an early English historian.

A native of the region of Northumbria, England, he was one of four brothers, one of whom was St. Chad. By the year 653 he had been ordained a priest.

At the time what is today the British isle was divided into several small kingdoms. Under the influence of St Augustine of Canterbury and other missionary saints the seeds of Christianity were sown far and wide throughout the land.

King Oswid of Northumbria, having been baptized by St. Finan, sent Cedd to evangelize the Middle Angles of Mercia. Mercia’s king was Penda, a pagan tolerant of Christianity, while his son, Peada, had promised to become Christian in exchange for the hand of King Oswid’s daughter in marriage.

Though Cedd made some headway in Mercia, his brother Chad reaped a greater harvest ten years later, probably under the more secure patronage of Peada.

From Mercia, Cedd was sent to re-evangelize the East Saxons at the request of King Sigeberht, who under the influence of King Oswid accepted baptism from St. Finan. Bede speaks of Cedd as a man unafraid to confront the powerful.

His success in this mission, earned for him the respect of St. Finan who consecrated him bishop of the East Saxons. Cedd built churches and founded two monasteries, one of which was the monastery of Lastingham. Both structures were eventually destroyed by the Danes.

In 664 Cedd was present at the Synod of Whitby, and was one of those who accepted the implementation of the Roman calendar and practices as opposed to the Celtic rite. Bede recounts that his ease with languages greatly aided in the communication of the various parties, which spoke Gaelic, early Welsh, Frankish, Old English and Latin.

He died of a plague that struck in 664. He was succeeded by his brother St. Chad as abbot of Lastingham.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Vero...

read link

The Rosary Saves Soldiers in Kuwait

Veronica first learned of the Rosary as a small girl watching her father fingering the beads. At first she thought he was “playing” with the shiny strand, but later, realizing the full meaning of her father’s action, and under the promptings of Grace, she became a devotee of the Rosary as well.

The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Veronica, who felt the Blessed Mother’s protection in her life. But then, when her youngest son, Randy, was stationed in Kuwait during Desert Storm, the devotion was to play a crucial role.

While attending a convention of Catholic Women, and greatly concerned for her son’s safety, she confided to a presiding priest that Randy was serving overseas. The good priest then suggested she and others in the group join him in praying a Rosary for Randy’s safety and other pressing intentions. Something compelled Father and the ladies not only to say five decades, but to persevere for several hours.

Two weeks later Veronica received a letter from her son in which he described that he and fellow soldiers had been in a harrowing conflict. As the bullets whizzed by, he feared for his and his buddies’ lives and prayed with all his heart. Suddenly, a great calm came over him and he heard a voice, “from the sky” that assured him they would be alright.

Conferring dates and times, mother and son marvelled at finding that the time in which he and the others were in dire peril was the same day and hour Father, Veronica and her friends were persevering in reciting the Rosary.


Note: Based on a story from 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC

Click here to Order your free Rosary booklet

 

The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Veronica, who felt the Blessed Mother’s protection in her life.

Let’s keep in touch!