Review: Fr. James Martin, Building a Bridge:
How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity

Fr. Martin has become popular under Pope Francis, and is on the Catholic conference circuit. It appears he wants the Church to:

  • Remove "intrinsically disordered" from the Catechism.
  • Celebrate and welcome all gender expressions.
  • Work with the LGBT community so we can learn together.
  • Affirm that people can belong to the LGBT community and the Church simultaneously.
  • Affirm organizations like "NewWays Ministry" which focus on normalizing same sex activity rather than “Courage” which helps same sex attracted people remain chaste.

He tells LBGT's “God made you this way ... like Psalm 139 says you were knit together in your mother’s womb … this way. This is a part of your identity.”

Coming out of the LBGT community

I was an "out of the closet" letter writing, pride marching advocate for “LGBT rights". My secular family and friends were supportive. I went to Montreal to meet a yoga guru but got lost and wandered into St. Joseph’s Oratory where I had an experience with Jesus. After that, I noticed many things with which I could no longer agree at LBGT meetings. Soon after, I knelt in front of a cross outside a church and felt the Lord interiorly ask me to stop going to LBGT activities. It was extremely tangible and I immediately felt a huge weight come off my back, more than when I first came out. I eventually became a Catholic. I was interviewed on the BBC during this period. After many years of celibacy, I married Diane, and have a young daughter and good career. I’m not on medication. I'm generally healthy, functional, well adjusted with friends and community. Jesus is amazing.

Of course, only some people with a same sex history are called to natural marriage, but chastity is for everyone.

What's wrong with Fr. James Martin's message?

Fr. Martin preaches charity without clarity (about chastity), which seems more like activism than pastoral care to those of us who have previously practiced gay activism.

  • He says the Church has been harsh and needs to welcome people with same sex attraction, which is true, but when pressed on the issue of abstinence he distances himself from the Church teaching with phrases such as "the Church teaches" followed by "but ... " as if its too much to expect someone to submit to the Church teaching.
  • Here's a tweet: "Where the Bible mentions same-sex sexual behaviour at all it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is clearly whether the biblical judgment is correct."
  • He says its discriminatory to focus on same sex chastity as if straight Catholics never work on chastity. LBGT is a sexual orientation and most LBGT blogs talk about sex a lot. Why can't Catholics discuss our teaching on sex regarding LBGT issues? Or is gay sex to become the Trojan horse that no one talks about until its normalized in the Church?
  • He's right that its important to acknowledge our attractions and trust supportive people. However, the LGBT community cannot support same sex attracted Catholics, because there are incompatible tenets necessary for acceptance in the LBGT community. It's like someone cannot be an active Freemason and Catholic because the philosophies are irreconcilable even though Freemasons do some "good works".
  • Fr. Martin has never acknowledged that gay sex is unhealthy physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • He conflates God's active and passive will by saying "God made you that way". The Catechism accurately states that its causes are unknown (2357-2359).
  • He is silent about the faithful Catholic organization “Courage”, which helps same sex attracted Catholics stay chaste, but endorses the dissident "NewWay Ministries" which wants to normalize same sex activity.
  • I personally experienced the Lord calling me out of the LGBT community, and have seen the good fruit of that decision. I cannot reconcile this with Fr. Martin’s message. I don't feel he represents people in our situation at all, many of whom say their posts to Fr. Martin's Facebook groups have been deleted. Fr. Martin needs to understand it is not "internalized homophobia" to abstain from unnatural sex. It is the powerful and loving hand of God.

Finally, with respect to Fr. Martin's lobbying to remove "intrinsically disordered" from the Catechism, we leave you with a classic Fulton Sheen talk about a normal and abnormal mind. It starts about 11:32 and should start there on play.

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