Father Martin: The Pampered Heretic

Fatima Perspectives #1337

Perhaps embarrassed by the public criticism of his utter failure to warn the faithful not to attend a lecture by the pro-homosexual activist Father James Martin, S.J. at St. Joseph’s University in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has decided to sound the fire alarm after the house has burned down.  Only the alarm sounds rather like a muted trumpet.

In his after-the-fact and thus useless warning, Chaput begins with the excuse that “a bishop is typically unable” to prevent someone from speaking at a Catholic university in his diocese.  Rubbish. This was not a question of physically preventing the lecture on Martin’s evil book, Building a Bridge, but rather of Chaput’s duty to warn the faithful that Martin is spreading error and that no one should attend his “lecture”.

Chaput next laments that “Father Martin has also, at times, been the target of bitter personal attacks. As I’ve said previously, such attacks are inexcusable and unChristian.”  More rubbish.  Catholics have a duty to denounce this heretic in every way possible, as he is deliberately promoting the ruinous lies that the inclination to sodomy is not disordered, that “LGBT people” have a right to identify themselves and be accepted as such, and that the Church should alter her teaching on the intrinsic disorder of the homosexual inclination and the grave depravity of homosexual acts.

Worse, Chaput proceeds to pat Martin on the back for allegedly “[seeking] in a dedicated way to accompany and support people with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. Many of his efforts have been laudable, and we need to join him in stressing the dignity of persons in such situations.”

For Heaven’s sake, Martin is not “accompanying and supporting” these people in a laudable way. He is condoning their behavior by depicting it as the outcome of a legitimate “orientation” that is merely part of their God-given nature, which is to say he is leading them down the path to hell.

When Chaput finally gets around to criticizing Martin, after coddling him in the opening paragraphs, he offers only the tepid affirmations that “I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims” and that there is “a pattern of ambiguity in his teachings…”

There is nothing “ambiguous” about Martin’s relentless promotion of monstrous falsehoods. Indeed, Chaput has no difficulty identifying Martin’s clear errors against the faith in the remainder of his statement:

  • “Father Martin suggests that same-sex attracted people and those with gender dysphoria should be labeled according to their attraction and dysphoria, calling for use of the phrase ‘LGBT Catholic’ in Church documents and language.
  • “Father Martin has, in the past, suggested that people are born ‘gay.’ In his own words, ‘[i]t is a fact that people are born this way … [a] psychological, psychiatric, and biological truth.’[iii]To his credit, Father Martin has seemed to modify this view [How? I see no evidence of this.]…
  • “Any implication that a person’s behavior is predetermined, and that intellect and free will have little role in the formation and control of his or her sexual appetites, is both false and destructive, especially to young people.
  • “Father Martin suggests that Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction as ‘objectively disordered’ (for example, in CCC 2358) is cruel and should be modified….
  • “Father Martin partners with organizations like New Ways Ministry that oppose or ignore the teaching of the Church, and he endorses events, such as PRIDE month, that cause confusion for the faithful….
  • “Father Martin — no doubt unintentionally [!] — inspires hope that the Church’s teachings on human sexuality can be changed. In his book, Building A Bridge, he writes: ‘For a teaching to be really authoritative it is expected that it will be received by the people of God … From what I can tell, in the LGBT community, the teaching that LGBT people must be celibate their entire lives … has not been received.’”

In short, as Chaput’s own points demonstrate, Father Martin is a willful subversive who should be subjected to a canonical interdict and sent off to a monastery to pray and do penance, rather than being portrayed as a well-intentioned but misguided purveyor of “ambiguity”. 

In particular, the claim that Martin “unintentionally” promotes hope that the Church’s teaching on human sexuality can be changed to accommodate “LGBT Catholics” is ludicrous.  He is openly calling for that change and thus intentionally promoting the hope that it could happen — especially under the current wayward occupant of the Chair of Peter.

Having identified Martin’s errors against the faith and his partnership with “organizations… that oppose or ignore the teaching of the Church,” Chaput proceeds to pat the heretic on the head by stating that “to his credit, Father Martin has stressed that, ‘as a Catholic priest, I have … never challenged [the Church’s] teachings, nor will I.’ But what is implied or omitted often speaks as loudly as what is actually stated, and in the current climate, incomplete truths do, in fact, present a challenge to faithful Catholic belief.”

Oh please.  Martin is not merely implying or omitting things, he is openly subverting Church teaching on fundamental matters of morality, and his claim that he has “never challenged” that teaching is a blatant lie.  Why does Chaput pretend not to see this?

Chaput ends with a “caution to all the faithful of the Church in Philadelphia, regarding the ambiguity about same-sex related issues found throughout the statements and activities of Father James Martin.” A timid warning about “ambiguity” where clear and pernicious error is involved only emboldens the one in error, who has avoided a just condemnation.

Am I am being too critical of the Archbishop?  Consider the statement by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.  While issued in support of Chaput’s statement, Bishop Paprocki denounces Martin, as he should be denounced, for the good of the faithful:

“Archbishop Chaput has provided a helpful caution to Catholics about Father James Martin. On the one hand, Father Martin correctly expresses God’s love for all people, while on the other, he either encourages or fails to correct behavior that separates a person from that very love. This is deeply scandalous in the sense of leading people to believe that wrongful behavior is not sinful. 

“Father Martin’s public messages create confusion among the faithful and disrupt the unity of the Church by promoting a false sense that immoral sexual behavior is acceptable under God’s law. People with same-sex attraction are indeed created and loved by God and are welcome in the Catholic Church. But the Church’s mission to these brothers and sisters is the same as to all her faithful: to guide, encourage, and support each of us in the Christian struggle for virtue, sanctification, and purity. 

“This matter is not one of opinion, it is our Lord’s own teaching, as we hear in Luke’s Gospel: ‘Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.’ (Luke 17:3)”

If your brother sins, rebuke him that he might repent and be forgiven. That is the Gospel approach to sin, revealed by God Himself in the flesh.  It is not the approach of the likes of Father Martin.

There is only one way to handle ecclesial subversives like Martin: expose and condemn them for what they are, giving them no quarter for the promotion of their errors.  Chaput’s after-the-fact “caution” fails to fulfill his duty to the flock in his charge.  A good shepherd does not warn about a wolf only after the wolf has invaded the sheepfold.


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