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Father James Martin

Iwas lucky to see a post on Instagram that Father James Martin would be speaking on Oct 7 at Manhattan College. I've been reading about his work within the Catholic Church regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Some Catholic churches are welcoming, but many are not.

So I went to hear him talk, and the following are hasty notes I took during the session.

"Building A Bridge", his book, has been approved by the church leadership.

He was in Rome last week for the Vatican’s communications division.

He met the Pope for 30 min’s and met LGBT groups as well.

Fr Martin explained the several types of ‘audience w/ the Pope’, from public in St Peter’s Square, to public in a large room, to meeting at the Pope’s house. There’s also the kind that Fr Martin had: a private mtg that is publicized that it happened. Pope Francis wanted the meeting publicized.

Pope has IG and Twitter accounts for those who want to follow. 

Church teaching comes from the gospels, the teachings of Jesus: Love, mercy, compassion. Jesus reached out to people on the margins.

Another part of the teaching is the Catechism, which specifies that homosexual relations are disordered and impermissible. Fr Martin adds: “those are only 2 lines out of many."

Teaching also includes informed conscience. Vatican II says that’s final arbiter. “We’ve lost the idea of conscience over the last 30-40 years.” Fr Martin is not sure why. 

The subtitle of his book, and his message: “Jesus calls us to treat with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”  “LGBTQ+ are currently treated like lepers.”

If you tell lies, don’t go to mass every week, use birth control, have sex outside of marriage, you’re not perfect, so why are only LGBTQ+ branded as sinners? 

You wouldn’t talk to college kids only about celibacy. There are lots of other issues like social justice, role of citizen in society, so why focus on just one aspect of a person’s life (sexual identity)

He was asked about Feminism: women aren’t equal in the church; marginalization of LGBT intersects with marginalization of women, and POC. He agrees that some groups are ‘less-than’ people. He pointed out that lesbians are under-represented in LGBTQ, as are POC, since usually white, affluent men are are the most visible representatives of the LGBTQ community. 

He touched on the idea of double evangelization. A lesbian catholic has to work hard in both directions. 1) to convince catholics it’s legit for her to be lesbian, and 2) to convince lesbians it’s legit to be catholic.

Pope said Fr Martin can’t talk about details of their discussion. Fr Martin brought voices and stories of LGBT people to the Pope, who was attentive, warm, open, and encouraging.

I encourage you to read about Fr Martin's work, and to get a copy of his book. Please share your thoughts right here.

Reminder: our October meeting is Monday, Oct 28. Wear your Halloween costume if you wish!

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