Fr. Martin, LGBT Catholics, and the Defenders of the Faith



Fr. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest and popular author of spiritual books, who has come under fire during the past year by self-styled “Traditionalist” Catholics for his ministry toward Catholics who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual. What exactly is the thorn afflicting these conservative Defenders of the Faith? I think it’s really not about doctrine. Doctrine is a red herring. The thorn is Fr. Martin’s message that LGBT Catholics should accept and love themselves as they are. The reasoning of the Catholic Right is that Fr. Martin, by positing basic self-acceptance and self-love as a moral precondition of the spiritual life, is giving LGBT Catholics a wink and a nod, signaling that Church teaching on homosexuality is outdated, misguided, and wrong. Sneaky modernist! Yet I would ask these erstwhile Defenders of the Faith: what evidence can you produce that Fr. Martin intends to undermine Church teaching by telling LGBT people to accept and love themselves as they are? More to the point, how do self-hatred and self-loathing contribute to genuine repentance, contrition, and conversion of heart?


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