On June 21, Pope Francis sent Fr. James Martin, S.J. a handwritten letter praising his “pastoral zeal” in his LGBTQ ministry. Tragically, Father Martin supports the homosexual movement’s agenda to normalize the “intrinsically evil” sin of sodomy.1
Although shocking, the June 21, 2021 letter does not seem to have caused much surprise given Pope Francis’s welcoming position toward homosexuality, one fully shared by his Jesuit confrere.
The Letter’s Context
To better understand and assess the gravity of Pope Francis’s gesture, it seems helpful to place it in context.
According to Vatican News, the Holy See’s news portal, the “letter was sent to coincide with the Outreach LGBTQ Catholic Ministry Webinar, which was held on Saturday [June 26, 2021]. Fr. Martin posted the letter on his Twitter feed on Sunday.”2
Gerard O’Connell, the Vatican correspondent for the Jesuit America Magazine, confirms this information and adds some details: “Pope Francis has again encouraged the ministry of James Martin, S.J., to L.G.B.T. persons, and with words that could also encourage others in this work. He did so on the eve of the Outreach 2021 L.G.B.T. Catholic ministry conference … of which the Jesuit priest was the main organizer. Some weeks ago, Father Martin … had informed the pope about the conference in a private mail and explained its purpose…”3
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It is clear from The Tablet’s reporting that Father Martin solicited the pope’s support for the LGBTQ conference and that he shared the letter with the webinar participants: “[t]he Jesuit priest also reminded Francis about a 26 June conference on LGBTQ Catholic ministry. On an earlier occasion, Fr. Martin had asked if Francis would send a message to the online gathering. The Pope’s reply was first shared with the conference participants. After sharing Francis’ letter with the conference, Fr. Martin posted it on social media.”4
There is no reason to doubt the truth of these reports. Pope Francis’s letter was a gesture of support for the pro-homosexual webinar.
The Outreach 2021 LGBTQ Catholic Ministry Webinar
Sponsored by America Media and Jesuit Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture, the conference’s title is self-explanatory: Outreach 2021 LGBTQ Catholic Ministry Webinar.
The choice of the conference’s keynote speaker says everything about the event’s orientation. It was none other than “Sr. Jeannine Gramick, S.L., co-founder of New Ways Ministry.” She spoke on “Fifty Years of LGBTQ Ministry.” Another speaker was “Fr. Bryan Massingale, a gay priest and theologian.”5
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As is well known, in 1999, with Pope John Paul II’s approval, Sister Gramick was “permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons” by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This canonical sanction was imposed because she was against the “intrinsic evil of homosexual acts and the objective disorder of the homosexual inclination.” Her beliefs were deemed “doctrinally unacceptable because they do not faithfully convey the clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church in this area.”6
Thus, one may conjecture that the Zoom webinar intended to modify, at least through facts, the “clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church” on homosexual sin.7 In other words, to treat homosexuality as something normal, thus practically obliterating traditional doctrine, without formally denying it.
Informal in its appearance and personal details, the pope’s letter reinforces the idea that the Church is changing its position on this matter.
Pope Francis’s Letter to Father Martin and “Homo-Heresy”
The Vatican News article quotes the pope’s letter as stating: “God’s ‘style’ has three elements … closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is how he comes closer to each one of us. Thinking about your pastoral work, I see that you are continually seeking to imitate this style of God. You are a priest for all men and women, just as God is a Father for all men and women. I pray for you to continue in this way, being close, compassionate and with great tenderness.”8
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To say that a priest who labors to change Catholic doctrine on the intrinsic evil of the homosexual act is “continually seeking to imitate this style of God” is tantamount to claiming that God now desires that sin and that those who commit it are united to Him. This is wrong. More precisely, it is a moral heresy that has been called “homo-heresy.”9
On the contrary, the “style of God” never favors sin. Instead, it tries, through Divine grace, to bring the sinner to repentance and the abandonment of sin.
“Pope: Contradiction Turned Into a System”
It seems clear that Pope Francis wrote the letter to support the Outreach 2021 webinar and its pro-homosexual message.
Someone could object, however, that the pope does not really support the homosexual movement since he recently issued or approved two measures that disfavor it, namely:
- (1) The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s response against the blessing of homosexual pairs; and,
- (2) The note from the Holy See’s Secretariat of State against the Zan bill in Italy, which, if approved, would establish a homosexual dictatorship that would persecute the Catholic Faith.
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In reality, these two measures and the letter to Father Martin are not opposed. They complement each other as the thesis and antithesis in a Hegelian strategy, as we will see below.
For Vatican observer Luigi Accattoli, of the daily Corriere della Sera, the letter is an “image correction” rather than an “orientation correction.” The journalist writes: “The Pope’s new move toward homosexuals has been to support an American Jesuit, James Martin, under attack by the Catholic right…. After the Vatican Secretariat of State issued a ‘note’ to the Italian government on the Zan projected bill, and above all after May’s declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that ‘blessing’ homosexual couples in church is unacceptable, one can interpret this move as an image correction, rather than a change of orientation.”10
In other words, Pope Francis expressed support to Father Martin to make clear that the two measures above (taken for political reasons) did not change his position toward the homosexual movement.
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In an article titled “Pope: Contradiction Turned Into a System,” Prof. Stefano Fontana, Director of the Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory on Church Social Doctrine, takes the analysis deeper, drawing attention to the pope’s contradictory Hegelian style. Pope Francis acts as if he did not accept the principle of contradiction, which is at the basis of human thought. Prof. Fontana states: “The pope’s letter of support to Father James Martin, a committed supporter of LGBT rights, raises, among other things, a problem of method, that is, living in contradiction as the rule of his ministry. So a few days after the Note of the Secretariat of State challenging the Zan bill, he makes a gesture in the opposite direction.”11
Further on, Prof. Fontana writes:
Contradictions of this kind have become habitual in this pontificate and characterize it in a very obvious way. If gender ideology is a “mistake of the human mind,” why invite Father Martin to continue working for LGBT rights? If the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has given the German synod specific guidelines on the blessing of gay couples, why does Pope Francis invite the president of the German bishops to continue on the synodal path? Another contradiction: do the episcopal conferences have doctrinal competence or not? And why is it that, when they present at Santa Marta or the Holy Office, contradictions that need to be resolved definitively, the answer is to discuss them?12
Pope Francis’s contradictory attitudes are numerous and illustrate his Hegelian strategy of doing or saying something at one moment and then doing or saying the opposite soon afterward or, at least, giving that impression.13 By using this dialectical strategy, the homosexual movement’s agenda is advanced, despite the opposition.
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)
Pray for the Church
Just a few days ago, we celebrated the feast of Saints Peter and Paul—the Prince of the Apostles and the Apostle to the Gentiles. Both are united by faith and martyrdom, shedding their blood for the solid building of the Church. Today, when the Immaculate Bride of Christ is going through a terrible crisis allowed by Divine Providence for the punishment of our sins, let us pray to them, asking to share in their fidelity. Let us beseech them to hasten the end of the Church’s great trial.
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May Our Lady, Mother of the Church, and who alone conquered all heresies, come quickly to our rescue.
Photo Credit: © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
- See John Ritchie, “8 Ways Fr. James Martin Is Harming the Catholic Faith,” TFP Student Action, Feb. 23, 2018, //tfpstudentaction.org/blog/fr-james-martin-is-harming-the-catholic-faith.
- Vatican News, “Pope Francis: God draws near to all with the heart of a Father,” June 27, 2021, //www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-06/pope-francis-letter-james-martin-lgbtq-ministry.html.
- Gerard O’Connell, “Pope Francis encourages Jesuit Father James Martin in his L.G.B.T. ministry,” America, June 27, 2021, //www.americamagazine.org/faith/2021/06/27/james-martin-lgbt-ministry-pope-francis-240938.
- Christopher Lamb, “Pope praises James Martin’s ministry to gay Catholics,” The Tablet, June 27, 2021, //www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14258/pope-praises-james-martin-s-ministry-to-gay-catholics.
- Angela Howard-McParland, “Rescheduled Conference on Catholic LGBTQ Issues to Take Webinar Form This June,” New Ways Ministry, May 17, 2021, //www.newwaysministry.org/2021/05/17/rescheduled-conference-on-catholic-lgbtq-issues-to-take-webinar-form-this-june/.
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Notification Regarding Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS,” May 31, 1999, //www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19990531_gramick-nugent-notification_en.html. (Our emphasis.)
- Gregory Murphy, “Fr. Martin Announces Pro-Homosexual Summit Against Catholic Morality,” TFP Student Action, Apr. 2, 2020, //tfpstudentaction.org/blog/fr-martin-pro-homosexual-summit-against-catholic-morality.
- Vatican News, op.cit. The article further states, “Pope Francis also thanked Fr. Martin for his pastoral zeal and his ‘ability to be close to people, with the closeness that Jesus had, and which reflects the closeness of God.’”
- See Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “Is Pope Francis Enabling Homo-Heresy Inside the Church?” TFP.org, May 21, 2021, //tfp.org/is-pope-francis-enabling-homo-heresy-inside-the-church/.
- Luigi Accattoli, “Papa Francesco e la lettera a padre James Martin, difensore dei diritti Lgbt,” Corriere della Sera, June 27, 2021, //www.corriere.it/cronache/vaticano-news/21_giugno_27/papa-francesco-james-martin-vaticano-diritti-lgbt-dc8d7ebe-d766-11eb-9da9-c034b537f36a.shtml. (our translation)
- Stefano Fontana, “Papa, la contraddizione fatta sistema,” La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, June 29, 2021, //lanuovabq.it/it/papa-la-contraddizione-fatta-sistema?fbclid=IwAR1sfz_DdNrSxcDcVc2dMq6K2_wAhVFBkXUIpS6WzTeswypkpfrAPi_JuuA#.YNr3JSCGlpI.facebook. (our translation)
- See Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “Pope Francis Approves Curia Note Condemning Same-sex ‘Marriage’ While Appointing Notorious Homosexual to Pontifical Commission,” TFP.org, Apr. 7, 2021, //tfp.org/pope-francis-approves-curia-note-condemning-same-sex-marriage-while-appointing-notorious-homosexual-to-pontifical-commission/.