Monday, June 12, 2017

So anyway - just so you understand ... I'm against it.

I never met a bad Jesuit ... ever.

But evidently not enough.

Someone thought I was too indulgent?  Er ... I don't know what - when I spoke about Fr. James Martin, S.J. and the mention of his new book - so I tried to explain in an email response.  I'm posting it here for those who always, always think I'm 'too soft on gay people'.  I don't 'get' that - who am I to be tough or soft on anyone?  But listen, I'm no one's judge.  (BTW - most gay friends think I'm an asshole for accepting and living and promoting Catholic teaching on sexual morality and marriage - but I'm not complaining that I 'suffer' from that - if you know what I mean.)  Below is my letter.

Dear Friend: 
Thanks for letting me know your concern about my statement concerning Fr. James Martin's book. I always make it clear to him and anyone else publicly, that I disagree with this approach, and I totally disagree with New Ways Ministry's agenda and the organizational dissent from Catholic teaching. Yet I try to do so with respect. I just made a Go Fund Me contribution to a gay-Catholic man who claimed to have been harmed by articles written against him which not only may have lost him his job, but plunged him into severe depression. I made the donation in restitution/reparation for any detraction I may have committed when writing about him or others associated with the 'gay-Catholic' group. I'm not in the habit of broadcasting my contributions to charity - but this was a matter of justice. I now try to be very careful with what and how I say things about this subject so as not to cause harm, or any suggestion of scandal.

As of this writing, I have never heard (or read) Fr. Martin claim same sex sexual relations and or partnerships or ss marriage are able to be approved by the Church. I'm not sure I caught that he said people were born this way - but these are matters I have always made clear I personally disagree with. Although he may believe people when they tell him they are born this way. I also know people who think they were, I never thought I was, but they seem to think they were. Contemporary culture supports that theory - so, Fr. Martin meets them there - as they present to him or society.

I haven't read his book and have pretty much glossed over his other writings - I get he writes for people who dissent or are looking for some way to reconcile with the Church - which is what I mean when I explain he meets them where they are at. Much like Fr. Judge who died in 9/11. I can't condemn them as unfaithful Catholic priests - I think they have an apostolate for those with a foot in the door. I think of Peter Claver and Vincent de Paul who went to the galleys and ministered to slaves and prisoners - people not in the state of grace - likewise, priests in NYC encounter many people not in the state of grace, as well as those who feel they could never be in the state of grace - and who believe 'God hates them'.  They at once tell them God loves them.
I know Fr. Martin is close to people in the arts - he approaches them in his unique way. He eats with these people and welcomes them. Other saints also had ministries pious souls questioned. I don't know if Fr. Jim is outside the lines or not - he may hold erroneous opinions or, in his experience the way he reaches out has just worked for him - maybe he has devout souls living in accord with Catholic teaching? He seems to be taking risks, risking making mistakes - but it's clear to me he is trying to reach others who maybe won't respond to the literal prescriptions with any immediacy.
Sometimes mistakes are made, but they get corrected. Even Pope Benedict recognized that. I trust it will all work out.   

Many online are saying Fr. Martin is a heretic - that's a canonical determination and not mine to make, and so far he hasn't been charged. I'm very much put off with those who express themselves that way.
In the meantime, I'm reading Dan Mattson's book and find it refreshing in it's fidelity and witness to Catholic teaching. I'll be posting on it going forward. Cardinal Sarah's foreword is especially good - he also mentions those in the Church who disagree and contradict Catholic teaching in this regard. We are all aware of that fact. I from experience. People like Mattson witness to truth in love. - End of letter.  I edited it slightly for clarity.

I'm older now - older than my critics in most cases - I know what drives people away and makes them hate religious people and the Church. I've alienated many friends and family members in my life. We must be careful how we communicate the love and mercy of God in truth.

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