After Fr. Martin Talk… Californian Pleased That Courage Will Have Its Turn

After Fr. Martin Talk… Californian Pleased That Courage Will Have Its Turn

July 5, 2018 By DEXTER DUGGAN

An official with the San Diego Catholic Diocese told a local orthodox Catholic activist, Allyson Smith, that in July a representative of Courage will lead a national conference call.
Courage is a national orthodox Catholic ministry that encourages a chaste life for those with same-sex attraction.

Smith had contacted the southern California diocese to express her concern after controversial Fr. James Martin, SJ, was announced as the speaker on a June 21 national call which the diocese promoted that was titled “Building a Bridge: Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity in Ministry With LGBT Catholics.”

Martin is regarded as taking a different view than Courage’s.

Smith, a traditional-values advocate in suburban El Cajon, contacted Laura Martin-Spencer, director of the San Diego Diocese’s Office for Family Life and Spirituality, about her concern over having Martin as speaker because of his reputation of being a pro-homosexuality advocate.

A promotional flier from the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers for the June 21 call, which the diocese made available, said:

“Family life ministers are called to reach out to all members of our faith community and to bring the love and compassion of Christ to all we meet, but especially to those at the margins who experience rejection or condemnation. Fr. James Martin will address the need for dialogue between the institutional Church and the LGBT community.”

Reacting to the word from the diocesan official about a Courage representative being the next presenter, Smith said this was “good news,” but wondered why Martin had been chosen for center stage earlier.

On June 22, LifeSiteNews.com coincidentally reported that Martin “cheered his own parish’s publication of a booklet that seeks to further normalize gay sexual activity within the Catholic Church.

“The ‘LGBT Catholics and Friends Ministry’ at New York City’s St. Ignatius Loyola Church issued Being LGBT and Catholic, a slick 32-page collection of brief testimonials about how sexually active gays can be at home within a neighborhood parish,” LifeSiteNews.com reported.
An orthodox southern California Catholic, Moira Malley, listened to the conference call with Martin then passed on word to The Wanderer about the presentation.

Malley said Martin accused the Catholic Church of marginalizing LGBT people and, by doing so, splitting up families because it often forces them to go to different parishes.

The priest asserted, she said, that: “Because LGBT people are baptized, they are already Catholic and should be welcome in their church; they do not choose their orientation; they are treated like lepers by the Church, and therefore — They are five times as likely to commit suicide, 57 percent feel unsafe, 40 percent of transgender people attempt suicide.”

Malley said: “Fr. Martin stated that most research indicated that LGBT people are ‘born that way,’ but he cited no specific evidence. Further, his statement that ‘they are treated like lepers by the Church’ is absolutely false: They are never excluded because of their orientation.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that those with same-sex attraction ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ and ‘every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided’ (CCC, n. 2358),” she said.

“While the statistics he cites regarding suicide and attempted suicide are accurate,” Malley added, “he fails to note that they persist in spite of our society’s celebration of LGBT lifestyles. None of this has anything to do with the Church.”

Martin offered a number of tips, she said: “Examine your own attitudes towards LGBT Catholics and their families. Look for discrimination in your own heart. Listen to the experiences of LGBT Catholics and their families. Acknowledge LGBT Catholics in homilies. Deliver positive statements from the pulpit. Apologize for homophobic comments. Consider holding a reconciliation evening for LGBT people.”

Also, Malley said that he advised: “Include them in ministries. They’re not the only ones falling short. Would you exclude couples who are practicing birth control in violation of Church teaching? Allow them to be Eucharistic ministers. Acknowledge their gifts. Invite everyone to welcome LGBT people. Sponsor special events geared to LGBT people, develop an outreach program, or hold a day of recollection.”

The priest referred “to LGBT people as a ‘persecuted community’,” she said, and “noted that homosexuality and lesbianism are illegal in 70 countries. However, he neglected to mention that the majority of those countries were Muslim.”

Martin offered the example of the reviled biblical tax collector Zacchaeus as someone welcomed and forgiven by Jesus, Malley said, adding that the priest presented this man as an emblem of LGBT people.

However, she told The Wanderer, Zacchaeus didn’t continue living a sinful lifestyle nor demand acceptance for doing so.

During the question period, she said, “someone asked Fr. Martin about Courage, a Catholic apostolate for men and women who experience same-sex attractions and who have made a commitment to strive for chastity. His response was that parishes had bad experiences with it, implying that it had promoted conversion therapy, which he considered to be damaging.”
Malley saw this as a contrast with Martin earlier having stressed “the importance of listening to the experiences of LGBT people and their families. . . .

“When asked if he believed the Church’s teaching that homosexual behavior is gravely sinful, Fr. Martin emphasized that he does not challenge any of the Church’s teachings in this regard,” she said. “However, in his estimation, the fact that most psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that homosexuality is not a choice makes it less of a sin.”

Martin “kept stressing that LGBT people had been ‘wounded by the Church’,” Malley said. But, she added, “our Church was gravely wounded by the scandals in the priesthood that came to light in the ’90s, 81 percent of which involved homosexuality.”

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