Fr. James Martin Burned the Bridges to My LGBT Friends
This week I had two old friends drop me. One’s female, one’s male, and each lives with same-sex attraction. I’d never been preachy with them. I’d answered their questions honestly, when they asked me what I believe. And we respected each other.
That’s a lot harder now.
Why? Because Father James Martin, S.J., advisor to Pope Francis, is claiming that Catholics can and should approve of same-sex relationships. Now neither of these friends wants to speak to me. They think I have the option of accepting their sexual lifestyles, but I’m just willfully refusing. Out of a mindless nostalgia for old social norms.
The Zeitgeist and the Prince of This World
Every day has its fashionable heresy. In the 1930s in Europe, that was vain and wrathful nationalism. In the 1960s and 70s, it was envious Liberation Theology.
In today’s Zeitgeist it’s sexual issues that are holding Christians’ good names hostage, even their livelihoods. That word in its literal sense means “Spirit of the Age,” but perhaps it’s more fruitful to call it the Spirit of the World, of the Prince of this World.
He knows what he wants and how he can typically get it. In past ages he spoke to our vanity, wrath or envy. But in this lackadaisical age the Tempter has lowered his sights. He tries to lure us away from the fullness of Christian truth by speaking to baser, more elemental appetites: Our lust, but even more, our sloth.
Christian Sloth Feeds Indifference
He goads and threatens us to look at our neighbors and shrug. What business is it of ours if people sink into sad and sinful lifestyles? It’s not worth getting called names like “bigot” and “hater” to warn perfect strangers against that. (So long as they don’t frighten the horses, you know.)
We have plenty of pastors eager to christen such lukewarm indifference as “pastoral” charity, “dialogue” or “welcoming.” In reality it’s spiritual laziness.
Each of us shares a little differently in the brokenness of Creation, the bitter harvest of Adam’s sin, whose side effects Jesus didn’t come to wipe out all at once, but to suffer along with us and sanctify. The greatest temptation for Christians has always been to pretend otherwise — to imagine that Jesus’ mission was to eliminate all pain and sacrifice. That urge goes all the way back to Peter, who tried to stop Our Lord from completing His mission on the cross.
Remember what Jesus said to him? “Get behind me, Satan!” It’s an ancient error, to mistake the grove at Gethsemane for a brand new Garden of Eden; to try to replace the Cross with some rainbow-colored maypole.
I know these truths all too well, because I long wallowed in our postmodern sexual brokenness. Still today I am tempted by sloth to shrug at sin, to keep shallow friendships in place and win the bored applause of the public. But with God’s grace I fight against it. It was only that grace that pulled me out of the ditch in the first place.
So let me tell my story.
Waiting for My Testosterone Levels to Drop
I was an atheist until I was in my late 20s. I felt nagging doubts about this arid, airtight worldview. But I strategically delayed giving them any further thought until … my testosterone levels began to decrease a little. Finally I couldn’t fend off any longer my conviction that God existed and His name was Jesus.
But I kept my new faith secret for more than a year. Why? Because I was still sleeping around. I didn’t believe I could stop it. The women were all “consenting adults,” so I couldn’t bring myself to see the harm in it. I prayed for help, but felt like it never came.
Of course I was fooling myself, first of all about the harm I actually caused. There were broken hearts, STDs and at least one abortion. Men who choose to live promiscuously don’t know how many of their “partners” choose to have an abortion — perhaps without even telling them. Some won’t find out until the Day of Judgment.
Chastity is a Real Virtue
I say all of this to make it clear I am no church lady. I’ve struggled and still struggle with sinful inclinations and wrong habits. But thanks to clear and persuasive spiritual formation and God’s patient grace, I came to understand that Chastity is real. That it’s a central Christian virtue. I’ve fought to practice it within my marriage, and model its importance for my children.
So I understand what it means to be tempted and fail in matters of sexuality. That’s why I’ve never been “hawkish” on homosexual issues. I’ve followed the Church in its teachings, but I’ve left it to others to preach that part of the Gospel.
A Prophet of Apostasy
Father James Martin is one of the most media-savvy priests in America. He pals around with Martin Scorsese and appears on network TV. And now he’s using that fame and influence for evil. As Joseph Sciambra wrote here, Fr. Martin is building bridges to the LGBTQ community with thin, rotten pieces of wood; with half-truths and lies.
This prophet of apostasy endorses the shrug of indifference that most straight Christians have toward the struggles of their brethren with same-sex attraction. He’s saying that faithful Christians like Sciambra are wasting their time. There’s no need to struggle. Just “go with the flow.”
Contrast that with Cardinal Robert Sarah, or the pastors who drafted and signed the Nashville Declaration. I thank God for them. They know how challenging Christ’s teaching on sexual morality is, especially in our culture today. When your inclinations and the media and the law sing in harmony, there is just one discordant note: the Gospel. It’s unchanging, unchanged, a stark tone that calls us back from our selfish passions.
The Millstone Maker
I love my friends with same-sex attraction, as I love other sinners, and love myself. We’re sinners all. And I hope beyond hope that all my friends and I can live lives of chastity, peace and joy. I know how challenging that is. It is for me. And because I’m a modern Christian, I suffer from the sin of presumption. I feel that God loves us all and forgives us all and we will all be redeemed regardless of how we live. That is how I feel.
But I also think. And my thoughts cause me to doubt. I worry about my friends’ relationship with God and their eternal destiny. I worry even more about the despair and loneliness that I see in the “gay community.”
Father Martin is lying to my friends. He is lying to your friends. He is lying to young Catholics with same-sex temptations who long to live chaste and holy lives. When a pastor with such credentials and such a platform joins the world and its Prince’s chorus, countless young people will inevitably take this as an endorsement of their temptations.
Father Martin is piling up millstones, and chaining them round his neck.
Jason Jones FEATURED
Travels from Kapolei, Hawaii
Jason Scott Jones is a filmmaker and human rights activist. He works directly to aid the homeless, peoples facing genocide, and women with crisis pregnancies.
Jones began working in defense of life while attending the University of Hawaii. There he founded the Pro-Life Student Union and served as State Chairman of Young Americans for Freedom. Jones would go on to serve as director of Hawaii Right to Life, national youth director of American Life League, grassroots director of Brownback for President, and public relations director for the world’s largest international pro-life organization, Human Life International. He has appeared in defense of the most vulnerable members of the human family on ABC, Fox, CNN, and hundreds of radio programs nationwide.
Jones is the Founder of HERO [Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization] a non-profit that promotes human dignity regardless of ability, age, status, race, or geography. He spearheaded a HERO initiative to bring clean water to suffering refugees in South Sudan. In 2009, despite the government’s warning of unsafe travel, Jason visited Darfur and inspected 26 new water wells and distributed $2 million in food, medicine, and other aid.
Movie To Movement, which Jones founded, aims at transforming the culture by promoting films with a message of beauty, truth, and love.
Jones is co-executive producer of BELLA, recipient of The People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. BELLA has inspired hundreds of women in crisis pregnancies to choose life.
Jones was associate producer of The Stoning of Soraya M., which won both the NAACP Image Award in 2010,and the L.A. Film Festival Award in 2009; and Eyes to See (2010). Jones’ most recent film and brainchild, Crescendo, hit theaters in February 2013. It was mainly screened at fundraisers for crisis pregnancy centers, for which it raised more than $5 million in support of women in need.
Jason Scott Jones is a film producer, author, activist, and human rights worker. Jones was an Executive Producer on the 2006 film, Bella, which won several film industry awards, most notably the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Jason was the Associate Producer of the 2008 film, The Stoning of Soraya M., which won the NAACP Image Award in 2010 as well as the Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award in 2009.
He was Producer in 2012 of the TV movie Mother Marianne: Portrait of a Saint and an Executive Producer of the new film Voiceless coming out in 2016. His short films include “Eyes to See” (2010), “Crescendo” (2011) and “Sing a Little Louder”(2015). He works directly to aid the homeless, peoples facing genocide, and women with crisis pregnancies. He is president of Movie to Movement and the Human Rights Education Organization (H.E.R.O.). He lives in Hawaii. The Race to Save Our Century is his first book and regularly contributes to The Stream. His first book, The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life, appeared in September 2014.
Jason lives with his wife in Hawaii and is the proud father of 7 children.