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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Jesuit Priest Says the Damnedest Things!

It amazes me that Pavone can be laicized for his pragmatic lack of tact and impertinence toward lawful authority while Martin not only gets away unscathed but is praised by the highest authorities despite outright dissent regarding homosexuality and our teaching on marriage. Bill Donohue and the laity of the Catholic League battle to defend marriage and Father James Martin literally cuts of their legs by arguing that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is truly “married” to his boyfriend. But the League is right, such a same-sex union is only a marriage in legal fiction. The wayward priest can quantify matters all he wants; the fact that the state and a particular “Episcopal” church consider it marriage has no standing with either natural or divine positive law.

Father Philip Bochanski of COURAGE is correct that Father Martin’s published stance is “irresponsible” as it might water down moral teaching and lead those struggling into grievous sin.  Father Martin should remember that his first obligation is not to pamper those in irregular unions but to teach the truth and save souls. Referencing Amoris Laetitia, Father Bochanski quoted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “. . . as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” This was the whole point with the Marriage Matters campaign that was orchestrated by the Maryland Catholic Conference. The notion that same-sex unions might be regarded as marriages damages our understanding of matrimony and the family, a cornerstone to a healthy society. These unions and their children are the cells that keep the body of our society healthy and growing. No fault divorce and multiple marriages, cohabitation and fornication, contraception and abortion, and now same-sex promiscuity and bonds serve as a kind of cancer destroying the cells or basic building blocks to our civilization.    

Lauretta Brown reports in her article for the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER that Father Philip Bochanski also cited the 2003 document, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” that “in those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.” Father Martin has clearly failed in his priestly duty on this matter.  I say this with the deepest sadness as his recent book on prayer and Christian spirituality is a real gem.

What is right and wrong is not determined by the media, public opinion or by dictate of law and politics. God forbid that a shepherd of the Church should through obfuscation lead God’s people to doubt the teachings of faith or to reduce them to one opinion among many.  Such an action only fuels the relativism of our age.   

Living a chaste and holy life should be promoted and witnessed as a fulfilled and joyful discipleship. Just as men and women in holy marriages give witness of Christ in the world, so too do those who have embraced a life of virginal love and service. Given that those who are sexually disordered will remain so, then they can take confidence that their vocation is one of celibacy, prayer and service.  One does not need a sexual partner to be complete.  One can still have God’s friendship and the spiritual family of many loving brothers and sisters.  This is the message that Father Martin should put forward as a priest who is himself pledged to celibacy.    

Is there struggle in such a life?  Let us be honest, married or single or consecrated religious or priest, every life has its ups and downs. There are challenges and difficulties.  The believer faces it all with hope in the Lord. 

How are we to deal with people who disagree with us and the Church? First, we must not compromise the message? Second, we must respond to anti-Catholic bigotry and anger over the issue with compassion and reason. Third, we must make it abundantly clear that ours is not hate-speech but that we really love them and want them to be happy and in right relationship with God. We do not look down them as defective persons but as God’s precious and beloved children.  We want them in the Church and as companions on the journey. Fourth, any rejection of same-sex unions and promiscuity must be accompanied with the true Christian alternative— loving relationships of brothers and sisters albeit without sexual misbehavior.  It must be clear that while the Church opposes sexual activity outside the union of man and woman in marriage, she urges a real and sacrificial love as witnessed by Jesus in his ministry and on the Cross.

Toward the end of the article, mention is made of Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1986 letter, “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” that admonished bishops against “any programs which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so.” This is something that Father Martin’s superiors should consider, as well as a host of German bishops in their mad dash to an out-of-control synodality.