Up to the period of the Church we can term 'March 2013 to the present day' a figure such as Fr James Martin S.J would be considered an annoyance or more likely an embarrassment for the Vatican. Now, he's been given a prestigious role in communicating the Gospel (according to Fr James Martin S.J) at, yes indeed, the Vatican.
As a chap with some same-sex experience under my belt, at the memory of which I blush, rather than boast, I find Fr James Martin S.J scandalous not because he is 'reaching out' to the 'LGBT community' or 'building bridges' with 'the LGBT community' (whatever that is) but rather because 'the bridge', once stepped upon by those being ministered to, does not appear to lead to the eternal Salvation that Jesus Christ offers to His flock.
Fr James Martin's latest video released on Facebook attacking his critics is a cringe-fest of epic proportions, but there is nobody now to restrain him. He's been set loose with Vatican approval to propagate his message at will and with the blessing of no less a figure than the Pope himself.
Fr Martin routinely makes controversial statements on Twitter and Facebook designed almost uniquely to both seduce the unfaithful or wavering and antagonise the faithful. I say 'almost uniquely' because this is actually a habit he shares with Pope Francis. But he's actually better at this than Francis. He's even more effective in ambiguity than his patron. Pictured below is the latest tweet that provoked many responses, some of which were critical on Facebook.
As with many Fr Martin quotes, an element of truth is retained in order to propagate a greater untruth. One Walter Maczynski takes Fr Martin up on his 'bridge building' ideas by saying that no canonized Saints would be impressed by Fr Martin's reasoning. The reply comes as follows:
'Some of them were probably gay.'
Depending on what is meant by 'gay', if he simply means 'of a homosexual orientation' this is can be conceded to Fr Martin. If by 'gay' he means 'militantly set against the Church's teachings on human sexuality until death', then one may raise the question of how those souls may attain Salvation. Next comes...
'A certain percentage of humanity is gay.'
This is true. No problems here.
'...so were most likely some of the Saints'.
This is true. No problems here either. While we have no known Saints who embraced the homosexual lifestyle or who claimed the homosexual orientation, one can speculate that there are Saints in Heaven who were, note 'were', in modern parlance, 'gay'. The real problem comes here:
'You may be surprised when you get to heaven to be greeted by LGBT men and women.'
This is a sickening lie for two reasons.
Firstly, we can categorically say that the Saints in Heaven have been purified either on Earth or in Purgatory of all disordered affections and desires that may have afflicted them in their earthly exile. Enjoying the vision of God now, they care nothing for any 'identity' other than that glory which is theirs as those who behold the Triune God. Nor do they glory in themselves but in the eternal redemption won for them by their Lord, the merits of whose Passion and Resurrection gained their Salvation and with their co-operation claimed their place among the Elect of God.
To say that now there are 'LGBT men and women' in Heaven is to deny what Heaven is, as if the Saints consider within themselves such earthly cares as the intricacies or perversities of human sexuality they experienced on Earth while beholding now the Face of God. It would be to them like reminding a man madly in love with a woman that once he was terribly lonely. The loneliness is forgotten now. All he knows now is the love of his beloved.
If these men and women were 'gay' on Earth, they are only now 'gay' in Heaven in the sense that they are happy, more fulfilled, happier than we can know, because they enjoy God and see Him as He truly is. Fr Martin should recall that attraction to people of the same-sex such men and women will have considered a Cross or an affliction, rather than a noble thing of itself. And even those who persisted in a sinful lifestyle and gloried in it until the end, if they repented and sought Confession before death, even they who would be numbered among the reprobate, by making their Confession before death will have disowned those fleeting pleasures and attractions which they had hitherto gloried in. For the Saints, that which will have made them noble on Earth and will be their glory in Heaven will have been their resistance to their temptation and/or their penitence if they fell.
Secondly, it is bad enough for Fr James Martin to suggest that there exists within the Church Militant an 'LGBT community' since not only are we, in Christ Jesus, 'a new creation', but in Christ there is neither slave nor freeman, Jew or Greek, male or female, 'gay' or 'straight'. It is however a double insult - blasphemous indeed - to suggest that such a society exists in Heaven. There is only one Society in Heaven. Citizens of Heaven are precisely that. They are God's army of sons and daughters in the company of the Angels. There are no divisions there which unnecessarily mark, in an exterior fashion, the Church on Earth.
St Augustine maintained that within the Church, too, is the City of Man, destined for Hell, composed of those who are called to be members of the City of God, but who by obstinacy in sin or sheer willfulness in error have fallen away from the City of God and will never see it if they die impenitent. This is true of every age until the End of Time. It is not possible to achieve, but it can be so that a man tries to have one foot in each city but he will have to eventually choose, since how he dies will determine to which City he will belong forever. If he dies impenitent, he can hope no more. If he dies penitent, he may hope to dwell eventually in that City where God reigns and joy is complete.
For most of my adult life, I have struggled and struggled with same-sex attraction but the most wonderful community I have found is not an 'LGBT community' at all. I found a Catholic parish, where I am fortunate to have found a very wise and very kind confessor and pastor and great friends. I have a wonderful wife who I love and consider myself fortunate in many ways. I have met and still meet many wonderful priests and religious. Online, there is much support and friendship also. I am so happy that the Lord led me into His Catholic Church and I know that this Church is the Ark of Salvation, where if I persevere in God's grace and strive with that grace to do His will, I can hope to receive the Eternal Life that Christ came to give me, but as for the 'LGBT men and women' of which Fr James Martin S.J speaks, I see none in the Church on Earth. I only see men and women, each struggling like myself with life, love, faith, sin, prayer, at times struggling with God, sometimes perhaps even against God. I do not see the eternal destiny of the community I go to Mass with, or my own, or anyone else's, but I know that the community to which I belong is called by the Lord to be a province in His City, where He reigns as King. May we help each other to reach the City which is above.
Which City will we all inhabit when all is made manifest? Let us pray for each other that we shall meet happily in Heaven. If I get there and Fr James Martin S.J is there, I will rejoice, but if he gets there, he will look for the 'LGBT men and women' in vain, since each one of them will have thrown off forever the garment of corruptibility and been clothed in a garment of immortality, righteousness, justice and holiness. There is only one community in which a man is known by his sin, the knowledge and despair of which torments him forever day and night. That community is Hell. May Fr James Martin S.J and all of us do all we can to avoid that City ourselves and never lead God's children to its gates. May the bridge that is extended by the Church to all men and all women regardless of their sexuality lead us to the City of Heaven and carry the warnings about sin and its consequences which are Christ's own. Without moral guidance, clear direction and exhortations to reject sin and embrace virtue, such a bridge cannot lead men to Eternal Salvation, since how will they find Heaven if nobody shows them the way?
If Fr James Martin S.J was a priest after the heart of Jesus Christ, his ministry could indeed be very fruitful, gathering in a harvest of penitent members of the 'LGBT community' who wish to be citizens of Heaven rather than denizens of Hell, those who desire to do away with the old man and put on the new, those who instead of championing their sexual deviancy and their temptations of the flesh wish to be heralds of the new Heavens and the new Earth, building a civilization of pure love and holy friendship - the kind of holy friendship available in many Catholic parishes. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be what Fr James Martin is interested in doing. Many are being led astray along the broad road to destruction that Our Lord warned us about in the Gospels and Our Lady of Fatima warned us of in 1917. Pray that more of those who provoke the just anger of the Lord because of sexual impurity and sexual licence will find the true bridge to Salvation provided to the Faithful by good and holy priests who love Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother and wish others to discover the depth of love that God has for us and the love that God desires from us.
I would like to congratulate one such priest today, Fr Ray Blake, whose 33rd anniversary of Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood is today. May the Lord give him long life, many more years, good health and every grace in his ministry. Pray for him and pray for those clergy who wish to extend to poor sinners that bridge which is the bridge to Heaven, the bridge that is Jesus Christ Himself and Him crucified for love of us. May God raise up more priests who wish to make known the God of love and the love of God.