ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics protested in Georgia as Fr. James Martin gave a pro-LGBT speech at two parishes in the Atlanta archdiocese.
The pro-gay Jesuit celebrity priest spoke at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Decatur on Oct. 20 and at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta on Oct. 21.
There were protests at both parishes, with faithful Catholics standing outside, holding signage and praying the Rosary in reparation.
One Atlanta-area Catholic, Christopher Chambers, said he attended both of Fr. Martin's presentations. He shared his notes from one of the talks and noted that Fr. Martin gave essentially the same speech at both, with a few tweaks. Chambers' notes on Martin's talk at St. Thomas More say the following:
Martin then veered off and said that straight people aren't held to their accounts for their sins the way that "gay people" are. He said, when is the last time a couple living in sin, was held to account by their pastor? When is the last time a couple was called to account for using birth control? He stated that we should all apologize to the LGBT community for having offended them.
Father Martin's speech at St. Thomas More faced a Rosary rally outside, featuring members of the Society in Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). Dozens of people took part in the protest — one source told Church Militant that as many as 150 were in attendance. A priest can also be seen praying the Rosary during the prayerful demonstration.
TFP had a banner which read, "We support Catholic teaching and reject Fr. Martin's attempt to normalize homosexual acts."
Some of the protesters' other signage said things such as "Follow Jesus Not Martin" and "Love God Hate Sin."
Another sign read, "Woe to the shepherd who scatter my flock," an allusion to the words of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:1).
Sources told Church Militant that a few police officers were present near St. Thomas More Church during the Rosary protest.
The other parish where Fr. Martin spoke, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is known locally as a pro-gay parish. Members of the parish participate year after year in Atlanta's LGBT pride celebrations.
The shrine's pastor, Msgr. Henry Gracz, has been caught on social media sharing photos of himself attending a "drag" club with friends. This monsignor is also one of the Atlanta archdiocese's official spiritual directors for sex abuse victims — a situation which has scandalized some faithful Catholics in the archdiocese.
Amid all of this, the archdiocese's Cathedral of Christ the King has reportedly been hit by a decline in donation pledges. A parishioner at the cathedral told Church Militant that the number of donation pledges at the parish has fallen from 2,595 pledges last year to 335 pledges this year.
When Fr. Martin came to speak at the Shrine, Catholics turned out for a protest Rosary there as well — and again there were TFP members involved. Photographs appear to show the protesters situated across the street from the Shrine.
TFP brought some of the same signage to Shrine as they had a day prior at St. Thomas More, such as the banner reading, "Fr. Martin's bridge to sin offends God."
There were also several signs stating "God's Marriage = 1 man + 1 woman," as well as another sign that read, "HONK for Traditional Marriage."
A statue of Our Lady of Fatima can be seen amid the protesters, who prayed a Rosary in reparation for Fr. Martin's speech.
Much like at Fr. Martin's event the day before, there was a police presence near the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
In the case of the Shrine, a photograph shared with Church Militant shows about half a dozen policemen on the sidewalk, next to a banner hanging on the church's front edifice that reads, "Immigrants & Refugees Welcome."
The person who shared the image told Church Militant:
This isn't the greatest photo, but I think it summarized quite well the "welcoming" attitude of the event. You will notice to the right a banner which says [to] welcome migrants and refugees. Meanwhile, to the left of the banner were about a half-dozen armed policemen. They were stationed right across the street from the small group of Catholics who gathered for a Rosary of reparation.
Church Militant was also told, "Several cars, maybe three or four, had their occupants shout profanities as they blasted by, but I didn't see any conflict."
Father Martin is editor-at-large at Jesuit-run America magazine and a consultor for the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication.
Church Militant has been warning about Fr. Martin's un-Catholic approach to homosexuality for months now. Father Martin has argued that homosexuals are not bound to chastity. He has received an award from pro-gay New Ways Ministry, an LGBTQ organization whose founders were explicitly condemned by the Holy See.
The Jesuit celebrity priest has even blasted Church teaching on homosexuality, calling it "deeply offensive" to gays.