NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - Homosexualist Jesuit Fr. James Martin is calling for gay relationships to be shown "reverence" at a September 5 symposium at Fordham University, a Jesuit institution in the Bronx.
Referring to an active homosexual friend in a same-sex marriage, Martin said, "I have a hard time imagining how even the most traditionalist, homophobic, closed-minded Catholic cannot look at my friend and say, 'That is a loving act, and that is a form of love that I don't understand but I have to reverence.'"
Father Martin's friend Mark left a religious order and currently lives with his "husband." Martin said:
He came out and has been with his partner for 20 years. His partner has a fairly serious illness that is, at times, extremely serious and requires a lot of attention. Mark has cared for him for, I think, 15–20 years now. And one of the questions I would like the institutional Church to reflect on is: "Is this not love?"
He went on to remark, "I do not understand how a person could say the following things: This is not love, this is a lesser love, they should be apart, they should have never met, they should never be together."
Father Martin went on to describe meeting a couple at a parish that consisted of a woman and a man who was transgender and living his life as a woman. They told Fr. Martin, they were married before the husband "was a man." Fr. Martin said, "The first question that came to my mind was 'what can the Church learn from them about fidelity?'"
In a post on Facebook, Joseph Sciambra, an ex-gay porn star of whom Church Militant has written previously, gave the following response to Fr. Martin's argument: "After listening to the livestream discussion between James Martin and Patrick Hornbeck — I had even less respect for James Martin."
I believe that as human beings, two men or two women, no matter what their perceived sexual orientation, can express true compassion for each other, but the problem that I see with James Martin is that he perceives this "loving" relationship within a homosexual context. That because two men for example, can care for each other, consequently, the homosexual orientation must be good. This is false. As a man who lived through the height of the AIDS crisis in the early 1990s, I saw many of my friends who exhibited an immense amount of self-sacrifice towards their dying lovers. In this sense, homosexual men and women are just like heterosexuals in their capacity to reach out towards those who suffer. But this goodness comes from God and not from their sexual orientation. For someone like James Martin, because he argues that "God made you this way," the individual and the orientation are inseparable. Therefore he can't see the good in someone without equating it with their sexuality.
Sciambra went on to repost a comment from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Professor Robert Gagnon, who said, "This is a virtual endorsement, not merely of a friendship (to which no one would object) but of a romantic, homosexual relationship ("to be together" normally refers to sexual relationships)."
Gagnon pointed out that Martin conflated the circumstances surrounding an objectively sinful lifestyle with the lifestyle itself:
Martin likes to obscure a distinction between friendship love and romantic love when he points to the relationship being "loving" as the defining feature. Suppose this were instead an adult-consensual, incestuous relationship in which a man cared for his mother or sister. Would Martin make the same observation, inferring a validation of the incestuous component of the union?
The symposium also featured Patrick Hornbeck, chairman of the theology department at Fordham and an active "married" homosexual, who said that Fr. Martin had "performed a great service." Hornbeck actually criticized Fr. Martin's position in his book that the so-called LGBT community gives the hierarchy "the gift of time," saying that "we have to ask the question, 'what is the cost' to the members of the LGBT community?"
Hornbeck noted that homosexual teenagers have higher suicide rates than heterosexual teenagers, implying that the Church's condemnation of same-sex acts is the reason for the trend.
Hornbeck said, "When an LGBT person comes and sits in a Church space, the theological presuppositions that are at work in that space includes the idea that their attractions are objectively disordered — includes the position that the institutional Church has taken that just discrimination is possible."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in paragraph 2357 that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. The next paragraph goes on to say that "every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." Examples of just discrimination against persons with same-sex attraction include the 2008 Vatican instruction, directing seminaries to dismiss men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies."