DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pro-gay Jesuit Fr. James Martin is complaining about the "oceans of hate" he's received from Catholics who don't want him speaking at the World Meeting of Families.
A report on Monday in Irish publication Independent quoted the priest discussing a petition signed by approximately 11,000 faithful Catholics to get him disinvited from the 2018 World Meeting of Families (WMOF), taking place later this month.
"I have received oceans of hate and threats," said the celebrity priest. "What kind of Jesuit would I be if I let hatred stop me from loving?"
"Besides that, homophobia represents a very small percentage of Catholics, and I have the support of my Jesuit superiors, several cardinals, archbishops and bishops, and, also, the majority of the faithful, many of whom have LGBT people in their families," he said.
Father Martin said of those opposing him, "These protesters are not only on the wrong side of history, they're on the wrong side of the Gospel."
The online petition to disinvite Martin from WMOF is organized by Ireland's branch of Tradition Family Property. Despite the petition, Fr. Martin remains on the speakers list for WMOF, organizers confirming that his talk will go ahead as planned.
The petition addresses Abp. Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland — the archdiocese where WMOF will be taking place — and calls on him to remove Fr. Martin from the list of speakers.
The TFP petition states, "We are disappointed and greatly concerned that Fr. James Martin, S.J. will speak at the event, casting a shadow over its proceedings. Father Martin is well known for his dissent from Church teaching on sexual morality."
It continues, "He has articulated views which condone homosexual behavior in contradiction of the Magisterium."
The architect of the WMOF is Cdl. Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Sex abuse victims have called for Cdl. Farrell 's removal from WMOF planning owing to his response to his response to the Abp. Theodore McCarrick scandal. Farrell said he was "shocked" by the allegations, despite the fact that he was McCarrick's housemate for six years.
Farrell gave the same response claiming ignorance in 2016 when questioned about his association with sexual predator Fr. Marcial Maciel; although Farrell claimed he had met Maciel only "once or twice" in his life, his words are belied by his record in the Legion of Christ, which shows he held the high rank of general administrator and was part of Maciel's trusted inner circle — which would have meant many meetings with Maciel.
Sex abuse victims also asked for the removal of Cdl. Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. and Cdl. Óscar Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Cardinal Wuerl has been slammed for his response to the McCarrick scandal, dismissing it as an isolated incident. In an interview with Fr. Thomas Rosica, he said, "I don't think this is a massive, massive crisis. It was a terrible disappointment."
The TFP online petition notes, "Fr. Martin is a supporter of New Ways Ministry, a pro-homosexual and lesbian religious organization which has been declared gravely unacceptable by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops," it notes. "He has publicly accepted an award from this group, delivered a talk at their event and subsequently developed this talk into a book."
It concludes, "We believe that sowing error and confusion should have no place at the World Meeting of Families. For this reason, we strongly request you to disinvite Fr. James Martin from speaking at so important an event."
Martin has said that gay couples should feel welcome to kiss at Mass during the sign of peace. He has called for a change to the Catechism's condemnation of homosexual behavior as "intrinsically disordered," arguing that the terminology is "hurtful."
Father Martin is not the only controversial figure on the itinerary for WMOF. Also on the speakers list is Cdl. Blase Cupich of Chicago, who invited Martin to give a pair of speeches during Lent in the archdiocese's cathedral, and has been one of the leading voices pushing revolution in the Church.
Other liberals scheduled to speak at WMOF include Cdl. Joseph Tobin of Newark, Cdl. Vincent Nichols of Westminster, Cdl. Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and Cdl. Oswald Gracias of Bombay (Mumbai), India.
Cardinal Tobin welcomed a pro-LGBT retreat to his cathedral in 2017.
Cardinal Nichols, head of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, sided with Alder Hey hospital in the death of Alfie Evans against the wishes of the toddler's parents.
Bombay's Cdl. Oswald Gracias is supportive of pro-gay dissident group New Ways Ministry, giving the organization an interview during the 2015 Synod on the Family.