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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics are objecting to talk of a notorious pro-gay Jesuit priest becoming a bishop.
Jesuit Fr. James Martin has scandalized faithful Catholics time and again with his pro-LGBT messaging.
Despite how controversial he is among Catholics, some claim that Fr. Martin is being considered for archbishop of Philadelphia.
Catholic attorney Donna Bethell, a former U.S. Department of Energy undersecretary, created a Change.org petition opposing Fr. Martin becoming archbishop of Philadelphia. In comments to LifeSite last week, Bethell said she started the petition after an anoymous source told her "that Archbishop Pierre is seeking references for Fr. Martin for Archbishop of Philadelphia."
Bethell's petition had nearly 7,000 signatures at press time. The text of the petition states, "There is a credible report that Fr. James Martin, S.J., is being considered for appointment as Archbishop of Philadelphia."
"He would replace retiring Archbishop Charles Chaput," it continues, "who recently found it necessary to warn that Fr. Martin should not be relied upon to accurately present Catholic doctrine on sexuality."
As the online petition mentions, Abp. Chaput criticized Fr. Martin in a column this September for the archdiocesan news website. The archbishop wrote, "Due to the confusion caused by his statements and activities regarding same-sex related (LGBT) issues, I find it necessary to emphasize that Fr. Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims."
The online petition states:
We need bishops who are clear and strong teachers of the whole of the Catholic Faith. There is a trend to appoint to major sees in the U.S. men who are supporters of the homosexual agenda, such as Cdl. [Blase] Cupich in Chicago and Cdl. [Joseph] Tobin in Newark. Can anyone doubt that an Archbishop Martin in Philadelphia would follow their lead and very soon be given the red hat that was denied to Abp. Chaput?
Bethell's appeal exhorts readers, "Sign this petition and tell the papal nuncio, Abp. Pierre, who is reported to be collecting references on Fr. Martin, that his appointment would be intolerable."
Archbishop Christophe Pierre is the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, meaning he functions as the Pope's ambassador and liaison in the country.
"Tell him we want worthy shepherds," the petition continues, "who will be leaders in teaching and practicing the fullness of Catholicism, not more men who will obfuscate and obscure and avoid the inconvenient truths."
It is rare for a priest to go straight to the position of archbishop after his episcopal consecration. It is also uncommon — though less so — for a Jesuit priest to be consecrated bishop.
For these reasons, some have doubted the accuracy of what Bethell claims she heard from an anonymous source. But Bethell opined to LifeSite, "The history of this pontificate is that normal processes are often short-circuited."
Over the years, Fr. Martin has repeatedly shocked faithful Catholics with his public pro-LGBT messaging, often carefully worded so as to sidestep Catholic teaching without explicity denying it.
In a recent instance, Martin pontificated on Twitter this weekend in support of Holy Communion for unrepentant homosexuals who have publicly entered so-called same-sex marriages.
Earlier this year, the Jesuit priest received an award from a pro-LGBT alumni group consisting of graduates from the University of Notre Dame.
On a podcast in June 2017, Fr. Martin said Sr. Jeannine Gramick — a dissident nun who co-founded pro-gay New Ways Ministry and pushed for women priests — should be canonized a saint. He also opined that those with same-sex attraction were born that way, actively created as homosexual by God.
In a video posted in September 2017, Fr. Martin suggested that homosexuals are not obligated to practice chastity.
That same month, Martin suggested that Catholics should "reverence" the good elements present in a homosexual relationship, and dismissed faithful Catholics as "homophobic" and "closed-minded."
In October 2017, he criticized a Catholic parish that refused to refer to a boy as a girl because the child supposedly identified as transgender.