Dueling Clerics

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by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 20, 2019   

Philly archbishop goes back and forth with Fr. James Martin

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PHILADELPHIA (ChurchMilitant.com) - In a response to homosexualist Jesuit Fr. James Martin, the archbishop of Philadelphia says so-called LGBT Catholics are responsible for listening and obeying Church teaching.

On Sept. 19, Abp. Charles Chaput replied to follow-up comments made by Fr. James Martin in the archdiocese's newspaper, where Martin claimed the immorality of "same-sex relations and same-sex marriage ... is [often] the only thing that they hear from their church."

Chaput answers: 

But it is clearly not true that the "only thing" Catholics with same-sex attraction hear from their Church is a message of rejection. Or if it is, perhaps the responsibility can lie as much with the listener as it does with the Church. We each have the freedom to choose. Listening, like teaching, is an act of the will.

 

Martin also noted the talk he gave was the same he delivered at the Vatican's World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, last year and "was vetted and approved beforehand by the Vatican."

The exchange is in response to a talk Martin gave at the Jesuit-run St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, where he delivered a talk titled "Building a Bridge: Reaching Out to the Excluded in Our Church."

Chaput was slammed by faithful Catholics on social media for his delay in addressing Martin's presence in the archdiocese and demanding why he had not spoken out or tried to block the event beforehand. He even noted that "quite a few emails arrived in my inbox."

Church Militant's Michael Voris noted the day after the event:

The archbishop has issued all kinds of statements over the years about how rotten and mean and divisive Church Militant is, as well as other fine groups like Michael Hichborn and The Lepanto Institute.

So why the double standard, archbishop? A priest who regularly supports same-sex marriage in his social media postings and conferences is coming to your diocese, again, and what merits a press release from Abp. Chaput is Church Militant? What's the deal?

It's Martin's second high-profile talk in the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In 2017, he gave a talk on a similar subject at Old St. Joseph's Church, a Jesuit parish founded in 1733 and the oldest parish in the city. Chaput made no public declarations regarding Martin; instead, he quietly directed the Jesuit pastor to read the passage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church condemning homosexuality before Martin's talk.

Chaput began his first response to Martin with praise, saying Martin "has sought in a dedicated way to accompany and support people with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria," adding, "Many of his efforts have been laudable, and we need to join him in stressing the dignity of persons in such situations."

He noted four "concerns" in Martin's teaching and warned, "I find it necessary to emphasize that Father Martin does not speak with authority on behalf of the Church, and to caution the faithful about some of his claims."

Martin's response to Chaput was posted the same day in archdiocese's newspaper, where he thanked Chaput for his "thoughtful response" and added, "However, I was sorry that he felt the need to publish it."

He went on to deny challenging Church teaching, maintaining he is trying to "encourage Catholics to see LGBT people as more than just sexual beings, to see them in their totality, much as Jesus saw people on the margins, people who were also seen as 'other' in his time."

The sole desire of both Lepanto and Church Militant is to create division, confusion, and conflict within the Church. Actions of that nature run contrary to Christian tradition. Their reports are not to be taken seriously.

Despite Chaput's gentle treatment of Martin and his many non-Catholic moral and theological teachings, he has been ferocious towards faithful Catholics like Church Militant and The Lepanto Institute. 

In 2015, he penned a press release slamming the organizations after it was reported Chaput's leadership team for the World Meeting of Families was "infested with pro-abortion, pro-gay 'marriage' money men and politically influential people."

Chaput lashed out: "The sole desire of both Lepanto and Church Militant is to create division, confusion, and conflict within the Church. Actions of that nature run contrary to Christian tradition. Their reports are not to be taken seriously."

He also asserted

Both Lepanto and Church Militant sow division wherever they tread. They do not seem to acknowledge the need to work with civic society and its representatives on a project like the World Meeting of Families. And we are not going to spend/waste time arguing with them. They are sincere, but also destructive.

Chaput has never called Martin's doctrines "destructive."

The sentiment was shared in June by now-disgraced Bp. Michael Hoeppner, who quoted Chaput's 2015 condemnation of Church Militant and Michael Voris.

In 2015, Chaput said the term "intrinsically disordered," used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in reference to homosexuality, should be scrapped: "I think it's probably good for the Church to put that on the shelf for a while, until we get over the negativity related to it. ... That language automatically sets people off and probably isn't useful anymore."

Chaput is one of the few American bishops who have challenged Martin.

In 2017, Bp. Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, criticized Martin for propping up the gay lobby in the Church.

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