ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis has appointed Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin of America Magazine, along with 13 other new consultants, to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication. The group was established by the Holy Father in 2015 as a consolidation of the Vatican's various communication entities, including Vatican Radio and L'Osservatore Romano. Along with Fr. Martin, EWTN's Chairman and CEO, Michael Warsaw, was also appointed to the group of consultants.
Father Martin is one of six priests named to the advisory body, distinct from the membership of the dicastery itself, which has 16 members, consisting of several cardinals and bishops, as well as lay men and women, whom Pope Francis appointed last year.
Father Martin is the author of several books, including The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and the soon-to-be published Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity. According to the Amazon book summary, it is an adaptation of Fr. Martin's address to New Ways Ministry, a dissident group censured by the Vatican that advocates for change in Church teaching on homosexuality, and which has previously given an award to Fr. Martin.
The book has been endorsed by three prelates, one of whom, Cdl. Kevin Farrell, was made cardinal in October 2016 and named to the Vatican's new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Well-known liberal San Diego bishop Robert McElroy along with Bp. Joseph Tobin, newly named to Newark, New Jersey, have also offered high praise for the book.
Father Martin has 155,000 Twitter followers. He previously made waves on social media for tweeting about his support of transgender bathroom accommodations. When Fr. Matt Bozovsky of the archdiocese of Chicago responded by admonishing Fr. Martin for his scandalous tweet, Fr. Martin referred to himself as "an actual Catholic priest in good standing" and complained that "some charity is in order."
Church Militant has also reported on many of Fr. Martin's public antics, including appearing on MSNBC on a segment connecting Steve Bannon's use of the term "Church Militant" with this apostolate, advising for and later praising the film Silence, which portrayed Jesuit missionaries to Japan as apostates, and commending the LGBT mass of the U.K.'s Cdl. Nichols.
Father Martin was a frequent guest on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, hosted by now-Late Show host Stephen Colbert (a Catholic) and is a go-to by mainstream and liberal media outlets on the subject of religion, Catholicism or Pope Francis. Church Militant publicly asked Fr. Martin in February to clarify if he identifies as homosexual — a question he has thus far refused to answer.
In 2000, Fr. Martin wrote an article for the magazine for which he is currently editor-at-large, America, in which he attempted to make the case for "accepting the gifts offered by homosexual priests in the Catholic Church." He admits that an estimated 23–58 percent of the Catholic priesthood is homosexual. He goes on to make a series of claims, including that gay priests may be "holier" on account of their suffering and have gifts of creativity to offer in the areas of liturgy and elsewhere.