Fr. James Martin Burned the Bridges to My LGBT Friends

By Jason Scott Jones Published on September 2, 2017

This week I had two old friends drop me. One’s female, one’s male, and each lives with same-sex attraction. I’d never been preachy with them. I’d answered their questions honestly, when they asked me what I believe. And we respected each other.

That’s a lot harder now.

Why? Because Father James Martin, S.J., advisor to Pope Francis, is claiming that Catholics can and should approve of same-sex relationships. Now neither of these friends wants to speak to me. They think I have the option of accepting their sexual lifestyles, but I’m just willfully refusing. Out of a mindless nostalgia for old social norms.

The Zeitgeist and the Prince of This World

Every day has its fashionable heresy. In the 1930s in Europe, that was vain and wrathful nationalism. In the 1960s and 70s, it was envious Liberation Theology.

In today’s Zeitgeist it’s sexual issues that are holding Christians’ good names hostage, even their livelihoods. That word in its literal sense means “Spirit of the Age,” but perhaps it’s more fruitful to call it the Spirit of the World, of the Prince of this World.

He knows what he wants and how he can typically get it. In past ages he spoke to our vanity, wrath or envy. But in this lackadaisical age the Tempter has lowered his sights. He tries to lure us away from the fullness of Christian truth by speaking to baser, more elemental appetites: Our lust, but even more, our sloth.

Christian Sloth Feeds Indifference

He goads and threatens us to look at our neighbors and shrug. What business is it of ours if people sink into sad and sinful lifestyles? It’s not worth getting called names like “bigot” and “hater” to warn perfect strangers against that. (So long as they don’t frighten the horses, you know.)

We have plenty of pastors eager to christen such lukewarm indifference as “pastoral” charity, “dialogue” or “welcoming.” In reality it’s spiritual laziness.

Each of us shares a little differently in the brokenness of Creation, the bitter harvest of Adam’s sin, whose side effects Jesus didn’t come to wipe out all at once, but to suffer along with us and sanctify. The greatest temptation for Christians has always been to pretend otherwise — to imagine that Jesus’ mission was to eliminate all pain and sacrifice. That urge goes all the way back to Peter, who tried to stop Our Lord from completing His mission on the cross.

Remember what Jesus said to him? “Get behind me, Satan!” It’s an ancient error, to mistake the grove at Gethsemane for a brand new Garden of Eden; to try to replace the Cross with some rainbow-colored maypole.

I know these truths all too well, because I long wallowed in our postmodern sexual brokenness. Still today I am tempted by sloth to shrug at sin, to keep shallow friendships in place and win the bored applause of the public. But with God’s grace I fight against it. It was only that grace that pulled me out of the ditch in the first place.

So let me tell my story.

Waiting for My Testosterone Levels to Drop

I was an atheist until I was in my late 20s. I felt nagging doubts about this arid, airtight worldview. But I strategically delayed giving them any further thought until … my testosterone levels began to decrease a little. Finally I couldn’t fend off any longer my conviction that God existed and His name was Jesus.

But I kept my new faith secret for more than a year. Why? Because I was still sleeping around. I didn’t believe I could stop it. The women were all “consenting adults,” so I couldn’t bring myself to see the harm in it. I prayed for help, but felt like it never came.

Of course I was fooling myself, first of all about the harm I actually caused. There were broken hearts, STDs and at least one abortion. Men who choose to live promiscuously don’t know how many of their “partners” choose to have an abortion — perhaps without even telling them. Some won’t find out until the Day of Judgment.

Chastity is a Real Virtue

I say all of this to make it clear I am no church lady. I’ve struggled and still struggle with sinful inclinations and wrong habits. But thanks to clear and persuasive spiritual formation and God’s patient grace, I came to understand that Chastity is real. That it’s a central Christian virtue. I’ve fought to practice it within my marriage, and model its importance for my children.

So I understand what it means to be tempted and fail in matters of sexuality. That’s why I’ve never been “hawkish” on homosexual issues. I’ve followed the Church in its teachings, but I’ve left it to others to preach that part of the Gospel.

Until now.

A Prophet of Apostasy

Father James Martin is one of the most media-savvy priests in America. He pals around with Martin Scorsese and appears on network TV. And now he’s using that fame and influence for evil. As Joseph Sciambra wrote here, Fr. Martin is building bridges to the LGBTQ community with thin, rotten pieces of wood; with half-truths and lies.

This prophet of apostasy endorses the shrug of indifference that most straight Christians have toward the struggles of their brethren with same-sex attraction. He’s saying that faithful Christians like Sciambra are wasting their time. There’s no need to struggle. Just “go with the flow.”

Contrast that with Cardinal Robert Sarah, or the pastors who drafted and signed the Nashville Declaration. I thank God for them. They know how challenging Christ’s teaching on sexual morality is, especially in our culture today. When your inclinations and the media and the law sing in harmony, there is just one discordant note: the Gospel. It’s unchanging, unchanged, a stark tone that calls us back from our selfish passions.

The Millstone Maker

I love my friends with same-sex attraction, as I love other sinners, and love myself. We’re sinners all. And I hope beyond hope that all my friends and I can live lives of chastity, peace and joy. I know how challenging that is. It is for me. And because I’m a modern Christian, I suffer from the sin of presumption. I feel that God loves us all and forgives us all and we will all be redeemed regardless of how we live. That is how I feel.

But I also think. And my thoughts cause me to doubt. I worry about my friends’ relationship with God and their eternal destiny. I worry even more about the despair and loneliness that I see in the “gay community.”

Father Martin is lying to my friends. He is lying to your friends. He is lying to young Catholics with same-sex temptations who long to live chaste and holy lives. When a pastor with such credentials and such a platform joins the world and its Prince’s chorus, countless young people will inevitably take this as an endorsement of their temptations.

Father Martin is piling up millstones, and chaining them round his neck.

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  • James Pierce

    Father Martin should be excommunicated, if this is what he truly believes. He does not have the authority to make this claim and advise people in this way

    • Andrew Mason

      Perhaps what he espouses reflects the current pope’s beliefs?

      • faithful

        Perhaps…you’re Right.

      • Zmirak

        Fr. Martin is a Barney-the-Dinosaur shaped trial balloon filled with methane, launched by liberals in the Vatican to see what they can get away with.

      • Baseballmomof8

        And perhaps the sun will rise in the east tomorrow and set in the west…

  • Olaf

    Thank you for your testimony. It takes great courage to say the words you said.

  • Patmos

    At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. For the devils also believe and do tremble, and at the name of Jesus, through faith in his name they flee like lighting.

    This fact is central to salvation. With it and discernment a person does not even need to practice chastity or anything else pertaining to resisting temptation, as that which tempts will be discerned and bound.

    Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, and seek the things which are above. Friendship with the world is enmity towards God. For the kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

  • Patmos

    And as for James Martin, no sense in calling him Father, his title has been revoked.

    • Shannon Marie Federoff

      No, a “father” is always a “father.” This particular one is, like many earthly fathers, not doing the job he was given to do for the benefit of his own soul and others. Is it any wonder so many earthly fathers neglect/ abuse/ mislead their own children when our spiritual fathers are also missing in action? But he IS a priest forever, and we need to pray for him. The authority he has been given by Christ is being misused.

      • Baseballmomof8

        Deadbeat Dad comes to mind….

        • Micha_Elyi

          Please don’t tempt me to speak of the ugly truths of female sins.

          Stop with your slurs against all men.

          • Baseballmomof8

            Huh? I was speaking of one individual, not all men.

  • DebraBrunsberg

    The more entrenched one is in their sin, the less able they are to hear the voice of God, who is constantly calling them. Thank you for sharing Jason. I would bet that many of us have similar stories, I know I do. I would give anything to undo many, many things in my past. However, blessed to be called to the Catholic Church, I know I have been forgiven. I feel so sad for all the people who have left the faith, who claim to be Christian and yet live lives in sync with the enemy and especially for wolves in shepherd clothing, like Martin. He is the poster child for evil within the Church. Pray for his conversion, reversion or silence for the rest of the time he is on this earth.

  • mishypic

    Thanks for writing this Jason and sharing your story. I pray for FJM all the time. I want to believe that he really has no idea what kind of damage he has done and continues to do. But I hope he will see his errors before his day of judgement.

  • Elizabeth Schmeidler

    Thank you for exposing Martin’s heretical, self-made theology. He is leading souls, not on a bridge to God, but on the highway to Hell. I pray for him daily. The greatest compassion we can ever show to another human being is to lead them to conversion.

  • Pamela Balcom

    Having a sordid past does not add to the validity of truth. Truth stands as truth if a sinner or saint says it. Letting everyone know how much you sinned does not alter truth or add strength to the argument. It only shows how you want the reader to see you as a non judgemental person. I read these remarks as a way of claim to ability to speak on issues but it doesn’t change truth’s strength. A monk or a prostitute say true things and discernment gives insight to judge the words to be true. I wish we were less concerned with what people thought of truth and more concerned with truth’s propagation.

    • Paul Saul

      Although our past may not add to the validity of truth, it does provide us with first-hand knowledge about the untruths. We can use this knowledge to help others and to give them hope. Jason’s witnessing as a sought after Catholic speaker does not focus on sordid details, but rather on propagating the type of love that Jesus talked about. In order to propagate the truth, the Bible tells us about the sordid lives of an adulteress, a prodigal son and a prostitute.

  • Ange Là

    While your article is an easy and fun read and you have me convinced that you’re an overall decent guy, you’re not making a real point other than to speak your mind on “same sex attraction“ in contradiction to some other (important catholic) guy’s thoughts on that matter.

    What I’d really be interested in is:

    1. Based on which parts of the scripture is Father James Martin making his statements?
    2. On which parts of the scripture is your opinion based?
    3. What does the urtext actually say in all of the parts of scripture being quoted in 1. and 2.
    and how have they been perceived, translated and interpreted by reputable theologians of the different Christian confessions over the last century?

    Now that would not only be a very interesting and profound read but it would also make a point that could lead to a healthy debate that grounds in facts and not solely in two different guys’ opinions and what they feel is right in the eyes of God at the moment.

    I’m looking forward to reading you!

    • Zmirak

      I’d recommend that you look to a theological authority for that. Actually, the section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church dealing with these questions does exactly what you ask. Google it, and read #2231 forward, on the Sixth Commandment. Beautiful, deep, carefully thought-through, and the voice of the Church herself.

      • Ange Là

        Thank you so much!

    • Maria

      Not to mention the philosophical underpinnings of moderate realist metaphysics. Natural law….final cause and formal cause are the clues to getting there heads around what they perceive to be just individualisation writ large…in other words efficient causality alone. CS Lewis has a good analogy on ships in Mere Christianity. Worth pursuing as a preamble to scripture.

      Do we have natures? Ends? Purpose? Function? All the good things science relies on most of the time.

      Then how do you apply that to same sex relationships…clearly it is a denial of purpose, function and true ends. The whole contracepted society attests to the truth that sexual union leads directly to conception…does it not?

      So same sex union has to deny a lot of stuff to make it ‘the same’ as heterosexual union.

      The more we let the elastic out on distinctions between things in order to be more inclusive the more we lose the distinctions between things….and this case the very natural moment of conception…being of no particular importance? Same sex action must deny the truth of this in order to be ‘the same’.

      The old game of the enemy attacking Christ and Mary through our wandering sexual natures?

      • samton909

        I would prefer that he gave a seminar on nuclear physics. followed by an examination of Ted Williams batting averages over the years. and then perhaps a piece on how to construct a real bridge out of toothpicks.

  • Mary Z.

    Catholics want lots of babies. With technology now, gay men can have children by adoption or surrogate, etc. Why are we still fighting/talking about this? Lesbians can certainly have babies and bring them up in the Catholic faith, just need sperm. C’mon, get with the times. It’s 2017, and every child is precious, no matter how they come into the world.

    • Matt Federoff

      Children are not fashion accessories or fetishes to be created at whim through any manner of grotesque techniques and manipulations. Every child has the right to be created within and born into a sacramental marriage between a man and a woman, made the way the babies have always been made throughout time.
      That is in accordance with sacred tradition and natural law.

    • Catholic Caretaker

      Sarcasm I presume?

    • Paul Saul

      Catholic Truth: “Every child (and preborn child) is precious.” Not Catholic Truth: “Get with the times.”

  • Mo

    “This week I had two old friends drop me. One’s female, one’s male, and each lives with same-sex attraction. I’d never been preachy with them. I’d answered their questions honestly, when they asked me what I believe. And we respected each other.”

    I know how that feels, so you have my sympathies.

    “Why? Because Father James Martin, S.J., advisor to Pope Francis, is claiming that Catholics can and should approve of same-sex relationships. Now neither of these friends wants to speak to me. They think I have the option of accepting their sexual lifestyles, but I’m just willfully refusing. Out of a mindless nostalgia for old social norms.”

    However, this was a bit confusing. Why would friends dump you because some leader is going against what the Bible teaches? You are still holding to the biblical view that homosexuality is wrong, are you not? So why should they care what a church leader that they don’t even follow says about this issue, one way or the other?

    “And because I’m a modern Christian, I suffer from the sin of presumption. I feel that God loves us all and forgives us all and we will all be redeemed regardless of how we live. That is how I feel.”

    Feelings don’t dictate Christian doctrine. The Bible does.

    Again, I am still not sure why these friends are dropping you. I can understand if they dropped you because you hold to biblical teaching. But why are they dropping you and claiming it’s because of this particular leader, who is saying what they WANT to hear? Maybe I’ve missed something here.

    • Andy6M

      I wonder if it’s because at one point the friends believed that the Catholic church leadership was united in their stance regarding homosexuality, and as such, they then believed that there was an integrity of position/thought on the issue that kept the writer from deviating from that position. But now that a church leader has come out with a different position making it seem like the author has more of a choice, they now view his adherence to the traditional stance as capricious. Not saying this is the way of it, but it might be one explanation that fits.

      • Mo

        @ Andy6M

        That is helpful, thanks.

  • AugustineThomas

    The roads in Hell are paved with the skulls of bishops and priests.

    • Nick the Californian

      This is sad, but true.

      • Micha_Elyi

        Pray for our bishops and priests!

  • Dianne Cowan

    Where does the Jesus who dined with sinners and condemned busybodies fit into your worldview? See Matthew 7:5, John 8:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:11 …

    • Andy6M

      You mean the Jesus who called on people to repent? See Matthew 4:17; Luke 5:32; Matthew 12:41; Luke 13:3, 5. We must be mindful of, and represent, all of Christ’s message.

      • Dianne Cowan

        Jesus calls sinners to repent, you don’t have to.

    • Nick the Californian

      That was the author’s point. He had gay and lesbian friends before Fr. Martin committed the sin of scandal and made them think that he had a valid option to accept their sin.

  • Bonniebythebay

    Suberbly-written. Thank you for your journey, for being sensitive to the prompting of God’s Spirit, and the divine revelation and courage to articulatly speak truth, in love (ITim)… as God calls us to do. We are fighting a spiritual battle in this fallen world… and I love how you pointed out the dangers of the evil spirits of slothfulness and indifference.

    If you would like to take your wisdom and knowledge to a new level… you’ve got to read the book, Spiritual Warfare Jesus’ Way, by Dr Larry Richards. A real eye-opener and life-changer.

    Keep writing truth, brother. For we are not called to be mere people-pleasers… but share the gospel of truth of Jesus Christ… which has the power to save our souls, and empower us to live VICTORIOUSLY over evil while still in this world.

    (Luke 10 – And the seventy-two returned to Jesus, full of excitement and amazement, saying, “Even the demons obeyed us in YOUR name!”)

    May God continue to anoint you,


  • A friend is a person who likes you. Likes attract. If you are not homo sexually inclined, a person with such an illness has little to like about you, unless that person sees you as a ticket to his agenda. There are several mentions of homosexuality in Scripture. None of those mentions indicate acceptance of or even toleration of such behavior. The glue that binds them together is Sodomy.

    • David

      The bible does mention killing all people who are not Christian, so the glue that binds together your group is mindless hate for anyone different.

      • Bobbcat

        Please cite where…I’m unaware of it and want to continue my education.

        • David

          Deuteronomy 13, 2 Chronicles 15, Exodus 22, Deuteronomy 17..

          And let me guess – the old testament doesn’t count, except for the parts that let you justify your homophobia, which you will never, ever let go of.

          • Bobbcat

            In the time of the Old Testament (or Torah) books, Christianity wasn’t a thing…so there is quite impossible for it to mention killing all Christians.

          • David

            Alright, so Christians don’t follow what is in the old testament. So that means you have no basis for your homophobia outside og your hate.

            You see how this works?

          • Beth Van

            Jesus was a devout Jew. He said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE?” So, you are in error.

          • David

            So it took you a month to find any rebuttal, and the closest you can manage is something that doesn’t mention homosexuality?

          • Beth Van

            No, it didn’t take a month. Happened very quickly once I found your post. You are being purposely dense and you know that the quote clearly establishes what God created and intended, not what people need to rationalize so that certain acts can be continued without any guilt. Go read some St Paul if you need more.

          • David

            No, he says that God created them. You want to remove all context and claim what Jesus meant because you want to legitimize your hatred.

          • Beth Van

            Here is the whole quote. Maybe this will help. “Matthew 19
            3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying
            to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any
            4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,
            “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and
            be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’
            6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

          • Jake Smith

            David, the suffix ‘phobia’ is defined by Merriam Webster as ” an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”. I sincerely doubt that people who believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God ‘fear’ homosexuals. If someone wants to live the homosexual lifestyle that’s their choice. But they have no more right to insist that I accept their lifestyle than I would have to insist they accept my belief in the Biblical truths.

          • David

            You do realise that creating some reason to look down on them in your head, and pouring your hatred and fear onto the bible to try to justify your hate is not the same as believing in the God of the bible. I believe in the God of the bible, and Jesus. I respect his command to love my neighbour as myself, to comfort those downtrodden by you, and I don’t believe in hating others for how God made them and for who they live. You just hate people cause they’re different and make you uncomfortable.

            I may have to tolerate you calling your evil beliefs Christianity, but I don’t have to respect it.

  • BXVI

    The problem is that Fr. Martin has clearly been given the green light by the Vatican to push his view that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is cruel and that its stance toward homosexuals is hypocritical. He was named as a special communications advisor to the Vatican in the midst of his campaign to “build bridges” to the homosexual community by demanding a reform of Catholic doctrine (no longer disordered, merely differently ordered). This is all part and parcel of the push for communion for those who sleep with someone other than their actual spouse, because if active adulterers are welcome to partake of the Eucharist then active homosexuals must be as well.

  • Micha_Elyi

    If Nixon could go to China, this Pope can suppress the Jesuits. Courage, Pope Francis!

  • David

    “Im just a two faced bigot who hides behind Christianity as an excuse for my hate, but now I can’t use that and am revealed as just a bigot”. There, I just condensed this self indulgent excrement down to a sentence

    • Bobbcat

      good job missing the message.

      • David

        So is the message that he’s so very disappointed with himself for being so hateful and still being homophobic, after he can no longer claim it’s for religion?

        • Buckstars Borromeo

          David, there is not a hint of hate in this article. Mr. Jones wrote how he is respectful and kind toward his LGBT friends, but does not approve of their actions because according to natural law and morality, homosexual actions are bad. This is similar to you disapproving of others having bigoted views. Does that mean you are hateful because you disapprove of someone else’s wrongful beliefs? No, you are standing up for truth while hopefully respecting the person and encouraging him to accept goodness and truth.

          • David

            If he was respectful, then he would have realised that his understanding and thoughts on the natural law and morality must be wrong, and have worked to fix it. He doesn’t do that, though, and sticks by a value system that is hateful by definition. By contrast, I just hate those who practise hate.

          • Buckstars Borromeo

            People can be respectful even if they are ignorant of truth, so even if he is wrong, he is still respectful and not hateful.
            And I am interested in this “hateful by definition” idea. The Christian value system that upholds natural law (sex is naturally ordered toward love AND procreation, certain body parts are ordered toward certain functions and NOT toward others) has no hate integral to its tenets. Hate is nowhere to be seen.
            Lastly, if you think hate is wrong and thus you hate those who hate, you are doing exactly what you are mad at others for doing. That is called hypocrisy which is bad.

  • This is an article that points out how ANY departure from Biblical Truth, which masquerades itself as “loving” or “compassionate,” isn’t actually either! It’s purpose is to suit only the distortions and manipulations of the “father of lies!”

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