Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego wrote a column about James Martin SJ that said Martin’s critics are a cancer on the Church, that criticism of his work is driven by homophobia, a distortion of Catholic moral theology, and is an attack on Pope Francis.
This shameful column was applauded by a chorus including Elizabeth Scalia, the editor of one of the largest Catholic websites in the country, Austen Ivereigh, founder of Catholic Voices, Massimo Faggioli of Villanova University, among others.
James Martin himself has taken to calling his critics the “Catholic alt-right,” a phrase he likes very much and has repeated a number of times. Ivereigh, Faggioli and others on the left have gleefully repeated this, too. It should be noted that post-Charlottesville, “alt-right” is generally understood to be coterminous with White Supremacy and Nazism.
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Let us consider what this name-calling really means. Cancers are supposed to be cut out and killed. And Nazis are supposed to be attacked.
Keep in mind that Martin became incensed when Catholic Vote said he had been “beaten” in a debate. He said it was a call for violence against him. Yet, now he is saying his critics are no better than Nazis, and his friend McElroy compares them to cancer. One wonders how far McElroy, Martin, Scalia, Faggioli, and Ivereigh want to go in getting rid of those they do not like.
Martin has been a master manipulator of the narrative. He—like McElroy—says criticism of him springs only from hatred because of his “outreach” to homosexuals, and his rather anodyne book.
It should be noted that the charge that his critics oppose outreach to homosexuals is laughable, particularly since all his critics fully support the apostolate Courage. His critics just do not support the Martin kind of outreach, which is clearly supportive of the gay way of life.
While there has been plenty of thoughtful criticisms of his book, including from Janet Smith, Eduardo Echeverria, Paul Mankowski SJ, and others, rather than engaging them, he has chosen to drive the utterly false narrative that various haters are after him simply for welcoming homosexuals.
In point of fact, recent sharp criticism of Martin focuses less on his book and more on what he has said in public, such things that are not in his book.
Writing at LifeSite, Claire Chretien has listed some of them. He has said that Church teaching on homosexuality is not “authoritative.” He says attending a same-sex wedding is the same as attending a Jewish wedding. Martin says he looks forward to the day that homosexuals will be able to kiss each other during Mass. He says those who support Church teaching on same-sex “marriage” are homophobic. He says critics of same-sex relationships are probably homosexual themselves. He implies he is against Church teaching on contraception for the same reason he opposes Church teaching on same-sex relationships, i.e., it has not been “received.” He says those who would not attend a gay wedding are similar to racists. He says Church teaching on human sexuality must change. As Caroline Farrow in the United Kingdom has pointed out, Martin supports the right of gender-confused men to shower with our daughters.
These are the reasons the heat has been raised on James Martin SJ and the reason he fights so furiously, unfairly and even viciously against his critics. Putting aside his own incivility and that of his allies, he wants everyone’s attention on a shiny thing, the supposed incivility of his critics and not on the outrageous and even heretical things he says in public.
This engagement with this priest has become profoundly ugly. I have engaged LGBT advocates in public for many years, but I have never experienced anything like what I have gone through since engaging Martin. A few nights ago, my wife picked up our home phone and was informed by a woman that there are sexually explicit pictures of me on the internet. This week my New York office received a phone call from a man informing them that I was having sex with boys. I will repeat: I never received phone calls like this until engaging with James Martin SJ. I do not charge that these are in anyway directed by Martin, but something ugly has been unleashed and I know what it is.
The great prize of the Evil One is the undermining of Church teaching on human sexuality. The whole world has capitulated but not Holy Mother Church. What a victory for him if those in the Church come to accept something as damnable as homosexual behavior. Whether he knows it or not, James Martin SJ abets this undermining of the faith and leads precious men and women to perdition.
Those who abet James Martin SJ should answer certain simple questions. Do you—Elizabeth Scalia, Austen Ivereigh, Massimo Faggioli, and Bishop Robert McElroy—agree with Martin that Church teaching on homosexuality should change? Do you believe that same-sex attraction is no more than “differently ordered?” Do you believe that men should shower with my daughters? Do you welcome gays kissing during Holy Mass? Of course, they will not answer and will continue to insist it is only hatred and homophobia that inspires his critics.
Some say James Martin SJ should simply be ignored. Certainly, he loves and thrives on the attention. Some say there are bigger fights in the Church and that he is no more than a sideshow. I say James Martin SJ is a clear and present danger.
(Photo credit: PBS)