James Martin SJ gallivants around the country telling young men and women that their sexual lifestyles are acceptable to the Church, which is not true; that the Church welcomes them no matter what they may be doing, which is certainly true.
James Martin SJ tells them that the teachings of the Church will probably change to reflect such approval and that this is the best of all possible worlds, which is not true. None of this is clear in his much-discussed book in which he only calls for dialogue, but all of this is clear in his public pronouncements including at a recent appearance at Fordham University, discussed below.
In short, James Martin SJ is a liar leading these precious people to perdition.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
If you do not know James Martin SJ, he is a lefty gadfly much admired in the lefty cocoon. A media priest, he’s written many books that lefty Catholics—such as the writers at National Catholic Reporter and comedian Steven Colbert—really really like. He serves on a Vatican communications committee. And he opines on sexual morality.
I recently ran into James Martin SJ on social media, and he made this exchange into something awful and viral, and this exchange reveals some pretty terrible things about this priest. Though I have been made out to be the goat, it has nonetheless afforded me and others to tell some home-truths about James Martin SJ.
What happened? There was an exchange between James Martin SJ and a Dominican priest, though I suspect it was entirely one-sided, as James Martin SJ rarely deigns to engage his critics. I suspect the Dominican merely corrected one of many errors of James Martin SJ. The good people at Catholic Vote then jumped in on Twitter and said that James Martin SJ has been “beaten like a rented mule.”
James Martin SJ then complained to Twitter that Catholic Vote had “urged violence” against him. Twitter believed him and suspended Catholic Vote from Twitter, and Catholic Vote was held up to public ridicule.
What will be obvious to any fair reader will be that Catholic Vote did no such thing; they did not urge violence; they used a metaphor about how the Dominican bested Martin in debate. What will be clear also is that James Martin SJ bore false witness; indeed, he lied. Moreover, he violated the right of the people at Catholic Vote to their good name. After all, inciting criminal violence against another person is a grave charge.
This is where I jumped in. I tweeted that what James Martin SJ had done—that is, run to teacher asking for a safe space—was “pansified,” that is, weak, something a teen girl or a college snowflake might do. But even worse than that, he lied.
Now I might have chosen a better word, one less freighted. Had I done so, James Martin SJ would not have engaged at all, even in the weak and cowardly way that he did. Similarly to what he did with Catholic Vote, he lied about what I said. He said on Facebook that I called him a “pansy.” I did not. I said what he did was “pansified” not that he himself was a “pansy.” There is a difference, and the difference is not a quibble.
Similarly to what he did to Catholic Vote, he held me up to public ridicule and harassment. James Martin SJ has a substantial following on social media, and he put up a thread on Facebook that unfolded with hundreds of comments, many of them attacking me as a “hater,” a “bigot,” and “un-Christian.” Many of them thought I should lose my job at C-Fam where I have worked for twenty years, and lose my column at Crisis. Many of them said as much to my board and to my Crisis editor. A few of them even called for my physical assault. All of this was fine with James Martin SJ, who said nothing to his flock about toning down their rhetoric. It seems no rhetoric is harsh enough for a hater like me. And that a hater like me should not have a job to support my family.
I have also heard from credible sources in recent days that Martin is seeking to silence his other critics, even those critics who have engaged him in a more measured and less confrontational way than I have. In a truly cowardly fashion, he refuses to engage his critics and seeks to silence them. This tells me he is rather thin-skinned and even minor criticism really gets to him. This is good.
I said on Twitter that I would not back down, and would not apologize, and I won’t. In fact, I will double down. James Martin SJ is a perfidious priest who refuses to engage his critics, who lies about his critics, lies about the faith, and is leading young men and women to perdition.
James Martin SJ complains about name-calling yet he quite eagerly even lustily calls names of his critics. If you disagree with him on sexual ethics, you are a “narrow-minded homophobe.” He said as much in a recent exchange he had at Fordham with J. Patrick Hornbeck II, chairman of that sorry “Catholic” university’s Department of Theology. “Narrow-minded homophobe” is one of Martin’s favorites. James Martin SJ has no principled ground upon which to complain about name-calling.
Moreover, James Martin SJ tells sexually confused or compromised men and women that there is nothing wrong with what they do. In fact, he says it is laudable. This proposition is false and against the clear teachings of the Church with antecedents in sacred scripture. James Martin SJ lies to them about this.
James Martin SJ says God made them same-sex attracted, that “God does not make junk.” Martin has no basis upon which to claim that same-sex attraction is inborn. Science does not show this and never has. In fact, the clear teaching of the Church, in the universal Catechism, is that homosexuality’s origin is psychological. Sometimes a psychological compulsion may feel inborn but that does not make it so.
James Martin SJ believes the teachings of the Church are incorrect when it states same-sex acts are “gravely depraved” and intrinsically disordered and that “under no circumstances can they be approved.” He wants Church teaching to change. He rejects the teachings of sacred scripture. In short, he dissents. He is a dissenter.
Understand that James Martin SJ is a slippery character. He would deny he wants to change Church teachings, he merely wants to change the language of the Catechism. Such change is language is precisely how Church teaching is changed. James Martin SJ tells these lies to young men and women trapped in morally compromised situations.
It is unfortunate that James Martin SJ has such an elevated platform, that he, as he likes to brag, is close friends with dozens of bishops and cardinals, and that he has a Vatican post. Sometimes heresy must be dealt with by laymen.
Martin says the teaching of the Church has not “been received.” It certainly has not been received by him. And one wonders why he does not use his elevated position to help laymen receive it. Except we know; he objects to it.
Martin’s supporters will challenge the notion that he wants Church teaching to change, all the while cheering the possibility that it will be changed. No need to read his book. As proof, all one needs to do is watch the exchange with Hornbeck at Fordham.
- Martin speaks approvingly of his friend Mark who has been in a longtime and active homosexual relationship and says we should “reverence” the relationship.
- Martin grimaces disapprovingly when describing a bishop who explained Church teaching on marriage at a confirmation service.
- Martin applauds happily when Hornbeck describes the hearty support he received from the Fordham community when he married a man.
- Martin describes Church teaching as making homosexuals “subhuman.”
- He suggests updating the language of the Catechism where “objectively disordered” would become “differently ordered.” Differently ordered would mean homosexual sex would be the same as married intercourse ordered to unity and procreation.
In this video, his dislike for Church teaching and his dissent from it are on full display. How is it that bishops allow him to speak in their dioceses?
It should be noted that J. Patrick Hornbeck II is more honest than James Martin SJ. After all Hornbeck had the honesty to leave the Catholic Church and became an Episcopalian because he could no longer believe in Church teaching.
So, this is what must be done. James Martin SJ must be called out by the faithful for what he is: a liar leading the young to damnation and leading the Church into heresy. There must be some accountability for what he is doing. It is obvious the institutional Church will not hold him accountable. So, laymen must.
If you find out he is speaking in your diocese, you must complain, loudly, without fear. Knock on doors. Call the bishop. Demand meetings. If he is speaking near you, show up, ask hard questions, let your views be known, make him account for his dissent. Understand you do not need to use the dulcet tones and finely tuned arguments of our natural law philosophers. That is for them and it is good. Use your language and tone and don’t be intimidated. And understand, all along you are defending the true faith even if bishops and priests refuse to do so.
This Sunday at 6:45 PM James Martin SJ is speaking at a gay event at Blessed Sacrament Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Faithful Catholics from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut should show up and hold him accountable. How? Ask hard questions. He hates that.
And, all the while, know this: you are doing God’s own work. This perfidious priest must be held accountable.