On June 13, 2017, the book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity was released. It was written by the well known American Jesuit Fr. James Martin. A few things should be pointed out about this book. The first is that it is not published by a Catholic publishing company; it is published by HarperOne like most of his books. Second, while it doesn’t contain the Imprimatur from the local Bishop, it does contain an Imprimi Potest from Fr. John Cicero, the Jesuit Provincial Superior of the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. I think that says quite a big about the current state of the Jesuits. Lastly, Fr. Martin is known to be a rank modernist. I didn’t expect the apostolic faith to be upheld in this book. In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t.
Early in the book, Fr. Martin makes a point about recognizing the “LGBT community” and its existence. It is troubling to identify a group based on sin and sexual deviancy. Since this community definition emerged from secular leftism and not the Catholic Church, it must be rejected. In fact, on page 23 and 24 we read: Let us put to rest phrases like “afflicted with same-sex attraction,” which no LGBT person I know uses, and even “homosexual person,” which seems overly clinical to many. I don’t know Fr. Martin, is the word sodomite okay?
As the book goes on, Fr. Martin shows that he has accepted a false view of compassion like many hierarchs in the Church. Like a good modernist he asks that the words describing homosexuality in the Catechism be changed. He says:
One way to be sensitive is to consider the language we use. Some bishops have already called for the church to set aside the phrase “objectively disordered” when it comes to describing the homosexual inclination (as it is in the Catechism, No. 2358). The phrase relates to the orientation, not the person, but it is still needlessly hurtful.
This is especially funny because earlier in the book he says:
As you probably know, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that Catholics are called to treat homosexuals with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (No. 2358).
Notice the paragraph that he quotes. In addition to selectively quoting the catechism, he gives a lot of bad analogies from Scripture as well. The most disappointing part of the book is that he never talks about homosexuals coming out of their sin and living a chaste lifestyle. He talks about building the bridge but he never seems to give a reason, and certainly not a Catholic reason.
He never refers to these lifestyles as sinful, harmful, and ultimately destructive. From a Catholic perspective, if any bridge is to be built to this community, it is to rescue them out of this lifestyle, not encourage them in it. Nowhere in this book does Fr. James Martin come out and say that he supports homosexual “marriage”. Regardless, he really blurs the distinction between heresy and orthodoxy. Many clergymen throughout history have tried import heresy via squishy language. This has attempted by the homoian party at the Council of Nicaea, the promulgators of the Henoticon to sneak in monophysitism, and other times throughout history.
The Church needs to do its job when it comes to homosexuality. Unfortunetly Fr. Martins book won’t help. All it will do is confuse the faithful and blur the lines of heresy and orthodoxy. Don’t turn to Fr. Martins book for help on this issue. As Christians, we must turn to Scripture and Tradition for the answer.