Thursday, April 12, 2018

Father James Martin Supports Catholic Teaching: Father John Zuhlsdorf Attacks Him

The traditional/conservative Catholic blogosphere have been unrelenting in their condemnation of Father James Martin. They have attacked him over and over again because of his compassionate stance towards gay people. Father Martin has been preaching that, in accordance with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we should treat gay people with respect and dignity. The blogosphere has accused Father Martin of heresy and teaching against Church doctrine.

People like Father John Zuhlsdorf have pressured organizations to reject Father Martin and cancel his appearances. A particularly pointed attack by Father Zuhlsdorf against Father Martin resulted in the cancellation of one of Father Martin's appearances. The post is entitled, "Should a seminary headline a homosexualist activist as a speaker?" Father Z was sparing in his words, but the fact that he would label a fellow priest in good standing as a "homosexualist" is truly unconscionable. 

Father Z later protested [HERE] that he "did NOT campaign for anything. I didn’t ask anyone to call TC. I asked some questions. Period." Oh give me a break, Father Z. Just "asking some questions" was your campaign. You are not fooling anyone except yourself and your willingly blind followers.  In that post, Father Z quoted from an article by Father Martin in which Father Martin discussed the attacks against him. Father Z made his usual sarcastic comments [Z comments in red]:
So I share with you as much as I can in the interests of transparency, which we need in our church. And to show you the outsize influence of social media sites motivated by fear, hatred and homophobia.  [Rubbish.  He is a public figure.  He defends even homosexual acts, not just homosexuals as human beings.  He is, right now, a lightning rod.]
So we have Father Z accusing Father James Martin of defending "even homosexual acts, not just homosexuals as human beings." Father Martin has said repeatedly that right now all he is trying to do is lead the Church in treating the gay community with love, respect and dignity, as we should treat all people. Father Martin has repeatedly said that we can't even begin to come together until we learn respect for one another. Father Z seems unwilling to learn this lesson.

Well, Father Martin has finally bowed to the pressure from the Catholic blogosphere, and has published his defense of Catholic teaching. Yes, you read that right - Father James Martin has published a defense of Catholic teaching. You can read his article HERE. These are some of the main points in the article.

Father Martin first states:
Building a Bridge intentionally steered clear of issues of sexual morality, since I hoped to foster dialogue by focusing on areas of possible commonality; and the church hierarchy and the majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics remain far apart on these issues. It also makes little sense to begin a conversation with topics on which the two sides are the farthest apart. Overall, the book was about dialogue and prayer, rather than moral theology. (As a Catholic priest, I have also never challenged those teachings, nor will I.)
This is not a new statement by Fr. Martin. He has repeatedly stated that he is in full support of Catholic Church teachings. But his critics and enemies refuse to hear that and have continued to accuse him of heresy. People hear only what they want to hear.

Fr. Martin reminds us that just being gay is not a sin:
When it comes to gays and lesbians, then, the Gospel values of love, mercy and compassion are the building blocks of all church teaching.
To that end, it’s important to state that in the eyes of the church simply being gay or lesbian is not a sin—contrary to widespread belief, even among educated Catholics. That may be one of the most poorly understood of the church’s teachings. Regularly I am asked questions like, “Isn’t it a sin to be gay?” But this is not church teaching. Nowhere in the catechism does it say that simply being homosexual is a sin. As any reputable psychologist or psychiatrists will agree, people do not choose to be born with any particular sexual orientation. 
Of course, that last sentence - that we are born with a particular sexual orientation - will incense the critics. There is no proof that people are born gay. But it is most definitely true that gay people are almost always aware from the very youngest age that they do not feel the way they are "suppose" to feel. So even if they are not actually born gay, they might as well be. Homosexuality is not something that they choose.

Fr. Martin then quotes the Catechism that says homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.” (Nos. 2357-59.) Fr Martin tells us that this teaching has "some biblical roots" but Fr. Martin tells us "we can perhaps best understand it from the church’s traditional reliance on natural law, which was itself heavily influenced by the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (who himself drew on Aristotle)." As Fr Martin explains, St. Thomas taught that:
. . . everything is “ordered” toward something. Its Aristotelian telos, or endpoint, should be obvious both to our eyes and to our reason. For example, an acorn is quite obviously “ordered” toward becoming an oak tree. A child is “ordered” toward becoming an adult. Likewise, every act is judged according to whether it is properly oriented toward its proper end. In terms of sexuality, all sex is “ordered” toward what are called the “affective” (love) and “generative” (having children) ends, within the context of a marriage.
The reason any sexual act outside of marriage is sinful is because
. . . homosexual acts are not ordered toward those specific ends and so they are deemed “disordered.” Thus, “under no circumstances can they be approved,” as the catechism states. Consequent to that, the homosexual orientation itself is viewed as an “objective disorder” since it can lead to “disordered” acts.
 As Fr. Martin makes clear:
. . . “objective disorder” does not refer to the person himself or herself but to the orientation. The term is also not a psychological description but comes from the perspective of philosophy and theology. Moreover, it does not detract from the inherent dignity of any human being, since God creates all human beings equal and good.
Fr. Martin goes on to explicitly state:
Since homosexual activity is not approved, the person may not engage in any sort of sexual activity: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity.” Here the catechism means celibate chastity, since every person is called to the chaste expression of love—even married couples. (Broadly speaking, chastity, in Catholic teaching, is the proper use of our sexuality.) 
Contrary to Fr. Z's assertion that  "He defends even homosexual acts", Fr. Martin is clearly stating that homosexual sex is always wrong.  Many of Fr. Martin's critics have criticized him for not directing gay people to Courage, the apostolate to help gays and lesbians live virtuous lives.  But this quote from Fr. Martin indicates this is exactly what he believes:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states that gays and lesbians can and should approach “Christian perfection” through chastity, with such supports as “the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace.” In other words, gays and lesbians, the catechism states, can live holy lives.
And this is not the first time Fr. Martin has stated this.  He has said more than once that everyone is called to chastity.  His critics and enemies just don't want to hear that.  But now it is in writing.  There is no longer any way to deny Fr. Martin's beliefs.  Or is there?

And what is Fr. Martin's belief regarding same sex marriage:
Needless to say, all these considerations rule out same-sex marriage. Indeed, official church teaching rules out any sort of sexual activity outside the marriage of a man and a woman—thus the church’s prohibitions on activities like premarital sex, adultery and masturbation.
Fr. Martin cannot get any more straightforward than that.  He could not be more orthodox in his statements.  These are the teachings of the Church, and if you are Catholic, you will accept them. But Fr. Martin has one more teaching he wants to share with us, and this is one that his critics and enemies abhor:
[Pope] Francis notes that we must recognize the good at work in every person, even in situations that fall short of what the church proposes as the fullness of Gospel living. He says that Jesus expects us to enter into the reality of people’s lives; “accompanying” them as we can, helping to form their consciences, the final arbiter of moral decision-making; and encouraging them to lead faithful and holy lives.  
However, Fr. Martin says this applies to gay people as well, which is why they must understand the teaching of the Church:
Part of that accompaniment is dialogue. That is one reason that it’s important for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to understand the church’s teaching in its totality—the Gospels, the tradition of natural law and its roots in Thomistic and Aristotelian reasoning, the catechism, “Amoris Laetitia” and other documents—in their desire to become good Catholics. 
What has been the response from the Catholic blogosphere to these clear and unambiguous statements from Fr. James Martin?  Almost deafening silence.  However, one person has responded, none other than Father Z himself.  Has Father Z done a mea culpa, apologizing for the accusations he has repeatedly made against Father Martin?  Yea, sure, he has (snicker, snicker).  You can read the Z post HERE.

Fr. Z starts out by still calling Fr. Martin a "homosexualist activist."  Fr Martin is a "homosexualitst activist" because he wants gay people to be treated with dignity and respect?  This immediately tells us that Fr. Z is not going to accept anything Fr. Martin has to say.  The first criticism Father Z make is that Father Martin "writes about the 'official' teaching, as he puts it, of the Church (he doesn’t use a capital) concerning homosexual inclinations and homosexual acts."  Are you kidding me?  Fr. Z is upset over the use of capitalization?  Does he realize how small minded and petty he sounds? Ah, but there is an agenda here, which we shall soon see.

Then Father Z speculates about the real reason Fr. Martin has written the article:
It may be that he has finally had so many challenges thrown at him that he couldn’t dodge them anymore.   He finally decided to stand in the batters box and take a hack.
All of these words are very deliberately chosen.  It is to create an immediate prejudice in the minds of his readers.  See, Fr. Martin doesn't capitalize "church."  He is just trying to get his critics off of his back - he is just taking a "hack" at setting forth Church teaching.  So don't take seriously anything Fr. Martin has to say.

But there is an even deeper agenda.

Father Z continues with an amazing admission that should immediately discredit everything he writes from that point:
I haven’t made an extensive study of Martin’s writings.  That said, this is the first time I’ve seen him sidle up to clarity about moral dimension of the aforementioned inclinations and acts. 
If you don't know your subject, why should we listen to you?  But that is not the point.  First, notice the very subtle technique of referring to Father Martin merely as "Martin". This takes away respect for the office of the priest. It automatically degrades Father Martin in our minds. (In the interest of fairness, Father Z will be known as "Zuhsldorf" for the rest of this post.)  Zuhlsdorf actually admits that he has not really read much of *Martin's* writings, and yet he still feels he has the right to critique him.  A major reason for this statement is to show sympathy for the reader.  Instead of discrediting Zuhlsdorf as it should, this statement is telling the reader that it doesn't matter if you haven't read much of *Martin's* writings, either. You can still stand in judgment of him.

Then Zuhlsdorf shows his "magnanimity" with the following statement:
All in all, Martin’s offering isn’t bad.   He brings up natural law.  He brings up the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  He brings up chastity. He brings up the inherent dignity of all persons. That’s all well and good.
This statement is intended to convince us that Zuhlsdorf isn't looking to condemn *Martin*.  He is actually being very fair.  But notice that Zuhlsdorf does not give us any substance of Fr Martin's article.  Being a Jesuit, Father Martin's approach is logical and philosophical, giving us an impartial lesson on the teachings of the Church.  He made it very clear in his article that he will never go against those teachings.  But Zuhlsdorf doesn't want you to know that.  He knows that if you read Fr. Martin's statements before Zuhlsdorf can put his own "stink" on them, then you might not fall for Zuhlsdorf's propaganda.  

Zuhlsdorf then makes an outrageous statement, especially when one considers all of the cyber ink that has been used against Fr. Martin and homosexuals by the Catholic blogosphere:
One might fault him a little for suggesting that few Catholics know that treating homosexual persons badly is wrong.   Frankly, I find that absurd. But, let’s give him a pass on that point.
This is yet another attempt at discrediting Father Martin, of making you think that Father Martin is the liar.  Zuhlsdorf is saying of course, you dear reader, as a good Catholic, would never treat anyone badly.  But even a cursory reading of the Catholic blogosphere will make it abundantly clear that far too many Catholic bloggers treat homosexuals like they were the most evil people to ever walk the face of the earth.  As far as these bloggers are concerned, the agenda of gay people is to destroy our society as we know it.  We must fight against them with every ounce of our body.  And Zuhlsdorf is right at the forefront of these bloggers.  But Zuhlsdorf usually does this in a very subtle way, just as he has with this article about Fr. Martin.

The rest of Zuhlsdorf's post is to show us the "real" agenda of Fr. Martin and why we should not accept anything he says.  As Zuhlsdorf tells us, "you have to read between the lines."  In other words, don't accept Fr. Martin's statements.  Put your own meaning to his article.  And that is exactly how Zuhlsdorf proceeds.  Zuhlsdorf seemingly strains at a gnat with statements such as these:
Start with the title.
What is the official church teaching on homosexuality? Responding to a commonly asked question
What is the “official church teaching”…
Zuhlsdorf is really, really good.  He doesn't give us any substance of Fr. Martin's article.  All we get is just a very, very brief summary hinting at what is in the article.  Zuhlsdorf, excellent propagandist that he is, focuses on a few words and a few snippets from sentences, not even full sentences.  He is creating doubt in our minds, setting us up to fall for the conclusion that he wants us to reach.  He is a master propagandist.

Zuhlsdorf continues in this vein.  All emphasis is his:
… we can perhaps best understand it from the church’s traditional reliance on natural law, which was itself heavily influenced by the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas
… In terms of sexuality, all sex is “ordered” toward what are called the “affective” (love) and “generative” (having children) ends, within the context of a marriage.
… official church teaching rules out any sort of sexual activity outside the marriage of a man and a woman
… it is important for the institutional church to understand the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics.
Zuhlsdorf's agenda here is blatantly obvious.  He is trying to make you think that Fr. Martin is parroting Church teaching without really believing it, and Zuhlsdorf tells us such with the following. Notice the pejoratives he uses against those he wants to paint as enemies, creating more hate and prejudice in the minds of his readers:
While Martin went a long way toward clarity, I sense a subtle hedge which he is signaling to his base.   For example, among libs you find code language, terms such as the “institutional church”.  [Propaganda technique:  lump your enemies into one hateful group] Using the small “c” is already a signal.  At outlets like the Fishwrap you constantly find writers pitting an amorphous “spirit-filled” or “prophetic” church against the “institutional church”, as if the former trumps the latter.   [No examples given, we just have to accept this] Yes, we have to know what the “institutional church” says, or – better “said” (once upon a time), as if studying the history of a topic.  However, we are advancing beyond the merely “institutional”, old hide-bound church shackled by laws and taboos and outdated mores no longer suited to our far more mature era. 
This is truly disgusting on the part of Father John Zuhlsdorf.  He is completely twisting the true meaning of Fr. Martin's article because it is in Zuhlsdorf's best interests if his readers continue to view Fr. Martin as an enemy of the Church.   Zuhlsdorf makes it very plain with this statement:
Am I being too picky?  I want to be fair to Fr. Martin, whom I’ve beaten up occasionally in these electronic pages. [At least he admits that] However, when I start at the top and read to the bottom I wonder [no facts, just planting doubt in the minds of his readers] if he isn’t signaling that because the teaching is “official” or it is “institutional”, it is also changeable.   
.  . .
So, someone looking for a way out of the Church’s teachings might latch onto that “traditional”.   Traditions aren’t so important are they?  [Nowhere is such a sentiment even hinted at in Fr. Martin's article] Well, they are important in the sense that we should know what they were.  For example, it is important to know that the Church used Latin for a long time. But we’ve outgrown all that.  Traditions can be changed, right?   Women traditionally covered their heads in church.  They don’t have to do that anymore.  Traditionally we abstained from meat on all Fridays. Traditionally, Lent was far more rigorous.  Traditionally, we interpreted natural law to mean that sex acts between persons of the same sex were “disordered”.   But can’t there be non-traditional interpretations of natural law?  [Again, this is nowhere to be found in Fr. Martin's article] The official or institutional church clings to traditions.   But we should be freer in the spirit in a prophetic church that isn’t bound in taboos.
The above paragraph is complete slander on the part of Zuhlsdorf.  It is interesting that Zuhlsdorf never tells you that Fr. Martin admonishes gay people that it is important for them to understand church teachings in their totality in order to become good Catholics. I have reviewed Fr. Martin's article in detail in the first part of this post, and as you can see, there is nothing in his article to support Zuhlsdorf's "interpretation" in any way.  This is pure propaganda and lies on the part of Father John Zuhlsdorf.  I am truly scared for his soul. He is misleading many, many thousands of people. He will have to answer for this.

Zuhlsdorf takes his final whack at Fr. Martin with this zinger:
However, there is no time in the past, present or future of the human race that homosexual acts will be anything other than intrinsically evil.   Why? Because the are evil in themselves and not just because – right now – we say they are… officially.
Again, a total misrepresentation of Father Martin's article.  Zuhlsdorf is trying to tell us that Father Martin doesn't believe anything he wrote in his article.  Father Martin is actually telling us that church teaching, based on tradition and natural law, is changeable, and therefore, we can expect doctrine concerning homosexuals to change.

There is nothing in Father James Martin's article to justify this terrible accusation.  If Zuhlsdorf had given us actual quotes from the article instead of little snippets, his readers would know that.  But now, even if they read Fr. Martin's article, they are going to read it with their point of view colored by the lies from Zuhlsdorf.  Of course, that is almost a moot point, because many will not bother to read Fr. Martin's article.  They will just accept Zuhlsdorf's lies and propaganda.

Father John Zuhlsdorf is going to have stand before Divine Judgment one day and answer for these slanderous lies and accusations.

Father John Zuhlsdorf is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with traditional/conservative Catholic blogosphere. The real problem is that they have total confidence in their own rightness. They never doubt themselves or anything they believe. They feel totally justified in attacking anyone who does not agree with them or is any way different. If you are not one of them, they feel they have every right to destroy you. Is this the work of the Holy Spirit, or is it the work of the devil?

I have consistently and without regret maintained my support for Father James Martin, I will continue to do so. I have also consistently shown the lies, manipulations, propaganda and hate that comes from Father John Zuhlsdorf and those who think like him. And as long as they keep lying and spreading their hate, I will continue to expose them.

Father John Zuhlsdorf, God have mercy on your soul.  


  1. Has Fr. Zuhlsdorf appeared on EWTN in the last couple years?

    1. The only time I know of a Zuhlsdorf appearance on EWTN was many years ago on The Journey Home to talk about his conversion.

    2. Catholic in Brooklyn, you might want to check out the following URL:

      Um, is it safe to say that Michael Voris bashes both Vatican II and legitimate ecumenism in the latest episode of "The Vortex"?

    3. Michael Voris is an enemy of the Catholic Church.

  2. APRIL 13, 2018
    There is no apology or correction from Roberto dei Mattei and Christopher Ferrara for the books they wrote on Vatican Council II.They need to apologise for their ignorance, which was innocent

    APRIL 13, 2018
    Where is Fr.John Zuhlsdorf's Catholic Identity ?

  3. Catholic in Brooklyn, do you know who Michelle Malkin is? If you do, how do you think she has compared to Christine Niles?

    1. I use to listen to Malkin when I was into right wing talk radio. Haven't listened to her for years. I do have a certain amount of respect for her. I have no respect for Christine Niles. She is a very hateful person, just perfect for Voris.

    2. Catholic in Brooklyn, why do you think Christine Niles is so hateful? Do you think something PARTICULARLY traumatic happened to her when she was younger?

    3. Bad news, Catholic in Brooklyn: Michelle Malkin has associated herself with Church Militant! If you don't believe me, check out the following URLs:

  4. Catholic in Brooklyn, do you consider it safe to say that Father Z habitually violates Canon 1373?

    1. “Canon 1373: Can. 1373 A person who publicly incites his or her subjects to hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical authority or ministry, or who provokes the subjects to disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties.”

      Wow, That is a heavy charge. But fortunately it is not up to me to make that judgment. I just try to show what people write and say and how untrue it is. Let the proper authorities make the judgment of how Father Z or anyone else is violating Church law.

    2. Catholic in Brooklyn, what has Father Z had to say about Church hierarchy in general?

    3. Ah, CS, you are always challenging me. But it does make me think. I think this quote from an article about Father Z says it all:

      “Last January, a Catholic asked a priest for spiritual guidance. Upset by the progressive direction Pope Francis has taken the church since his election in 2013, the person wondered whether it was a sin to pray for the pontiff to abdicate, or even, to die.

      “No,” the priest, Father John Zuhlsdorf, replied. “It is not necessarily sinful to pray for the end of a pontificate, one way or another ... Popes come and go. In our prayers, we can, without sinning, discuss with God about His time table.”

      It’s no secret that the Jesuit pope has angered conservative Catholics with his criticism of the church’s fixation on abortion, same-sex marriage, and birth control; and with his promotion of progressive pastors. But still, it was a shocking answer — an ordained Catholic priest sanctioning prayer for the untimely death of Christ’s earthly representative.”

    4. Canon Law : The Catechism of the Catholic Church says homosexuality is intrinsically evil but Fr. Martin denies it. The CDF does not apply Canon Law.
      Canon Law must also be equal for all.

      APRIL 28, 2018
      According to Canon Law, a Parish Priest, Rector, Bishop or Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith(CDF) must affirm the teachings of the Church

      APRIL 28, 2018

      No denial from the Vatican, SSPX or Paulist Fathers : they all still agree with me

      APRIL 16, 2018
      Cardinal Luiz Ladaria's Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity at the time of taking office as Secretary and now Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was invalid. : norm preceded by cardinals Ratzinger and Ottaviani

      APRIL 28, 2018
      According to Canon Law, a Parish Priest, Rector, Bishop or Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith(CDF) must affirm the teachings of the Church

      APRIL 28, 2018

      No denial from the Vatican, SSPX or Paulist Fathers : they all still agree with me

      APRIL 16, 2018
      Cardinal Luiz Ladaria's Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity at the time of taking office as Secretary and now Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was invalid. : norm preceded by cardinals Ratzinger and Ottaviani


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