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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Thomas S

James Martin strikes again. He just released a "rebuke" of James Carroll's latest intestinal evacuation concerning celibacy, and in his rebuke managed to argue against celibacy and for priestesses.

Well, he didn't so much argue for them as passively acknowledge their inevitability.

I can't stand Fr. Martin's methods. He won't simply come out as a dissenter like Carroll, but constantly undercuts the Church's teaching on the priesthood and sexual morality at every opportunity - refusing to defend the Church while making every "pastoral" excuse he can for the heretic.


Helpful post, so thanks. Fr. Martin seems very sane, and I read his new book on Ignatian spirituality with profit. And then in quotes like those above he also reminds one at times of the old Modernists. It is not so much what he says, as what he does not say. You get the impression he thinks the church teaching on gay sex is quaint at best. Hopefully I'm wrong there.


Sign your name to what you write.

Carl E. Olson

Sign your name to what you write.

It's right there at the bottom of the post (as with all my posts) for those with eyes to see.

Carl E. Olson (bio)


Adolus Huxley said much the same thing as EvK-L: "As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase."

Fr. Martin writes: "Why has same-sex marriage been equated with abortion? Are they really equivalent "threats" to life? If you’re looking for a life issue with stakes as high as abortion, why not something that actually threatens life?"

Abuses of mankind's life-giving organs and institutions are, yes, threats to life.

I suspect much of Christian sexual ethics is subtly expressed in the Creed: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life."

On another note, Fr. Martin having a gay friend at the USCCB merits attention. I wish the priest was clear whether his friend was chaste.

How many fifth columnists are already present and sabotaging Christian teaching? So many people are "change agents" now who think they are reforming the Church and working from within, when in fact they are just confusing the faithful and aiding the enemies of the faith.

Rick Gibson

Thank you for a very well thought-out essay. As often seems to be the case these days, well-educated Jesuits such as Father Martin seem to be very close to open warfare with the Holy Father. The very clear impression that Father Martin gives is that he wishes the Church defined as anti-war, anti-nuclear weapons, anti-death penalty and pro-massive spending on social justice programs, and, if the Church were to so define herself, he would, somewhat reluctantly go along with her teaching against abortion, as the one part of the "seamless garment" that he will put up with but is far from enthusiastic about. In other words, once again, we have a major Jesuit seeking to define the Church in Left political terms, that (whatever else you might want to say about them) are quite alien to the Gospel. I think that Olson does a good job of showing the linkage between abortion and gay marriage. The two beliefs do arise from a common source, which is viewing sexuality as a matter involving pleasure between adults, and not as a sacrament whose fundamental purpose is to create life. I would like to suggest another reply to Father Martin. He asks, why does the Holy Father so tiresomelessly stress abortion and traditional marriage, and pass by so many opportunities to to ride on various Left hobbyhorses? Another answer to this question is that it is the job of the Church to defend the Truth, which does not change. In every historical era, different aspects of the Truth tend to come under assault from the rest of the culture. It is the job of the Church to defend, where the Truth is attacked. Right now, there can be no serious question that the Truth is under attack most urgently, most persistently and most passionately attacked precisely on these two points: the rights of the unborn and traditional marriage.

Joseph Fromm

Raymond Arroyo recently described Fr. Martin's writing as "muddled and nuanced". I think Fr. Martin actually wrote what he believes this time. I think that when Fr. Martin decided to write this post he was making a decision to longer write for America.


When will the Jesuits' ship sail back on course, and how did it sail off course so badly?

Tito Edwards

Excellent analysis and dissection of the problem Carl.


Mus Felix

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the Pope's statement was what the Angelic Doctor says in Summa Contra Gentiles (Book 3, Chapter 122), where fornication is proved a sin, as well as other unnatural sex acts. Regarding the latter St. Thomas says, "Hence, after the sin of homicide whereby a human nature already in existence is destroyed, this type of sin appears to take next place, for by it the generation of human nature is precluded."

Mary Ellen

I find this story and these comments of particular and personal interest as I recently, because of a time problem, attended a Catholic church in Manhattan, NYC, with which I was somewhat unfamiliar, but which I knew to be Jesuit. It quickly became clear that I was in NYC's gay church, which was confirmed by the announcements, which were read before mass, one of which announced the weekly LGBT meeting, and the priest, whom I later found out was the pastor, used the homily to transition from the Acts of the Apostles gospel to read his comments, which supported a challenge to the Pope and the Vatican calling for a relaxation of traditional Church rules on marriage and divorce and support for gay marriages. I was stunned! It was Mother's Day, and the time of the homily called for a wholly different content and tone than what was presented! It is as if I had happened onto a cult. Later, I found the parish website and note that the parish is very upfront about their focus, short of placing a "This is the church for gay catholics" sign outside, they do state that their mission is to support the message of Vatican II and those "marginalized" by society. Oddly, it was I, a traditional Catholic, who felt out-of-place there. There were numerous other aspects of the mass that were also terrible, including new age elements, as well as over-the-top inappropriate music. I walked away thinking - how far the Jesuit tradition has fallen from the sainted founder, at least in some parishes. How far people will go to rationalize bad behaviour, aka sin. And, how the experience of this phenomenon was utterly frightening.


If it were true that tolerance of sin is Charity, then there was no need for Christ's Passion and Death On The Cross. The fullness of Love is desiring Salvation for our beloved.We are Men and Women, called to be oriented towards The Truth of Love.

Kristoffer M

Insidious: Proceeding or spreading gradually or without being noticed, but causing serious harm. Origin: Latin, insidiosus, 'cunning'. From the Oxford English Dictionary.

War and starvation are terrible, and should be confronted as such. But they are hardly insidious. The gradual normalisation of abortion and same-sex attraction in society however, is. It inflicts spiritual harm, which is indeed deadly, to souls who are created for Life.


In response to Fr. Martin's final point, about the Catechism teaching us to treat 'the same-sex couple in Hingham, Mass. with "respect, sensitivity and compassion..."

Is he not significantly misconstruing that teaching? I don't have the Catechism in front of me, but I'm sure it states that we are to treat individual homosexuals as such, not same-sex couples. Doing the latter would validate same-sex couples, something the Church does not do.

Why does Fr. Martin not express what the equivalence of same-sex marriage is, rather than trying to find an appropriate match for abortion? It seems he doesn't want to say anything against same-sex marriage, which certainly suggests that he at least tacitly supports it.


"In short, abortion leads to physical death; same-sex marriage does not."

Actually, it does. Or at least it can, not directly, but indirectly. Check out the stats concerning homosexuals whose relationships are abusive, destructive, etc. physically, emotionally and spiritually too. Homosexuality, which is naturally the core of same-sex "marriage", is part of the "culture of death", and rightly so.


Fr. Martin did not comment the most powerful reason why same sex marriage brings death:

"He might consider the words of a man who knows a thing or two about the human condition: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28). Unless he doesn't believe in hell, which I doubt is so, in which case there are other reasons for concern."


Why aren't priests like Fr. Martin censured? Why are they allowed to disseminate their poison under the guise of misguided compassion?


Maybe I am missing something but Fr. Martin seems to misunderstand the analogy that is being made. Here is what I understand the pope to be saying:

Physical life is the primary building block for any other good in this world.
Heterosexual marriage is the building block for any sound, good society.
What abortion does to physical life - end it - thus ending the pursuit of any other goods in this world, 'gay marriage' does to a good sound society - it ends it - preventing the building of a good society.

To me the analogy seems valid. Fr. Martin's error seems to be in regarding the good of simple physical life as the common referent. I don't think it is.

John R

James Martin, SJ does understand the difference between physical and spiritual death from his response, "In short, abortion leads to physical death; same-sex marriage does not." He also writes that war, death penalty and poverty kills the body also The question to be asked is which is worst, physical or spiritual death? According to St Paul, other Biblical authors, Popes, bishops saints and our many martyr in our Faith, the worst is spiritual death. They would say, we should not be concerned with those things that can kill the body. We should be concerned with those things that kill the spirit. James Martin SJ knows what kills the body and spirit and seem to prefer death of body over eternal separation from God or spiritual death. I admit, I may not have fully understood what James Martin, SJ or Mr. Olson were writing or their points or their arguments.


"Open warfare," no. Opposition, yes. Quite clearly.


Abortion involves the taking of life. So does, say, war or the death penalty or even some of the deeper forms of poverty

He fails to make one important distinction. Abortion always involves the intentional killing of an innocent. War and the death penalty do not. They involve killing as a way to deal with evil. They are not always wrong.

In short, abortion leads to physical death; same-sex marriage does not.

Same-sex marriage involves the desecration of a sacrament. Abortion does not. They are certainly different sins. But marriage and life are linked so why should sins against marriage and sins against life not be linked?


Obviously Jim Martin doesn't believe that homosexual activity is immoral. Anyone who's read him for any time can pick this up. He's been playing a shell game with orthodox Catholics for a while now, playing up his devotion to saints and so on. He clearly thinks that two women's or two men's sexual activity and relationship is as potentially holy and symbolic of God's love as a man and a woman's are. If you just understand this about him, the rest of his thoughts fall into place. As he ever defended traditional Catholic teaching on any aspect of sexual morality - any of it? No.


Actually, Fr Martin is wrong, abortion and same-sex marriage are equal. Abortion involves a deliberate killing, homosexuals acts are deliberately chosen and are not life-giving. What is so hard to understand? Both of them are the devil's work! Both actions are evil because they bring about the death of God's children. One physically and the other spiritually, though I would argue they both do physically, one by disease. Really, there are none so blind as those who do not want to see. I feel for Fr. Martins' friend since the priests false compassion is not leading him to life.

Fr. Martin really should have addressed the Holy Father's words, pertaining regarding the real persecution of the church coming from within (AMEN!) but then I see how he wouldn't since I've clearly seen how he falls in that category. We have a saying in spanish, "Ese es de el que tira la piedra y esconde la mano!"---"He is one of those who throws the rock and hides the hand!" This is how I see Fr. Martin.

May God have mercy on us and protect us from the inside persecution.

Carl, brilliant job, as usual.

Jon White

It is too bad that Fr. Martin is unable to see how same sex marriage is one of the social/cultural battering rams being used to undermine individual Christians' belief (and therefore Christianity) in the West as well as the rest of the westernized world.


Marie, spot on. Thanks for articulating what I could not.


Marie has it right. This guy and Rolheiser are twins. How can I put this charitably...they should both either live the life they want to live, or stop griping about it.

Matt C. Abbott

Ditto, Marie. Good observation. Father Martin sent me the same response for my column on this subject as he did Carl.

I asked him (politely, I think): Do you assent to the Church's teaching on the intrinsic immorality of homosexual activity?

As of yet, he hasn't responded.

Thomas S

Mr. Abbott,

He never does respond to that question. I'd say don't hold your breath, but I'm sure you don't need the warning.

Rick Gibson

I am glad to see that Father Martin read the original statement and the comments to it. Since I was the one who made the "close to open warfare" with the Pope remark, I want to add that my comment was made, more out of general contact with many Jesuits over the years, and not with Father Martin as an individual. Quite frankly, I have not read his writings, other than those contained in this exchange. If I was unfair to him, I apologize.

In his rejoinder, I think that Father Martin raises a serious point, which I would like to answer. He argues that abortion and gay rights cannot be equated, in a moral sense, because abortion kills, whereas gay rights do not. We have had a number of interesting comments on that distinction already.

I want to point out another distinction, however. The real issue we are discussing is how should the Church prioritize its efforts. On what issues should the Church speak out, and on what issues should it not? Father Martin suggests that issues which kill people are in the urgent category.

I think this is the wrong distinction to make. The issue is not, which wrongs are more wrong than others? That question is really impossible to discuss rationally. Rather, the question is, on what issues is the Church competent to speak?

Abortion and gay rights are moral issues. The Church has clear competence to speak on them. These are "yes-no" " right-wrong" questions.

Poverty and war, however, are not properly within the Church's competence. Yes, a child starving is a huge moral wrong. But what is the best way to keep children from starving? Is it to increase spending on government social welfare programs, or is it by removing restraints on the free market, which prevent businesses from providing more jobs? These are political questions. From a MORAL perspective, the question is: what works? In theological terms, these are prudential questions to be decided by leaders who actually know something about economics.

War is a similar issue. Yes, war is a horrible wrong. But, do we avoid war by being pacifists and unilaterally disarming, or do we avoid war by building our military strength and deterring those who attack us? These are prudential questions.

Frankly, I am very tired of hearing Jesuits and others in the Church lecture us on political issues. Lets be frank, the Jesuits have no competence in this area. There is nothing about their training or their authority which makes them (or anyone else in the Church) competent to lecture us on purely political and economic issues. As it happens, I do not share their left-liberal agenda. But, frankly, the issue is not whether one agrees with their politics or not. I do not want them to turn into Republican Party pitchmen. What I would like them to do is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not anyone's politics. Abortion and gay rights are moral issues, upon which the Bible speaks clearly. While the Bible is clear that we should aspire to social justice, it has pretty much nothing to say on HOW we should create social justice.

Steve Cianca


Your analysis is exactly right.


The assertion by Fr. Martin that " In short, abortion leads to physical death; same-sex marriage does not. Linking the two, or raising them to the same level of moral urgency, simply muddies the waters, and, in point of fact, weakens our opposition to abortion" is not accurate. As with abortion, unless the sad and tragic picture is shown of the destruction of the practices that accompany this "life style" the subject will remain euphanism rich and dangerous. I direct the reader to a frank and clinical description of the life threatening harm some homosexual practices lead to. No the death may not occur in a matter of minutes, but over time. Please, Fr. Martin, read and then checkout the various articles about the health issues related to homosexuality at
It is a sad commentary that someone like Fr. Martin needs to be directed to such a resource, but his assertions border on being irresponsible if he does not take the time to inform himself of the issues.

Robert Miller

The real issue in the latest replay of this sorry affair is Church-State.

If the modern state were Caesar, it would not expect the Church to hand over miscreant clerics until She was quite done with them canonically. In fact, like most modern civil bureaucracies (c. 1960-1990), it would hope that it could somehow avoid the issue entirely.

But the contemporary State is not, in its essence, Caesar. It is Anti-Christ. It "wanders the world, seeking the ruin of souls".

My point is that the Church needs to come to grips with the fact that She has been violated by a Satanic "sexual revolution", and that Her bishops -- as incompetent and/or complicit as many of them may have been -- are not fundamentally at fault for not having turned over their brother priests to the cruel and fickle judgments of a State that can countenance crushing the head of a newborn, and trashing his body.

Render to Caesar, indeed, but not to the demonic political and cultural offspring of the Renaissance, the "Reformation", and the Enlightenment.


Why is there a requirement for physical death to compare abortion and homosexuality when they both lead to spiritual death?

One is a conspiracy to murder an unbaptized baby in the womb. Both the mother and baby's soul are put in jeapardy. The other is a self-indulging conspiracy to murder the soul of the other's same-sex partner.

abby schult

Dear Fr. Martin,
You are wrong and refuse to admit it. Please take correction from your readers and Mr. Olson and go to your spiritual director for help with this. If that director agrees with you it is time to change directors.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

It is unfortunate we must waste our time dealing with such undeserving representative of our Church, however, we need to cry out how deep has evil invaded our beloved Church.

The principles on which our Faith has framed laws that lead the path to salvation cannot and should not be trifled with by priests who have tergiversated their sacred duty.

Fr. Martin's logic is feeble; his reasoning, typical of marxist sophism, unstable; his defense of anti-Church leanings in moral issues, dubious; his desire to confuse luke-warm Catholics, typically deceiving as those of progressive tendencies.

Excellent work, Carl. !
I believe Marguerite and Marie are right on target.


St. Thomas Aquinas also wrote (somewhere) that impurity brings death: death of the soul, obviously, and quite often physical death.

Deacon James Keating

I think Carl's point about sin was missed by Fr. Martin. It is a matter of social justice to be concerned with those who choose to engage in sexual sins that threaten their eternal life. Such sins affect the common good by the fruit they produce in viciousness, just as virtuous action redounds to promote the common good. I am happy Fr. Martin is against the killing of innocent babies in aboortion and civilians in war but Carl's point is significant: Will Fr. Martin agree that same sex genital contact is a sin, an act a priest is bound to call his people away from for the good of their soul? And yes, of course, Father, fornication, adultery and contraception are also sins that priests need to call their people away from. DId Father Martin respond to Carl's point on Mt.10:28, if so I missed it?

James Keating, Institute for Priestly Formation

Ann Couper-Johnston

Same sex marriage does not have anything to do with death??

In the run-up to our recent election, a Conservative (!) candidate was suspended for saying in his blog that homosexuality was abnormal. Censuring someone for expressing that truth implies that you disagree, which in turn implies you consider it normal.

If homosexuality were normal, neither you or I, David Cameron or Nick Clegg, would be alive. The human race would long since have become extinct, as such activity is by nature sterile in its outcome.

Extinction of the human race strikes me as having something very much to do with death - just longer term death than abortion.


If we study international history and tradition within the context of the old covenant transitioning to the New Testament and we as falling under the law of our Judao-Christian tradition. When I last checked we as Catholics had the an obligation to uphold the magisterium of the Church as our authority which is how the Jews have upheld themselves intact to today. When last I checked the scripture for our Catholic Church was still the inerrant Word of God, which quite clear on the matter
We are discussing above in a social context what the scriptures clearly call 1) pagan idolatry customs - men and men , women and women 2) The Culture of death.
Abortion is not only related so is Alcoholism and Gay Sex and liberalism in general. We are idolizing something other than what our Triune God designed for us in the book of Genesis. For those that would descent I would say this in not a view. It's the core of our religion which is neither a democracy nor an arithmocracy but was designed to be ruled by God as a theocracy
Newman said to get deep in history and deep in scripture is to become deeply Catholic
The gauntlet has been thrown down The beginning of the end of times has begun There is a spiritual battle for souls raging among us.
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit ascended not only to the apostles but to the laity to renew the earth. The Holy Spirit is upon us. The time has come the laity must gather and speak to our Bishops , the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant must begin to call for "excommunications"
Mark AB


Reading this article and the comments, one is encouraged and comforted to think that no matter how grave the holy mother Church finds herself in - both interiorly and against the outside world - she never runs out of warriors with incisive swords who know where the battle is, what the battle is and how to conduct oneself in the battle. The battle is indeed ferocious and cunning, horrifyingly deceptive in its appearance of being 'bloodless' [unless one considers the 'hidden blood' of abortion that faith tells us cries out to heaven] and superficially 'civilized' as it appears to be 'only' a matter of verbal argument and counter-argument. But those who are fortunate to have the grace to discern know how much damage the current spiritual battle has caused to the whole human family can sense how close we are to the edge of point of no return in the drama of human history. One is not amiss to contemplate that had it not been for God's anfathomable mercy, the whole humanity by now deserves to be permanently separated from God since even (some of) the elects appear to be deceived "if it were possible".
While guarding against spiritual pride, one could not help being saddened to observe that in a regular parish, there aren't that many who can assess and articulate the current situation as it is obviously grasped by the participants in this forum.
Terrifyingly dark the spiritual and moral atmosphere may be, there is still a detectable remnant, 'the rest of [the Woman's] offspring, those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus' even if sparse and thinly dispersed in the Christian world.

Robert D. Griffin

Do you really have to have those constantly changing advertisements flashing on the right edge of this article?

I was trying to read about the rebuttal to Fr. Martin's criticism of the Holy Father's comments at Fatima, but that constant flickering of ads on the right edge of the screen became so irritating that I had to give up reading about one quarter of the way through. Attempts to shrink the screen to cut them off resulted in only the shrinkage of everything. I am not going to buy any of the things advertised. Instead, I am going back to make a list of the advertisers and put them on my black list.

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