Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church

“The concerted attack on Father Martin’s work has been driven by three impulses: homophobia, a distortion of fundamental Catholic moral theology and a veiled attack on Pope Francis and his campaign against judgmentalism in the church.”

“The coordinated attack on Building a Bridge must be a wake-up call for the Catholic community to look inward and purge itself of bigotry against the L.G.B.T. community. If we do not, we will build a gulf between the church and L.G.B.T. men and women and their families. Even more important, we will build an increasing gulf between the church and our God.”

I am so glad to see Bishop McElroy address the attacks on Fr. Martin, and do so without reservation. But, as he states, it’s not just about Fr. Martin.


I wonder if the Bishop considers Cardinal Sarah’s response to Fr Martin to be an example of a ‘coordinated attack’ or as an example of misunderstanding Catholic moral theology?


Father Martin created his problem all by himself, and now is cloaking himself in the mantle of victimhood.


He doesn’t seem bothered by it. This was the action of a very loud vocal minority. Places like the Church Militant and Lepanto Institute are poison within the Church and should be marginalized. People actually believe that they hold some sort of authority. It’s a bit cult-like in my mind.

From the article, this was a breath of fresh air:

Our central call is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Many times, our discussions in the life of the church suggest that chastity has a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character or our relationship with God. It does not.


Exactly. Now Fr Martin is getting his friends in the cloth to defend him. Some clergy don’t like it now that the laity are questioning them. Far from exposing a cancer, this shows that the scourge of clericalism is disappearing; it shows that those who represent the Church are now accountable. And that is a good thing!

The fact that anybody with a blog can express their views is great!


Funny too how liberals used to go on and on about how empowered the laity needed to be, when the clergy they were riled about = men like Ratzinger and Wojtyla. Suddenly under Bergoglio, they are the ones preaching the alleged need for absolute obedience and respect for clergy.


I wonder if Martin is going to accept Voris’ invitation to a public debate, or if he’ll remain a coward hiding in the shadows of not having to defend his indefensible positions. Anyone up for some some friendly wagers?


I think that some of the replies in this thread are just more proof that what Bishop McElroy says is very true. :disappointed:


I read Bishop McElroy’s article and I think it is entirely true.

Those who disagree, you could perhaps quote the parts that you find untrue or disagreeable? Thanks.


Why should Martin debate Voris? Should he be forced to debate every fringe character that doesn’t agree with him? Also, how is he hiding in the shadows when he is out there speaking publically? It’s not Martin’s fault that nobody pays attention to Voris.

If you’ve been paying attention you’d notice that Fr. Martin welcomes the dialog. I’m just not sure I can see him debating someone like Voris.


I will read Fr. Martin’s book. The Church needs to more effectively evangelize LGBT – and teens and young adults who largely sympathize with them – and I would like to get some idea how.

What it says in the Catechism is weak, as far as evangelization goes; while it doesn’t exactly drive LGBT away, neither does it address how we can do our part to bring LGBT closer to faith, virtue, and life in the Church.

1 Like

He shouldn’t be forced to do anything, but he should be willing to answer simple direct questions with simple direct answers, rather than his usual evasive dance.

His “superiors” don’t want him publicly discussing his own sexuality? Why not? If he advocates the freedom to proudly “be who you are,” why does he hide himself? If he thinks that same sex unions should be celebrated, why is he not part of the MCC clergy? Why does he feel the need to corrupt the Catholic Church?

Consider this piece of trash:

He raises all of these questions, without giving any definitive answers. If he doesn’t have a straight (heh) answer to his own question, why even raise the question? To “welcome dialogue”? Sure, he welcomes pleasant dialogue where he doesn’t have to respond to any meaningful challenges. He should debate Voris to prove that he’s right. But he never will, because he’s too fragile to admit that he’s wrong.


Can faith, virtue, and life in the Church include having an unrepentant sexual relationship with someone who is the same gender as yourself? This is the million dollar question. What is your opinion?

I guess that John Zmirak, and Father Zhulsdorf, and one mad mom, along with Cardinal Sarah, and others, must also be on the disapproved list. The fact is that Fr. Martin has soft pedaled Church teaching on chastity or never even adverted to it, which has raised a lot of legitimate questions.


Yes. I entirely agree that there is indeed a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church. Only, the way I perceive it, it’s the other way around!!! I summit that the Bishop himself, Fr. Martin and many, many other ultra-liberal leaning clergy, including many in the hierarchy are the root cause of this “cancer” that the bishop alludes to. They are exhibit A of the confusion and division that engulfs and indeed threatens the Catholic Church and her constant teachings. And in my opinion they need to be rooted out, and not given lofty positions in the church such has been granted by the reigning Pontiff.


I don’t know anything about his sexuality. Why are you concerned with it? Mychal Judge was gay, Michael Voris is gay, I’m sure there are many more gay people in the Church… I’m not sure why that’s an issue here.

I don’t think I read What Should a Gay Catholic Do? I’ll have to refresh my memory. One piece of advice that he has for gay people is to find a gay friendly parish. That would be my recommendation as well. I’d tell them to go visit St. Anthony’s Shrine (in Boston) which has a LGBT spirituality group or recommend the Paulists (they seem very welcoming to everyone).

Here is a response to the question everybody seems to have on their mind:

Prof. Cloutier’s final comment is easier to answer, even if it refers to his strongest objection. Building a Bridge, he says, never mentions sex, specifically the church’s ban on homosexual activity. That was intentional.

Intentional because the Catholic Church’s stance on the matter is clear: Sexual relations between people of the same sex are impermissible. At the same time, the L.G.B.T. community’s stance on the matter is clear: Same-sex relations are part and parcel of their lives. (I am leaving out the relatively small portion of the L.G.B.T. community that thinks otherwise.) Theologically speaking, you could say that this teaching has not been “received” by the L.G.B.T. community, to whom it was directed.

So I intentionally decided not to discuss that question, since it was an area on which the two sides are too far apart. (Also, I am no moral theologian and did not want to enter into a discussion about church teaching on sexual activity.) “Martin is careful never to call magisterial teaching into question,” Prof. Cloutier writes. That is correct.*

Stepping out onto the bridge: Father James Martin responds to conversation surrounding his L.G.B.T. book

Father Martin’s writings deliberately avoid stating the perennial teaching of the Church, especially about the objectively disordered state of homosexuality, and the mortal sinfulness of homosexual acts. The point is clear: to move the Church toward a state of tolerance for the gay lifestyle. After all, who we are to judge?


Yes that’s correct. By his own admission he left it out. See the link I posted above; He’s not a moral theologian.

Personally I think it’s about time we change our stance towards gay people (“lifestyle” is offensive but I suspect you already knew that).


In his article, Bishop McElroy says of Fr. Martin’s critics: “Gay sexual activity is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased to the point that L.G.B.T. persons are to be effectively excluded from the family of the church.”

I disagree that Father Martin’s critics see gay sexual activity as a particularly unique sin. They seem rather to be concerned as to whether Fr. Martin regards it as a sin at all.

Bishop McElroy also writes: “Chastity is a very important virtue of the Christian moral life. The disciple is obligated to confine genital sexual activity to marriage.” That is a good clear statement. Many would be glad to simply see it acknowledged as a Catholic truth, even while building a bridge.


To say he is not a moral theologian is the most wicked sort of deception. He is an ordained priest with an obligation to adhere to the teachings of the Church. If he chooses not to, he is free to go be part of another “church”.

Who is the “we” that should be changing “our” stance?

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit