TORONTO, July 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica has penned a strongly worded defense of Fr. James Martin’s new pro-gay book Building a Bridge. In it, he slams Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, without specifically mentioning him by name, for issuing a correction to Fr. Martin for his abandonment of Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Fr. Rosica, a Basilian priest and CEO of the Canadian-based Salt and Light Media, wrote July 15 that he was filled with “bewilderment” and “astounded” after reading “critical comments” of Fr. James Martin’s book. He specifically mentioned that he was referring to “some bishops’ messages” as well as some “commentaries” and “blogs.”
“To use clerical status, episcopal authority, or other forms of leadership to dismiss, disparage or slam the efforts of those who simply want to reach those on the peripheries is not befitting of shepherds, pastors or servants of the Lord. It has nothing to do with the Gospel! It is not who we are!” he wrote.
Earlier this month Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput criticized Fr. Martin for failing to be clear in his new book about the sinfulness of homosexual acts. Chaput is the only known bishop who has openly criticized Fr. Martin.
Chaput said that while Martin is correct in stating that the Church must have “respect, compassion and sensitivity in dealing with persons with same-sex attraction,” this does not give a license to him or other influential leaders within the Church to ignore Biblical teaching on sexuality.
“What the text regrettably lacks is an engagement with the substance of what divides faithful Christians from those who see no sin in active same-sex relationships,” the archbishop wrote in his July 6 column titled A letter to the Romans.
Fr. Martin in his June 2017 book titled Building a Bridge urges Catholics who identify as “gay” to begin “conversations” with their bishops in a bid to slowly move the Church in the direction of normalizing homosexuality as part of God’s creation.
“I’m just inviting people to take the first steps, and for many LGBT people those conversations can't even happen, because they don't feel like they are even welcome to step foot in a church,” Martin said in a July 6 interview with CNN.
But Archbishop Chaput wrote that Jesus “didn’t come to affirm us in our sins and destructive behaviors – whatever they might be — but to redeem us.”
Chaput declined to comment to LifeSiteNews on Fr. Rosica’s article.
Last week canon law expert Fr. Gerald Murray added his voice to criticism of Fr. Martin’s book. Fr. Martin is advocating for the “relaxation of the Church’s teaching that sodomy is gravely immoral and that any attraction to commit acts of sodomy is an objective disorder in one’s personality," wrote Murray.
“The point of this book is not to suggest ways in which the Church, in fidelity to the teaching of Christ, can improve her outreach to those persons who feel attracted to commit the sin of sodomy in the hope that they will reject this wrongful tendency and embrace chastity. If that were the case, then the very successful experience of Courage, which has spread throughout the United States and internationally, would have been at least mentioned, if not highlighted,” he wrote in an article published July 10 in National Catholic Register titled Father James Martin Proposes an Alternate Catechism.
“An inclination toward unnatural sexual activity is not the heart and soul of a person. True love is expressed in virtuous deeds. Evil inclinations or tendencies to sin must be seen by the Christian for what they are, and resisted,” he added.
The Catholic Church teaches that God created humans as “male and female” and gave them to one another in marriage so that they might “increase and multiply.” The Church teaches that sexual acts can only licitly take place in marriage and must be open to the transmission of human life. For this reason, the Church teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” because they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”
“They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
In his column, Fr. Rosica criticized faithful Catholics who use social media to defend genuine Catholic sexual ethics, calling their writings the “dark, dysfunctional side of the Catholic blogosphere.” He accused them of “erecting high, impenetrable walls and noisy echo chambers of monologue.”
Rosica then criticized the Catholic teaching that calls the homosexual inclination “intrinsically disordered,” saying that “such vocabulary does not invite people into dialogue nor does it build bridges.”
“No matter how well-intentioned scholastic theology tries to describe the human condition, some words miss the mark and end up doing more harm than good. Reality is more important than lofty theological or philosophical ideas,” he said.
In a foreword to Daniel Mattson’s new book titled Why I Don't Call Myself Gay, Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote that bishops and priests perform a disservice to same-sex attacked persons when they withhold from them Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
“[The Church teaches] things in the Catechism about homosexuality that some members of the clergy choose not to quote, including the clear warning: ‘under no circumstances can [homosexual acts] be approved’ (CCC 2357). The respect and sensitivity to which the Catechism rightly calls us does not give us permission to deprive men and women who experience SSA (same-sex attraction) of the fullness of the Gospel. To omit the ‘hard sayings’ of Christ and his Church is not charity,” he wrote.