Bishop Churchman’s Foreword to the New Book by Fr. Martin James, SJ

Many Catholics today do not feel comfortable around new ideas, much less around people who are not like them. But Jesus told us to accept the new idea of the Gospel, and to love everybody.

It’s true Jesus didn’t say we should love everyone’s actions, but hey, everyone is a sinner, so we should just ignore sins. This is the motivation for Fr. Martin James, SJ’s new book, Creating a Path, wherein he skillfully airbrushes the temptations and sins as such of LGBTQ Catholics qua LGBTQ, meanwhile lamenting that we are talking about this in the first place because of a widespread hatred for people rather than a widespread disgust with certain desires and behaviors by which this very same group of people is categorized by the author.

It is everyone’s Church, but it especially belongs to those of us who are LGBTQ. I do not mean to imply that I am homosexual – I am definitely, definitely, clearly not, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be even a little bit, it is unthinkable, no other bishops I know are gay either, and I will not say anything more about it – but we are all walking together as one body. But since homosexual acts and self-mutilation to change genders are special kinds of acts, such people who engage in them deserve special recognition. We are all sinners, but our frail psychology means that we need to try especially hard to welcome those whose sins are harder to ignore. After all, welcoming the sinner simply is the same as ignoring the sin. To do anything else would be unloving, because it feels all judgy and stuff.

But Fr. Martin James goes beyond these traditional categories of “sin,” “temptation,” and “vice.” He opens up a new horizon of theological principles altogether which sidesteps these old-fashioned ideas which many Catholics don’t believe in anyway, except when it comes to things like underage smoking, eating at Chik-fil-A, voting for Trump, racism, cat-calling, and some kinds of murder.

To begin with, he reassures the reader that the fundamental principle of holiness is to do what feels good, because God made your feelings, and God never makes mistakes. Second, following on this, he reaffirms the perennial Catholic moral teaching that nothing can be wrong if it is justified by you feeling deeply fulfilled in life (except maybe the things mentioned above). Third, he roots all of this in a Christology which is at once both profound and simple, noting that Jesus didn’t say anything about LGBTQ issues and maybe wasn’t even sure of his own resurrection, so despite any fancy Church documents that might say negative things about homosexuality or transgenderism, it is 1) not the direct teaching of the Gospels, which liberate us from moral “rules,” as St. Paul also teaches, and 2) can be doubted anyway, because if Jesus didn’t know a dogma then how are we supposed to be held to believe what some pope once taught about human sexuality?

Certainly, there will be many haters who criticize this work, but that shows that they don’t know what the Bible says, and it means that those of us who support Fr. Martin James’ important work are the most loving-est of all. Furthermore, just as the Church technically doesn’t allow for gay weddings, Fr. James technically doesn’t propose anything to the contrary, strictly speaking.

Finally, the book presents so many helpful resources and strategies to integrate LGBTQ Catholics into normal parish life. He argues that we must be celebrating such diversity rather than rigidly holding onto one vision of human nature… After all, if “there is no longer male or female” (Gal. 3:28), then how can we possibly have any stigma related to sexual desires, which are obviously the most important thing about someone’s identity as a human being? Fr. Martin James masterfully shows not only how we can welcome LGBTQ Catholics into ministries created for them and for their needs, but also how to empower them to direct ministries of their own – LGBTQ ally clubs, singles mixers programs, adoption ministries, liturgical ministries, marriage preparation, childhood catechesis, and even getting them ordained!

All this and more awaits the reader in the following pages, with my warmest and most affectionate endorsement of Fr. Martin James, SJ, and his work.

+Aaron Churchman
Bishop of Cityville
August 12, 2094

See His Excellency’s other writings here (on the evil thing that has happened), here (on vocations), and here (on the novel donkeypox virus).

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