ROME, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A senior Vatican cardinal has issued a rebuke of Fr. James Martin in the Wall Street Journal as the Jesuit priest continues his high-profile campaign against Church teaching on homosexuality.
In an op-ed published August 31, Cardinal Robert Sarah describes Martin as “one of the most outspoken critics of the church’s message with regard to sexuality.”
Cardinal Sarah serves as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Martin was appointed in April as a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. In June, he published the book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity to much acclaim among liberal Catholics and the mainstream media. It was published with prominent endorsements from newly-appointed U.S. Cardinals Kevin Farrell and Joseph Tobin, as well as San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy.
In his op-ed, Cardinal Sarah makes the key point that critics say is missing from Martin’s book: that an authentic Catholic outreach to homosexuals is only possible in light of the Church’s moral teaching.
“As a mother, the church seeks to protect her children from the harm of sin, as an expression of her pastoral charity,” the cardinal writes.
Same-sex attractions are not necessarily sinful, though they are “at odds with human nature,” he writes, but same-sex relations are “gravely sinful and harmful to the well-being of those who partake in them."
“People who identify as members of the LGBT community are owed this truth in charity, especially from clergy who speak on behalf of the church about this complex and difficult topic.”
“Those who speak on behalf of the church must be faithful to the unchanging teachings of Christ, because only through living in harmony with God’s creative design do people find deep and lasting fulfillment,” he writes.
Cardinal Sarah also highlights the witness of men and women who experience same-sex attractions but choose to refrain from acting upon them, in obedience to the Gospel. He mentions in particular the new book by Daniel Mattson, Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace, for which the cardinal wrote a foreword.
“These men and women testify to the power of grace, the nobility and resilience of the human heart, and the truth of the church’s teaching on homosexuality,” Cardinal Sarah writes. “Their example deserves respect and attention, because they have much to teach all of us about how to better welcome and accompany our brothers and sisters in authentic pastoral charity.”
Over 1,700 people have signed a LifeSiteNews petition calling on Pope Francis to remove Fr. Martin from his role as a Vatican communications advisor.