Pope Francis with James Martin, who is also editor of the magazine “America”, from which this photo is taken
“God approaches with love to each of his children, to all and to each one of them. His heart is open to each and every one. He is Father ”, like this Pope francesco is expressed in a heartfelt letter to the Jesuit priest James Martin, champion of the Lgbtq + community.
On the days when there is a vigorous debate on the DDL Zan and on the Vatican’s request for changes, seen by many as an undue interference, the words of encouragement of Jorge Bergoglio towards the American priest: “You are a priest for everyone and everyone, as God is the Father of everyone and everyone. I pray for you that you can continue in this way, being close, compassionate and with a lot of tenderness ”.
The Pope’s openness to different sexual orientations had already caused discussion in 2013, with that famous one “Who am I to judge?” which had marked a sensational break in the line of the Church. The letter addressed to is equally noisy James Martin, a cleric so popular that he is compared to some sort of rock star and who even appeared in the film by Martin Scorsese “The Irishman”, in the role of the priest who celebrated two baptisms.
Martin’s communicative ability, who also has a decent resume as a theatrical actor, is beyond question, as evidenced by his casual use of social media (he published the Pope’s letter on Twitter), as well as his role as a consultant for the Secretariat for Communication of the Holy See that the Pontiff himself assigned to him in 2017.
Pope Francis @Pontifex has sent a beautiful letter on the occasion of the Outreach LGBTQ Catholic Ministry Webinar, which happened yesterday, expressing his support for this ministry and encouraging us to imitate God’s “style” of “closeness, compassion and tenderness” … pic.twitter.com/O9nTftoLDi
– James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 27, 2021
In addition to having published several books, he is director of the Jesuit magazine “America” and he has made a lot of talk about himself for utterances such as “Some saints were probably gay. A certain part of humanity is gay. A certain part of the saints could also be. You might be surprised when in Heaven you are greeted by LGBT men and women. “
His positions aroused piqued reactions from the more conservative part of the Church, up to the cancellation of conferences and public events that saw him among the speakers. He is certainly not the type who is afraid of taking positions halfway between the confessional and the political, as when in 2019 he criticized the choice not to give Communion to some politicians – including Joe Biden – who had given their support to‘abortion and to people who had contracted gay weddings: “Then it should also be denied to politicians who support the death penalty,” he said controversially.
Already 15 years earlier he had had the opportunity to disagree with Joseph Ratzinger with respect to the sacrament. The future German Pope argued that “although there may be different orientations in the Church on war and the death penalty, there can be only one position on abortion and euthanasia“. Martin, on the other hand, rejected the idea that i gay weddings were one of those “grave sins” for which Communion could be denied, arguing that “there are many other negative behaviors, well known in all parish communities”.
A real epochal contrast between the more traditionalist and the more progressive part of the Church, which with the letter of Pope Francis marks a significant step in favor of the latter: “I pray for your faithful, your parishioners, all those who the Lord has placed next to you so that you take care of them, protect them and make them grow in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ ”.
Since people are asking me online and in messages, yes, that’s me as a priest in the two baptism scenes in Martin Scorsese’s new film “The Irishman.” It was both and honor and a lot of fun to participate in his epic new film. More here: https://t.co/FqUZP49U0j#TheIrishman pic.twitter.com/2OIVLxuZe5
– James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) September 28, 2019