Fr James Martin SJ has tweeted his rage against the firing of a gay teacher from a Catholic School.
The story is here in the New York Times. It concerns a female Catholic school teacher who “married” her girlfriend and was then dismissed from her job.
Fr Martin tweets:
Again, where are the comparable firings of straight employees who do not follow Catholic church teaching? Men and women living together before being married? Divorced and remarried without annulments? People using birth control? This is discriminatory.
I will try to cut through the fog of sentimental grandstanding here to try to clarify matters.
There are five common sense and simple objections to Fr Martin’s tweet, but first I should make clear that I am not discussing homosexuality per se, but the underlying logic (or lack of it) in Fr Martin’s twitter comment.
I have no opinions about the homosexual condition nor about homosexual activity that differ in any way from the clear statements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
First of all, Fr Martin’s charge that straight employees are not removed from their jobs at Catholic institutions for breaking their employment contract over matters of sexual morality is simply wrong. The comments on his Twitter feed provide multiple examples of heterosexual employees being fired for breaking their contract by giving bad moral example and violating Catholic morality.
I worked in a Catholic school where a man and woman who worked there were in a relationship that destroyed the man’s marriage. They planned to re-marry, but had the dignity and respect for the school community to realize their plans contradicted their terms of employment and their example as Catholic school teachers. They resigned quietly and found new employment. They didn’t attempt to stay on in their job and play the public victim.
The second problem with Fr Martin’s tweet is to equate all sin–suggesting that gay people are discriminated against because the church does not fire Catholics who use artificial contraception or Catholics who are living together while not being married.
There are two aspects to this second objection. The first aspect is the common sense observation that not all sins are equal in value. We don’t blame someone on the same level for breaking the speed limit as we do for rape and murder. Some sins are, by their very nature intrinsically evil. What we mean by that extreme sounding phrase is that some sins, by their very nature go against nature itself.
Abortion, for example, is worse than stealing a pencil because, although stealing a pencil is wrong, you went on to use a pencil for what a pencil was made for: to write a note. Abortion is worse because a mother and father kill their own child–which goes against nature. Furthermore, you could return the pencil. You can not bring the aborted child back to life.
These distinctions are not complicated or difficult to understand. Any eighth grade confirmation candidate could master them. I’m surprised therefore that a Jesuit priest cannot.
The second aspect to this objection, is that all sins are not the same because some are formal and public while others are private and informal. Formal, public actions can be judged objectively because they are public and can be seen, and they are formal because there is actual paperwork that is signed saying this particular thing happened.
Someone’s use of artificial contraception or a couple fornicating or a person masturbating or a couple living together for a time is not right, but these sins are informal and private.
When a couple marry, however, they are making a formal, public statement about their lives. When they adopt a child or sign a mortgage together to buy a house where they are cohabiting, they are also, in a lesser way, making a formal, public statement about their sexual choice.
Furthermore, when they marry they are making a formal, public statement that is binding for life because that is what marriage is. It is a formal, public, lifelong commitment. Therefore, from a Catholic point of view, if the marriage is in any way illicit, they are saying, “We know what we are doing. We know it is wrong. We are making this formal and public, and we intend to stay in this sinful condition for the rest of our lives.”
In that respect their action is formal, public and irreformable unless they repudiate their decision and change their life. This second aspect of the objection therefore applies to both heterosexual couples who remarry after divorce as well as to homosexual persons who attempt to marry.
Connected with this formal, public and irreformable action is the fact that an illicit marriage (whether it is between two people of the same sex or two people who are already married) is a violation not only of the marriage rules of the Catholic Church, but of the very sacrament of marriage itself. A Catholic would not take the sacred host, throw it on the floor and urinate on it, but when they marry illicitly they are blaspheming a sacrament of the church. Shall we turn a blind eye and treat this lightly?
The third objection is that the person who is fired from a Catholic institution for breaking the morality clause of their contract has errrm…broken their contract. They knew what they were getting themselves in for when they signed the contract. If they could not keep those rules or found out later that they were burdensome, they should either not have signed up in the first place or resigned when they realized they could no longer fulfill their duties.
The fourth objection is to note that Fr Martin is, no doubt correct, when observing that there are heterosexual Catholic employees who are not fired despite the fact that they are living in violation of their Catholic faith and their contracts. This objection opens up a whole new can of worms.
Does Fr Martin object because there are morality clauses in Catholic contracts or simply because such contracts forbid same sex marriage? If the latter, then he should stop being coy about his support for same sex marriage. So far he has held back from full fledged support of gay marriage, but this is clearly disingenuous. If he supports same sex marriage he should say so. If he does not, then he should not object to people being dismissed from their jobs for breaking their contract in this way.
The fifth and final objection is to observe that while some heterosexual Catholics who are in violation of the church’s rule are not fired, it is also true that in various places homosexuals who are in violation also continue in their employment. Fr Martin’s real difficulty therefore, would seem not to be homosexuality or heterosexuality, but the inconsistency of Catholic employers to enforce their rules.
The fact of the matter is, Fr Martin is a Jesuit. Jesuits are smart. However, his tweet is sentimental and shallow. We must therefore conclude that Fr Martin is either not smart or that he is intentionally deceitful, disingenuous and manipulative.
Full story at dwightlongenecker.com
Anyone who thinks that Jesuits are smart hasn’t met very many Jesuits ordained since the 1980s. They are overwhelmingly more interested in being social justice warriors than in the intellectual life. Fr. James Martin is one of those SJWs, but he makes a pretense of being an intellectual. He’s not that intelligent, although he is shrewd enough to communicate by implication what would get him in trouble with ecclesiastical authorities to say explicitly.
Jesuits had a well-earned reputation for being intelligent and educated in the 1950s and 60s. Now the society is resting on laurels it no longer deserves. These days S.J. stands for “Sine Jesu” (without Jesus).
Although historically they tended to attract quality scholars, in this modern era I would question the current veracity of saying “Jesuits are smart.”
The ‘Jesuit’ magazine “America” recently ran this story with sympathy, and got nearly 80 comments
They then went back and Censored nearly all that failed to pander to their agenda – but left two posters who had made the same comment twice, albeit attacking Church Teaching
To the extent Amerika Mag Rag is the new Flag of Jesuits, is is one of surrender to ignorance via censorship
You are spreading his fame and his errors. You are doing harm to his soul and the souls of others.
People who disagree with him have spread his errors, deceit and manipulations a lot farther than they ever would have gone otherwise.
Subscriptions to his magazine are up to the highest level in 15 years.
1200 people have signed up to see him speak in Chicago.
He has had a very successful controversy.
It’s Lent..people are buying more fish…they need something to wrap it in..
Why doesn’t Fr. Martin’s Bishop give him the boot?
I believe he doesn’t have a Bishop but, rather a Jesuit Superior who approved Building a Bridge.
Will someone please wake me when Jimmy Martin’s fifteen minutes are done?
“Homosexual marriage” is an oxymoron.
What is the truth about what a human person is? If God created us, how are we to live? The Church is there to guide us in the truth, and priests and bishops have this sacred duty to speak the truth about our nature and existence. As a layperson, I am not comfortable with Fr. Martin as a shepherd of the Church. I do not hear Jesus when he speaks.
We need to stop giving oxygen to this stupid stuff and bring the world to Jesus Christ. Through prayer and sacrifice and our lives and our words about The Word.
Jesus Christ died so that sins could be forgiven. Repent and believe the Good News.
Bravo! Logic well applied! Faith AND reason used in tandem to defend Holy Mother Church. This is what it will take to combat such wolves in sheep’s clothing. Members of Holy Orders please do not allow the “death by a thousand cuts” syndrome to remain unchallenged. It will take clergy standing up to clergy, bishop against bishop for the counter arguments to gain traction. Thank you Fr. Longenecker!
Fr. Martin, beware the millstone. Matthew 18:6.
What an irony that Fr. Martin is one of the few Jesuits these days who wears a Roman collar. He does that for the faux authority and trustworthiness it offers him. His heretical snake oil would be harder to sell if he weren’t wearing that collar. Priest in good standing? Perhaps. But who is he standing with?
I don’t want to put a link to this article because it is graphic enough to be an occasion of sin. There is an article on the internet by a former Jesuit who is gay who has left the Church (caveat: you can be anybody and say anything on the Internet). He complains about the same thing that Fr. Martin is complaining about: gay and lesbian people being discriminated against in the Church. Allowing for the possibility that this former Jesuit just wants to make the Jesuits and the Church look bad, it brings up serious questions about how somebody who is in an organization that, according to this guy, discriminates heavily against gays can be criticizing Catholic school leaders for discrimination.
“And lately I’ve been feeling moved to advocate for people who are being fired because of their orientation.” say Fr. Martin.
Which is an untruth. They are not being fired because of their orientation.
If any Catholic contracts a civil marriage, they should not be working for the Church. Nor should a Catholic who is co-habitating. Nor should a Catholic who is committing adultery.
I selected (C) All of the above.. meaning… (A) not smart & (B) intentionally deceitful.
Most of the people who post here seem to be dedicated Catholics. They know the faith and they will not let something they hear about a priest affect that. But we need to remember that there are Catholics whose faith is not so strong and that hearing even one negative thing about a priest can cause them to stop attending Mass, or leave the Church.
It is a dogma that states the efficacy of the Sacraments is not conditioned upon the virtue of the minister, as long as the minister possesses all faculties.
What is preferable—-staying away from the Sacraments all together, or receiving the Sacraments worthily and licitly even the minister’s virtue or thoughts are in conflict with the Church’s unambiguous teachings?