Fr James (Slippery Jim) Martin SJ is being Jesuitical again.
Here’s his latest tweet in response to Franklin Graham:
Being gay isn’t a sin. It’s the way that God made some people. And be careful about biblical literalism. E.g., should we stone people who work on the Sabbath (Ex. 35:2)? Also, be careful: the Bible says a lot about marriage. Solomon, Moses and Abraham all had multiple wives. https://t.co/prmisZZmP9
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) April 26, 2019
Where does one even start?
First I should say that this post is not a comment on homosexuality per se. I have no opinion on that matter other than the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
What I would like to comment on is Fr Martin’s deceitful use of language.
First he says “Being gay is not a sin.” Yes. We all agree that experiencing same sex attraction is not a sin. I’m sure Franklin Graham also agrees with this. Fr Martin knows that we agree with him on this, but without saying so, he conflates “Being gay” with gay sexual activity. How do I know this? Because Fr Martin supports New Ways Ministry and one of their constant refrains is, “You can’t pretend to accept gay people if you do not accept the way they love.”
He knows “being gay” for the vast majority of his readers means “living gay.” He is quite content to use fuzzy language in order to blur the distinctions.
Second, he states the lie that God makes people gay. The genesis of the homosexual condition is, no doubt, complex and clearly many people who are attracted to people of the same sex truly believe they were born that way. While one ought to respect their feelings it is also true that their feelings do not match the facts.
Answering Mayor Buttigieg’s idea that God made him gay, Tony Esolen speaks with simple common sense on this matter here:
Let’s reason this out. What can he mean by that little word, made? I look at a shovel. It has a long wooden handle and a pointed and scooped iron blade. It is made for digging. It is not for serving casserole or cleaning earwax. I look at a man and a woman. Unless I am a babe or a man from Mars, I know that they are made for one another. No one has a reproductive system. Everybody has half of one. Men have this half, and women have that half. No man is made for the depositing of the seed of life into a pot of hydrochloric acid or a sewer.
Third, what’s this “and be careful about Bible literalism…”? You mean every verse of the Bible can’t be taken literally? Really? Oh! We never knew that before. Gosh! Gee! We’d better let Franklin Graham and all the other Bible Christians know that! Thanks Father Jim for letting us all know that!
Geesh! how patronizing is that? With one smug comment Slippery Jim makes out that Franklin Graham (and anyone else who refers to Scriptural teaching on homosexuality) must be a redneck, hillbilly snake handlin’ kind of hootin’ and hollerin’ banjo playin’ fundamentalist.
Well I grew up with fundamentalists and even the most basic of them knew you didn’t have to take every verse in the Bible literally.
He then uses this sophomoric trick of relativizing Scripture by referring to details from the out of date Old Testament legal code. Oh, Yes, what a giggle! It says in Leviticus that we mustn’t eat shrimp and lobster or pork chops or bacon! He forgot the other ones from the New Testament about how women should not braid their hair or wear gold jewelry. (I Peter 3:3-4; I Timothy 2:9)
Then he attempts to relativize the clear teaching of Scripture and the church on marriage by referring to the multiple wives of the patriarchs.
In fact there are rather simple principles for determining what parts of the Bible are not to be literally interpreted.
The first is that the Bible interprets the Bible. In the gospels Jesus sets aside all the dietary laws of the Old Testament (Mark 7:19) and he clearly corrects the bigamy of the patriarchs.(Mt 19:4-5) To be valid and applicable a moral teaching must be found not just in one verse, but be supported by the rest of Scripture. So we see that St Peter’s vision in Acts 10 sets aside the dietary laws and this is affirmed by St Paul in I Corinthians and I Timothy 4:4.
This is also the case on Christ’s teaching on monogamous heterosexual marriage. It is supported by the writings of St Paul in Ephesians, and the Old Testament prohibition on sex between men is reiterated in Romans, I Corinthians and I Timothy. Finally, the principles of interpreting Scripture for Catholics (we are not Bible Alone Christians) is that the Scriptures are also interpreted correctly by the Church.
Slippery Jim’s attempts to relativize the Scriptural and universal teaching of the church on marriage with a smug tweet ought to be corrected by someone other than me, but if no one else is going to…
Stop. I thought the Jesuits were not only smart, but well educated.
I get it that the Bible is not a strong suit for many Catholics but is it possible that this Jesuit is so poorly educated that he doesn’t understand these principles of interpretation which any student in Bible 101 would have picked up?
We can only conclude that he is, in fact, very poorly educated in which case, why is he a Vatican communications go to guy?
The only other option is that he does know these things but he is being intentionally deceitful.
Fr. Martin will be quick to tell us that he has the full backing of the Vatican – from the very top. I think it’s more than just him who’s being slippery and duplicitous. You can reach your own conclusions.
Who, exactly, in the Vatican, is backing Fr. Martin? Saying “the Vatican” is very vague; that covers a whole bunch of people. Can we get actual names and the offices held in the Vatican by the “backers”?
“On April 12, Pope Francis appointed James Martin, S.J., America’s editor at large, as a consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.” America Magazine, April 12, 2017.
In 2018, Fr. Martin was invited by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life to give a keynote speech at the World Meeting if Families in Ireland.
“Slippery Jim’s attempts to relativize the Scriptural and universal teaching of the church on marriage with a smug tweet ought to be corrected by someone other than me, but if no one else is going to…”Yes, Father Longenecker, you have done your correcting very well. Fr. Martin would be no match for you in open debate. Sadly, the “someone elses” out there–i.e. influential bishops and cardinals, especially in the curia have no intent of “correcting” Fr. Martin. As we’ve seen, Fr. Martin, for his adamant support of such anti-Catholic programs as “New Ways Ministry”, simply gets himself promoted and also gets himself invitations by bishops in some archdiocese as an honored guest speaker. And so we, the faithful, continue wait for “someone other than good Fr. Longenecker”, someone with clout in the Roman Curia, to tell Fr. Martin to cease and desist. Until that happens, many faithful will continue to be scandalized, and the priestly sex abuse scandals, 80% of which have been substantiated as being homosexual in nature, will be perpetuated by the very people who claim they want the bring it to a halt–the U.S. Catholic bishops. May heaven help us!