Fr. James Martin, who we have written about before, has established an infamous reputation for supporting the LGBT. In a recent speech, he said that homosexuality needs to be taken in “context” and said that Catholics could support homosexual marriage:
The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin told Georgetown University students recently.
Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem considering themselves Catholic, despite having chosen to reject Church teaching.
Martin inferred at his January 31 appearance at the Jesuit school that the Bible’s negative pronouncements on homosexual acts – which are grounded in natural law – are like other Biblical declarations on topics such as the practice of charging interest on a loan. These pronouncements being made during a particular epoch renders them applicable in that given historical context, he said.
Catholics should be invited to “understand the Bible,” he said, and to understand the Bible’s tradition of condemning homosexual acts “within the context of history.”
A young woman had asked Martin how, given the repeated negative scriptural treatment of homosexual activity – “the act of, you know, LGBTQ people,” she called it – Catholics who support gay marriage should reconcile that support when “the Church still isn’t there yet.”
“That’s a good question,” Martin told the young woman, “What do you do with your conscience?”
“I think one of the things to remember is that is one teaching of the Church,” Martin replied, “all right? So I don’t think, for example, that you should say, ‘I cannot be Catholic because I don’t follow that.’”
It seems the Jesuit only addressed the Old Testament’s condemnation of homosexuality. It is condemned in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 6:9, which says: “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
One might be able to say they can’t be Catholic if they don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead, Martin added, contrasting this with a Catholic who is in support of homosexual “marriage.”
Martin went on to say he thought Catholics and others use scripture out of context, especially regarding homosexual acts.
“People take the Bible often out of context, you know, when they’re talking about different teachings from the Bible,” he said. “And they do that in a way that they do for almost no other group.”
Usury, touted by Martin as a teaching that needs to be taken in “context,” was defined during Old Testament times as the simple charging of interest, and the meaning of which has changed throughout history. The Church’s condemnation of usury today pertains to an unethical or immoral loan that fails to recognize the humanity of the borrower.
“I mean, it’s pretty clear the Bible’s against usury,” Martin told the Georgetown audience. “But we’re okay with that now, because we say, “Well, we have to understand that in context.”
“So I think part of it is inviting Catholics to understand the Bible, uh, and to understand that tradition within the context of history,” he added.
Martin continued his response to the young woman by citing excerpts of an open letter written decades ago to marriage and family counselor and commentator Dr. Laura Schlessinger in answer to Schlessinger having cited Leviticus as condemning homosexuality.
The premise of the letter to Schlessinger – which Martin said he frequently uses – was to poke fun at literal interpretations of the Bible by attempting to equate homosexual acts with things prohibited by old Jewish law that are considered ordinary today. Martin listed things from the letter like working on the Sabbath or wearing garments containing different types of thread, and then read on as it proposes extreme Biblical responses to these now commonplace actions, including stoning or otherwise putting someone to death.
Martin’s presentation of the letter to Schlessinger successfully yielded amusement from his Georgetown audience.
“It’s good to laugh,” Martin stated, “because people use the homosexuality texts in that way, without any historical context.”
“So that’s context,” he continued. “I think we need context.” (source)
Fr. Martin is wrong about all of this. As we have stated before, Sacred Scripture and Tradition are very clear about homosexuality.
The Bible says that it is a sin which is “worthy of death” in both the Old (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13) and New (Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9) Testaments. Homosexuality is one of four sins in the Old Testament which specifically “cry out to Heaven for vengeance” (see Genesis 18:20-21 and its corresponding verses of Jude 7-8 in the New Testament).
Likewise, sacred tradition also
St. Augustine says:
“Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship that we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.”
“Your punishments are for sins which men commit against themselves, because, although they sin against You, they do wrong in their own souls and their malice is self-betrayed. They corrupt and pervert their own nature, which You made and for which You shaped the rules, either by making wrong use of the things which You allow, or by becoming inflamed with passion to make unnatural use of things which You do not allow” (Rom. 1:26). (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III, chap. 8)
St. John Chrysostom says:
“All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men…. The sins against nature are more difficult and less rewarding, since true pleasure is only the one according to nature. But when God abandons a man, everything is turned upside down! Therefore, not only are their passions [of the homosexuals] satanic, but their lives are diabolic….. So I say to you that these are even worse than murderers, and that it would be better to die than to live in such dishonor. A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these destroy the soul inside the body….. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, In Epistulam ad Romanos IV, in J. McNeill, op. cit., pp. 89-90)
St Gregory the Great says:
“Brimstone calls to mind the foul odors of the flesh, as Sacred Scripture itself confirms when it speaks of the rain of fire and brimstone poured by the Lord upon Sodom. He had decided to punish in it the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment emphasized the shame of that crime, since brimstone exhales stench and fire burns. It was, therefore, just that the sodomites, burning with perverse desires that originated from the foul odor of flesh, should perish at the same time by fire and brimstone so that through this just chastisement they might realize the evil perpetrated under the impulse of a perverse desire.” (St. Gregory the Great, Commento morale a Giobbe, XIV, 23, vol. II, p. 371, Ibid., p. 7)
St. Peter Damian, who spent much of his life fighting the LGBT during his times has much to say from this Book of Gomorrah. Among that he says:
“What else shall I say? It expels all the forces of virtue from the temple of the human heart and, pulling the door from its hinges, introduces into it all the barbarity of vice … In effect, the one whom … this atrocious beast [of homosexuality] has swallowed down its bloody throat is prevented, by the weight of his chains, from practicing all good works and is precipitated into the very abysses of its uttermost wickedness. Thus, as soon as someone has fallen into this chasm of extreme perdition, he is exiled from the heavenly motherland, separated from the Body of Christ, confounded by the authority of the whole Church, condemned by the judgment of all the Holy Fathers, despised by men on earth, and reproved by the society of heavenly citizens. He creates for himself an earth of iron and a sky of bronze … He cannot be happy while he lives nor have hope when he dies, because in life he is obliged to suffer the ignominy of men’s derision and later, the torment of eternal condemnation” (Liber Gomorrhianus, in PL 145, col. 159-178).
St. Albert the Great says:
They are born from an ardent frenzy; they are disgustingly foul; those who become addicted to them are seldom freed from that vice; they are as contagious as disease, passing quickly from one person to another. (St. Albert the Great, In Evangelium Lucae XVII, 29, in J. McNeill, op. cit., p. 95)
St. Thomas Aquinas says:
“However, they are called passions of ignominy because they are not worthy of being named, according to that passage in Ephesians (5:12): ‘For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.’ For if the sins of the flesh are commonly censurable because they lead man to that which is bestial in him, much more so is the sin against nature, by which man debases himself lower than even his animal nature.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Epistulas Sancti Pauli Ad Romanum I, 26, pp. 27f)
St. Bonaventure says:
“Seventh prodigy: All sodomites—men and women—died all over the earth, as Saint Jerome said in his commentary on the psalm ‘The light was born for the just.’ This made it clear that He was born to reform nature and promote chastity.” (St. Bonaventure, Sermon XXI—In Nativitate Domini, in Catolicismo (Campos/Sao Paulo), December 1987, p. 3; F. Bernardei, op. cit., p. 11)
St. Bernardino of Siena says:
“No sin has greater power over the soul than the one of cursed sodomy, which was always detested by all those who lived according to God….. Such passion for undue forms borders on madness. This vice disturbs the intellect, breaks an elevated and generous state of soul, drags great thoughts to petty ones, makes [men] pusillanimous and irascible, obstinate and hardened, servilely soft and incapable of anything. Furthermore, the will, being agitated by the insatiable drive for pleasure, no longer follows reason, but furor…. Someone who lived practicing the vice of sodomy will suffer more pains in Hell than any one else, because this is the worst sin that there is.” (St. Bernardine of Siena, Predica XXXIX, in Le prediche volgari (Milan: Rizzoli, 1936), pp. 869ff., 915, in F. Bernadei, op. cit., pp. 11f)
St. Catherine of Siena says:
“They not only fail from resisting this frailty [of fallen human nature] … but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid, having dimmed the light of their understanding, they do not recognize the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…. It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.” (St. Catherine of Siena, El diálogo, in Obras de Santa Catarina de Siena (Madrid: BAC, 1991), p. 292)
St. Peter Canisius says:
As the Sacred Scripture says, the Sodomites were wicked and exceedingly sinful. Saint Peter and Saint Paul condemn this nefarious and depraved sin. In fact, the Scripture denounces this enormous indecency thus: ‘The scandal of Sodomites and Gomorrhans has multiplied and their sins have become grave beyond measure.’ So the angels said to just Lot, who totally abhorred the depravity of the Sodomites: ‘Let us leave this city….’ Holy Scripture does not fail to mention the causes that led the Sodomites, and can also lead others, to this most grievous sin. In fact, in Ezechiel we read: ‘Behold this was the iniquity of Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and abundance, and the idleness of her, and of her daughters: and they did not put forth their hand to the needy, and the poor. And they were lifted up, and committed abominations before me; and I took them away as thou hast seen’ (Ezech. 16: 49-50). Those unashamed of violating divine and natural law are slaves of this never sufficiently execrated depravity.” (source, source)
God’s word and His holy saints make clear that homosexuality is a vile abomination in the eyes of God. It is so evil that it even sickens the demons who entice men to commit the foul act. The very evil nature of this act is such that homosexuals are worthy of death because as St. Bonaventure alludes to, their very presence on this earth is a blasphemy against God and his creation, a festering pox on the bosom of humanity that will poison men unless it is cleansed from the Earth.
Fr. Martin can say whatever he chooses to. However, it is an abuse of his authority, and the fact is that Sacred Scripture and Tradition make clear that homosexuality is absolutely forbidden and a teaching that cannot change because it is a matter of divine revelation.
Hence it is the reason why Christians need to feel no shame in speaking the truth, because in this case it is a literal matter of life and death.