Padre James Martin: “Papa Francesco ha amici LGBT. E ha nominato molti cardinali, arcivescovi e vescovi che sostengono il mondo LGBT”
“Papa Francesco ha amici LGBT. E ha nominato molti cardinali, arcivescovi e vescovi che sostengono il mondo LGBT”. E’ esattamente quello che padre James Martin ha detto in una omelia che potete vedere nel corpo dell’articolo scritto da Martin M. Barillas e che vi presento nella mia traduzione.
Prima di una delle più grandi parate omosessuali “Pride” del mondo, padre James Martin, SJ, ha celebrato una Messa pre-Pride durante la quale ha detto ai “cattolici LGBT” che devono essere fiduciosi perché Papa Francesco ha “amici LGBT” e ha “nominato molti cardinali, arcivescovi e vescovi che supportano le persone LGBT” (si veda l’omelia più sotto).
Padre Martin è un consultore dell’ufficio comunicazioni del Vaticano che si batte per una maggiore accettazione dell’omosessualità all’interno della Chiesa cattolica. Il gesuita ha officiato la sera del 29 giugno la “Messa Pre-Pride” nella parrocchia di San Francesco d’Assisi a New York City, nota per il suo “ministero LGBT” che si fa beffe dell’insegnamento della Chiesa sulla sessualità. Uno dei leader di questo “ministero” ha raccolto fondi per Planned Parenthood (la più grande multinazionale dell’aborto, ndr)
Martin ha detto che i “cattolici LGBT” dovrebbero essere “duri” in risposta alle critiche sull’ideologia LGBT. Offrendo una chiosa delle parole di Gesù Cristo nel Vangelo di San Luca, Martin ha cercato di approfondire la definizione di discepolato cristiano. Invitando i cattolici che si identificano come omosessuali e transgender a “essere duri”, ha detto che gli ultimi anni hanno visto “molti passi positivi per i cattolici LGBT”.
Parlando di “due grandi tendenze”, Martin ha detto che una può essere “riassunta da due parole: Papa Francesco. Le sue cinque parole più famose sono ancora: “Chi sono io per giudicare”, che è stata per prima cosa una risposta alla domanda sui sacerdoti gay e poi estesa alle persone LGBT”. Martin ha detto che l’attuale papa è stato il primo a usare la parola “gay”, aggiungendo: “Ha amici LGBT. E ha nominato molti cardinali, arcivescovi e vescovi che sostengono il mondo LGBT”.
Per il gesuita, un’altra tendenza positiva è che “sempre più cattolici stanno facendo coming out e ad aprirsi sulla loro identità di genere, loro e le loro famiglie stanno portando le loro speranze e desideri nelle loro parrocchie, e lentamente la cultura della Chiesa sta cambiando”.
Be tough. Be free. Be hopeful.Homily: Pre-Pride Mass, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, June 29, 2019Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62)Video and textWhat does it mean to be a disciple? What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be free? What might it mean to be all these things as a Catholic, as an LGBT Catholic, or as the family member or friend or ally of an LGBT Catholic?At first glance, you might not think that these readings would have much to say to us. After all, the First Book of Kings, was written in roughly 550 BC, when the Hebrew people were in exile in Babylon; St. Paul’s Letter the Galatians was written around AD 55; and the Gospel of Luke, the most “recent” of our readings, was written around AD 85. You might not think they would have much to say to contemporary Catholics, and maybe even less to LGBT people, but of course they do. The Bible is the Living Word of God and, if we are open to it, God’s voice will always be revealed when we read or hear these readings, no matter how ancient. Let’s start with the Gospel, where Jesus confronts, head on, the demands of his ministry. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where he will meet his destiny—his passion, death and resurrection. Even before he gets there, he’s facing opposition, and he knows it. He has just passed through Samaria, where the people have rejected him. “They would not welcome him,” says Luke. Why? For religious reasons: the Samaritans had very different idea of what good Israelite was, and didn’t even recognize the Jerusalem Temple as the seat of God’s presence. In response to their rejection, his disciples want to punish the people of Samaria, but Jesus says no. He’s not going to punish them, but he’s also not going to be dissuaded. Then Jesus turns his attention to the demands of discipleship. And he is extremely blunt with the disciples. He fully understands the costs of discipleship and wants them to as well. “I’ll follow you,’ says one. “Really?” says Jesus. “You’re not going to have anywhere to sleep if you follow me.” Now, not all his disciples followed Jesus along the road—some stayed at home, like Martha and Mary—but many were indeed, like him, itinerant. That’s part of the deal, he’s saying. Two other disciples offer excuses based on family responsibilities: “I have to bury my father,” says one. “I have to say goodbye to my parents,” says another.But Jesus sweeps these excuses aside. Now, does he really expect that dead people will bury dead people. No, he doesn’t. But he is not above using hyperbole to make a point. If you’re going to follow me, you’re going to have to be tough. And if you’re going to follow me, you can’t look back. And Jesus goes even further than the Old Testament prophets. In the First Book of Kings, we see Elijah anointing Elisha as a prophet, by throwing his cloak over him. But first Elisha says he needs to care for his father and mother. Once he does so, he follows Elijah. Jesus goes beyond that. No, he says, no using your family as an excuse. Nothing comes before following me, not even duties to your family. Jesus makes that point elsewhere in the Gospel, when his family comes from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee to confront him. We don’t talk about that episode very much because it shocks many Christians. But the Gospel of Mark reports that his family thinks that Jesus, who has just started his public ministry, is “out of his mind.” So his extended family travels all the way from Nazareth to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, where he is living, to “restrain” or “arrest” him. But when Jesus is told that his mother and brother and sisters are waiting outside his house, he says, “Who are my mother and brothers and sisters? Those who do the will of God.” Ties to God are more important than ties to the family.Finally, to drive his point home, Jesus uses an image that people in this agrarian society would have known well: once you put your hand to the plow don’t look back. Because what happens if you take your eyes from the team of oxen? They will plow in the wrong direction. Stay focused. Now, each of these readings, though ancient, has a great deal to say to all of us today, especially LGBT Catholics. Let me suggest three things.1) Be tough. The last few years have seen many positive steps for LGBT Catholics. And there are two big trends. The first can be summarized by two words: “Pope Francis.” His five most famous words are still, “Who am I to judge?,” which was first a response to the question of gay priests and then expanded to LGBT people. Francis is the first pope ever to use the word “gay.” He has LGBT friends. And he’s appointed many LGBT-supportive cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Another trend is that as more and more Catholics are coming out and being open about their gender identity, they and their families are bringing their hopes and desires into their parishes, and slowly the culture of the church is being changed. Yet it’s also a hard time to be an LGBT Catholic. Catholic schools are still firing LGBT employees who are civilly married when many other straight church employees, who are also not following various church teachings, have no problem keeping their jobs. Church leaders publish documents, issue statements and offer quotes to the media that betray not the slightest evidence that they have listened to the experience of LGBT people or their families. And of course on the local level, we still find in some places homophobic pastors, pastoral workers and parishioners.All the more reason to be like Jesus: that is, tough. And to, first of all, claim your rightful place in your church. Look, if you are a baptized Catholic and you are LGBT or are an LGBT parent or family member, you are as much a part of the church as the Pope, your local bishop, your pastor, or me. Root yourself in your baptism and claim your place in your church. But make no mistake, Jesus is telling us: sometimes it’s going to be hard. Sometimes your family may misunderstand you, as Jesus’s family did. Sometimes you’ll feel unwelcome in places, as Jesus did in Samaria. Sometimes it won’t feel like you have a home, like Jesus felt when he had to sleep by the side of the road. Sometimes you’ll find that your friends disagree with you, as Jesus did when he told the disciples that revenge was not his way. But it’s all part of the journey. It’s part of being with him.Throughout all this, Jesus invites you to be tough. Claim your place in your church. Be rooted in your baptism. Know that you are fully Catholic. You know, lately I’ve been hearing that it’s not enough for the Catholic church to be “welcoming” and “affirming” and “inclusive.” And I agree. Because those are the minimum. Instead, LGBT people should fully expect to participate in all the ministries in the church. Not just being welcomed and affirmed and included, but leading. But to do that you have to keep your hand to the plow and you have to be tough. 2) Be free. A second lesson from today’s Gospel is Jesus’s supreme freedom. Look again at what the Gospels say about Samaria: “They would not welcome him.” But Jesus doesn’t care if Samaria rejects him. Certainly he would like the Samaritan people to hear his word. We know this because, in the Gospel of John, he speaks at length to a woman from Samaria, the famous “woman at the well,” and she later shares their encounter with the people of Samaria. But if the Samaritans don’t want to welcome him, fine. He’s free. He moves on. Jesus is free from the need to be loved, liked or approved of. He is free from the need to be loved by the Samaritans. He is free of the need to be liked by the disciples, as when he rebukes James and John. And he is free of the need to be approved of by his family, who early on think he’s crazy. He is supremely free. And what is he free to do? To follow the Father’s will. Many people in the LGBT community feel unwelcome, like Jesus felt, as well as excluded, rejected and sometimes, as Jesus was, persecuted. It can be painful and enraging. And it’s okay to feel those things. It’s human and it’s natural, and sometimes those feelings should stir you to action on behalf of people and groups who are being persecuted! But, ultimately, Jesus asks us to be free of the need to be loved, liked or approved of. And to be confident in who you are. Notice that Jesus is also free of the need to punish. James and John wanted to “call down fire from heaven” to destroy the Samaritans who rejected Jesus. But Jesus “rebukes” his disciples for this. That’s not his way. He is free of the need for revenge. So be like Jesus. Be free. 3) Finally, be hopeful. The life of Christian discipleship is not simply a hard row to plow, it’s not simply tough, it’s not simply a chore. As St. Paul says in today’s reading, “For freedom Christ set us free.” Isn’t that beautiful? The Christian life is not some terribly burden or “yoke” as St. Paul says, echoing the plow imagery of Jesus. No, it’s an invitation to live in freedom. Just as Elijah covered Elisha with his cloak, so all of us, LGBT or straight, who accept Jesus’s invitation are wrapped under what the theologian Barbara Reid calls the “protective cloak of his spirit.” We live in freedom. And in joy! And in hope too! It’s tempting for LGBT Catholics and their families to look at the present reality of the church and say, “This will never change.” Or “I feel unwelcome.” Or “I have no place here.” But that is not the only place Jesus wants us to dwell. The future will be so much fuller than the present, and Jesus knows this. We keep our hands to the plow not only so that we don't lose our way, but so that we don't take our eyes off the horizon. Sometimes LGBT Catholics say that they’re done with the church, with the faith and with God. Yet when looking for Christ in the church often they’re only seeing the present. But suffering and death are not the only things that Jesus experiences in Jerusalem. They’re not even the most important things. The most important thing is the Resurrection. And the Good News of the Resurrection is that hope is stronger than despair, suffering is never the last word, and love always triumphs over hate. Love always wins. So be hopeful!These readings, so ancient, so different, so seemingly far away, are actually tailor made for us today, for all of us who are called to encounter God. In these readings we hear God say to us: Be tough, be free, be hopeful. Be proud to be Catholic. And for my LGBT brothers and sister and siblings, be the LGBT Catholic whom you are called to be by Jesus Christ himself.
Posted by Fr. James Martin, SJ on Saturday, June 29, 2019
Nonostante questa tendenza, Martin ha lamentato che questo è un “momento difficile per essere un cattolico LGBT”. Ha fatto riferimento al licenziamento di “dipendenti LGBT civilmente sposati” da parte di scuole cattoliche che richiedono agli insegnanti cattolici di esporre gli insegnamenti cattolici e dar esempio. Egli ha sostenuto che le scuole cattoliche mostrano un doppio standard quando si tratta di “dipendenti etero della Chiesa” che mantengono il loro lavoro anche quando non seguono “vari insegnamenti della Chiesa”.
I leader della Chiesa, ha detto, continuano a rilasciare documenti e dichiarazioni che “non tradiscono la minima prova di aver ascoltato l’esperienza delle persone LGBT o delle loro famiglie”. Martin ha anche denunciato “pastori, operatori pastorali e parrocchiani omofobi”.
“Una ragione in più per essere come Gesù: cioè, duri”, ha detto Martin. Ha detto che i cattolici LGBT e i loro genitori e parenti sono “parte della Chiesa tanto quanto il Papa, il vostro vescovo locale, il vostro pastore, o me. Radica te stesso nel tuo battesimo e rivendica il tuo posto nella tua chiesa”.
Parafrasando Gesù, Martin ha detto che sarà difficile farlo.
“A volte la tua famiglia può fraintendere te, come ha fatto la famiglia con Gesù. A volte ti sentirai sgradito in alcuni luoghi, come fece Gesù in Samaria. A volte non ti sembrerà di avere una casa, come si sentiva Gesù”, ha detto nella predica. Ma i disaccordi, ha detto, sono “tutti parte del viaggio. Fa parte dello stare con Lui”.
“Le persone LGBT dovrebbero aspettarsi di partecipare pienamente a tutti i ministeri della Chiesa”, ha detto padre Martin. “Non solo per essere accolti e confermati e inclusi, ma anche per guidare”.
Ha concluso promuovendo l’idea che Dio crea le persone con una identità omosessuale: “Siate orgogliosi di essere cattolici. E per i miei fratelli e sorelle LGBT, siate i cattolici LGBT che siete chiamati ad essere da Gesù Cristo stesso”.
Il gesuita ha dato inizio a giugno 2019 augurando un “felice mese dell’Orgoglio” a “tutti i miei numerosi amici cattolici LGBTQ”. Il suo attivismo omosessuale ha incluso la promozione dell’uso di bagni delle ragazze da parte dei ragazzi e viceversa; l’accettazione di un premio dall’associazione dissidente New Ways Ministry; il promuovere il libro da lui scritto “Costruire un ponte”, un libro approvato da diversi prelati di sinistra che esorta la Chiesa ad accettare maggiormente l’omosessualità; il ritweettare una denuncia secondo cui i sacerdoti non possono “benedire” le unioni omosessuali; e molte dichiarazioni pro-gay nei discorsi e nelle partecipazioni a trasmissioni dei media.
Egli sostiene gli uomini gay che si baciano durante il segno della pace a Messa, dice che un cattolico che assiste a un “matrimonio” omosessuale è come se assistesse a un matrimonio ebraico, e suggerisce che i suoi stessi critici sono segretamente gay.
Nel giugno 2018, Martin è stato il relatore all’incontro mondiale delle famiglie sponsorizzato dal Vaticano. Anthony Murphy dell’Istituto Lumen Fidei ha detto a LifeSiteNews che avere il sacerdote gesuita a parlare all’evento “dovrebbe far ammalare il cuore di ogni fedele cattolico”. Anche Papa Francesco ha partecipato all’evento, che si è tenuto a Dublino.
La settimana scorsa, padre Martin ha “messo un like” a un tweet di Chasten Buttigieg, il “marito” dell’omosessuale sindaco Pete Buttigieg che parteciperà alla competizione per la scelta dello sfidante democratico alle presidenziali del 2020, oltre che sostenitore dell’aborto. Il tweet ha mostrato una silhouette dei due uomini, con Chasten che aggiusta la cravatta di Pete. “Hai ottenuto questo. Ti amo”, ha twittato Chasten.
Commentando il sermone di Martin, l’autore Rod Dreher ha scritto su The American Conservative, “Padre James Martin è un predicatore eccezionale. Ma ciò che predica qui è direttamente contrario alla Scrittura e al Magistero cattolico”.