My take on Fr Martins book is it feels good. Nice words, a wonderful attempt to speak to the LGBTQ Catholic Community, and in turn the diversified LGBTQ community. I also applaud Fr. Martins attempt to bring healing and reconciliation to this very complex problem. In this he follows others in the Church who sought to build “Common Ground” under the leadership of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernadine of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
As I read the book I found myself asking the same question over and over again, “why do we need such a bridge when we already have a bridge over troubled waters – Jesus Christ”. This bridge was built by God, not by humans who are all to fragile, and imperfect. Why reinvent the wheel?
Those LBGTQ Roman Catholics I come in contact in the Rainbow Sash Movement ministry (LGBTQ Roman Catholics) share this view. We believe the tools are already in place to begin a respectful dialogue with the LGBTQ Catholic Community. What is lacking is the will and courage to take such a journey.
Fr Martins other points are covered in the “Sermon on the Mount”. However, one of his primary issues of concern seems to be about Hierarchal ego aka “Pride”. All of us struggle with this issue even Fr Martin. While Fr Martin may find this difficult to hear respect is a two way street. All we have to do is follow the Golden Rule.
As far as our Catholic Bishops are concerned I do not take Fr. Martin’s dim view that in order to gain their respect we have to kiss their ring. The conversation on LGBTQ and welcome has started in the Church, and it began before Pope Francis. While Francis has effectively changed the tone of the conversation and has softened it nothing substantial has changed in the Church when it comes to LBGTQ Catholics.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey; Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life; and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, California have endorsed Fr. Martins new book.
In 1992 the founders of New Ways Ministry, Father Robert Nugent & Sister Jeannine Gramick, wrote Building Bridges: Gay and Lesbian Reality and the Catholic Church. In my opinion, Fr Martins book is just a repackaging of that book.
Rainbow Sash Movement