Support Pours in for Fr. Martin After Lecture Cancellations

Support for Fr. James Martin, SJ, has been strong after lectures by him were cancelled due to pressure from right-wing websites that criticize Martin for his new book on LGBT issues in the church.

James Martin cropped

Fr. James Martin, SJ

Last Friday, Martin posted on his Facebook page that Theological College in Washington, D.C. had cancelled a scheduled talk by him. He also reported that two other talks in October, one for the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York City and one for CAFOD, the English bishops’ humanitarian aid program were canceled. All of these talks were about encountering Jesus and not LGBT issues.  For New Ways Ministry’s statement on the cancellation at Theological College, click here.

Martin said the cancellations were “a result of anger or fear over my book ‘Building a Bridge,’ about LGBT Catholics.” He continued:

“In the case of Theological College, the fears were of angry protesters disrupting their Alumni Day. In the case of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre Dinner, it was anger from some members over the topic of LGBT Catholics. In the case of Cafod lecture in London, it was not a response to any campaign but fear that my presence itself would garner negative attention, after the group had recently faced other similar problems. In none of these cases was the local ordinary–in each a cardinal–in any way advocating for the cancellation of the talk. The impetus was purely from those social media sites.

“I have asked each organization to be honest about the reasons for these cancellations. That is, I told them I did not want to lie and say, “I withdrew” or “I declined” or “I was afraid to come.”

“So I share with you as much as I can in the interests of transparency, which we need in our church. And to show you the outsize influence of social media sites motivated by fear, hatred and homophobia.”

Rightwing websites instigated the attacks on Martin, referring to him as “homosexualist” and “sodomy-promoting,” according to the National Catholic Reporter. Theological College’s rector, Fr. Gerald McBrearity, cited the “increasing negative feedback from various social media sites” because of Building a Bridge as the reason why cancellation was “in the best interest of all parties,” reported Crux.

Interestingly, The Catholic University of America’s president, John Garvey, distanced the school from Theological College’s decision. The seminary is “under the auspices” of the university, but acted apart from direct oversight in deciding to cancel the lecture, according to a statement.

Martin’s supporters rose quickly to his defense, including an outpouring of such support on social media. Jesuits Fr. John Cecero, S.J. and Fr. Timothy Kesicki, Martin’s superiors, along with the editor-in-chief of America, where Martin works, all released supportive statements. Despite the cancellations and with such support, Martin is undeterred, saying of the rightwing websites:

“[They] traffic in hatred and they foment fear. . .Perfect love drives out fear, as we learn in the New Testament. . .But perfect fear drives out love. But I’m not deterred or even disturbed.”

To ask Theological College to reverse its decision disinviting Fr. Martin, write to:

Reverend Gerald McBrearity, Rector

Theological College

401 Michigan Avenue, NE

Washington, DC 20017

Phone:  202-756-4907


Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, September 19, 2017

Related Articles

New York Times, Jesuit Priest Stands Up for Gay Catholics, Faces Backlash

America, Jesuit writer James Martin disinvited from talk at a prestigious seminary

Washington Post, “Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book


7 replies
  1. Jeanne Kenny
    Jeanne Kenny says:

    Father Martin is truly a modern day pastoral prophet who comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable regarding this pertinent issue. His gospel message will prevail. Thanks you Father Martin and keep on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  2. Paul Morrissey
    Paul Morrissey says:

    With great anticipation, I attended Fr. Jim’s talk on “Building A Bridge” at Villanova University a few weeks ago. A standing room only crowd of young and old, priests, sisters, brothers, straight and gay people listened attentively to him as he explained the Gospel call to reach out to those we are at odds with. He delivered this talk with clarity, wisdom, humor and even joy to the amazed and grateful crowd. It was a terrific night at Villanova, and as an alumnus and Augustinian priest, I am so proud of our university and of Fr. Jim for showing us how to begin healing a great wound in the church. Thank you Fr. James Martin.

  3. Glenn Slocum
    Glenn Slocum says:

    According to the Washington Post article linked in above; “Martin is still planning to give an address in Washington at Holy Trinity Church on Sept. 30.” I went on to Holy Trinity’s website but no such event is listed. Can you provide details? Can non-parishioners also attend. Do you know the time and pace on the 30th?

  4. Josephine
    Josephine says:

    Congratulations Fr James. Just keep doing what you are doing. You may know of Bishop William Morris, from Toowoomba, Australia who was asked to resign after the Temple Police, aligned with the Vatican in Pope Benedict’ time told lies, ridiculed, abused, and as many here would say, crucified Bishop Bill. His book, Benedict, Me and the Cardinal Three might be helpful for you to read. Bishop Bill now regularly does retreats, seminars, talks to school students and much more – all done in freedom.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] intense conversation this last week. The lecture cancellations, which you can read about here and here, occurred because of Martin’s new book on LGBT issues in the church, Building a Bridge. The […]

  2. […] news broke that Theological College in Washington, D.C. along with a couple other institutions, had cancelled lectures by Martin because of his new book on LGBT issues in the church, Building a Bridge. For more […]

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