Dear Fr. James Martin: LGBT Activists Aren’t ‘Marginalized.’ Moms Are.

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Earlier this month, the New York Times published an article on Jesuit Father James Martin titled, “Jesuit Priest Stands Up for Gay Catholics, Then Faces Backlash.” In the piece, author David Gonzalez, a former board member of Martin’s America Magazine, tells the tale of a golden-hearted priest who is facing down overwhelming “backlash” from hateful homophobes in order to fight for the “marginalized” LGBT community.

“Jesus went to where the people were and spoke to them in their language,” Martin told the Times. “And he was always going to the margins.”

Throughout the interview, Martin stresses this point about reaching out to the “marginalized” LGBT community, which apparently isn’t the same as ministering to them, since that would require applying the Church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage rather than denouncing those teachings as “needlessly hurtful.”

But the claim that the LGBT community is marginalized is laughable. The LGBT movement is perhaps the most widely celebrated social cause of our modern culture. Hollywood, academia, corporate America, and the mainstream media have overwhelmingly embraced the LGBT platform.

When LGBT Catholics reject the embrace of Holy Mother Church, the world rewards them richly for it.

Want an example of a group that is genuinely marginalized? Stay-at-home moms.

My mother-in-law is a faithful Catholic who has 11 beautiful children. Long ago she stopped counting the number of strange looks and nasty comments she received from people who were apparently repulsed by her decision to put herself last and give her “yes” to God’s plan for her family.

She and her husband have been able to feed, clothe, and educate 11 kids on a single income, and yet she has been called “irresponsible,” I suppose for increasing the “surplus population” (cf. Ebenezer Scrooge).

Condescending imbeciles have assumed that she is unaware of how babies are born, or rather how they are not born. Nobody stops to think she may have had intelligent, moral reasons for not jumping on the birth control bandwagon like so many other women in her generation.

Complete strangers have said unimaginable things about the most intimate parts of her body.

But you won’t hear much about the marginalization, objectification, or suffering of moms because

1. We’re too tired to whine about how little sleep we got in the past month, how many times we had to change our shirt in the past hour, how many loads of laundry we’ve done today, or how many people have told us (implicitly or explicitly) that we’re throwing our lives away or letting Womankind down, and

2. I like to think we’re generally pretty confident and satisfied with the decision we’ve made.

3. Unlike the LGBT community, and Fr. Martin himself, we are marginalized. That means we don’t have easy access to Hollywood celebrities, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and network television. We can’t simply call up our friends in high places and ask them to hear us out about our cause, because we have no friends in high places. That’s what being marginalized means.

As a mother, I can honestly say that I don’t need the Barack Obamas, Justin Trudeaus, Katy Perrys and Macklemores of the world giving speeches and writing songs affirming my life choices.

I’m satisfied without the power and celebrity that comes with conforming to the whims of the powerful. Mothers are marginalized, but we don’t mind that we are. When it comes to raising our kids, we’re not in it for the perks. We do it because we believe the task to be good, true, and beautiful.

No amount of misleading rhetoric and “dialogue” will change God’s perfect and permanent design for human sexuality. The Church calls on the faithful to take up our crosses and unite ourselves to Christ in our suffering.

Martin is trying to convince an entire group of people that they have no cross to bear other than the imaginary cross that has been unjustly thrust upon them by hateful bigots. “There is no one more marginalized in the Church than L.G.B.T. Catholics,” Martin tells the Times. “So, I’m right where I should be.”

In 2015, Cardinal Timothy Dolan issued a statement describing the emergence of a “new minority” in the Church and in the world. While he praised the Church’s efforts to welcome various minorities (the single, those with same-sex attraction, the divorced, the widowed, those with disabilities, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, etc.), he suggested that the Church could do a better job supporting and encouraging men and women seeking to faithfully follow the Catholic teachings on marriage and chastity.

Today, this “new minority” continues to receive little to no support from Hollywood, the media, and—thanks to clerics like James Martin—even Church leaders. These men and women are being punished for pursuing virtue in a world that embraces vice, and the Fr. Martins of the world are kicking dirt in their wounds.

Fr. Martin may still be free, for now, to continue sowing confusion about same-sex desires and the Church’s teaching on marriage, but no more should he be allowed to do so in the name of defending the marginalized.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

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Carly Hoilman is a columnist at CatholicVote.org, and a freelance culture writer and editor based in the greater Philadelphia area. She is a wife, mother, Catholic convert, and alumna of The King's College in New York City. You can find her writings at CatholicVote, TheBlaze, Conservative Review, and Faithwire. Follow her work on Twitter @carlyhoilman.

22 Comments

  1. Well said, Ms. Hoilman. I also agree with the quotes you used from Cardinal Dolan.

    There are plenty of overlooked people who are just trying to live their lives for others, and to please God. Apparently Fr. Martin thinks these people are not worthy of putting in the spotlight or supporting them in their daily struggles and obstacles. It is much more trendy to support a group whose activities are in defiance of the Church.

    You are not alone, Ms. Hoilman. It is a shame we have to defend motherhood and moral living to society, and sometimes even to our fellow Catholics, who should know better. Peace and all good – Susan, ofs

  2. “…and yet she has been called “irresponsible,”

    I am the mother of 10 children. When pregnant with our ninth, a female Professor came up to me at the Univ. where my husband taught at a “Holiday” party, was a Catholic Univ. but they wouldn’t call it a “Christmas” party, musn’t offend anyone, and asked if it was true I was pregnant with our ninth child. I smiled and said,
    “Yes.”

    “Isn’t that irresponsible?” She had her guns drawn.

    “Oh, I’m not irresponsible, I’m irresistible.” I aimed and blew her away! Amen.

  3. Hi everyone. God bless all mothers, fathers and their children. I want to point out there’s a group that is very marginalized, to the extreme. We married and barren women. We are like an abortion, like St. Paul said. To be barren in latin america, is worse. We don’t even get to be offended for bearing children. We don’t even have that consolation of having kids. We are marginalized even by mothers. We usually get offended even by people who weren’t able to procreate but then some miracle happened. We married, “unfruitful couples” are not considered families at all. Some think that we made that choice to be childless, and get insulted for that; others think we are just cursed for something we did wrong, like Job. We aren’t even mentioned as marginalized, though we are. Please at least pray for us. Thank you

    • Ana, I sympathize. I am one of the barren women you refer to. Everyone seems to think my husband and I planned it like this. My pastor, in his Mother’s Day homily this year, informed us that only biological mothers deserve to be honored on Mother’s Day, to drive the point home. There is no consolation for us, and no one building bridges to us. We are assumed to have used contraception, which is against the teaching of the Church, and in line with the immoral standards of society. Or that we aren’t “trying”. I have been accused of both to my face. I will pray for you, dear Ana. Please pray for me.

      • Our pastor mentioned that mothers and spiritual-mothers alike are to be honored on Mother’s day.
        My sister isn’t married or even dating, but I told her that as the godmother to my children, she was clearly deserving of this description of a mother. After all, isn’t that why we choose our children’s godparents? They aren’t chosen because they are the most popular or our “besties,” but because we know they can pick up any slack that their actual parents may loose, and should take seriously this spiritual guardianship of their godchildren.

        Also, we don’t mean to judge the barren! In this day and age, we are ever trying to help Catholic women to not be fooled by the media and online whom-ever who say that they needn’t be having so many children, or any children. Also, these people in our church who thrust NFP upon the engaged because they need to focus more on enjoying their newly-married life, rather than worry about having children in that first year.

        I can imagine it might be difficult or embarrassing to think one cannot procreate. This, more than many of the never-ending list of Parish “ministries” might be one to consider. I know some people who are ever-more frustrated and worried when someone else recently married from our church becomes pregnant, and she’s been waiting so patiently for the same blessing.

        Why do we have so many NFP groups, dedicated (realistically)to helping others postpone future children, but we don’t have a support group for those who wish they had that “problem?”

        We don’t want to judge you! We are concerned for your spiritual welfare. That doesn’t mean that you need to wear a label, but having a parish support group / ministry might be a good first step (and if young moms of the parish are invited from time to time, they might even adopt some of you as “spiritual parents” to their future children?!)

  4. Excellent observation. Spot on! Sick of listening to the likes of James Martin. God will have the last word. God bless you and keep on writing!

    • Yes, “God will have the last word”. My understanding of The Gospel suggests that you will be shocked. For “Love is the greatest of these” (ie, New Testament commandments), … not doctrine, church law, protection of the very human institution that is the R.C.C. A clue is that Jesus Christ, a Jew, had little or nothing good to say about ‘His” church (ie, organized Judaism of His day), and its leaders & prominent people (ie, Rabbis, Pharisees, Sadducees). Their obsessive adherence to the “Law” made them hypocrites, in Jesus’ eyes. The good Samaritan was not a Jew. Jesus praised the poor humble widow, and warned the wealthy, who sat up front at Temple. Most importantly for us, Jesus “embraced sinners”… & said “you must forgive 70 times 7”. We humans, like the saying about Wall Street, “hate uncertainty”. Instead of the false security of being extreme observant followers of the overly legalistic & militant interpreters of The Gospel, let us place our trust in Jesus and The Holy Spirit (God with us), and Thank God for His Mercy. Concerning our anxiety & confusion about “what is the right thing to do”, it is OK (in my often flawed opinion) to say “I do not know”… or “I am not sure”. Then take action, knowing we are all wrong some of the time…. and that God will forgive us our sins, as long as we acknowledge humbly that we do sin, & ask for Mercy.

        • Yes, like God created us. But that gift has not prevented us from sinning. Nor did Christ instituting the Church on earth prevent

          Her from erring and sinning at times (Inquisition and other grievous actions, for which no less a child of God than St. Pope John Paul ll did apologize.) Be well. PS: What does “FWIW” mean?

          • Well, yes, I didn’t think it bore mentioning but very true that Christ did not tell us that all sin would be eliminated until His return, and that men are inherently sinful by nature.

            I guess it’s never a bad thing to state the obvious.

            Thanks

  5. Father Jim Martin was talking about spiritual marginalization of the LGBT community. And yes, it exists. That Hollywood accepts LGBT Catholics is no consolation for my good friend Jackie who is ostracized by her own parish for being gay. No such marginalization is faced by the mother of 11 children in church.

    The hit pieces on Father Jim Martin by right wing Catholics are so over the top. I get it, I’m a Cradle Catholic. A lot of the contributors on CV are Catholic converts, which I guess increases one’s need to approach Catholicism from a very dogmatic rules standpoint. I have known many converts who approach our Church that way. Those of us who grew up in the faith know that we are the Church of the poor and less fortunate. Her salient mission was never fidelity to the rules. You grew up knowing your God was the God of love. You grew up being taught not to shy away from the beggar. You grew up taking pride that your Church was a leader in social justice services, fighting for immigrants, and expressing compassion to all. That’s our mission. That may be how the author’s children will approach the faith, instead of lazy attacks on a fine Jesuit.

      • Does being asked by the Deacon not to show up to church with her partner count, or nah? Do the judgmental looks when she approaches the Communion line count, or nah? RAM – if you grew up Catholic you darn well know that we are a Church of the poor and learn a set of social justice values from a very early age.

        • I did grow up Catholic. I’m not sure what you mean when you say “social justice values”, but yes, we are to care for the sick, the poor, etc.. I agree.

          You’re telling me that a Deacon told your friend to not attend Mass? I’m not being a wise guy-I simply didn’t understand how one would be “ostracized” from a parish for being gay.

          • Then you know we are taught to live the beatitudes. It was taught to us from the beginning. Now that my oldest son is in Communion prep, I get to work on those values with him. We are lucky to have grown up in the faith. I think those that come to the faith later in life may sometimes miss that influence when they are children. That’s what I mean.

            Maybe we don’t understand how one would be ostracized because we are not the ones being ostracized.

          • Actually, since you noted that your friend feels eyes upon her when she approaches the communion rail, I was wondering what you meant by “ostracized”.

            Thanks and I hope things go well for your friend.

  6. The world is not zero sum. When we go out of our way to love someone as Our Lord does, we don’t love those closer to us less by doing so. Likewise, one “category” of marginalized people doesn’t negate the existence of other “categories” of marginalized people. In fact there are as many marginalized in the world as there are people, since sin marginalizes us from happiness. One person’s marginalization is not diminished when someone else has his/her marginalization addressed. May we follow St. Paul’s advice to become “all things to all people,” without ever compromising the truth. St. Paul was vastly instrumental in bringing the Faith to countless people because of his unabated love for Our Lord. May we in our quest to bring souls to God become “all things to all people,” even to those categories of marginalized we may not sympathize with. Who knows? In the process, we might even die to ourselves–to our own stubborn self-reference–as a side benefit! 🙂

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