Fr. James Martin Responds to Far Right Alt-Catholic Attacks

via Washington Post:

As I was writing the book, I knew that it would be a somewhat controversial topic, even though I was careful to stay well within the bounds of Church teaching.  My reflections, which can be summarized as a call for respect on both sides, were based on the gospel, and on the Catechism’s call for the Church to treat “homosexual persons” with “respect, compassion and sensitivity.” As with all my books, I sought the formal ecclesial approval of my Jesuit superiors, who vetted my what would become “Building a Bridge.” Perhaps to the disappointment of some critics, it is about dialogue and prayer, not about sexual morality or the sexual practices of LGBT people. On sexual matters, the LGBT community and the institutional church are simply too far apart at this moment. So, I decided to focus, intentionally, on possible areas of commonality, to help encourage dialogue.

What I didn’t know was that, in a few quarters, the pushback would be hysterical, vicious and immediate….

I’ve been accused of heresy, ridiculously, by some critics (I’m not contradicting any revealed truths); there have been over-the-top condemnations (I should be removed from the priesthood) and name-calling that I thought was confined to 1950s playgrounds (faggot, fairy, pansy and worse.) Here’s a quote from a letter received just this week: “You’re leading souls to hell where you will surely reside in a few years.” Interestingly, that the entire second half of the book is a reflection on various biblical passages and an invitation to prayer seems to be of no interest to them; perhaps they feel that LGBT people do not, and should not, have access to the Holy Spirit….

There is such widespread homophobia in some dark corners of the Church that it causes people to become enraged by a book that they have never read. These individuals and sites trafficking in such obvious homophobia operate through means of vicious social media campaigns, relentless personal attacks, gross misrepresentations, as well as simple lies and deceit. They end up trying to be so Catholic that they are barely Christian.

Ironically, these groups, like the website Church Militant, which tout their desire for “traditional” Catholic practices consistently set themselves against bishops and religious superiors. Thus, groups that have zero legitimacy in the Church (and which have often been criticized by Church leadership) are setting themselves up against legitimate authorities. Pope Francis himself, for example, is a frequent target. In this way, such supposedly “traditional” Catholic websites are subverting tradition. As a result of their hateful content, they cause confusion, frustration and contempt.