During his August 29, 2017 visit to Villanova University, James Martin spoke with gay Catholic journalist Brandon Ambrosino. During his interview with Martin, Ambrosino shared some of his struggles about being gay and Catholic; Ambrosino is a graduate student in theology at Villanova and currently engaged to his same-sex partner. In particular, Ambrosino mentioned the anxiety he experienced over his own personal reluctance to express physical affection for his partner in church during the “kiss of peace.” Martin sympathized and said:
I always say that LGBT people have more faith than straight people because of that. I mean imagine you, what you have just described is really interesting Brandon. You have internalized rejection already. You don’t even need to be told that you’re rejected in the Church, you’ve internalized it and that’s very sad. A lot of the people that Jesus came into contact with did the same thing. Think of like the woman with the hemorrhage who doesn’t even feel worthy to stand up and greet him, she reaches down and touches the hem of the garment; or the Samaritan women who comes to the well at noon in the heat of the day because, we think, she’s been married five times and she’s probably embarrassed. Maybe people didn’t know enough to tell her you’re not welcome to come out at the regular time when the other women come; she comes because she is embarrassed and she kinda internalized that and it’s sad. So I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing?
Ambrosino has written extensively on the topic of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. In 2015, following the Obergefell decision, Ambrosino wrote:
The church clings to arguments about natural law and marriage the way that some in the early church held fast to circumcision. The theological task for today’s Christians is the same as it was for those in the first century: How can we open up the binding teachings of Christianity (marriage) to all who wish to pursue it? How can we remain faithful to the witness of Scripture in a way that honors what we continue to learn about human experience?
What this means is thinking about the word “natural” and finding ways to open up the definition to let in same-sex couples. What this means is not that we say, “Marriage is no longer a sacrament,” but rather, “Marriage is a sacrament that we feel God is opening up to same-sex couples.”
In 2017, he argued:
Why judge what is natural and ethical to a human being by his or her animal nature? Many of the things human beings value, such as medicine and art, are egregiously unnatural. At the same time, humans detest many things that actually are eminently natural, like disease and death. If we consider some naturally occurring phenomena ethical and others unethical, that means our minds (the things looking) are determining what to make of nature (the things being looked at). Nature doesn’t exist somewhere “out there,” independently of us – we’re always already interpreting it from the inside.
For my opinion about how James Martin is engaging the LGBT Catholic community – read here.