On March 30, 2019, Catholic priest James Martin will receive the Thomas A. Dooley Award from the Gay and Lesbian Alumni of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College (GALA-ND/SMC). The GALA-ND/SMC is a “national organization which unites LGBTQ alumni/ae, faculty and staff from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College, together with their friends, families and supporters.” According to their “Mission and Vision:”
We envision a future where LGBTQ students, faculty and staff everywhere are welcome and encouraged to be completely open about themselves and about their relationships without fear of reprisal, rejection or censure.
GALA-ND/SMC also provides: “financial, moral and strategic support to LGBTQ student groups which provide services consistent with our mission, such as PrismND and OutreachND.”
PrismND is the officially recognized LGBT outreach at University of Notre Dame, and the group sponsors several events commemorating LGBTQ History Month; in the United States, LGBTQ History Month is celebrated in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on October 11.
James Martin, a well-known Jesuit author and commentator, has gained attention for his controversial statements regarding homosexuality and for his support for dissident LGBT activist groups such as New Ways Ministry and Fortunate Families. In 2017, Martin called for a sweeping revision of the Catechism:
I’m no theologian, but I would say that some of the language used in the catechism on that topic needs to be updated, given what we know now about homosexuality. Earlier, for example, the catechism says that the homosexual orientation is itself “objectively disordered.” But, as I say in the book, saying that one of the deepest parts of a person — the part that gives and receives love — is disordered is needlessly hurtful. A few weeks ago, I met an Italian theologian who suggested the phrase “differently ordered” might convey that idea more pastorally.
That same year, he argued that Church teaching concerning homosexual acts are not authoritative because they have not been “received” by the gay community:
Briefly put, I mean and I’m no theologian, but, you know, for a teaching to be really, um, authoritative it is expected that it will be received by the people of God, by the faithful. So you look at something, like, say, the Assumption…people accept that. They go to the Feast of the Assumption, they believe in the Assumption. It’s received. From what I can tell, in the LGBT community, the teaching that LGBT people must be celibate their entire lives – not just before marriage as it is for most people but their entire lives – has not been received.
The Thomas A. Dooley Award, named after the former Notre Dame student and later physician in South East Asia, honors those individuals who have “demonstrated personal courage, compassion and commitment to advance the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.”
Along with Martin, also receiving awards from GALA-ND/SMC are Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Notre Dame graduate John Sullivan. According to the “bio” provided by GALA-ND/SMC, Buttigieg is a veteran, a member of the Democrat Party, and he is currently married to his same-sex partner. In 2018, as mayor he blocked a pro-life pregnancy center from opening next to a planned abortion facility in South Bend. Sullivan is an attorney who previously served on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Board of Governors and National Board of Directors. He also worked “for marriage equality in the Minnesotans United for All Families initiative.”
The Human Rights Campaign is a pro-gay marriage LGBT advocacy group which seeks to pressure the Catholic Church into changing it’s teachings on homosexuality. On their website is a downloadable brochure specifically aimed at Catholics; Jeannine Gramick, who was silenced by the Vatican in 1999, is extensively quoted:
“Historically, the Christian church has changed how it views sexuality but only officially after the change first occurred at the bottom, among the people. As a community, when we listen to each other’s stories, and feel for each other, we’ll experience a change of attitude.” She sees new hope in the attitudes professed by Pope Francis. “Francis says don’t obsess on cultural issues. He asks us to be obsessed with loving people, with supporting people, with having compassion. That’s the first step.”
Past recipients of awards from GALA-ND/SMC include Jeannine Gramick, and Gene Robinson – the first openly gay priest in a same-sex relationship to become a bishop in the Episcopalian Church.
According to GALA-ND/SMC: “The awards will be presented at a ceremony and dinner on the Notre Dame campus…” They added: “Father Martin will be accepting his award virtually from NYC.”