Above: Fr. Gil Martinez, Chaplain for Out at St. Paul. celebrating Mass at the site of the Stonewall Riots during the New York City Gay Pride Parade on June 24, 2018.
On August 3, 2018, the Catholic LGBT ministry Out at St. Paul (OSP), located at the Paulist Fathers motherhouse of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in New York City, posted the following message to their official Facebook page:
Yesterday, Pope Francis declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases. It shows us that Catholic teaching can and does change over time (or, “develop,” using theological terminology). Pope Francis specifically called for the language in the catechism to be altered. He has the power to recognize other “developments” in doctrine as well.
This is why we push for the language about LGBTQ people in the catechism to change. We are not, and have never been, “intrinsically disordered.” It is time for the Church to listen to LGBTQ believers and recognize the harm that its official doctrine has caused to millions of people around the world.
The Out at St. Paul ministry and the Parish is a favorite of Jesuit priest James Martin. In a recent promotional video for the Second Edition of his book “Building a Bridge,” Martin included images of Out at St. Paul members. During his featured presentation at the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, Martin praised the group:
The Church has a responsibility to make everyone feel visible and valuable. Visible. Recognizing that LGBT Catholics exist has important pastoral implications. It means carrying out ministry that some dioceses and parishes already do well. Particularly in this Archdiocese, I know many parishes for example, I know St. Monica’s, that has a flourishing LGBT ministry. The parish that I go to, the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York, which is where this picture is from. [A photo of various members from the Out at St. Paul ministry appears on the overhead screen.] That’s the Pastor Gil Martinez, and the group Out at St. Paul…a flourishing ministry.
St. Monica’s in Santa Monica hosts St. Monica Catholic Community Gay and Lesbian Outreach (GLO) where former member Arthur Fitzmaurice once served as the Chair of Archdiocese’s Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons. At the 2015 LA Religious Education Congress, which repeatedly features Fitzmaurice as a speaker on LGBT issues, he openly criticized “The Catechism of the Catholic Church:”
“The paragraph [in the Catechism] on homosexuality — which describes it as ‘intrinsically disordered’ while also demanding respect for gays and lesbians — is placed in a section of the catechism paragraphs condemning ‘pornography, prostitution, and rape…To keep this abusive language in the Catechism and other Church writings is, in itself, gravely evil.”
On July 16, 2017, James Martin, addressed Out at St. Paul; he had previously spoken to the group on March 2, 2017. In the past, Out at St. Paul sponsored and promoted a Mass at the site of the Stonewall Riots, “countertraditions” to Adam and Eve, and an outing to a local gay bar. On several occasions, Martin has recommended both the Parish and Out at St. Paul (see video interview, and a Facebook live discussion.) In a video series entitled “Owning Our Faith,” featuring various LGBT members from the Out at St. Paul ministry, a “gay” Catholic man said the following:
I think what’s interesting is that the Catholic Church probably thinks that it is accepting of gay people, because its message is ‘gay people exist and we should love them and not discriminate against them. But because the Church also tells gay people essentially that they need to be celibate, what the Church is saying is ‘you cannot live fully. You can be gay but you can’t live that life.’ And so that inherently is discriminatory.
Another member of Out at St. Paul, a man “married” to his same-sex partner, said:
If we leave it, if we abandon the Church then it’s never going to change. So we have to continue living here, being an example and encouraging other people to be that example because that’s what’s going to change the Church.
On June 15, 2017, Martin again recommended Out at St. Paul on his official Twitter account:
Dear friends: "Out at St. Paul" is one of the most vibrant Catholic #LGBT ministries in the country, perhaps the world. A ministry of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in NYC, it seeks to welcome all to the church and is a model for many parishes. Here's an intro to @outatstpaul pic.twitter.com/4OFu20e5nS— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 15, 2018
On his Facebook page, Martin wrote:
Dear friends: “Out at St. Paul” is one of the most dynamic Catholic LGBT ministries in the country, and probably the world. It is a ministry of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City, just next door to our Jesuit community. They shared this video with me and asked me to share it with you. May it give hope to parishes who are striving to be welcoming places for everyone.
In “Building a Bridge,” concerning homosexuality and The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Martin stated:
Saying that one of the deepest parts of a person—the part that gives and receives love—is “disordered” in itself is needlessly cruel.
Later, Martin went even further when he said:
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.
Another LGBT ministry favored by James Martin, New Ways Ministry, made much the same argument as Out at St Paul:
What does this death penalty news mean for Catholic advocates for LGBT equality? A few things.
First, we now have a clear, explicit contemporary example of church teaching changing, and also a look into how it can be done: with a papal change to the Catechism.
Second, we can see that the process that brought about this change has been decades of theological debate and discussion, and not just a papal whim. That means the theological and even ecclesial discussions and debates right now about LGBT people have great potential to shape future changes in church teaching in regard to those topics.
In 1999, the co-founders of New Ways Ministry, Jeannine Gramick and Robert Nugent, were officially silenced by the Vatican. In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I, Archbishop of Chicago and then-President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the status of the organization “New Ways Ministry;” here is an excerpt:
No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination.
In 2016, Martin received the “Bridge Building Award” from New Ways Ministry and during a June 16, 2017 Podcast, when asked who he would most like to personally canonize, Martin responded with the name of Jeannine Gramick.
Please contact the Archdiocese of New York:
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
1011 First Ave
New York, NY 10022