On July 7, 2017, James Martin S.J. posted on his Facebook page a response from John D. Whitney, S.J., Pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Seattle, to Archbishop Chaput’s review of Martin’s book “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.” Whitney wrote:
I appreciate that Archbishop Chaput enters into the dialogue, but I am intrigued, as well, by both the translation he uses (not the NABR, published by the Bishops) and by the sections he omits. Paul, a man of his times and circumstances, was clearly connecting the idolatry of the pagan world to the sexual behaviors that often accompanied it. Ritualized homosexuality and pederasty are significantly different from the loving and mutually chosen relationships of many committed gays and lesbians. It is for this very reason that the Church faces a deep call to moral examination and discernment: pederasty, hedonism, ritual and non-consensual sexuality are clearly contrary to the freedom of Jesus Christ. But, what we see today is something else, something not so easily answered by St. Paul’s words or those of Leviticus. We must dialogue, because we must discern–from the experience of real people as well as the historical understanding of the Church. When bad people act badly, that we can condemn; but when people who express great virtue in many ways experience attractions we had previously associated with evil, we must ask if our association has not been based on a false premise. Dialogue, which begins with the presumption of the best in the other (i.e., that he or she is not choosing to live sinfully), is crucial not for the sake of mere unity, but for the sake of holy communion–that we might be as Christ prayed we might be.
Whitney was also the Former Provincial for The Society of Jesus, Oregon Province.
The Jesuit-run parish of St. Joseph Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Seattle hosts an LGBTQ Ministry which openly promotes dissent and same-sex marriage. The Coordinator of the Ministry is Theresa Lukasik, a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago. In 2013, along with other “Queer Catholics,” she wrote a response to the election of Pope Francis:
A Jesuit Pope, with the humble spirit of St. Francis, gives me hope for reform and repentance within the church. While his stance on Gay Marriage and Adoption is not great, if he is truly open to the working of the Holy Spirit, the hope for true dialogue lives within me.
St. Francis is viewed as a reformer of the church, answering God’s call to “repair my church in ruins.” This pope has not an easy task ahead of him. With all the abuse, sin and corruption in the church we need a humble reformer one who will love with the heart of Christ and will hear the cry of the poor, yet we also need one with the wisdom to let go of antiquated traditions that prevent the Whole Body of Christ from ministering in Jesus’ Name…
A web-page on the wedding site “The Knot” features an announcement detailing Lukasik’s upcoming marriage to another woman.
The parish of St. Joseph in Seattle is administered by the Jesuits. A November 13, 2016 bulletin from the Parish featured a homily by Pastor John D. Whitney, S.J.; he wrote:
What saves us is not that we are “exceptional,” but that we are blessed. Blessed by a Constitution that has within it an ability to adapt to different times and circumstances, that checks our urge to rush ahead, but also enables us to move and grow. Perhaps it was a miracle that the group of rebels and rascals gathered in Philadelphia in 1789 had just the right balance of ideals and pragmatism, just the right balance of egoism and Puritanical duty, just the right amount of dynamic tension to create a document— though flawed in every age—that could still be used by generations to do things those founders never imagined: to oust a President, and preserve Catholic schools; to justify enslavement in one age, and then put a dagger in “separate but equal” in another; to protect the right of Nazi’s to march in a suburb of Chicago, and then allow gays and lesbians to marry everywhere…
The “chaplain” of the parish’s LGBTQ Ministry is Glen Butterworth, S.J. In 2015, he offered an “Outdoor Mass for LGBTQ Community at St. Joseph” at the home of a married same-sex couple.
During a July 6, 2017 interview with CNN, James Martin expressed his openness to the possibility of a transgender relationship as an “expression of God’s love for us.” He said:
The other night in Boston, a couple came up to me. The husband was transgender, and had become a woman, and the woman had stayed with her spouse. That is, she married someone who was a man and who was now a woman. I was amazed and had a hard time even processing it. I said to the wife, “How are you able to do this?” And she said, “Love is love.” I thought, here is a new kind of love, a new kind of fidelity, to consider and ponder, as some sort of expression of God’s love for us. The church needs to reflect on that.
For more information on St. Joseph Parish, read this previous blog entry.