Jesuit magazine editor: Pope's comment on same-sex marriage is bizarre

ppjamesmartin2 Fr. James Martin, S.J.

The culture editor of the Jesuit weekly magazine America, Fr. James Martin, S.J., argued yesterday in a post on the publication's blog that Pope Benedict's equation of abortion and same-sex marriage "is bizarre" and "seemed oddly discordant."

In his post published on Monday, May 17, under the headline “Hingham, Same-Sex Marriage, and Life Issues," Fr. Martin, a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, praised the Archdiocese's of Boston move to undermine the decision of Rev. James Rafferty, who last week denied enrollment to the child of a lesbian couple at St. Paul's Catholic elementary school in Hingham, Mass.

"The Archdiocese of Boston is handling this matter quite differently—that is, more wisely—than Denver did," wrote Martin, in reference to the decision made by the Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, to stand behind a similar decision made last month by a pastor in Boulder, Colo.

The statement of Dr. Mary Grassa O’Neill, Boston's  superintendent of Catholic schools, explaining that "the Archdiocese does not prohibit children of same sex parents from attending Catholic schools," was issued, according to Martin, "with the approval of Cardinal Sean O’Malley, I am told by a good source."

Cardinal O'Malley was in Portugal accompanying Pope Benedict on his visit to Fatima, when Grassa O’Neill released the statement.

America's culture editor also expresses his disappointment with the fact that Fr. Rafferty was not forced to reverse his decision. "That's odd, to say the least. Why couldn't they have simply asked the pastor to accept the child into the parish school?" 

“(O)verall, though, the archdiocese has taken a wise and pastoral approach," Martin said, saying that it "stands in contrast to the increasingly heated language coming from church leaders on the topic of same-sex marriage."

"Pope Benedict XVI's comments last week in Fatima, Portugal, in which he stated that abortion and same-sex marriage, were 'some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats' to the common good seemed oddly discordant. The equation of abortion, something that clearly is about a threat to life, with same-sex marriage, which no matter how you look at it, does not mean that anyone is going to die, is bizarre," Martin opined.

"A good friend of mine, who is gay, recently resigned from a position at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he said, with great dismay, that 'abortionsamesexmarriage' had become one polysyllabic word among some of his bosses."

Questioning the Pope's comment, Fr. Martin asked, "Why aren't 'abortion and war' the most 'insidious and dangerous' threats to the common good?"

"The great danger is that this increasingly popular equation will seem to many as having less to do with moral equivalency and more to do with a simple dislike, or even a hatred, of gays and lesbians.

"And that goes against not simply Catholic teaching, but against the Gospel,” Martin concluded.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that Fr. Martin said the Pope's statement goes against the Gospel.

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