Jesuit Father James Martin said this weekend celebrating Gay Pride is compatible with devotion to the Sacred Heart because both teach us about the love of Jesus.
“In June, Catholics celebrate the Month of the Sacred Heart,” Father Martin writes on Twitter. “LGBTQ people celebrate #PrideMonth. LGBTQ Catholics celebrate both. One shows us how Jesus loves. The other shows us whom Jesus calls us to love today.”
“Where would the Sacred Heart be today?” Martin asks in an accompanying tweet. “It would be poured out in love on these people who seek love and acceptance.”
In June, Catholics celebrate the Month of the #SacredHeart. LGBTQ people celebrate #PrideMonth. LGBTQ Catholics celebrate both. One shows us how Jesus loves. The other shows us whom Jesus calls us to love today. https://t.co/R0VyOefty9
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) June 2, 2023
On social media, many expressed perplexity at the priest’s assertion, insisting that taking pride in one’s homosexual activity or transgender identity seems diametrically opposed to the core of devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Catholic devotion centered on atonement and reparation to the Heart of Jesus for one’s personal sins and the sins of mankind.
For his part, Saint Paul warned of those who take pride in the shameful things they do, since this makes them “enemies of the cross of Christ.”
Father Martin, a vocal proponent of LGBTQ rights, has come under fire from Catholic prelates in past years for affirming immoral sexual behavior rather than calling people to repentance and conversion.
In 2018, Archbishop Charles Chaput called Father Martin out for speaking of “LGBTQ Catholics,” as if people’s sexual proclivities determine their identity as persons.
“There is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are,” Chaput said, “as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ.”
What the Church holds to be true about human sexuality “is not a stumbling block,” he said. “It is the only real path to joy and wholeness.”
After the publication of Father Martin’s book, Building a Bridge (2017), in which Martin “calls the Church to a spirit of respect, compassion and sensitivity in dealing with persons with same-sex attraction,” Archbishop Chaput reproached the priest for failing to summon gay Catholics to “conversion,” rather than simply asking for “affirmation.”
What Father Martin’s book “regrettably lacks,” Chaput wrote at the time, is “an engagement with the substance of what divides faithful Christians from those who see no sin in active same-sex relationships.”
Chaput’s critique echoed other reviews of Father Martin’s book that pointed out the conspicuous absence of any clear statement of Christian sexual ethics as if he were embarrassed by it or simply disagrees with what his own Church teaches about homosexuality.