Pope praises priest who ministers to LGBTQ Catholics

Pope praised priest

Pope Francis has praised the work of a Jesuit priest who has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ people within the Catholic Church.

In the handwritten letter (in Spanish), the pontiff described Father James Martin’s work as imitating the “style of God.”

Martin, who carries out his apostolate among the LGBTQ community, read the personalized letter at the Outreach LGBTQ Ministry Conference.

The conference is a gathering focused on Catholic LGBTQ issues hosted virtually by Fordham University.

Pope Francis also thanked Fr Martin for his pastoral zeal.

Francis noted  Martin’s “ability to be close to people, with the closeness that Jesus had, and which reflects the closeness of God. Our Heavenly Father comes close with love to each one of his children, each and every one. His heart is open to each and everyone.”

The pontiff described Martin’s work, which has centered on LGBTQ Catholics, as “continually seeking to imitate this style of God”. He wrote that he believes that style has three elements: “closeness, compassion and tenderness.”

“You are a priest for all men and women, just as God is a Father for all men and women,” wrote the pontiff. He added that he would pray for Martin’s “flock” and asked for prayers in return.

Martin has long insisted his writings and teachings regarding LGBTQ Catholics remain within the confines of church teaching.

But his 2017 book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity,” triggered a backlash among some conservatives.

As a result, Martin was disinvited from speaking engagements and repeatedly criticized by conservative websites such as Church Militant and LifeSiteNews.

Pope Francis concluded the letter to Fr Martin saying, “I pray for your faithful, your ‘flock,’ and all those whom the Lord places in your care. So that you protect them and make them grow in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”


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