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Fr. James Martin, SJ… Inveighing, We Will Go

October 10, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER

Almost 50 years ago, the pundit William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008), wrote Inveighing, We Will Go. The dictionary teaches that inveigh (against) means to “speak or write about (something) with great hostility.”
Evidently, Fr. James Martin, SJ, has been inveighed against quite enough. He’s mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. By golly, he is going to inveigh against the inveighers. He is going to rear up and — call them names!
At a recent conference at a Jesuit university, Fr. Martin delivered himself of this invective: “I have a hard time imagining how even the most traditionalist, homophobic, closed-minded Catholic cannot look at my [active homosexual] friend and say, ‘That is a loving act, and that is a form of love that I don’t understand but I have to reverence [sic]’.”
The “loving act” to which Fr. Martin refers is sodomy — and Christ’s Bride, the Church, has dogmatically taught about the mortal sin of sodomy (Lev. 20:13, 1 Cor. 6:9, Jude 7, and more), one of the sins that “cries to Heaven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 1867, 2357), ab initio, for centuries.
In the Martin Magisterium, however, we are called upon to “reverence” buggery, even though it is a “form of love that [Martin doesn’t] understand.” Martin is shocked — shocked — that traditional (read: “faithful”] Catholics might find buggery morally repugnant just because that outdated and unprogressive Catholic Church — um, his Church — inveighs against sodomy.
Such constant and irreformable teaching is based upon Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Sacred Magisterium, which Martin sees fit to deny, disparage, and denigrate. To Fr. Martin, only “homophobes” and “closed-minded” bigots would reject the loving act of buggery. Nothing to inveigh against here, folks; just move along!
Fr. Martin’s risible deployment of the ad hominem homophobe need not detain us, for its use is as intellectually worthless as would be calling Martin a homophile, and his screaming “homophobe!” is a sign only of the moral poverty of the topical antinomianism to which he is reduced.
To put it another way: On the subject of sodomy, Martin holds, Catholics and others are released from the demands of the moral law (see CCC, n. 1958), which is held to be irrelevant at best or biased at worst. Fr. Martin will not hear of that pesky traditional moral law (which, as a priest of Christ, he is bound to uphold).
“Closed-minded”? Hmm.
G.K. Chesterton once suggested that H.G. Wells thought that opening the mind is its own reward. Chesterton, Catholic to his marrow, thought, however, that “the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”
When we make a Faustian bargain to buy into the fads, fantasies, fashions, and fictions of the day — when we let progressive ideology supersede the truth of the natural moral law (see 2 John 9, NAB) and of irrefragable biological reality — we abandon the search for what is “solid,” preferring instead the moral squishiness, not to say squalor, of what suits our personal or political agenda (cf. CCC, nn. 398, 407).
Ought we to be open-minded people? Sure. But not empty-headed people. There are some things, as J. Budziszewski has put it, that we cannot not know. That sodomy is an act of “grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” (CCC, n. 2357) is among the things that we cannot not know. But paragraph 2357 is evidently redacted or bowdlerized in the modish Martin manual of morality.
As Catholics, we know, for example, as Robert Cardinal Sarah has reminded us (and Fr. Martin): “To love someone as Christ loves us means to love that person in the truth. Those who speak on behalf of the Church must be faithful to the unchanging teachings of Christ because only by living in harmony with God’s creative design do we find deep and lasting fulfillment.”
It is, of course, precisely “God’s creative design” which Martin, like some so-called Grand Inquisitor, presumes to modify, to improve upon, and to reform according to Martin’s selfish specifications. At one time, this kind of Babel was called hubris, but it now seems kinder to term it simply “false compassion,” precisely the sin against which such writers as Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy warned us. And Martin’s moral improvisation is not without the imminent peril of a substantial alteration of Catholic moral theology. Fr. Charles Curran, where are you?
Fr. Martin, in fact, glorifies sin, against which, in all its forms, we Christians are called to inveigh (Psalm 94:16, Eph. 5:11-12). Fr. Martin is, in fact, failing in his sacred duty to preach the truth, embrace of which leads to eternal salvation and rejection of which leads to Hell (Rev. 21:8). Were we ourselves not once warned, with a slap at Confirmation, against what the way of the world would, and will, do to our commitment to and practice of the faith which comes to us from the apostles? The bishop, perhaps, should have slapped young Jimmy Martin a bit harder.
In teaching seminarians, I used to close my classes, at the end of the semester, with two vivid scriptural adjurations for the soon-to-be priests: “Their preaching deceived you by never exposing your sin. They made you think you did not need to repent” (Lam. 2:14) and Ezekiel, in which we are admonished that, if we fail to warn sinners so that they might repent, we — as well as those new priests — will suffer the same fate as the sinners whom we failed to help repent (33:7-9).
We live at a time, and in a place, where sexual self-indulgence is rampant. In the name of liberty (which is much more nearly license), we tend, as if having spines made of noodles, to permit, even to applaud, what is morally, and perhaps mortally, sinful.
The priest must have both the discernment and the fortitude to speak out against evil and not curry the meretricious favor of the progressive glitterati (John 12:43, Gal. 1:10, 1 Thess. 2:4). The “beautiful people” who are so modern and so morally unctuous — squishy — will condemn us as hopelessly archaic. But, by preaching and practicing the truth, we will save our souls. Fr. Martin, do you hear me? You will save your soul.
Freedom, St. John Paul instructed us, must be tethered to the truth; that link must be recovered (Evangelium Vitae, n. 96). Love, too, must be tethered — to order. That there is a natural moral order is basic to Catholic moral teaching. That natural order extends also — anatomically, anthropologically, biologically, philosophically, theologically — to the human family. The effort to repudiate and then to redesign that natural order is as supercilious as was the effort to build the execrable Tower of Babel.
Had Jim Martin been a civil engineer at the building of the Tower of Babel, would he have possessed the moral and mathematical sense to warn the progressives of the day that, in their effort to become gods, they would, like Icarus, soon crash and die? And what of Fr. Martin today at the building of the Tower of Buggery? Will he, coming to his senses (please, God!), have the moral and priestly sense to warn the progressives of this day that love and order are inseparably connected?
There is an order to God’s creation (Wisdom 13:1-9). There is an order to our moral universe (Romans 1:18-32). The regularity of the former makes science possible. The regularity of the latter makes goodness possible. Man does not marry his computer, his dog, his sister, a child, (simultaneously) two or three living women, or any other man or men.
Seeing such things, must we not inveigh and inveigh and inveigh against them?

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