In a recent conversation with Spanish newspaper El Periódico, Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest known for championing LGBTQ inclusivity within the Catholic Church, highlighted the presence and contributions of chaste gay priests in the Catholic fold. “Without a doubt, there are many chaste and celibate gay priests in the Church,” Martin remarked. “It’s important to acknowledge that.”

Father Martin, who is also an invitee for the upcoming Synod on Synodality by Pope Francis, stressed that these gay priests remain dedicated to their vows of chastity and service, much like their heterosexual counterparts. He asserted, “These priests lead a chaste and celibate life, and have probably always dedicated their lives in service to the Church.”

Due to prevailing stigmas, Martin explained, the exact number of gay priests remains unknown. “Many have suffered in silence due to ridicule,” he added, emphasizing their unwavering commitment despite challenges.

In light of the Synod on Synodality, Father Martin shared that half of the dioceses globally have expressed a growing interest in understanding how to better support the LGBTQ community. “As more people identify as LGBTQ, there is a natural and growing interest in pastoral care for this community,” he said.

When asked about the potential for dissenting opinions within the synod, especially from conservative factions, Father Martin responded, “My goal is to listen to the Holy Spirit, and I think that should be everyone’s goal.” He believes the emphasis should be on dialogue and understanding, recalling the Council of Jerusalem around 50 A.D. where despite tensions, “the Holy Spirit was still able to act.”

Reflecting on the differing approaches of past and current Popes, Martin observed, “Some of the same people who argued that a pope should never be criticized during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict, now do so under Francis.” Despite this, he remains hopeful for a unified path forward, concluding, “After all, we all recite the same Creed on Sundays.”

Photo credit: Shawn via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
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