Catholic Priest: Church Must Love Gays

A prominent Catholic priest challenges the church on its attitude toward LGBT people.

BY Michael O'Loughlin

May 16 2014 12:33 PM ET

Father James Martin

A prominent Catholic priest and writer is challenging the Roman Catholic Church “to love gays and lesbians more deeply.”

The Jesuit James Martin, an editor at America magazine, highlights the problem with the “love the sinner, hate the sin” formula that many Christians use to guide their beliefs regarding homosexuality.

“The language of ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ is difficult for many gay people to believe when the tepid expression of love is accompanied by strident condemnation. And the notion that love calls first for admonishing the loved person seems to be applied only in the case of gays and lesbians,” he writes.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” but says gays must be treated with “respect, sensitivity and compassion.”

Martin, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage, concludes with concrete suggestions for how the church might act more loving toward LGBT people.

“First, it would mean listening to their experiences — all their experiences, what their lives are like as a whole. Second, it would mean valuing their contributions to the church. Where would our church be without gays and lesbians — as music ministers, pastoral ministers, teachers, clergy and religious, hospital chaplains and directors of religious education? Infinitely poorer. Finally, it would mean publicly acknowledging their individual contributions: that is, saying that a particular gay Catholic has made a difference in our parish, our school, our diocese. This would help remind people that they are an important part of the body of Christ. Love means listening and respecting, but before that it means admitting that the person exists,” he writes.

Read the full reflection here.

Follow Michael O’Loughlin on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.

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