Fr. James Martin said some Catholic saints were "probably gay."
The Jesuit priest — who was appointed in April by Pope Francis as a consultant to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications — gave this history lesson in tolerance on May 5 to an antigay Facebook commenter.
Martin had posted a link to an article about a prayer led by Bishop John Stowe at an LGBT Catholic gathering coordinated by New Ways Ministry. An offended social-media follow responded, "Any cannonized Saints would not be impressed." To which Martin replied, "Some of them were probably gay."
"A certain percentage of humanity is gay, and so were most likely some of the saints," Martin added. "You may be surprised when you get to heaven to be greeted by LGBT men and women."
Martin has a history of LGBT advocacy within the Catholic Church. Last summer, he released a viral video on Facebook imploring Catholics to "stand with... their LGBT brothers and sisters" in the wake of the Orlando shooting.
Afterward, he penned a book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. He was honored by New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBT group, with its Bridge Building Award for his work.
Of course, not everyone was pleased with Martin's testament to LGBT saints. "Did you know that sodomy is one of 4 sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance, along with oppression of the poor and murder?" the original offending commenter replied. Others debated the possibility that some saints may have had same-sex attraction, but did not act on their impulses.
Pope Francis himself has sent mixed signals regarding his stance on LGBT issues. He infamously said, "Who am I to judge?" regarding gay priests, but has also denounced the concept of being transgender. The Advocate named Francis its Person of the Year in 2013 for the hope he would open Catholicism's door to acceptance.
Revisit Martin's call for LGBT acceptance below.