June 20, 2017 — Father James Martin, SJ, editor-at-large of America magazine and a New York Times bestselling author, focuses on the relationship between LGBT Catholics and the church in his new book, “Building a Bridge.”
Fr. Martin’s model for the church’s relationship with the LGBT community comes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which calls for LGBT people to be treated with "respect, compassion and sensitivity." Those virtues can also help the LGBT community as it interacts with the church, according to Fr. Martin.
“The most important thing the church can do is welcome LGBT Catholics because they are just as much a part of the church as I am or the Pope is,” Fr. Martin said.
In the book, Fr. Martin suggests dioceses and parishes could add outreach programs for LGBT Catholics. “They can have special masses where LGBT Catholics are welcomed," he said.
“Building a Bridge” has spiritual resources including biblical passages, meditations and reflection questions for LGBT Catholics, as well as materials for Catholics with family members who are part of the LGBT community.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, called Fr. Martin’s book “brave” and “prophetic” and said it “marks an essential step in inviting church leaders to minister with more compassion, and in reminding LGBT Catholics that they are as much a part of our church as any other Catholic.”
“Jesus in his public ministry was always trying to include people and made a point of specifically reaching out to people who felt marginalized,” said Fr. Martin. “For Jesus, there’s no us and them. There’s only us.”