Fr James Martin disinvited from speaking engagement over protests

Washington D.C., Sep 16, 2017 / 10:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. James Martin, S.J., an editor at America magazine, has been disinvited from speaking at the Theological College, a seminary affiliated with the Catholic University of America, following pressure from online-based groups.

Fr. Martin was invited to speak Oct. 4 on the theme of encountering Christ. However, the Theological College said that “since the publication of his book, Building a Bridge, Theological College has experienced increasing negative feedback from various social media sites regarding the seminary’s invitation.”

Fr. Martin’s most recent book has drawn criticism since its publication for its avoidance of discussing the Church’s teaching on celibacy and for its lack of engagement with Catholics who identify as LGBT who welcome Church teaching on continence and other issues. In August, Fr. Martin announced on Facebook that he is currently writing a revised issue of the book, which he says will address the feedback and critiques he has received.

In addition to writing books and speaking, Fr. Martin has also been appointed to serve as Consultor to the Secretariat for Communication, and serves as editor -at-large of America Magazine.

The Theological College explained that after receiving social media feedback on his writing, the school decided to withdraw its invitation, both in the “best interest of all parties” and “in the interest of avoiding distraction and controversy as Theological College celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding” at an alumni event focused on remembrance.

“In no way does this decision signal approval or agreement with the comments or accusations that the various social media sites have made over the recent weeks,” the school stated.

In response to the decision by the seminary under its auspices, Catholic University of America president John Garvey stated his regret and concern at the situation. While the Catholic University retains some authority in some spheres over the Theological College, the seminary remains autonomous in any decisions related to priestly formation at the seminary, as well as over events which take place on seminary property.

In its statement, the university noted that the Theological College’s decision “does not reflect the University’s  policy on inviting speakers to campus,” nor the counsel the university gave to the seminary. The university also noted that it invited Fr. Martin to speak last year on campus.

Garvey stated that the pressure placed upon the Theological College for Martin’s speech mirrors similar pressures placed upon other colleges for inviting more conservative speakers to their campuses.

“Universities and their related entities should be places for the free, civil exchange of ideas. Our culture is increasingly hostile to this idea,” Garvey said. “It is problematic that individuals and groups within our Church demonstrate this same inability to make distinctions and to exercise charity.”

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  1. The statement by Theological College about the motivation behind this disinvite is not exactly edifying. But I laud them for making the right decision, just the same. The message that would be sent by his keynote presence would not be to eradicate merely homophobia, but the Church’s entire moral theology.

  2. So Theological College came to their senses and disinvited this heterodox Jebbie, thanks be to God. But President Garvey was at pains to distance CUA form the decision, recalling [fondly?] how he invited the heterodox priest to campus to spread his pernicious doctrines last year, though they were contrary to Church teaching.

    Remember: error has no rights!

    Now don’t be too at ease yet! The Rector of the Theological College, Fr. McBrearity, wrote the following in his Rector’s Welcome letter to new seminarians: ““… the priesthood ceases to be the bridge, ‘the pontiff,’ and ends up as a mere function to be fulfilled.” In both these statements there is a challenge presented to the contemporary seminary. I believe that the contemporary seminary is challenged to prepare a future generation of diocesan priests who will be for everyone and everyday a “witness” and for everyone and everyday a “bridge.” At Theological College, this challenge guides and animates our formation program.”

    Now in the shadow of this Jebbie’s falsehood laden book, which also aims to build a scurrilous bridge, what kind of moral bridge does Fr McBrearity desire to build at the Theological College at CUA? And is President Garvey on board with it?

  3. Garvey makes the false equality error in pretending that Martin’s disinvite is the same as censorship that is rampant among secular colleges.

    Either Christ’s Church has the truth as He said or it never did.

    Sadly, Pope Francis gives the impetus to these situations when he implies the Church’s moral doctrine is malleable and the Gospel of John is open to any interpretation that supports man’s desire before God.

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