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Father Martin addresses an issue that has for too long been ignored and a group that continues to be vilified. He reminds us to act like Jesus and minister to the marginalized.
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I have followed the Pope (in Latin and English!) on Twitter for years, even before Pope Francis became Pontifex. I’m Catholic but non-practicing, and a graduate of a Catholic University. When things are scary and out of control, I still look to the Church for comfort. I found and followed Father James Martin, SJ, on Twitter, after the June 12, 2016, Pulse Nightclub Massacre in Orlando, Florida. His words were comforting then, and they still are.
“Building a Bridge: ow the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity” (2017) is the beginning of the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to support the lives and the faith of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or Questioning and their Allies. I am using the term “beginning” because I think it’s a very good start for a stronger, more inclusive and diverse Church. There will be more to come.
In his introduction, Father Martin explains that he uses the term “LGBT” not to exclude, but because that’s what's in common use at this time. The first part of the book is addressed to the Church and its outreach to the LGBT community. “Jesus recognizes all people, even those who seem invisible in the greater community . . . Catholics therefore have a responsibility to make everyone feel visible and valuable.” The second part of the book is addressed to LGBT persons, and asks for patience, understanding and forgiveness. Importantly, Father Martin acknowledges the sense of betrayal many LGBT people felt and still feel. Helpfully for non-Catholics, Father Martin includes a brief discussion of the structure of the Church and why something said by a priest in a homily may not be Church doctrine.
The book is quite practical. It has specific suggestions for people to talk to each other about these important issues. There’s a study section, with scriptures and suggested questions to meditate on, and talk about. It’s a way to open a dialogue, which is what Father Martin wants.
What this book does not do is either support or condemn same sex marriage; question the Church’s teachings; discuss sexual morality; argue for a change in Church doctrine; or undermine the authority of any person in a position of authority in the Church, from parish priests at individual parishes to the Holy Father.
Father Martin narrates the book, and he is quite good.
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4 of 10 people found this review helpful