Father James Martin, SJ, editor-at-large of America magazine and a New York Times best-selling author, focuses on the relationship between LGBT Catholics and the Catholic Church in his new book, Building a Bridge.
Father 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, N.J., 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.”