Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity (英語) ペーパーバック – 2018/3/6
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In this revised and expanded paperback of his groundbreaking book, Jesuit priest and New York Times bestselling author James Martin makes the surprisingly controversial argument that Catholic leaders should stop seeing the LGBT community as "the other" and instead reach out to them with greater compassion and openness.
This new edition includes a new introduction along with forty percent new material, including stories from LGBT Catholics, and responses to the common questions about ministry to LGBT people. Father Martin turns to three virtues from the Catechism of the Catholic Church—"respect, compassion, and sensitivity"—as a model for how both the Catholic leadership and LGBT Catholics can move together on a "two-way bridge" toward reconciliation and love.
This revolutionary book also includes spiritual and biblical resources for the LGBT community and their families, friends, and allies. Father Martin offers biblical passages, accompanied by meditations and questions for reflection, to help LGBT people find their place in the church and enter into a deeper relationship with God. Building a Bridge is a compassionate book desperately needed in today’s climate of divisiveness.
“A welcome and much-needed book that will help bishops, priests, pastoral associates, and all church leaders, more compassionately minister to the LGBT community. It will also help LGBT Catholics feel more at home in what is, after all, their church.” (Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life)
“Martin has written a wonderful book that challenges the institutional church to be in dialogue with the LGBT community. This has challenged a lot of people, because you don’t want to build a bridge if you already think you’re right. But this is where we have to go next.” (Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta)
“Martin knows that by drawing close and entering into relationships, we learn mercy, equality of heart, and love of enemies. If we can be Christian in those things, then the scandal at the heart of the relationship between LGBT believers and our churches is on the way to being undone.” (James Alison, author of Faith Beyond Resentment)
“The Gospel demands that LGBT Catholics be genuinely loved and treasured in the life of the Church. They are not. Martin provides us the language, perspective, and sense of urgency to undertake the arduous but monumentally Christlike task of replacing a culture of alienation with a culture of merciful inclusion.” (Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego)
“Sexuality, gender, and religion—a volatile mix! With this book, Father Martin shows how the Rosary and the rainbow flag can peacefully meet each other. After this must-read book, you’ll understand why New Ways Ministry honored Father Martin with its Bridge-Building Award.” (Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, co-founder of New Ways Ministry)
“In too many parts of our church, LGBT people have been made to feel unwelcome, excluded, and even shamed. Martin’s inspiring new book invites church leaders to minister with more compassion and reminds LGBT Catholics that they are as much a part of our church as any other Catholic.” (Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark)
“Martin discusses how . . . clergy and LGBT laity must genuinely befriend and become known to one another, in the assurance that the Holy Spirit sustains the effort.” (Booklist)
“If Martin’s book, with its biblical reflections on God’s loving creation of us and Jesus’ unconditional welcome, can help LGBT people and our families experience and trust God’s tenderness, he will have laid the foundation stone for social change and spiritual renewal.” (Washington Post)
“A major bridge-builder is Father James Martin, S.J., whose new book displays guarded hope for change. . . . Father Martin frames these complex issues in larger contexts, stressing the values of respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” (Martin E. Marty, Sightings)
“In this much anticipated new book, Father James Martin, SJ, seeks to end the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality that has long divided LGBT Catholics and the institutional Church.” (Crux)
Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine, consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication, and author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestsellers Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and My Life with the Saints, which Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of 2006. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media, having appeared on all the major networks, and in such diverse outlets as The Colbert Report, NPR's Fresh Air, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business.
The book is divided into 3 sections, the Bridge section, the Meditation and Reflection section, and a short prayer section at the end.
Fr. Martin’s approach is organized around the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Pt. 3, Sec. 2, Ch. 2, Article 6) paragraph No. 2358 in which it is stated that LGBTQ individuals are to be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. In context, the previous paragraph (No. 2357) states the Church’s moral position: Under no circumstances can (LGBTQ) activity be approved. It’s important to distinguish between the moral position, and the pastoral position. No. 2357 is the moral position, No. 2358 is the pastoral position. The book is primarily pastoral in nature.
In the Bridge section, a chapter is devoted to each of the three virtues, respect, compassion, and sensitivity, from the perspective of both the LGBTQ community, and the Church. A bridge is not one-way, after all, as Fr. Martin observes. More importantly, showing these virtues to each other honors the Biblical doctrine of Imago Dei, and Jesus’ teaching to love your neighbor as yourself, and to love your enemy.
Showing respect to the LGBTQ community involves recognition of existence, calling LGBTQ what they want to be called, and acknowledging their gifts and talents. Showing respect to the Church requires hearing (with the implication of obeying) the authoritative teaching of the church.
Showing compassion to the LGBTQ community is comprised of listening to them, standing with them, sorrowing and rejoicing with them. Showing compassion to the Church means seeing Church leaders as God sees them, as anointed, though imperfect servants.
Showing sensitivity to the LGBTQ community means being aware of their feelings, and being aware of what wounds them, then avoiding such language/action/attitudes. Showing sensitivity to the Church means using discrimination in the attachment of meaning to official pronouncements of the Church, in context.
In a summary chapter entitled Together on the Bridge, Fr. Martin points out that the bridge is desirable for trust, forgiveness, reconciliation, unity and love, and that it is all supported by the power of the Holy Spirit. Implicit is the assumption that being together on the bridge, in Christian community, is a worthy goal.
The Meditation and Reflection section contains 10 short meditations on key Scripture passages that Fr. Martin has found helpful in his ministry to the LGBTQ community. Among the ten are such things as the Biblical importance of naming for honoring all Imago Dei; finding acceptance in knowing that all of God’s children are “fearfully and wonderfully made”; finding strength in God (Psalm 62); finding hope in the risen Christ; and examining one’s “darkness” in the “sunshine of God’s love.” Each meditation concludes with questions for reflection, geared both to LGBTQ individuals, Church leaders, and allies.
The final section contains a Prayer for use by the LGBTQ community, particularly when feeling the sting of rejection and despair.
As mentioned earlier, Fr. Martin’s book is primarily pastoral in nature. Building A Bridge is not a book about who is right and who is wrong about homosexuality. Discernment police on either side of the debate will not find the book satisfying. However, the book is a valuable resource for bridging the divide, with plenty of completely Scriptural exhortation for both Church leaders, the LGBTQ community, and allies.
Having said that, there are several moral implications, on both ends of the bridge, that each faction will have trouble with, respectively. Fr. Martin alludes to this in his Together on the Bridge summary: “Some of this may be hard for members of the LGBTQ community to hear. Some of this also may be challenging for Church leaders to hear.” If we are to meet in the middle, there are compromises that will need to be made by both sides.
The first of these implicit compromises hinted at in the book is the moral issue, homosexuality as sin. This particular compromise will require more sacrifice on the part of the LGBTQ individual than for the Church. On the LGBTQ side of the bridge, it must be accepted that the Magisterium is unlikely to concede that homosexuality is not a sin, ever. The tradition and Biblical witness is too strong. This is implied in the section on Respect for the Church, as well as in the meditation about self-examination. On the other side of the bridge, the Church must avoid singling out homosexuality as a more “disordered” sin than, say, divorce and remarriage without annulment, premarital sex, adultery, even the use of birth control.
The second compromise implicit in the book is the value and worth of all Catholics in God’s eyes. This compromise will require more sacrifice on the part of the Church than for the LGBTQ community. Fr. Martin advocates strongly for the acceptance of LGBTQ individuals in the Church community, up to and including lay service, and even comes close at points to affirmation that God has made LGBTQ individuals the way they are for a purpose. This is implied in the discussion about respect for the spiritual gifting of LGBTQ individuals, as well as in several of the meditations that relate to self-acceptance. On the other hand, he also advocates strongly for LGBTQ submission to and respect for Church leaders, tradition, and doctrine.
This is a book directed specifically to a Catholic audience. It is worth pointing out that Catholic acceptance of LGBTQ as Christians hinges on their baptism/confirmation in the Church, not heterosexual identity. In the evangelical context, the vast majority of churches currently rejects LGBTQ Christians as a contradiction in terms. In other words, in most evangelical minds, it is not possible for someone who self-identifies as LGBTQ to also be a Christian. Although this is theologically erroneous from an orthodoxy point of view, it is nonetheless a reality that will unfortunately prevent most Evangelicals from finding any merit in the book.
Overall the book is an excellent resource for those who have a passion for LGBTQ inclusion in the Church. The concepts could easily be adapted to other traditions, even the evangelical tradition. There may, of necessity, be limits to what that can look like in a Church, but there’s no Biblical warrant for complete exclusion of the LGBTQ community. Fr. Martin imparts a lot of Holy Spirit-filled wisdom about how to go about doing this. Contrary to his critics, I found the book to be thoroughly orthodox.
From a personal standpoint, the approach advocated in the book is long overdue. I agree that there is value in being together on the bridge. Transformation happens in community, in relationship with other Christians, and with God. It is time for the Church to stop ostracizing specific groups of sinners. It is time for the Church to extend community to all. The best place for all sinners, including LGBTQ individuals, is in Christian community. I highly recommend the book for those who feel called to serve and be served in the LGBTQ context.