Francis’ Church, next stop: gay marriage

Father James Martin catechises the Irish bishops on Fiducia Supplicans and in a tweet 'normalises' gay marriage. And the Pope's response to the latest dubia has already paved the way.

There was never any real doubt that the blessings authorised by Fiducia supplicans (FS)  were only the start of a journey. And Jesuit Father James Martin's pioneering new findings confirm this. The pursued ambiguity of the document and the subsequent 'clarifications' is the litmus test of its deliberately provisional nature, especially when it is signed by a pope who has summed up the strategy of his pontificate in two principles: the initiation of processes and the superiority of time over space.

It was Francis himself, in his reply to the second dubium of the five cardinals (25 September 2023), who had initiated the process of blessings to 'irregular' and same-sex couples, baptising the principle that the indispensable point would simply be to maintain the distinction between nuptial blessings and 'other' blessings. A principle that just three months later would be the basis of the Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which - it should be remembered - contemplates precisely "the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples".

All the subsequent tangles and clumsy declarations that have led to talk of blessings not of couples, but of people in couples, or of blessings of couples, but not of unions, are all part of an apparent necessary retreat from the open field in order to hold the trenches, a retreat made necessary by the massive opposition involving an entire continent, numerous episcopal conferences, individual bishops and a great many faithful. A tide of Catholics, although the Pope has tried to throw dust in everyone’s eyes, first by derubricating the massive African opposition to a cultural issue and then, in an interview with an Italian newspaper, by speaking of "little groups" manifesting "schismatic reflections".

Back to Fr. Martin. The Canadian website Lifesitenews, reported that the Jesuit had been invited to speak at the Marian shrine of Knock, on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Irish Bishops' Conference. Two days in which Martin himself reportedly spoke about 'those in the margins' and the Church's 'ministry to LGBTQ people'. An Irish source on the Canadian website confided that the bishops would also put on the table ways to apply FS and to try to achieve gay marriage.
Fr. Martin would thus be the Vatican pathfinder to try to get FS out of the trench it has been forced into in recent weeks, according to the well-known maxim that attack is the the best form of defence. At the same time, the Jesuit shows the rearguards what the real goal is for which FS was born: gay marriage and the blessing of sodomy.

The intervention in Ireland parallels another performance by Martin a few days ago (see here). The controversial priest, always ready to comment on Twitter on whatever is useful to push Catholics towards political correctness - that is, how to put one foot and four toes in Hell without overdoing it -, had thought it best not to miss the news of the male companion of the US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg. Who had made it known that he was travelling at US expense with a dependent husband. On 22 January, Jesuit tweeted: 'Surprising that the news has received so much attention. Like it or not, Pete Buttigieg is legally married. You may not agree with same-sex marriage (or not). But @SecretaryPete is just as married in the eyes of the state and his church as anyone else is. To claim otherwise is to ignore reality'.

So, for Martin, there can be a true marriage 'in the eyes of the State' and a 'church' that is in contradiction to natural, God-ordained marriage. One can be, in his eyes, truly married to persons of the same sex, 'like anyone else', while to have anything to say about it would be to 'ignore reality'. It is clear that in this perspective, even the Catholic Church should take note of 'reality' and, if it really cannot equate this marriage with Catholic marriage, it should nevertheless recognise it as something similar. The point is that in James Martin's mind, two men or two women can marry, that theirs is a marriage, even if the Catholic Church cannot call it that.

On closer inspection, even in this respect, Martin is but an outpost, to indicate which way the Church should go; and it is an outpost supported by the Pope, who not only finds no objection to his pro-LGBTQ 'mission', but has already provided him with theoretical support for 'Catholic' gay marriage.

No. 292 of Amoris Lætitia introduced the idea of a gradation of the fulfilment of Christian marriage, which "is fully realised in the union between a man and a woman, who give themselves to each other in exclusive love and free fidelity, belong to each other until death and open themselves to the transmission of life". The post-synodal exhortation considered that "other forms of union radically contradict this ideal", and one can assume that these are same-sex "unions", "while some realise it at least in a partial and analogous way", a probable reference to more uxorio unions.

But in the reply to the second dubium, already mentioned above, the Pope no longer mentioned this distinction and only retained the idea of "other forms of union" that realise marriage "only "in a partial and analogous manner" (...) for which they cannot be strictly called 'marriage'". It should be pointed out that this reply concerned the question not on the possibility of blessing generic irregular unions, but specifically "unions with persons of the same sex". The Pope is therefore silent on the fact that these 'unions' radically contradict marriage precisely as the question was put to him in reference to these 'unions', which instead become partial and analogous realisations of Christian marriage.

As soon as the FS blow is digested, the next step will therefore be that of gay marriage, provided one distinguishes it theoretically and ritually from sacramental marriage. James Martin knows this and, like a good wingman, begins to prepare the sprint. On the other hand, FS has already laid all the groundwork in this regard, because the existence of blessings given by a priest in the name of the Church that are not liturgical is pure fiction. And because blessing the couple means blessing the union that forms that couple, the kind of relationship that forms that couple. James Martin may continue his ministry of moving the bar forward towards gay marriage, so that the blessings of the FS may be digested as a lesser evil to be accepted, lest the worst come to the worst.

Meanwhile, on 3 January, following his performance in blessing the first gay couple after FS, the Jesuit had written for Outreach (see here), 'that the emphasis on priests blessing same-sex couples did not emphasise how much same-sex couples have blessed the Church. They have certainly blessed me'. Thus marking the last real stage of the journey: sodomy is no longer a sin, it is a blessing.