Pope Francis encourages Jesuit Father James Martin in his LGBT ministry
Pope Francis once again encouraged the ministry of James Martin, SJ, with LGBT people, and with words that could encourage others in this work as well. He did so on the eve of the Catholic LGBT Outreach 2021 ministry conference which took place via webinar this Saturday, June 26, of which the Jesuit priest was the main organizer.
A few weeks ago, Father Martin, editor-in-chief of America Media, informed the Pope of the conference in a private letter and explained its purpose, then received a personal letter handwritten in Spanish from Francis, dated June 21. , expressing encouragement and support for this work.
On the eve of the LGBT Outreach 2021 conference, Father Martin received a personal handwritten letter in Spanish from Francis, expressing his support.
As is known, Francis tends to make personal phone calls to people, but what is less well known is his habit of sending personal and handwritten messages to people, usually in Spanish, and often in response to letters. that they sent him. While he sometimes explicitly requests that the letter be kept confidential, he usually leaves it to the recipient to decide whether or not he wants to make its contents known. Father Martin, after consulting with people who knew the Pope, decided that he could reveal its contents.
While the first paragraph of the letter is familiar, personal, even humorous, and concerns Father Martin’s nephew who took Francisco’s name for confirmation, the rest of the text refers to his ministry of outreach to LGBT people, especially through today’s conference the Jesuit priest had told him about it.
As is known, Francois tends to make personal phone calls to people, but what is less well known is his habit of sending personal, handwritten messages.
Francis is well informed of the work that Father Martin is doing. He sought to encourage him in this ministry and for this reason, in a significant public gesture of encouragement and support, he received him in private audience at the library of the Vatican Apostolic Palace on September 30, 2019.
His letter on the eve of today’s awareness conference can be understood in the same way. Addressing him as “Querido Hermano” (“Dear Brother”), Francis congratulates Father Martin for all this work, saying: “I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your ability to be close to people, with this closeness that Jesus had. , and which reflects closeness to God.
He reminds him: “Our heavenly Father approaches each of his children with love, each one [of them]. His heart is to open up to everyone. He is Father.
“I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your ability to be close to people, with this closeness that Jesus had, and which reflects the closeness to God. “
Here the Pope emphasizes once again that the love of God does not exclude. He made the same remark to parents of LGBT children at the end of a public hearing at the Vatican on September 17, 2020, when he told them, “God loves your children as they are.
In his letter to Father Martin, Pope Francis repeats what he has said several times before: “The ‘style’ of God has three aspects: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is how he gets closer to each of us.
Referring explicitly to the “pastoral work” of the Jesuit priest of which the conference is a part, the Pope remarks: “I see that you are continually seeking to imitate this style of God. You are a priest for all men, as God is Father for all men. “
Significantly, Francis encourages Father Martin to continue this ministry. “I pray that you will continue in this way, being close, compassionate and with great tenderness. “
In concluding his letter, Pope Francis offers encouraging words to all whom the American Jesuit reaches through his ministry. He said: “And I pray for your faithful, your ‘parishioners’ and all those whom the Lord places [in your way], so that you take care of them, that you protect them and that you make them grow in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The full text of the letter is below:
Thank you for your mail and for the photos. Please thank your nephew for his kindness to me and for choosing the name Francisco. And congratulate him on the socks. He made me laugh. Tell him I pray for him and ask him to do it for me.
Concerning your PS [about the Outreach LGBT Ministry Conference], I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your ability to be close to people, with this closeness that Jesus had and which reflects the closeness to God. Our Heavenly Father approaches each and every one of his children with love. Her heart is to open up to everyone. He is Father. God’s “style” has three aspects: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is how he gets closer to each of us.
Thinking about your pastoral work, I see that you are continually seeking to imitate this style of God. You are a priest for all men and women, just as God is the Father for all men and women. I pray that you will continue in this way, being close, compassionate and with great tenderness.
And I pray for your faithful, your “parishioners”, and all those whom the Lord places in your charge, so that you protect them, and make them grow in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Don’t forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and may the Blessed Virgin protect you.