Father Martin Meet Father Martin



Father James Martin, SJ, is concerned about a lack of civility in discourse among Catholics, judging from a post in America, the Jesuit rag not the country:

I’m disgusted with malicious slandering that passes itself off as thoughtful theology.  I’m disgusted with mean-spirited personal attacks that pass themselves off as Christian discourse. I’m disgusted with the facile use of words like “heresy” and “schism” and “apostate,” passing itself off as defenses of the faith.  Basically, I’m disgusted with hate being passed off as charity.  Needless to say, this is not entirely Mr. Douthat’s doing, or Mr. Reno’s doing, or Mr. Dreher’s doing.  And I know that they are good and loyal Catholics (and in Mr. Dreher’s case, formerly-Catholic, now Orthodox). Obviously. But they and others–who are far more culpable–have engaged in enough of that kind of uncharitable behavior to have fostered an atmosphere of hatred and mistrust in our church. Instead of Thomas Merton’s famous “Mercy within mercy within mercy” we get “Hate piled on hate piled on hate.”

Invective.  Disdain.  Contempt.  Attacks.  Insinuations.  And hate.  An endless river of hate that is the result of these kinds of articles and essays and speeches and tweets.  

That is not theology, and it does not flow from the love of Jesus Christ.  It is a malicious desire to wound people and to score points. To “win.” And if you think it’s amusing, then you’re missing Jesus’s point about not calling people names and praying for our “enemies.”  And by the way, if you take Jesus as your model, and feel the need to judge people, and call them names as he did, like “hypocrite,” feel free to do so when you are the sinless Son of God.  We risk being so Catholic that we forget to be Christian.  

So I wholeheartedly support fully anyone’s right to write whatever he or she wants, including Ross Douthat, whom I respect.  And, as an educated and faithful Catholic layperson, much of what he writes is thoughtful, insightful and deserving of our full attention.  But be sure that whenever you’re reading ad hominem comments, thinly veiled attacks on people’s fidelity to the faith, snide insinuations and malicious twisting of words, you are not reading theology. 

You are reading hate.  


Bravo!  He needs though to have a good talk with Father James Martin, SJ, at least judging from this post last year by Father Z:



Just in case you were wondering what sort of people were on the other side of the issue, this is a Twitter exchange between the Jesuit James Martin and Massimo Faggioli, a liberal academic in St. Paul:

Card. Burke is compared to the late Archbp. Marcel Lefevbre. They invoke “schism”.


Will they next say that St. John Paul II was a Lefebvrite?

St. John Paul issued Familiaris consortio and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and everything that Card. Burke has said can be found in both.

For a liberal, Lefebvre is the equivalent of the bogeyman, Hannibal at the gates, the monster under the bed.

If “ideologue” is now liberal code for “faithful”, I suppose that “schismatic” is now their code for “believer in the Magisterium”.

I hope that these guys have a fainting couch.





As Dale Price has recently opined at Dyspeptic Mutterings:


As I’ve said before, “dialogue” is a shibboleth of Catholic [sic] progressives, a bit of virtue-signalling, a verbal secret handshake with no deeper significance.


“I am a proponent of dialogue” means “I am a good person whose views are impeccably correct, fellow card-carrying leftist. I’m definitely not one of those bitter/clingy/fundamentalist yahoos. Keep the invites a’ comin.” 

The actual practice of Dialogue™ is a form of bullshit, in the Frankfurtian sense of the term, meant to obscure truth and not actually explore it.

Exhibit A is this shoddy bit of mau-mauing from a claque of self-described Catholic academics.
Ross Douthat dared to disagree with their ideological preferences, so they bestirred themselves from within their well-appointed, tenure-bestowed offices and got huffy.
This part was particularly rich:

Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject…

The subject, of course, is Catholicism. No doubt this degreed array of door stops are happy to praise the competence of modern American laity (BEST EDUCATED EVAR!!!) when it suits their purposes…but Gaia help you when you disagree with them.

It’s the pissy reaction of guild members to those who infringe on their imagined prerogatives, marking their territory in the same way an outraged feline does his.

So, does this oily band of twee gnostics think only they can speak to Catholic issues, and those without certifications can’t? That’s the kind of intellectual corruption that leads to reformations. But, it does get you in some media contact lists, so it’s all good.

For future reference: if the omnipresent Rev. Jim Martin from A—–a Magazine praises you for something you say about the Faith and you don’t have a collar or letters after your name, it’s worthless. The bottom line is that he regards you in exactly the same way he does an orangutan who knows some sign language: you’re adorable, but he’s never handing you the car keys.


More to explorer


  1. For a man who says he’s all about the mercy, there seems to be an incongruous lack of charity for those whose opinions differ from his own. And then there’s the “hate” thing. Fr. Martin wields that word the same way a professional feminist wields “sexism,” or a professional race agitator wields “racism.”
    My guess is that the upset isn’t so much about what’s in the final relation, but about what’s not in it.

  2. It sometimes seems that religion faculty, divinity faculty, and seminary faculty are all con men whose object is word play, cushy employment, and, as Mr. Price puts it ‘virtue signaling’. It’s exceedingly demoralizing. Our separated brethren are coping with a mess of sinecure holders at evangelical institutions spreading the line that upon reflection homosexual pseudogamy is totes okay. It seems part of the corruption of the age that every academic and professional discipline outside STEM is suffused with humbug. Law, theology, literary criticism, art criticism, sociology. The value of academic life is near on ruined.

  3. I don’t waste eye sight reading “America” (not our country) or the NYT.
    I saw this (below) at Instapundit. It seems to be appropriate. I believe it is wrath which is both an emotion (ergo irrational) and one of the seven capital sins.
    Rod Dreher: “The tempest-in-a-theological-faculty-teapot over the pissy letter an (ever-growing) list of Catholic theologians are sending to The New York Times to complain about the traitor-to-his-class Ross Douthat is most revealing for what it says about the rank intolerance of the Catholic academic left, and the fragility of theologians, who fall to pieces in the face of the tiniest microaggression.”

  4. “If the omnipresent Rev, Jim Martin from A___a magazine praises you for some
    thing you say about the Faith and you don’t have a collar or letters after your
    name, it’s worthless.”

    I must apologize in advance to any readers here who’ve slaved to earn their
    degrees in Catholic theology, but I’m of the opinion that the title of ‘Catholic
    theologian’ has become worthless, at least in this country. Consider that our
    bishops have renounced pretty much all meaningful oversight over Catholic
    universities. Theologians are required by Canon Law to obtain a mandatum
    from their bishop before they may teach– but our bishops have decided that
    whether or not a theologian has actually done so is a private matter, not
    public record. As a result, we faithful have a hard time knowing if in fact
    a theologian actually has a bishop’s permission and approval to call himself
    a ‘Catholic theologian’. Our bishops, in effect, refuse to tell us.
    So who is putting the stamp of approval on Catholic theologians if not our
    bishops? It appears to be the hiring and tenure committees of our increasingly
    decadent Catholic universities, and the editors of the increasingly loopy
    theology journals who are deciding who is a ‘Catholic theologian’. (And
    keep in mind that it isn’t necessary to be Catholic to be either an editor or
    on a tenure committee). In my opinion, that’s why we’ve come to the point
    where there is no sin so perverse one cannot find a ‘Catholic theologian’ to
    advocate for it, nor a Dogma of the Faith so fundamental there isn’t a
    ‘Catholic theologian’ to deny it.
    Theology was once the “Queen of the Sciences”. Now she’s a laughingstock.

  5. Three progressive mathematicians had a highly complex dispute about the value of 2+2.
    They decided to enter dialogue which always handles things properly without the usual conflict and bitterness..
    Math man 1 ventured 2+2 to equal 5, while Math man 2 said he was wrong and claimed that it equaled 6, the third, call them well-schooled, but wrong and stated emphatically that 2 plus 2 effectively equaled 3. They dialogued some more, and as progressives, in the spirit of compromise, they agreed to accept as the correct answer the average, in order to offend no one. And so, ever since in the progressive world 3 plus 3 equals 4.66666666666667.
    To any that might disagree, they could submit their own equations to a “blue ribbon” committee of experts who would dialogue in order to resolve their concerns.
    I file the call for dialogue, alongside my files about “free lunches” and “survey’s prove.”

  6. Clinton suggested something noteworthy: that every Catholic theologian is required by Canon Law to obtain a mandatum from his bishop to teach theology. That reminded me of the practice for qualification as a reactor operator on board my old submarine. There were the usual academic subjects to study and exams to pass, as well as the qualifcation cards to fill out and the final oral exam board. Everyone did that – mechanical operators, electrical operators, technicians, etc. But for three people – reactor operators, engineering officers of the watch, and engineering watch supervisors – there was one extra step: the final oral examination by the ship’s captain, which everyone dreaded. It didn’t matter if you passed all your exams with flying colors. What finally qualified you to pull rods and bring the reactor critical without adult supervision was the captain’s mandatum. And he had a vested interest that you knew your stuff inside and out, because if you didn’t, then both you and he and about 100 other people would be breathing seawater sooner or later.
    These bishops have no vested interest in whether a theologian does or teaches the right thing or not. Maybe if they had the experience of captaining a nuclear submarine with 100 sailors age 18 to 20, realizing that without providing the required adult supervision, their lives would end horribly, then maybe they would wake up an do their freaking job.
    And as far as I am concerned, overseeing the state of the souls of the faithful is orders of magnitude MORE important that overseeing the state of a submarine nuclear reactor at power with young men barely out of their teens at the rod control in-hold-out switch.

  7. “We risk being so Catholic that we forget to be Christian.”

    A fascinating sentence, speaking volumes. However unintentionally.

  8. Back in the 90’s, there was a fascinating article in the National Catholic Register
    about the mandatum and our bishop’s decision to render it meaningless
    by refusing to make it public. In the article, I recall, a priest-theologian at the
    Jesuit-run University of San Francisco referred to the mandatum as “a joke”,
    and declared that he didn’t know of anyone on the faculty that had bothered to
    seek one. I wasn’t amazed at the priest’s attitude– we all know those folks exist–
    but I was astonished that he had the chutzpah to go on record in a
    nationally-circulated Catholic publication and give the game away.
    In addition to making a mockery of the mandatum, our bishops have also
    largely gone out of the business of issuing an imprimatur and nihil obstat
    for theology texts. Whereas all theology texts once had to obtain such clearance
    from a bishop prior to publication, current Canon Law only requires that texts used
    in theology classrooms obtain episcopal approval. Is anyone out there so naive
    as to believe that theology faculty are using only materials cleared for use by
    our bishops? It is to laugh.
    Our bishops have, Pilate-like, washed their hands of any meaningful oversight of
    the theologians out there calling themselves “Catholic”. These people are shaping
    formation of our future priests and bishops and are spreading their views amongst
    the laity. They are remaking what passes for “Catholic theology” along their own
    lines, without any meaningful connection to the Church outside the faculty lounge.
    As Paul Primavera put it above, there is no adult supervision.
    So, Fr. James Martin SJ and the dozens of ‘Catholic theologians’ who signed the
    letter to the NYT objecting to Mr. Douthat’s column object that the man has no
    professional qualifications to be writing about a matter involving Catholic theology.
    I think if I were Mr. Douthat, I’d take that as a compliment.

  9. I apologize for my badly justified margins above– I unthinkingly posted
    before I checked to make sure the margins fit. *sigh*

  10. I am not apologizing to philosophers or theologists. Philosophy is the study of making up stuff about stuff. Theology is a system of making up stuff about God. I’ll cleave to revealed Truth as found in Holy Scripture and 2,000+ years of Catholic Teachings, thank you very much. The Truth is not subject to opinion (is not truth: Plato) and speculation.
    To paraphrase Dr. Sheldon Cooper, “I have no respect for the fields.”

  11. Father Martin is not all that upset about Douthat. What Father Martin is upset about is that he has been discovered. He and Rosica and their little team of people who try to cheerlead for homosexual causes, for changes in church doctrine, etc. And now he is getting flack for it, and he is lashing out like a little girl, calling everyone haters.

    What a child.

  12. One year of false mercy v. eternity of damnation. Math is not Martin’s strong suit. Although, on the bright side, SSPX confessors are included in this year of mercy – can’t wait for Martin to spread his love to them.

  13. I actually do respect philosophers and theologians – true ones. Not the vast majority of present day ones who spew garbage. To some extent, the “publish or perish” maxim has ruined these disciplines, forcing candidates to come up with new garbage, when, in fact, “there is nothing new under the sun.” But, if done right, theology is the Queen of the Sciences, and philosophy the Queen’s hand maid.

  14. Isn’t it amazing that the progressives, such as Fr. Martin, take issue with clerics and Catholics who adhere to church teachings? The pope, another progressive, said after the synod that the conservative clerics were hiding behind the teachings of the church. Hiding behind them? I would think that they were reaffirming the teachings of the church.

  15. There is no way to coexist with folks who are content to advance & practice evil while attacking those who live & believe what is right. A house divided shall not stand. In my mind it is just a question of when & who keeps the physical assets.

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