Pope Francis today met with his fellow Jesuit, the LGBT advocate Father James Martin. From the Jesuit magazine America:

Pope Francis received James Martin, S.J., in a 30-minute private audience in the papal library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace this morning, Sept. 30, in what is seen here as a highly significant public statement of support and encouragement for this U.S. Jesuit. Father Martin is well known as a public speaker, author and for his pastoral ministry to L.G.B.T. people.

“I was very moved by my encounter with a real pastor,” a joy-filled Father Martin told America after the meeting. “I am most grateful to the Holy Father for his generosity in granting me an audience in the midst of his busy schedule,” he said.

Father Martin would not reveal what the pope said to him in the course of their conversation, except that “we both laughed several times.” He did say, however, that “among other things, I shared with Pope Francis the experiences of L.G.B.T. Catholics around the world, their joys and their hopes, their griefs and concerns. I also spoke about my own ministry to them and how they feel excluded.” He concluded, “I saw this audience as a sign of the Holy Father’s care for L.G.B.T. people.”

America added:

By choosing to meet him in this place, Pope Francis was making a public statement. In some ways, the meeting was the message.

That is certainly true. Francis the other day trolled US conservative Catholics by publicly endorsing a 2017 article appearing in the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica, in which the two non-American authors wrote an analysis of US politics and theology that was so laughably off-the-mark that even some American liberals criticized it:

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I am hearing from various sources that more and more orthodox Catholics are concluding that the future in Francischurch is grim. Instead of fighting to reform it, they are instead committing themselves to defending their own families and local communities — in some cases, from the institutional church, of which they remain a part.

In other words, they are taking the Benedict Option within the Catholic Church, to save the Catholic faith for themselves and their children in the face of what this progressive pope and his many acolytes throughout the system are doing. What an extraordinary time we’re living in.

Are you a conservative Catholic who is doing that? If so, what tipped you to that point of view? Or are you still fighting within the system? If so, why are you hopeful that the resurgent progressivism can be resisted?

 

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