Brave, prophetic and inspiring are among the plaudits handed out to a book that will be released soon, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, written by Fr James Martin, SJ, a regular contributor to the magazine America.
Fr James is a popular author known to be respectful and compassionate toward gay men and women. Those who have seen advance copies of the book say that it does not call for any changes in doctrine nor does it touch upon the topic of same-sex marriage, nevertheless they describe it as a “much needed book”. In his endorsement, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, California, has written, “The Gospel demands that LGBT Catholics must be genuinely loved and treasured in the life of the church. They are not.” He added, Fr Martin “provides us with the language, perspective, and sense of urgency to replace a culture of alienation with a culture of merciful inclusion.”
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was recently chosen by Pope Francis to head the Vatican office on laity, family, and life issues, praises Martin’s writing in his write-up: “A welcome and much-needed book that will help bishops, priests, pastoral associates, and all church leaders more compassionately minister to the LGBT community.” Cardinal Farrell, until recently the Bishop of Dallas, Texas, has said, “It will also help LGBT Catholics feel more at home in what is, after all, their church.” Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, a rising star in the US hierarchy, in an appreciation of the book, said, “In too many parts of our church LGBT people have been made to feel unwelcome, excluded, and even shamed… [Father Martin’s book]… marks an essential step in inviting church leaders to minister with more compassion, and in reminding LGBT Catholics that they are as much a part of our church as any other Catholic.”
(A review of Building a Bridge will be published in a future edition of Quest Bulletin).