A REVIEW of Jesuit James Martin’s doctrine-eroding bad book

In First Things, my friend and faithful biblicist Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ, has reviewed fellow Jesuit but homosexualist activist Fr. James Martin’s book advocating an abandonment of Church teaching.  Martin’s book is ostensibly about “building a bridge” between the Church and homosexuals.  Fr. Gerald Murray took care of that, exposing what Martin’s real agenda is. HERE Fr. Mankowski drives it home.

Mankowski, who is capable of writing with a scalpel for his pen and napalm as his ink, is rather gentle with his errant Jesuit brother… in the review.  However, the title of Mankowski’s review says it all:

Pontifex Minimus

Ouch.  That’s going to stick to Martin now.

Let’s see some of the review… towards the end.


However well-intentioned, Fr. Martin’s book does not advance the Church’s response to the crisis of disordered sexuality; it waves a white flag. For all that, Martin is right to lament the antagonism that persists and correct in pointing to the need of spiritual assistance for same-sex-attracted persons. Here, too, I believe that recourse to the Church’s broader pastoral experience would go far to remedy the problem. [NB] Those with extensive experience in the confessional will have encountered penitents with many different disordered and objectively immoral desires, some associated with behaviors that even today are universally regarded as felonies. The Church is right to teach that all such people are deserving of respect, compassion, and sensitivity, which are their due simply as human persons, not as those who have achieved a given standard of probity or of psychological health. But her own task, carried out by means of her sacraments and the pastoral exertions of her ministers, is to reconcile the sinner and to strengthen the weak, so as to be a conduit of supernatural aid—that is to say, of graces that have their effect in spite of the human limitations of those who transmit them.

By an entirely understandable paradox, the seal of the confessional means that the Church’s pastoral successes in this regard almost never meet the light of day. [Great point!] The pastors are forbidden to speak and their penitents disinclined. Yet the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:10–14) is an admonition to remember that authentic spiritual renewal may not take place in the well-lit areas at center stage—where everyone is watching and public congratulations are fulsomely exchanged—but often occurs out of sight, in the darker and more private precincts of the temple, where humility and remorse seek the truth, and are rewarded with new life.

BTW… Paul Mankowski is one of the contributors to the extremely important


Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church contains five essays of cardinals, of the archbishop secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, and of three scholars on the ideas supported by Walter Card. Kasper from which the Church is still reeling today.

These are the nine chapters of the book:

  • The Argument in Brief- Robert Dodaro, O.S.A.
  • Dominical Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage: The Biblical Data – Paul Mankowski, S.J.
  • Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church: Some Historical and Cultural Reflections – John M. Rist
  • Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of the Bond, and Remarriage: Theological and Practical Approaches of the Orthodox Churches – Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, S.J.
  • Unity and Indissolubility of Marriage: From the Middle Ages to the Council of Trent – Walter Cardinal Brandmüller
  • Testimony to the Power of Grace: On the Indissolubility of Marriage and the Debate concerning the Civilly Remarried and the Sacraments – Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller
  • Sacramental Ontology and the Indissolubility of Marriage – Carlo Cardinal Caffarra
  • The Divorced and Civilly Remarried and the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance  – Velasio Cardinal De Paolis, C.S.
  • The Canonical Nullity of the Marriage Process as the Search for the Truth – Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

James Martin… Pontifex Minimus.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Two decades ago, Fr. Mankowski got into trouble for embarassing another Jesuit, Fr. Robert Drinan, who is best remembered for supporting abortion (and the public financing of it) while in Congress. Fr. Mankowski was conducting research in the New England Jesuit archivrs about Drinan’s career and shared them with Prof. James Hitchcock, who wrote a devestating aryicle for the Catholic World Report. Here’s the link, http://www.catholicculture.org/news/features/index.cfm?recnum=21136

    As it turned out, Fr. Drinan often lied to his superior, Rev. Pedro Arrupe, who not only opposed his candidacy but demanding he leave office. Arrupe didn’t want priests holding political office. Finally, the pope ordered Drinan to leave, which he did.

    Fr. Mankowski’s superior in the NE province condemned him for “betraying” Drinan in a letter to NE Jesuits. There are a lot of liberal Jesuits for whom Drinan remains an inspiration, who despise Fr. Mankowski. The last I heard, Fr. Mankowski still hasn’t been allowed to take his final vows.

    As you all know, in an organization as big as the Catholic Church, it’s not uncommon for opportunists, left-wing dissidents, and idiots to get positions of power and use them to undermine the Church’s mission, promote and protect other dissidents, and block and undermine those who are faithful to Church teachings. The book, “Goodbye Good Men,” exposed the “gate-keeper” phenomenon at a number of seminaries how good candidates are turned away if they’re “conservative.”

    Jesuits take a vow of obedience to superiors. (No, a superior can’t order a priest to commit a sin.) Jesuits who publicly criticize the society–or other Jesuits–can face consequences such as being silenced or reassigned.

    In the late 1970s, the Rev. Cornelius Buckley exposed some bizarre liturgical abuses, in his column for the National Catholic Register, that some Jesuits in California were engaging in. Two priests who were fans of “Rocky,” incorporated boxing in the “Mass” they privately celebrated. Buckley’s article ridiculed these abuses. He was punished by being banned from writing his column, which was quite popular.

    Fr. Fessio upset his superiors when he planned to set up a new college (maybe two-year) to provide an alternative to Jesuit University of San Francisco. Fr. Fessio was assigned to be a chaplain at some hospital. After a public outcry, Fr. Fessio was allowed to resume running Ignatius Press full-time.

    If it hasn’t begun, Fr. Mankowski will encounter a lot (more) hostility within the Society, and there may be attempts to punish him for daring to publicly criticize a popular, liberal Jesuit who is celebrated by the secular media (and, of course, “going against Pope Francis” even though he hasn’t changed a single Church teaching.)

    Pray for Fr. Paul Mankowski.

  2. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Does anyone want to predict what adjectives MSW might use to attack Fr. Mankowski? “Venomous”? Or has Wile E. purchased a thesarus?

    Will he use any other logical fallacies besides ad hominem and appeal to emotion?

  3. Ben Kenobi says:

    Thank you Father. It has been a tough day for me personally and for people that I care about. We are very blessed to have faithful shepherds who protect their flocks!

  4. Phil_NL says:

    Small question: should we read this title as two adjectives (the book is both bad and doctrine-eroding) or as an adjective and a degree modifier? (‘doctrine-eroding bad’ as something beyond even ‘very bad’).
    I think we should push for the latter – if that becomes a common phrase, Fr Martin will have inadvertently occasioned a positive contribution to the defense of doctrine. In charity, we should give him that chance.

  5. KateD says:

    Father Martin is mind boggling to me. I just don’t get a person who becomes a priest, and then proceeds to argue against Jesus. Ultimately he must know that he’s not going to win in an argument with God, right? It seems like a mentally deranged thing to do.

    But I guess we have an example of such a type in Jesus’ own time…that of Judas.

    I normally associate those involved in Church $$ with Judas, but hey, if the shoe fits!

  6. Mike says:

    Unless the Holy Father starts unequivocally affirming the Church’s moral teaching and disciplining those who distort and defy it, it’s very likely that Martin isn’t the only one that the title Pontifex Minimus will stick to.

  7. Richard A says:

    Kudos, then, to Fr. Mankowski.

    Perhaps this is just personal pecadillo of mine, if so mea culpa, but I am getting tired of this pinch of incense to the zeitgeist: “The Church is right to teach that all such people are deserving of respect, compassion, and sensitivity, which are their due simply as human persons.”

    Do we routinely offer that reminder in public discussions of murderous wrath, drunkenness, thievery, wife-beating or rigid traditionalism? This is beginning to look like a ritual pre-emptive breast-beating for having engaged until now in wrong-think toward those poor misunderstood souls who are only trying to force public acceptance of their perversions on us. I can gin up a lot of compassion for someone who is trying to work out his salvation in fear and trembling. But this reminder always comes up in the context of someone who’s trying to make me agree he doesn’t need salvation, at least from this sin.

  8. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Could this be Fr. Mankowski’s future in the Jesuits? See https://youtu.be/_-Mnp6VAmEc

  9. bibi1003 says:

    I was on the National Catholic Register website today and saw an ad for this book as I scrolled down through an article. I don’t know if National Catholic Register is advertising this (surely not), or if this ad is popping up based on my internet searches on Fr. Martin.

    Anybody know what’s going on?

Comments are closed.