Looking into Francis’ hand-written letter to Martin

People have asked my about the hand-written letter from Francis to the Jesuit homosexualist activist Fr James Martin.  Austin Ruse has a good piece about it HERE

Ruse does an autopsy on this letter and its meaning, especially the by now wearisome prevarication that Martin is, as Ruse cites the trope, “doing God’s own work in building bridges to a marginalized community.”

Irony oozes, particularly as Ruse points out, far from being a marginalized community right now, those to whom Martin addresses himself are, “among the most powerful ‘communities’ in the United States.”

The single most marginalized community in the Catholic Church in these USA is, without question or debate, those who desire traditional sacred worship.

Let’s game this out.   Let’s imagine that Francis has sent a private, hand-written letter… to me. He praises me for bringing countless people back to confession, inspiring dozens and dozens of men to try their vocations, prompted large numbers of converts, helped numerous couples get their marriages sorted out, resolved all matter of moral questions and catechized, asserted a strong influence in the liturgical translation process around the time of Liturgiam authenticam.  No, wait, let’s keep it simple.  He praises me for having brought many priests and people to experience – here we go – traditional sacred liturgical worship.

What would happen?

Immediately the New Red Guards at the Fishwrap and Amerika, RU-486 and La Crock, would pooh-pooh such a letter as being “only hand-written”, and therefore “not public”, but rather “merely private”. As a private letter, it is not published in an official organ of the Holy See.  Any such letter from Francis to someone “building bridges to a marginalized traditional community”, as Ruse put it, would be a mostly empty gesture made probably out of pity rather than “official” approbation.  Better yet, he wrote it out of mercy, ’cause that’s the kinda guy he is.

What could such a letter to me look like?  Let’s make a very few alterations to the letter which Martin received, which I shall indicate.  Remember, this is the imagined version, with a few changes.

Dear brother:

Thank you for your mail and for the photos. Please thank your nephew for his kindness to me and for having chosen the name Francisco. And congratulate him on the pontifical buskins. He made me laugh. Tell him that I pray for him and ask him to do so for me.

Regarding your P.S. [about the annual Summorum Pontificum Conference], I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your ability to be close to people, with that closeness that Jesus had and that reflects the closeness of God. Our Heavenly Father approaches with love every one of his children, each and everyone. His heart is to open to each and everyone. He is Father. God’s “style” has three aspects: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is how he draws closer to each one of us.

Thinking about your pastoral work, I see that you are continuously looking 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 for you to continue in this way, being close, compassionate and with great tenderness.

And I pray for your faithful, your online “parishioners,” and anyone whom the Lord places in your care, so that you protect them, and make them grow in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Please don’t forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you and may the Holy Virgin protect you.



A few changes.   This letter could have been written pretty much to anyone engaged in any apostolate.  But… if it is addressed to a certain someone… well!  It is like the discovery of an authenticated letter of an Apostle!  3 Peter!

Would that the tradition-leaning marginalized community could get a little of that “closeness compassion and tenderness” which should be “for all men and women.”

Just a little, please?  If it’s not too much trouble?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Francis, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Drill and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. benedetta says:

    One aspect that always struck me about Fr. Martin is that he is an indefatigable self-promoter. In the world of twitter that becomes confused with “ministry”.

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  3. Clare says:

    A big difference (well one of them) between you and Fr. Martin is you don’t have a bigger agenda than you let on. You say exactly what your goals are and why you work toward them, in this blog. You don’t “dog whistle,” you just address your readers plainly. Martin says a lot of things which are perfectly fine. He’ll tweet about Jesus overturning tables at the temple, with a meditation thought, and it doesn’t seem objectionable. But what’s that accompanying illustration? Oh, it turns out to be from a gay artist, who wrote gay meditations on the Passion. The rest of the pictures are not so salubrious. I’ll bet the advisors he talks to are following the breadcrumbs, even if Pope Francis isn’t.

  4. Philliesgirl says:

    But Fr Z you can’t possibly be congratulated for bringing converts to the Faith. That’s a very bad thing to do.

  5. samwise says:

    “Any apostolate”…which is why I donate to the Courage Apostolate. They already have bridges built to those with SSA. The fact that Francis pretends like Fr Martin’s work is somehow better fitted to LGBTQ is literally like enabling alcoholics by encouraging them to drink at an AA meeting

  6. Peter Stuart says:

    As an SSA Catholic struggling, with gradually decreasing success, to be faithful, and an alcoholic to boot (sober today, thank God), and not inclined to get into discussions about how far up the arm the maniple goes or how many grains of incense go in the thingy… whatever.

    Messy sinners can stay marginalized, I guess.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Holy Scripture is 2 Thes 3:6, Anti-Scripture is 2 Jesuits.

  8. robtbrown says:

    Peter Stuart says:

    As an SSA Catholic struggling, with gradually decreasing success, to be faithful, and an alcoholic to boot (sober today, thank God), and not inclined to get into discussions about how far up the arm the maniple goes or how many grains of incense go in the thingy… whatever.

    Messy sinners can stay marginalized, I guess.

    I’m fine with the Church having an apostolate to homosexuals, but that does not include lying to them that someday that Sacrament of Matrimony will include homosexuals (as Fr Martin is said to have done) nor the implication that it is not grave matter.

    There are some who argue that such an approach is just another example of missionary work, but missionaries historically worked in areas that had no Christian history. The contemporary strategy of reducing Missiology to the adoption of quasi-doctrinal liberalism, as many have done, is a farce at best.

    Many years ago Carl Gustav Jung wrote that in coming years homosexuality would become more common. That notwithstanding, I think the phrase Same Sex Attraction is intentionally misleading because it implies that homosexuality is just an extension of friendship.

  9. Alan Breedlove says:

    Fr. Martin’s self-aggrandizing publishing of a private letter from the pope reminds me of a colleague proudly displaying a photo of himself shaking hands with Ronald Reagan in some perfunctory receiving line. The office wag said, “If Reagan has that photo on his desk in the Oval Office, that would be impressive.”

  10. TonyO says:

    I am confident that the DLP (Dear Little Papa) is getting all sorts of bad advice from the bad men he has appointed or elevated in his papacy, including on the likes of James Martin, S.S.A.J. But for one thing, HE is the one who appointed men like Cupich and Tobin to the cardinalate, and (unlike with bishops) there are so few such appointments that he certainly would have looked into these men and their history before appointing them. So, he does (or should) know what kind of advice he gets from such men.

    And for another: there are thousands of men and women being pointed out in various media as being problems and made out as villains, but the Pope doesn’t send letters to them all. He sends handwritten letters to very few for ANY reason, and fewer still just as a nice pick-me-up when the world is getting them down. Unfortunately, the odds are that he picked Martin for a reason, and it is unlikely that he has never caught even a WHIFF of what Martin is up to. And even if every single word on Martin from Cupich and Marx and Spadaro is gung ho favorable … it’s coming from them, which everyone who has had a pulse within the last 8 years knows isn’t worth spit.

    It does strike me, as benedetta and Alan indicate above, that Martin publicizing this private letter is incredibly gauche. If I got a hand-written note from a pope, of course I would want my friends to know about it. But I would move mountains before I allowed any of them to bandy about to media that I got such a letter, much less made the contents public. Does he not know the meaning of “private”? Apparently not. What a snake.

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