“I’ve gotten used to being hated,” says defender of LGBT Catholics James Martin

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03/20/2024

Inside one of the many skyscrapers in the center of Manhattan, James Martin heads to his office at America, the Jesuit magazine where he is an editor. Martin’s workspace is filled with objects that evoke his personal journey as a Jesuit priest who has worked with gang members in Boston as well as refugees in Kenya. Next to his computer, there’s a photo of him conversing with Pope Francis during a meeting in 2019 at the Vatican. This was the first of four one-on-one encounters the two Jesuits have now had. “It was one of the highlights of my life,” Martin recalls. “I am not a cardinal, archbishop, bishop, or even a university president. Why would a pope want to meet me?” He knows the answer. At 63 years old, the American Jesuit is one of the leading advocates for including LGBT people within the Catholic Church. He has both the trust and ear of Francis. In 2017, the pope appointed him as a consultant to the Dicastery for Communication. And last year, he asked him to participate in the Synod assembly on the future of the Church.

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