Jesuit priest Father James Martin has been invited to address Cardinal Blase Cupich’s Chicago archdiocese over two nights during the next Lenten season.
The invitation comes after Martin had speaking engagements cancelled and negative comments levelled at him by far-right Catholic groups.
The ultra-conservatives disapprove of Martin’s recently published book on lesbian, gay, bi-, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Catholics.
Ultra-conservative website Church Militant and right-wing blog “Fr. Z” published articles and videos ahead of Martin’s visit decrying his new book: Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community can Enter Into A Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.
Martin was also criticised on another conservative website, LifeSite. It called for him to be removed from his position as an adviser to the Vatican.
Martin defended himself — as did two bishops and multiple Catholic commentators — from the comments, which also target other Catholic leaders who are encouraging the Church to build bridges with LGBTQ people.
Like Martin, Catholic theologian and teacher Shawn Copeland has had her invitation to speak at a college in Michigan withdrawn. The topic of her talk, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, was Pope Francis and his “agenda for social justice”.
A few days before she was scheduled to speak, Church Militant published an article decrying Copeland for promoting a “pro-homosexual agenda” and citing sections of her theological works where she suggests Christ would embrace LGBTQ people.