Fr. JamesMartin, S.J. – Documentary on LGBT people

Documentary about Father James Martin’s LGBT ministry selected for Tribeca Film Festival

Michael J. O’Loughlin – April 20, 2021 – (Building a Bridge Film/Jason Syptak)

A Martin Scorsese-produced documentary about James Martin, S.J., and his ministry to L.G.B.T. Catholics has been selected to be part of the Tribeca Film Festival in June, the organization announced Tuesday.

The documentary, “Building a Bridge,” is based on Father Martin’s 2018 book of the same name.

“The film follows Father Martin and the lives he has impacted, including a grieving Pulse mother, a family with three queer siblings, and a college student trying to reconcile his gay and Catholic identities,” reads a statement from the documentary’s creators. Father Martin is an editor-at-large of America.

“Tribeca Film Festival is the perfect place for us to premiere this documentary,” Evan Mascagni and Shannon Post, the film’s directors and producers, said in a statement. “We are so proud of this film and grateful for the opportunity to show it amongst so many talented filmmakers, especially at the first major U.S. festival to be held in person this year and during Pride month.”

Father Martin said he was moved to write his book following the 2016 shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 people dead. He has urged church leaders to be more welcoming, emphasizing aspects of Catholic teaching that call for treating L.G.B.T. people with “respect, compassion and sensitivity.” Some Catholic leaders have criticized Father Martin’s ministry, challenging him to be more clear about the church’s teaching that condemns homosexuality.

The film also features Michael Voris, the founder of the website Church Militant, which regularly publishes articles and videos denouncing Father Martin and his ministry.

In 2018, Father Martin spoke at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, a global conference hosted by the Vatican’s family and laity office, about how parishes could welcome L.G.B.T. Catholics. The following year, he was received at a private audience by Pope Francis.

In a statement about the documentary, Father Martin said he hopes the film will prompt Catholics to reflect on how to create a more inclusive church.

“I was so happy to learn that ‘Building a Bridge’ had been accepted by the Tribeca Film Festival, since it will help more people see the kinds of outreach that the Catholic Church is doing with L.G.B.T. people,” Father Martin said. “I’m especially grateful to Martin Scorsese, the executive producer; and Evan Mascagni and Shannon Post, the directors; for making such a sensitive documentary with so many different voices. I pray that church leaders will see what is possible with this kind of pastoral ministry, and that L.G.B.T. people feel more welcome in what is, after all, their church too.”

The Tribeca Film Festival, founded in 2002 to spur economic activity in New York following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, will run June 9-20.

More stories from America: 

Michael J. O’Loughlin is the national correspondent for America and host of the America podcast “Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.”

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Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest in America, who has met with Pope Francis in Rome to dicuss the situation of LGBT+ people in the Church, has now teamed up with U.S. Director/Actor Martin Scorcese, to pruduce a documentary film, based on his 2018 book, “Building a Bridge”, which is about his ministry to this long-neglected goup in the Roman Catholic Church.

This documentary, to be first screened at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival in the U.S., will be an important congtributor to further conversation on the recent Statement issued by the Vatican which regards heterosexual marriage as sacrosanct – the only context in which to exercise the God-given gift of sexuality. In the course of this Statement the Vatican reiterated the extant Catholic doctrine that homosexuality is a ‘disordered’ condition, and that Same-Sex Relationships are sinful and, therefore, unable to receive the blessing of the Catholic Church.

This would seem to be in direct contrast to the Pope’s recent message that Same-Sex Civil Partnerships conducted by the legal authorities are a good way of dealing with loving, monogamous Same-Sex relationships. (Pope Francis has recently appointed a S/S-Partnered American citizen (a survivor of child-abuse in the Chilean Catholic Church) as an Advisor to a special Child-Abuse Commission to be established in Rome).

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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