Theological College Fr Martin was scheduled to address Theological College, the national seminary of the Catholic University of America, on October 14, 2017, but the college cancelled his appearance following a backlash. Fr Martin named Church Militant, LifeSiteNews, and Fr John Zuhlsdorf as the leaders of the campaign to revoke his invitation. He also suggested that the college had asked him to explain his non-appearance by saying that he had declined the invitation, when in fact the college had complainants “screaming at the receptionists who answered the phone” and feared protests if he was brought in to speak.
Cafod That same month, Martin’s lecture at the invitation of Cafod, the overseas aid agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, was postponed due to scheduling conflicts – or so Cafod said. “While we considered how to address the response to Fr Martin’s book, we heard that his trip to the UK was likely to be postponed,” Cafod said.
Martin took to Facebook, however, to insist that the event was cancelled “out of fears of the backlash to my book”. He also claimed that Cafod withdrew its invitation before he postponed his trip, and so was not able to the travel to the UK at all.
Cardinal Robert Sarah In September 2017, Cardinal Sarah – perhaps the most powerful conservative prelate in the Church – criticised Martin’s book Building a Bridge. The Jesuit, he said, “repeats the common criticism that Catholics have been harshly critical of homosexuality, while neglecting the importance of sexual integrity among all of its followers. For the unmarried – no matter their attractions – faithful chastity requires abstention from sex.”
Martin shrugged off Sarah’s concerns. “Cardinal Sarah is correct that I have been critical of the Church’s overall pastoral response to LGBT Catholics, and have found it lacking,” he said. “On that point, His Eminence is correct, and I also think that we agree on that.”
Austin Ruse One of Martin’s most persistent critics is Austin Ruse, the president of the Center for Family and Human Rights. Also in September 2017, Ruse published a column in Crisis accusing Martin of “leading the young to damnation and leading the Church into heresy”. Earlier this month he told LifeSiteNews that Martin’s teaching could lead gay men and women to risk “heartache, sometimes disease, sometimes death, [and] even damnation”.
Martin responded to one of Ruse’s provocations by posting on social media that such “hatred and contempt… only strengthen my desire to advocate for LGBT people, especially within our Church.”
Fr Thomas Petri On August 20, 2017, Martin tweeted that, in the Gospel story about the Canaanite woman, “we see Jesus’s human and divine natures: he learns from the woman that his ministry extends to all, and he heals her daughter.”
Fr Thomas Petri OP, dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC, challenged Fr Martin’s Christology. Petri argued that, “by ascribing such ignorance (or sinfulness) to the humanity of Christ, [Martin et al] necessarily separate his human nature from his divine nature by creating two personalities.”
Church Militant Michael Voris’s Church Militant is open to a broad range of opinions, from Feeneyism to Young Earth creationism. But it cannot abide Fr Martin, and its website contains nearly a hundred articles and videos about him. Headlines include “Fr. Martin supports transgenderism in children” and “Fr Martin asserts that chastity is not required of homosexuals”.
In return, Martin told the New York Times that Voris’s outfit is among the several “online hate groups” organised against him and lamented that they “are now more powerful than local churches”.