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Fr. Jim Martin to offer talk on LGBT community and church

| Monday, November 6, 2017

Campus Ministry, the Gender Relations Center (GRC) and the Center for Social Concerns will co-sponsor a lecture delivered by live video Monday night. Fr. Jim Martin will discuss his book “Building A Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity.” The lecture starts at 6 p.m. in DeBartolo Hall room 101, and Martin will answer questions until 10 p.m.

One of the organizers for the event, Fr. Joe Corpora from Campus Ministry, said he wanted to bring Fr. Martin’s lecture to campus to spark a discussion about how students can identify as LGBT and be members of the Church.

“The way I began this whole thing at Notre Dame is that I kept running into students who were totally of the Church, had left the Church,” Corpora said. “But then I would run into other students who were on the way out or maybe quietly out but really still wanted to be Catholic. And I thought, ‘Well if they come out and leave the Church, then who’s going to be left for the Church?’”

After reading Martin’s book, Corpora said he had a mutual friend introduce him to Martin, so he could ask about giving the talk.

“It’s the most tame book you’re going to read,” he said. “All it’s trying to say is how the Church and a community — namely the LGBT community — might each learn to respect and value each other,” Corpora said. “I thought it’s important that we offer something for students — whoever they happen to be — to think about this.”

Corpora said he received some pushback from individuals about the talk, but not from the Notre Dame community.

“I will talk with anybody,” Corpora said. “But this borders on being hateful, the way the email is written: ‘We are calling for the immediate rescinding of this invitation, and this priest does nothing but promote animalistic urges inside of humans,’ which is simply not true.”

Corpora said Martin’s message aligns with Church teaching.

“First of all, he’s not promoting homosexuality,” he said. “Second of all, he’s not saying not to be chaste.”

Corpora said a planning committee, which included individuals from the GRC and Campus Ministry, as well as four students, helped to coordinate the event.

Sophomore Francesca Denegri, a member of the planning committee, said she thinks it’s important for Notre Dame to invite a speaker who will address this topic.

“A lot of times, students have criticized how Notre Dame kind of isolates the LGBTQ community, but this is such a leap in actually opening up the conversation … and not just hiding behind it,” Denegri said.

After the lecture, attendees will be given a piece of paper with a prayer on one side and resources such as the GRC and PrismND on the other. Two follow-up sessions will also be offered the following week for students who may want to discuss the topic further, Corpora said.

Corpora said he hopes the lecture will open the conversation on campus about the relationship between the LGBT community and the Church.

“If you don’t have the conversation, the Church loses, and so does the LGBT community,” he said. “It’s like everyone loses, so let’s have a conversation, at least to talk with each other. I hope it will provoke more discussion at Notre Dame on a topic that’s not going to go away, either in the world or in the Church.”

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About Alexandra Muck

Alexandra Muck is a Notre Dame senior majoring in business and economics. Originally from Dallas, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

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