[America] Pope Francis received James Martin, S.J., in a 30-minute private audience in the papal library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace this morning, Sept. 30, in what is seen here as a highly significant public statement of support and encouragement for this U.S. Jesuit. Father Martin is well known as a public speaker, author and for his pastoral ministry to L.G.B.T. people.
“I was very moved by my encounter with a real pastor,” a joy-filled Father Martin told America after the meeting. “I am most grateful to the Holy Father for his generosity in granting me an audience in the midst of his busy schedule,” he said.
Father Martin would not reveal what the pope said to him in the course of their conversation, except that “we both laughed several times.” He did say, however, that “among other things, I shared with Pope Francis the experiences of L.G.B.T. Catholicsaround the world, their joys and their hopes, their griefs and concerns. I also spoke about my own ministry to them and how they feel excluded.” He concluded, “I saw this audience as a sign of the Holy Father’s care for L.G.B.T. people.”