Cardinal Blase Cupich has asked Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest who is author of a controversial book about LGBT Catholics, to speak at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago during Lent early next year.
The invitation was first reported in Chicago Sun-Times on Sept. 26.
Martin's book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, instigated anti-LGBT elements to protest scheduled talks by the author in three locations in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Those talks reportedly had nothing to do with the book, but protesters were incensed by Martin's having tackled the controversial subject matter nonetheless.
In an interview with the Sun-Times, Cupich encouraged people to read the book and decide for themselves whether Martin's ideas stood on their own merits. Martin told the paper that he was "delighted" with the invitation.
Building a Bridge is described in promotional materials as "a roadmap for repairing and strengthening the bonds that unite all of us as God's children. Martin uses the image of a two-way bridge to enable LGBT Catholics and Church leaders to come together in a call to end the 'us' versus 'them' mentality."
Martin's publishers, HarperCollins, said the author was travelling and could not be reached for comment. In a statement provided to Windy City Times, Cupich said, "We support Fr. James Martin, a well-regarded priest and author, and look forward to his visit during the Lenten season."
The Chicago Sun-times article is at bit.ly/2fJlUcC .