Talk:James Martin (priest, born 1960)

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Request for Comment - Father Martin's commentary on recent news itemsEdit

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the debate may be found at the bottom of the discussion.


It is disputed whether Father Martin's commentary on recent news items involving the public denial of Holy Communion to certain recipients, and two op-ed pieces written in response to his commentary, should be included in his bio page. In particular, it is disputed whether the added material in this DIFF should be added to his bio page. --PluniaZ (talk) 03:04, 17 December 2019 (UTC)

Oppose - Both as written and as to substance. As written, this paragraph gets into unnecessary details about the underlying incidents, in which Father Martin was not involved. He merely commented on them. This material belongs in another article more directly related to the incidents, such as Canon 915. As to substance, the entire incident should be excluded from his bio by WP:DIARY. This material only relates to Father Martin in that he made a few comments about the incidents in the form of tweets and statements to a few news outlets. That alone does not constitute an event in his life that is noteworthy of inclusion in his bio page. Public personalities comment on news items all the time, but it doesn't make it into their bio page unless there is something especially noteworthy about the comments, which is not the case here. And the two op-ed pieces written in response to Father Martin are not prominent, are from partisan sources and should be excluded by WP:BLPBALANCE. --PluniaZ (talk) 03:04, 17 December 2019 (UTC)
Support - This short paragraph summarizes Martin's opinion about a recurrent debate in the US Catholic Church: the reception of Communion by persons in manifest grave sin. Martin's opinion is noteworthy, due to the fact that he is one of the most famous priests in the USA, and supported by many reliable sources included in the paragraph (Washington Post, Huffington Post, America Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, National Catholic Register, etc.). The bio page of a commentator should include his most interesting public comments. Moreover, this paragraph has nothing to with WP:DIARY: it summarizes in a few sentences the interpretation of a famous commentator, showing a pattern of thought, is not about a trivial matter. The four (not two) op-ed pieces show that, as written in this single sentence, Martin's interpretation of Canon law drew significant criticism among Catholics. Thucyd (talk) 22:52, 17 December 2019 (UTC)
Support As the banner says, Father Martin is a commentator, author, and news editor (among other things). How can this article give a full view of him if it doesn't present what he comments and reports on. And as Thucyd touched on above, these stances are well cited with reliable sources.HAL333 23:11, 17 December 2019 (UTC)
Support, as this is a notable position that received attention by the media. --Zianon (talk) 14:19, 22 December 2019 (UTC)
Support per Thucyd. Consensus seems to be in favor of conclusion, so perhaps it's time to close this RfC and re-add the material. Display name 99 (talk) 22:34, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
@PluniaZ: Shouldn't you make clear what paragraph you are speaking about, so that we can find where the issue is. The word "Communion" is nowhere used in the article and I don't know how else to find what the issue is. Has the paragraph in question been removed from the article, and if so in what deletion can we find it? I suggest that this Rfc needs clarification before a decision is reached. Jzsj (talk) 22:51, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
Jzsj, I think he did that when he opened the RfC. It appears you didn't bother to read it. If you want to know whether or not the content is still in the article, you can check the editing history. Display name 99 (talk) 23:37, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
You're right, I missed the technical jargon "DIFF". It would be more respectful of those who come to help without a background in all the Wiki jargon if it was said: "Check at this DIFF for the paragraph which has been removed." Jzsj (talk) 00:31, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
Oppose since the media coverage is so one-sided and confuses "serious matter" with "grave sin" which is a judgment which we are not to apply to individuals. An intelligent commentary would go into the extent of public scandal caused. And in the abortion issue a Catholic can be opposed to abortion but not think this Catholic teaching must become public law in secular society. My other problem is that the America and Washington Post articles are not generally accessible on internet. Also, some Catholics would see here a divide on the homosexual issue, between Catholics who in cases like this see Communion as medicine for us sinners and not just a reward for the righteous. Jzsj (talk) 00:52, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
Jzsj, there are several issues here. The word diff was capitalized and put in bold. A person not sure what it meant could have clicked on it. You are a veteran editor on this site and most people who've been active on Wikipedia for even a little while know what the word means or can at least figure it out if they don't. I also don't see how your proposed version of how he presented the material could have made things any more clear.
You say that a Catholic can choose not to believe that Catholic teaching on abortion must become law "in a secular society." That doesn't seem relevant here, but even if it is, your statement is contradicted by paragraph 2273 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority." Say what you will about grave sin, but Canon 915 specifically states that those who persist in "manifest grave sin" cannot receive Holy Communion. You might not like it, but the text accurately reflects what is written in canon law, which is what actually matters. The Washington Post and America are both considered reliable sources, and even if people sometimes have trouble accessing them on the Internet (and I am one of them), that does not make them unacceptable for usage here. The Washington Post in particular is a high-quality source which is widely utilized on Wikipedia articles. Display name 99 (talk) 02:12, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
I'll admit I was rushing, but I find it rare and unhelpful to remove a passage from the article while it's being discussed. CCC 2273 doesn't say that we may judge who is in grace sin, that is for the individual to decide,even while the pastor may exclude the person without judging them. Catholics may disagree on which "inalienable rights" must be preserved, especially since the Church doesn't claim that it knows when an embryo becomes a human person. I wasn't denying the usability of WP and A, just a hitch in making the paragraph clear. Jzsj (talk) 05:34, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
On Wikipedia, it's customary to keep a disputed passage out of the article until consensus is reached to include it. I believe that the paragraph should be in the article, but it was technically correct to remove it if there was not consensus. The paragraph never says that a priest can judge who is in grave sin, only that someone in "manifest grave sin" cannot be admitted to Holy Communion, which is exactly what the canon says. So I'm not sure where the problem is. The Catechism makes it clear which inalienable rights must be preserved, because that passage came directly after it spent considerable time denouncing abortion. Your statement that the Church doesn't claim to know when human personhood begins is, with respect, pure and utter nonsense. The WP and America are not even the essential sources used in the paragraph. There are multiple citations to other sources which cover more content. Display name 99 (talk) 14:23, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
The "nonesense" you refer to is in The National Catholic Register, a part of the conservative, formerly Mother Angelica, holdings. There it explains the human-being, human-person distinction that the church has always maintained. Since we, admittedly, don't know when we have a human person, it remains a matter of speculation, I suggest that the most we'll be able to get into public law (after years of electing Republicans who make this their one, big, moral issue) is what a majority of the people believe, that the embryo is to be treated like a person in the third trimester. As to receiving Communion, Pope Francis' stand on (adulterating?) remarried couples receiving Communion (long known in confessional practice) may possibly be pointing to new directions in what Jesus intended by this sacrament, though now this is only for speculation in scholarly journals. You're correct on the grave sin, saying it is "manifest" means "apparent", and is not a judgment on the personal conscience of the person. But let's not mislead people into thinking that the statement on Communion in the code (915) has any direct connection to the catechism of Pope John Paul reflections on abortion. Jzsj (talk) 15:23, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
Per WP:FORUM, I'm not debating any further on issues that have no connection to what goes in the article. Display name 99 (talk) 22:00, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
I hope that what we've said here will help some to know what to look for in trying to improve this article. Jzsj (talk) 23:07, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

DisambiguationEdit

@Werldwayd: I have reverted your move. You did not discuss it anywhere. Also, there is another Jesuit priest named James Martin (as seen in the hatnote) therefore "Jesuit priest" is an ambiguous disambiguation. Elizium23 (talk) 22:53, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

Changing opening to be more reflective of Father Martin's ministryEdit

I have updated the opening section to contain a reference to Father Martin's three most popular books rather than focusing on Building a Bridge. Since this is a page about Father Martin and not controversy surrounding his ministry, it is more reflective of his collective body of work to list the works which are most likely to be known. 'Building a Bridge' and its media coverage are described in detail in the LGBT section of the article. Antiphar (talk) 03:52, 6 November 2020 (UTC)

Antiphar, your desire to whitewash the article having been noted, I have restored the neutral material about the controversy which swirls around Father Martin and his writings. Elizium23 (talk) 05:27, 6 November 2020 (UTC)
Elizium23, thank you for weighing in. Because this is a biographical article, we should take great care to avoid anything which misrepresents the importance of controversy. Father Martin has written a number of popular books and made a number of media appearances. Summing up his identity with a controversy about a single publication reduces his entire life to merely the opinions of his detractors. While it is true that one of Father Martin's books has provoked a great deal of negative criticism, to list that controversy as part of the summary draws unnecessary attention to it. It is more neutral to list those works which are most likely to be known by potential readers, and thus I chose his first three best-selling books as reported by Amazon. May I suggest that we solve this by mirroring the structure used on the Pope Francis page, which both includes his well known work and also briefly mentions criticism (without using the words backlash or swirling, which have defamatory connotations)? Antiphar (talk) 06:13, 6 November 2020 (UTC)
Antiphar, actually it would misrepresent the importance of the controversy to remove it from the lede section, and that's exactly what you are trying to do. Are you related to Father Martin in some way? Elizium23 (talk) 06:21, 6 November 2020 (UTC)
Elizium23, what's your opinion about my last recommendation to include both sentences, replacing backlash with criticism? Then his most popular works can be listed along with mention of the opposing view, similar to how other articles handle public figures? Regarding your question, I have read Father Martin's books and followed him in the news. Disagreement with your opinion on the significance of a controversy does not constitute a conflict of interest on my part, and I'm perfectly willing to represent both pieces of information as long as it is done impartially and without inflammatory language. Antiphar (talk) 06:39, 6 November 2020 (UTC)
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