Fr. Martin Tweeted What?….Again?

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The “Twitterverse” can be a cantankerous place. Amidst the opportunities for evangelization, dialogue, and networking there are also plenty of instances of confusion, scandal, and sometimes even apparent heresy. No one knows this better, perhaps, than Fr. James Martin, S.J. Jesuit priest, author, consultant to the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, editor of America Magazine, and a bit of a twitter trouble maker, over the last 24 hours Fr. Martin has created quite a stir with a tweet he crafted in which he shared an article from America Magazine, with his own commentary invoking St. Mary Magdalen. Take a look:

He then followed up with an afterthought:

Right out of the gate, er, Tweet, his message is problematic. According to Canon Law, namely Canons 767.1 and 767.2, the homily is the most important form of preaching (note that preaching in canon law means something very specific and is distinguished between preaching at Mass during the liturgy and in non-liturgical settings). Preaching during Mass, the homily, can ONLY be done by a cleric. A man who has received Holy Orders is a cleric, so the function of preaching during Mass is reserved ONLY for priests and deacons. And it seems like Catholic Twitter wasn’t about to let this Tweet slide. Some responses were right from the women about whom he seemed to be referring. They ranged from kind to sassy…


…to exasperated…

Well that escalated quickly…

…to straight up salty:

Some were instructive and fraternal

Jesuit versus Jesuit?

But not without a little bit of humor:

Or irony:

Venerable Fulton Sheen ended up in the thick of it…

Along with Mother Angelica…

But that wasn’t the end of it. The last word went to Sr. Helena Burns, a Pauline Sister and preacher in her own right, who seems to have seen the Twitter mess and wanted to set the record strait in her own Tweet:

So what is the take-away from this latest Twitter showdown between Fr. Martin and the Catholic Twitterverse? Perhaps first and foremost should be a reminder that we need to pray for our priests. We must pray that they remain true to the faith and to the Church. We must pray for them to be holy. But we also mustn’t be afraid to call out fallacy, scandal, heresy, or error. Fr. Martin wants the laity to preach…let him hear us. (Just not at Mass!)

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