A second bishop has spoken up to counter allegations that Pope Francis expressed displeasure with Jesuit Fr. James Martin during a recent private meeting with bishops of the southwestern United States. Martin is a best-selling author who advocates for and ministers to LGBT Catholics.
Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, said he supports the recollections of Archbishop John Wester of Sante Fe, New Mexico, who went public to counteract two anonymous bishops who insinuated that the pope was unhappy with Martin.
Wester’s response “accurately describes the tone and substance of the short dialogue regarding Fr. James Martin,” he said.
Biegler and Wester were both part of the group of bishops from the United States’ Region XIII, who had their ad limina meeting with the pope Feb. 10 in Rome. Other bishops attending the meeting were from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The meeting “was a cordial, forthright and encouraging conversation,” Biegler said, adding that the pope spoke in Italian, with an “excellent translation” in English from a translator.
…Biegler said he offered his comments “with reluctance,” but felt he needed to share his perspective because it differed from what was reported by CNA. “Furthermore, we should let Pope Francis speak for himself about such sensitive issues,” he said.