Tuesday, October 14, 2008

LA press conference held on Tuesday 14 October 2008

The following is a statement which I delivered at a Press Conference in Los Angeles at noon today. 


You can be a good and faithful Catholic and vote NO on Proposition 8.

Many priests, nuns  and ordinary Catholics will vote NO on Proposition 8 because they believe that taking away civil rights from same sex couples is wrong and strips them not only of civil rights but, also of basic human dignity. I know this because they have expressed this to me directly.  Many pastors simply refuse to say anything at all on the subject publicly.  Most of my brother priests try to help Catholic same sex couples in the same fashion that they help Catholic heterosexual couples who use contraception or, who have divorced and remarried.  We try to assist these souls in the confessional and in counseling sessions.  We attempt to humanize what can otherwise be impossibly rigid doctrines that crush people or drive them away from the community of faith. 

 

As an elderly Pastor once told me: “We are not technicians, we work with human lives”.  People are not statistics, they are not a political issue, they are human beings.  Initially, I too simply decided to remain silent. But then, more and more people came to me and asked for guidance on this issue.  At the same time, the Diocese became more and more vocal in its support for Proposition 8 and began to organize lay people to vote yes on 8. 

When I was asked to promote my congregation to vote yes on Proposition 8 I was placed in a position of having to choose between my position and the spiritual and emotional well being of those who I was called to serve.   Theologians such as, St. Thomas Aquinas have taught of the primacy of one’s personal conscience because on the day that you die it will be your conscience that either acquits or condemns you before God. 

 

In good conscience, I cannot place an impossibly heavy load on the backs of those entrusted to my pastoral care and leave them to fend for themselves as best they can.  The cost of this would be abandonment of faith, possibly of God.  It would probably contribute to isolation, depression and possible despair or, worse (especially for young people). I gave them the advice that most of them would receive privately from most priests, I simply did it openly at the end of Sunday Mass from the pulpit.   

 

58 comments:

FranIAm said...

I laud you for your words. As a member of the RC flock, I struggle with my own presence there. I of course have the luxury that you do not- I do not represent the church in the same way you do.

Real change must come from within and that is why you and Fr. Steve, the Claretin and others must brave these storms by speaking up. It is courageous.

That is the thing about church- ecclesia- the assembly. We end up thinking about "the church" as buildings, the church as a hierarchy, the church as a power structure, but in the end "ecclesia" is the assembly - the people.

Throughout history there has been but one way to enforce control... and we see the net result of that in many institutions, the church among them.

If you can't hold something over people's heads, how do you hold them?

I understand why it is done, but I disagree with it.

You have braved this and continue to speak up... good for you.

As you said, even St. Thomas who was a Dominican knew that in the end that meeting God meant doing so with our heart and conscience, not with a rulebook.

Pax et bonum my friend and many prayers for you.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

It was truly a delight to meet you and to be part of "the cloud witnesses" there to support you in YOUR witness.

I've just posted my own blog about this afternoon:

http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2008/10/i-got-to-meet-hero-today.html

May God continue to bless and keep you on this journey forward!

Pamela Reamer Williams said...

I've never had a Catholic priest as a hero before. Thank you so much for your honest stance on this issue. May God continue to bless you richly!

Anonymous said...

God bless you, Fr. Geoff. I grew up Roman Catholic but have recently decided to leave and go to the Episcopal church because I am a lesbian. But I have the deepest respect for you for being a voice crying out in the wilderness and standing up for what you believe is right. If only the Roman Catholic Church was filled with more people like you, I might not have had to leave the Church. I wish you all the best!

Anonymous said...
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Episcowill said...

And Fr. Geoff .. not only this one obscure voice from Northern Calfornia, but many thousands of voices from around the world assure that you that you did and said the right thing. I consider the words that Mordecai is said to have spoken to Esther ... who knows but that for such as time as this you have been called to the kingdom. My continued support to you, Fr. Geoff.

kkryno said...

You've done the right thing, IMO. To abandon people in their time of need for insight and love from the church would spell disaster. It is my hope that someday soon, it will be recognized that GLBT are born, as are people who are born heterosexual; or with brown eyes or freckles or red hair or dark skin. We are all His children; and it takes all of us to make up the world. Thank you for speaking up for what is right. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,
As Catholic parents in Massachusetts who struggle everyday with the Church's position on our "intrinsically disordered" gay son, we thank you for your courage to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Love God and Love One Another.
We pray that other priests will speak this truth publicly in our life times.
God bless you.

Mychals Prayer said...

The Church already blesses same-gender marriages! By this I mean the Ecclesia, the full Body of Christ, the Church in the pews (not the hierarchy) supports same-gender unions.

According to every survey, about two-thirds of practicing Catholics reject Rome’s position and support either civil unions or full marriage rights for committed gay couples. Therefore, Fr. Farrow reflects the sense of the faithful more than the pope and bishops on this issue.

We shouldn't be surprised if most Catholic Californians vote NO on 8. When they tried to get the same ban on the ballot in Massachusetts, polls showed a strong majority of Catholics, even non-liberal Catholics, opposing a ban on same-gender marriage.

Kennyyoli said...
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Bill said...

It is likely that you have spent many hours - days, weeks, and months - in prayer to determine the course you have chosen; contemplation evaluating whether speaking out about your spiritual convictions would cause harm or harmony. Only time will tell.

This evening someone mentioned the Catholic church, saying there is a policy of "don't condemn the homosexual; condemn the homosexual act." Not having your eloquence, I said I had heard the same "love the sinner; hate the sin" BS in other Christian religions and I think it is just sugar-coating hatred, fear, and intolerance.

I will continue to read your website. You are doing important work. In this world, you may not see many rewards for your courage, but you are making a difference by spotlighting the topic. I believe we are responsible for the effort, not the result - we leave that in God's hands. You will be in my prayers of gratitude.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Geoff,

I read about your story in the press and simply wanted to stop by here and say "thanks" for all you've done.

--Dale

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Exactly. You know, of course and probably by heart, the rebuttal. Your bishop will claim that following the teachings of Christ is challenging but not impossibly onerous. He will say that Christ speaks through his Church and that His truth has been revealed through the magisterial authority of the Pope and his bishops, and that the route to salvation is revealed through Church tradition and laws based on that tradition. He will discount your compassion. He will say that your conscience is malfunctioning. He will say that you have fallen prey to modernism and a theology of convenience.

He will make that which is so simple and clear very complicated and distorted. It will come down to whether the listener decides that he is speaking for Jesus or that you are speaking for Jesus.

Permit me a story. My own mother once faced a moral dilemma. She wanted to pursue something that she knew was against church law but it seemed right to her. She was conflicted. Did she think it was right just because it was desirable, she wondered. She asked my counsel. I told her to do it. (I think I may have said "Go with your bad self".) She said, "I knew that's what you would say." She then asked a priest who was a good friend of mine. She worked as his parish secretary. He told her the same thing I did. Her response to him was the same. Finally she went to an elderly Monsignor who had known our family for decades. He said "Marge, you know in your heart what you must decide." She took this to mean "No, you can't." She did it anyway, but she went to confession to the elderly monsignor and she felt forgiven and relieved. All four of us got a good laugh out of it, and it clearly demonstrates how traditional Catholics think their way through stuff.

Times have changed. Those quaint games are over. It's time to take the lid off the nonsense of 20th century Catholicism and return to a healthier more mature (I won't say sophisticated) approach to Jesus who has patiently been waiting lo these many years for his priests to do exactly what you have done.

Anonymous said...

I heard of your courage from my mom, my daughter, and her fiance. I applaud you for speaking your conscience.

Anonymous said...

I sent this email a few minutes ago. Upon finding this blog, I see that the email address I used, culled from the St. Paul's website, may no longer be functional--so I'm reposting my thoughts here.

Father Geoff,
Today, my choir director sent me a link to an article about the homily that you recently preached about Proposition 8. The story of your courage brought tears to my eyes. I am unaccustomed to news about Catholic clergy breaking with the Church's official position on controversial matters, which made your personal decision resonate that much more deeply with me. I am Episcopalian; I feel deeply distressed at the divisions within my own church community, and keenly aware of what it means to feel at odds with one's faith.
Thank you so much for standing up to declare what you believe to be right, even at such great personal risk. I am uplifted by your example.
God bless you, Father!
Tenysa S.
Parishioner, Saint Mark's Episcopal Church
Berkeley, CA

Sandra said...

Civil rights belong to all humans, even when the law does not specifically support them - remember when Black people were deemed property and not equals?

Thank you, Father Farrow, for voicing what your conscience tells you is right.

It is my understanding that God IS love, so how can love between two consenting adults be wrong or evil? Let us celebrate it where it springs up!

Michelle Perez said...

Hey I just read your article in the Sac Bee. I'm catholic myself and heterosexual currently pregnant. According to catholic traditions I'm not following traditions but I do support no on prop 8. I just wanted to say how I admire you for your courage and strength to do what you did. Its nice to know there are priests out there like you. It helps me keep my faith. Stay strong and I'll include you in my prayers.

Erika Baker said...

The insidious "don't ask don't tell" at work here too.

As so many, you have been dismissed not because of your views but because of your honesty.

Thank you for continuing to speak out with such measured calm and compassion, clear thinking and honesty.

Rebecca said...

Hello, I wrote this days ago but was unaware of the blog and emailed it but likely it was not received--

We are saddened to think that such a fine priest may be leaving St. Paul’s for speaking God’s Truth in Love. I saw the video of his remarks and they were so typically well spoken.

I wanted to write some encouragement to Fr. Geoff, and as is characteristic of me, I had a lot to say.

You are in our prayers, Fr. Geoff, and we would prefer that you stay. Regardless, we know that nothing can separate you from the Love of God.

October 6, 2008

Dear Father Geoff;
I am the Protestant guest (UCC/Congregationalist) who spoke to you at coffee and was warmly welcomed by you (thank you) on your first Sunday at the Newman Center. I am the wife of a longtime faithful Catholic and member of your parish. He suggested I include him in this note and I agreed, but expect he will also write to add a supportive voice. God Bless You. THANK YOU for your courage. I have been struggling with my desire to steal the signs supporting California’s Proposition 8 in my neighborhood, but as I admitted to my husband, God’s commandment says: “Do not steal.” I have assuaged my frustration only in my imagination, dreaming of posting billboards with “Matthew 7:1” as a reference for guiding voters to “No on 8”, since some seem at least to recall Jesus’ admonition against judging others. We Christians, especially those who are heterosexual, need to “Do What Jesus Would Do” and speak out against the ignorance and dysfunctional, false “superglue” of prejudice that some would have us accept as binding us to each other, to Christ, and thus to eternal life. This is the same false adhesive which God’s nonheterosexual children encounter when they seek to belong to a church, and by which they are ripped apart when they learn that their options are to stay and be characterized as “evil” or to leave and be alienated from their church family. As with superglue, separating one’s self, leaving a church family, is painful because it is WOUNDING. We initially think we can handle the glue safely by being careful (or the prejudice by thoughtful discretion), but we discover that to live with our forefinger and thumb glued together is so difficult that we are limiting our healthy functioning, our ability to love and to do God’s work. Of every hundred Beloved Children of God who enter a church seeking hope, truth, meaningfulness, fellowship and belonging, ten will feel torn apart when they discover they are not really “OK” in the eyes of its membership, but are ripped away from Christ’s abundant table by Pharisee-like participants who try to keep all the “pie” (as in piety) for themselves, loudly judging others and proclaiming them unworthy of God’s embracing them just as they are. But like the Pharisees before them, the prejudiced are vocal, destructive, powerful (like misdirected superglue), and WRONG. They obscure Christ’s message of moral principles based upon God’s Love through overbearing, intrusive, self-aggrandizing and ultimately selfish testimonials which are supposedly “justified” with out-of-context Bible quotes. Those of us in the role of polite, silent churchgoers are at best like poorly shepherded sheep who merely follow along silently, inadvertently colluding with Pharisees. At worst, we are contributing at some level, always, to the persecutory treatment and oppression of non-heterosexuals. It is the reinforcement of bigotry emanating from the Christian community that encourages hatred of some of God’s children, resulting in repeated incidences of hurt feelings, alienation, isolation, despair, suicide, broken families, assaults and homicides. We Christians have allowed our collective family to hold itself up like a bunch of Pharisees, waving our heterosexuality and congratulating ourselves on being holy. Some of us are prejudiced, others afraid to question the prejudiced, who might exclude us. Exclude us from what—the Pharisee club? It’s difficult to open one’s hands when the fingers are glued closed.

I can only imagine Jesus’ outrage when He looks up from His table and sees smirking faces, as one in ten of His invited dinner guests quietly pushes back their chair from the table and prepares to leave without making a scene. Spoken and unspoken murmurings from several others have caused discomfort. Silent compliance by other guests has resulted in rejection. Realizing that one of those who came now feels rejected and unwelcome though He’d called and invited them Himself, Jesus rises, pulls his chair back from the table and asks the rejected guest to sit down in His seat. When His invitation is declined because the guest is now skeptical as to the integrity of his Host’s invitation, what would Jesus say to the rejected one? What would He say to the others, when He sees the hurt one depart because others, not the Christ, have excluded an invited guest from His Father’s House?

I keep thinking of the hymn: “In Christ there is no East or West, in Him no South or North, but one great family of love throughout the whole wide earth”—

In Christ’s Love,
Rebecca

SFbruiser said...

Bless you for continuing to have the courage to speak the truth. May God keep you and watch over you all of your days.

tdhbob said...

Father Farrow

We met many years ago at Holy Family. Admittedly we had clashes on many issues and I left Holy Family because of those clashes.

But today, we are in accord. I could not be prouder to say I know you and support you.

You took a courageous stance and it is totally consistent with my immature understanding of Christianity. But Christ, I believe, intended His message to be simple: LOVE ONE AND OTHER. A subset of that message is don't judge, be tolerant, and evangelize the beauty of our faith.

You have done just that. How in the world are we going to evangelize if we judge? It seems to me that Jesus evangelized to all and those who were least inclined to listen were those who were the leaders of the day.

But my true astonishment about this situation is that the public has not taken Bishop Steinbock to task for his irrational, illogical, and totally incendiary comparison of Proposition 8 to Nazi Germany!!!! Such a nexus is so disjointed as to border on senility.

I have three sons. My 24 year old Matthew was so moved by your ministy over the years, I believe you saved his life. Matthew loves life and he loved your message of Christ's example. (You may best remember him as your server at Salazar's Restaurant in Visalia). You introduced him to true spirituality and for that I am eternally grateful.

The world is not changed by those who sit on the sidelines and comply. It is changed by those who challenge convention and are driven by a higher thought. You are a change agent. It isn't always comfortable, but it is always the right thing to do.

I tell everyone proudly that I know you and that your stance is spiritually correct and divinely inspired. You would not do it if you did not have a strong sense that the Holy Spirit was working within you.

If you need any help or any kind of support that I can provide, let me know. I've fought more than one battle in the Central Valley. One might say I am battle-tested. Reconciliation is always the right course, but sometimes we must engage to advance ignorance. Let me know what I can do.

Two years ago I almost died from two dissected aortas and had to retire from my love, being a hospital CEO. But the experience left me with a mantra for life. It is:

BE WELL. EMBRACE THE LIGHT. LIVE LIFE WITHOUT REGRETS.

Our family's prayers and love go out to you.


Robert Montion, Tulare, CA

Pharsea said...

Rev Father,

thank you for taking this stance in the recognition that your Bishop would react as he did. I hope that you will find a way to both survive and prosper. Please take a look at my WebSite:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pharseas.world/faithful.html

and also consider joining my Yahoo! group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PharseasWorld/

In Divine Friendship

Stephen

Father David Heron said...

Only dictatorships try to ban people from using the internet. Continue the good work, Father, as you gain more friends all over the world

Lemuel said...

One of my "spiritual ancestors", reflecting Acquinas, I think, said at the conclusion of a very famous statement: "..it is neither right nor safe to act against conscience." My prayers and best wishes continue with you.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I actually find the idea of Bishops telling people how to vote is very strange.

We don't at all have that tradition here.

And if your Bishop instructs people to vote Yes, how can he object to your recommending them to vote No?

What's the difference?

David said...

Father Geoff
I was pleased to read of the support of my fellow Anglicans at your press conference (Russell, Hallahan & Lopez).
By your courageous stand, you have become one with a rather extraordinary process of transformation which I truly believe the Holy Spirit is working within the living miracle of our Anglican Communion.
Know that in both of our countries there are countless brothers and sisters- your brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, upholding you daily in prayer, with love and gratitude.

David@Montreal

Michael K. Germany said...

Your stance is prophetic in the true sense of the word. I am grateful to see a priest who takes Saint Thomas by his very words and not just as another authoritative brick in a wall of prejudice & misunderstanding.

Birdie said...

It breaks my heart that so many have mistaken the cruel acts of men for acts of God. It is no wonder they turn from the Church. I tell those who will still hear to seek out clergy who will make them like themselves when they're with them; it is there that they will learn about the true nature of God.

I am humbled by your faith and your example, Father Geoff. May you become fully aware of the lives you have helped in this simple, difficult act of courage.

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

Fr. Farrow your statements before and at mass on October 5, 2008 had credibility because they were based on the studied facts from science and faith the foundation of a well informed conscience. This is an important point for Catholics to understand who are opposing you. To be a good Catholic means that each individual is responsible to thoroughly study all sides of an issue, before following one’s conscience in good faith. It is not a matter of following one's heart or what one feels, it is a matter of searching long and hard for the truth, exhausting every possible source of creditable knowledge. To act on a conscience that is not well informed is a serious sin, especially if it threatens the lives of others.

Understanding the politics of the Vatican, it was evident that you were in a no win situation, even though you based your statements about Proposition 8 on facts from science and faith, which the Vatican is unwilling to discuss openly. If you had discussed these issues with your bishop before you gave your address at mass, you would have been removed on the spot and the truth would never have been spoken. It is a great risk for a priest to stand up for the truth in the Catholic Church with the Vatican silencing oversight. One way or another the Vatican would see to it that you would be removed and would be silenced. However, at the same time the Vatican would use some other reason to present to the public why they are removing you, similar tactics were used to condemn Christ to death. However, the truth will always win out.

Thank you Fr. Farrow on behalf of millions of LGBT people and the parents, families and friends!

Anonymous said...

From Argentina, we are with you, Geoff, be strong, God and us stand by your side.
Love
E

Michael said...

Amen!

porchem said...

Thank you for your courage, integrity and conviction! It may have cost you a lot, but your silence would have cost you - and the rest of the country - much more. Thank you for being someone who lives and loves as Jesus Christ would have.

gloriman said...

And the PEOPLE (of God) say AMEN!

Be at peace dear father......God always has the last say!

Prayers ascending,
John

Anonymous said...

I read about you this morning in the San Francisco Chronicle. I praise you and your "actions". Thank you and God bless.

albreda said...

You are a very, very brave man, and I know I am not alone in honoring both your integrity, and your sense of responsibility to those to whom you minister.

I wish you all the best.

Patti said...

I applaud your actions.

May I offer another argument as to why people of faith may vote against Proposition 8?

It is my strong belief that personal faith should provide guidance as to how each person should live their life. I also believe that each person should be free to choose their own faith and their own life path, without interference from others. To try to force one's faith on others would be deeply and profoundly disrespectful of their right to choose their own faith. You would not like it if someone tried to force you to live by the teachings of another religion, so why would you try to force your religion on others?

To vote in favor of Prop 8 would be an attempt to force other people to be guided by your own personal faith. Even though your personal beliefs may be that same-sex marriage is wrong, it is even more wrong to force your faith on people who may believe differently.

Voting no on 8 means that you respect the rights of others to choose their own faith and their own personal convictions, even if they are different from your own.

Anonymous said...

As a Youth Minister for a Catholic Parish here in Northern California who is struggling to explain such issues with the heart and courage that you displayed, I applaud you. Our parish too, has been asked to openly support Prop 8 and while I personally do not how do you explain that to your teens?? It is just so hard to do. As we talked about a few weeks ago and will continue to as the election draws closer, we, as Catholic Christians are called to love eachother. Deeply and without reservation or hesitation just as we would love ourselves. That is the message the teens in our program are getting. That is the message you sent to your parish and that is the message that we as a whole church should be sending to this nation...to the world. Thank you!!! May God bless you in your ministry Fr. Geoff!

Jeremie said...

Thank you for your statement. I struggle every day with how to remain in a church structure that refuses to recognize me as a full human person even though I've long worked out my faith and my identities. It is stands like this that give me hope that I may be able to keep calling the Church my home without the pain that has been involved.

Pax.

Ida said...

Father Farrow...you are in my prayers now more than ever before. I wish you find the inner peace that you need. I was a young parishoner at Holy Family Church in Visalia, CA when you first arrived there. I grew up with you and feel you are a part of my family. I am at a loss at times as you can understand, but all I really wish you is peace.

The Wayward Hawaiian said...

Father, it saddens me that we live in a world where you must make such sacrifice to assuage the misguided bigotry and discrimination that is perpetuated by proposition 8. They say that few things worth having come easy. Honesty and courage are two of those.

The Lord put gays and lesbians on this good Earth for a reason. For those of us who know them, their caring, their compassion and their healing ways surely enrich us all, were we only to know that they are there in numbers we only glimpse at.

Sara said...

As the parent of a lesbian daughter who has rejected God because of the church's rejection of her, thank you. I can't imagine how difficult it must be, but I'm sure in turmoil, you are at peace. You are in this Presbyterian's prayers.

estela-dufrayse said...

The Catholic Church needs more people like you. It fails to reach the needs of modern people. My husband and I are both recovering Catholics for very different reasons, but both also serious issues that should be addressed.

I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being courageous and honest. The phrase " What would Jesus Do?" comes to mind and somehow I think He would do the same thing! God must have some bigger plans for you!!

Марко said...

Здравейте Father Geoff!
Your courage, integrity, and priestly compassion have won you many friends here in Bulgaria. I hope your bishop is aware that the whole world is watching him. Be assured of our prayers, solidarity, and love. If, God forbid, you are faced with loss of income and health benefits, please let us know how we can send help. Peace be with you.
мир вам!
Mark

Lil Squid said...

I think you're terrific.
Used to be Catholic but am not anymore.

I am so happy to see someone like yourself have the courage to stand up the way you did.

Only good things can come from this and I wish you all the best.

MikZ said...

It took years for me to learn to trust and respect Christians, and hearing from reasonable people like you is what finally won me over. I don't share your beliefs, but I respect them. Thank you for respecting mine.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,

Thank you for you remark. Please pray for me and my religious vocation. You know what it like to be different.

Phyllis Amenda said...

Fr. Geoff,

I'm not Catholic, but I lived in Fresno for 15 years. Knowing the community, I understand what courage it takes to make the statement you did. Thank you for telling the truth about what Prop. 8 will do to thousands of ordinary Californians. Thank you also for being honest about yourself and your situation. Keep the faith and keep blogging!

BRIAN said...

Just today, I was experiencing what I might describe as a very "anti-Christian" attitude. I live/work in Orange County and see a lot of "Yes on 8" bumper stickers. Your web-page has given me pause from this attitude.

God bless you, Father Geoff.

Kory said...

Dear Reverend Geoffrey Farrow,

I've just finished reading the LA Times article printed in my San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. I am absolutely devastated by what is happening to you. It seems strange to me that I would be so overwrought by what is happening to a priest who lives so far from me, whom I have never met, and who serves a church, religion, and community that I have absolutely no ties to. But I just can't stop thinking about you, striped of everything you have worked for in these past 23 years. I keep picturing you packing up your office the night before your brave Mass, and I think of how very alone you must have felt. And I want to tell you now that you are not alone.

My name is Kory O'Rourke and I have been blessed to know and love my wife of 8 years, Kate Sheppard. We have 2 beautiful children. And we are a gay couple. We were married at San Francisco City Hall 4 years ago and were overjoyed to be able to repeat our vows in front of family (and quite a few camera crews) the very first day that the right was granted to us - June 17, 2008. I was overwhelmed that day by love - the love of strangers handing us flowers on the steps of City Hall, the love of my children as they watched me pledge my life to their mother, and to them. The love of both sides of our family who came to pay witness to our small little ceremony and the grander scale of history changing before their eyes. All day long, everywhere we went, it was only, just, love.

Now, of course, my marriage and the legal security of my family is threatened by Proposition 8. The polls show support for 8 growing, and while I know that there are so many good people working tirelessly to beat back this attack on the very freedom and equality that is guaranteed to me by the state of California's constitution, I too am afraid to lose what we have worked so hard these many years to gain. I am scared. I'm scared to explain to my 3 year old daughter that Mommy and Momma have to get married again. I'm scared to open the paper each day, or turn on the television and witness the efforts of so many to take so much away from us.

But each time I start to drift towards that panic, that fear, I try to remember that June day, when everything everywhere was right. I try to turn away from the fear, and embrace the love that seemed to wash over everyone. And now, today, you are a part of that love.

As you packed up your office, as you read the disciplinary letter, as you traveled away from the community you had served so well, you must certainly have felt alone. But you were not alone. Standing next to you were the spirits of all those who have fought against injustice, who have sacrificed their own benefit, their own security, and even their own lives for others. Standing with you were all of us who believe that equality is not a privilege, but a right - an undeniable right.

Father Geoff, thank you. Thank you for standing up for us, even when it cost you so much. Thank you for speaking out for us, even knowing that it would silence you. Thank you for your bravery, for your courage, for your commitment to healing, and growth, and to love. Thank you for being what my grandmother would have called "a proof of God's love". You have made such a difference, to us, and for us. Thank you.

Kory O'Rourke

laffsf said...

Father Geoff,

My wife and I were truly touched by your story. You've displayed true courage, and I just know your actions are going to make a difference in many people's lives. You are an example to all, showing that nothing is more important than to be true to yourself and stand up for what you believe.

--Kevin

Pat in Phoenix said...

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance to you and give you His peace now and forever. Amen.

God bless you for your conscientious and courageous stance in support of the gay community in the church and in society.

Thank you, Fr. Farrow!

johnette said...

As a former Catholic, I am 100% behind you. Thanks for standing up for the rights of so many. If I can help, please email me.

Anonymous said...

Blessings to you Fr. Farrow and THANK YOU. From this Catholic family in CA, we affirm a resounding 'NO on 8' My husband and I had already decided this weeks ago, and at weekly mass, when intentions are being said for the passage of Prop 8, we are saddened by the public stance the Church has chosen to take on this and other political issues. Such conflict makes it difficult to support the Church and to continue to raise our teenage children in this environment so contrary to our family core values of acceptance and tolerance. But, we will discuss this issue and encourage a loving relationship with Christ, while also acknowledging that human failings do not mean we must sever our relationship with our Lord. Thank you SO much for taking this stance....I only wish others in the Catholic Lay and Religious community would do the same. You remain in our prayers daily. I hope the Bisphops and Church hierararchy take note...we WANT to remain Catholic and raise our children in the Catholic church...help us do so by listening...please help us.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Farrow,
Thank you a thousand times over for your courage in standing by your convictions. I am deeply uncomfortable with the Catholic Church's position on same-sex marriage, and I hope that more pastors and members of the Church will speak out like you have done so that we can make a change in our Church for the better!

A Bear in the Woods said...

Thank you. I wish you well. I hope you are able to find a place of ministry that respects and accepts your integrity.

IT said...

My partner and I married Sunday the 12th (you can see my reflections here.)

The morning of our wedding, my beloved ( who is Catholic) went to a church near where we were staying and found herself enduring a sermon of hatred and bile from the priest in charge. Not content to argue from theology, he told lies about Prop8 and about gay marriage--actual LIES, with a smirk on his face as he did so.

My beloved sat in tears yet refused to leave that place, and told me later that she focused on reading the Gospel and its messages of welcome to all, rather than allowing his bitter froth to drive her out of her church.

Thank you Fr Geoff for witnessing in opposition to this hate-filled priest and his vicious lies, who tried to poison our day of joy and love.

IT

Eddie said...

I supposed I have reconciled my personal life and my Catholicism. Sometimes I felt like my Priest was judging me. He once had a sermon on Homosexuality and I could say with almost certainty, that he was speaking to me. I think he was looking at me. It was easy for me to stay away. My Dad hates the clergy, and my Mom, does what he says. My Mom is a very faithful person. In my adult life I hardly ever went back. My Catholicism became more personal. The lack of acceptance for gays in the Church, makes room for moral anarchy. I was pleased when I heard His Holiness say that gays should be accepted and loved like all other people. The catch was we couldn't respond to our urges. Even with someone we were committed to and loved. Not what I was hoping for, but it's a start. It is really a shame that there are those Catholics who are so hostile to homosexuality. A friend of mine told me that a man was kicked out of St. Phillips in Bakersfield simply because he was wearing something that said he was against proposition 8. Well... I am glad that there are real men within our Fresno Archdiocese. I would like to thank Father Geoff for his sacrifice.