Friday, October 10, 2008

An open letter to my parish community.

Dear Friends,

In a letter which I wrote to our bishop early this week. I explained that I intended to take a private retreat and then, unless I heard otherwise from him, resume my duties at St. Paul's this weekend. Today, I heard from the bishop that I have been suspended as a priest and removed as pastor of the Newman Center. In all candor, I had anticipated that response which is why, I had removed my personal property from the parish house and offices. I bear no personal animosity to the bishop for his decision.

Many of you may be asking why I decided to make this public statement. The answer is simply that I had been asked to do so. Just two weeks ago this was asked of me at a Faith, Family & Friends planning session. I offered to do so at that meeting as a post communion statement to be read at the end of Mass. This is precisely what I did last Sunday on October 5 at the end of the 11:00 AM liturgy. Some have raised an objection that the local media was invited to be present. I knew beforehand, that given the content of this statement, it could only be made once. The media's coverage made it possible for the whole parish to hear the message as well as others in our city.

Some have characterized my statement as a "personal" statement. The simple fact that it has taken on such far reaching interest, is evidence that this is not merely my "personal" opinion but rather, a very wide ranging issue in our state, our nation and indeed, internationally. I have received E-mails from the United Kingdom, Holland, Sweden, Germany and even Rome. This is not a "personal" opinion, it is one person expressing something very wide spread in our nation and in our international communion. Why? Because, almost every family has a lesbian or gay person as one of its members.

I felt the need to speak, not for myself but, on behalf of those who have no one to speak for them in this matter in our Church. Personally, my life has been rather difficult since I made this statement as I knew it would be. I have no regrets since, it was my hope that this statement would lead to greater discussion of the treatment of gay and lesbian people in and by the Church. Also, it is my earnest hope that in some small way, this helps to preserve the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons which are currently under attack by the proponents of Proposition 8.

145 comments:

Brian R said...

God bless you for your courage. I will be praying for you. I am a gay Anglican in Australia who has spent 25 years teaching in Catholic schools. At one senior college I came out and know only too well the difficulties that result.

Adventures in Babymaking said...

Thank you for your courage. You inspired me to write everyone on my email list a letter encouraging them to vote No on 8 with my own personal testimony. May God richly bless you for your bravery and what you gave up. Christa from Fresno Wesley UMC.

Adventures in Babymaking said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Questor said...

A tremendously courageous act, but no surprise that it was met with a heavy-handed response from the bishop. Some day the Catholic Church must face up to the fact that it's treatment of gays and lesbians is unChristlike. The bishop says that he was defending the traditional understanding of marriage (here in the UK we have gone down the road of civil partnerships instead of opting for gay marriages), but he does not seem to mind that the effect is also to attack gays and lesbians, some of whom are members of his flock hanging in for dear life despite the hurtful things that are said and done to them.

Brad said...

Thank you

Java said...

So your phone finally rang. For you Fr.Geoff I pray strength for the journey ahead, and a strong fellowship of support in the battle forthcoming. May God bless you.

Father Göran Koch-Swahne said...

God bless your courage and your witness!

Anonymous said...

My prayers also are with you. You're doing the right thing, Father Geoff.

--Metella

Fr Kenny said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. Go with the Good News! There is a massive body of opinion with you, straight and gay. Eventually we wll win the debate, but it's sore bashing your head against brick walls!

Mike in Texas said...

I am grateful for what you have done, Father Geoff. I was raised Catholic, left the church and went the Episcopal church many years ago. But now I am also pulling away from them over this issue.

You have done the right thing. The bishop's action is just another reflection of what turns so many away from religion.

Thank you

Jim Pratt said...

Fr. Geoff,
My prayers are with you. Those who take a stand for what is right, regardless of the cost, are true saints.

I know a bit of what you are going through. I am an Anglican priest in Newfoundland. A few years ago, some of my colleagues led a shameful effort to allow marriage license issuers and civil marriage commissioners to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and of solemnizing their marriages. I spoke and wrote against them, and was ostracized for it, and my bishop kept silent on the whole matter.

MaineCliffDweller said...

Thank you Father Geoff: I have been reading about your courage and am very proud that you took this important and life changing step. Kudos to you for being open and honest and forthright. I am only sorry that your Bishop cannot see that you are still the same person you were before you made your courageous statement.

Lemuel said...

May God bless you and may the Spirit grant you counsel, wisdom, and courage. You are in my thoughts and in my prayers.

BillyD said...

Hang in there, Father. There are lots of people praying for you.

barbarab said...

God bless you and keep you, Geoff! You will be in my prayers.

Bear Me Out said...

Shalom and blessings to you, sir. You are a powerful witness. Greek for "witness" is martyr. and you are paying that price.

eileen said...

Amen.

This former RC agrees with you and your statements whole heartedly.

revLois Keen said...

I am a woman and a priest in the Episcopal Church, serving in Norwalk Connecticut. You have only experienced the tip of the iceberg of support you have worldwide and the prayers for you that come with that support. You are blessed for your courage, Father.

FranIAm said...

God bless you indeed. There are many of us out here praying for you Geoff.

You knew what would happen and you acted anyway. This is real courage and you have the most profound example of such courage in our Lord Jesus and all those who follow Him at great risk.

Please keep us updated.

Pax et bonum to you my brother.

scott said...

Father Geoff, the courage and strength that God granted for you to speak out is something that calls forth much gratitude among many people.

i was raised a Methodist and was extremely involved in many ministries throughout my youth. A growing conflict between my awakening sexuality and my church's stance resulted in my choice to turn my back on organized religion for 25 years.

It was the quiet, wordless witness of two married gay friends that opened my heart, and which effected my first tenuous steps into the church of a nearby welcoming & affirming Episcopalian parish.

It was at least two months before I could sing through a whole hymn without my eyes filling with tears.
Two years later and i'm a chorister in my parish's choir. Singing, which seemed lost to me for so long, is a joyous part of my life again.

Thank you and God bless you. Whatever awaits on your path ahead, i know you walk with Him. My prayers are with you.

KJ said...

And yet, here is an irony and paradox (I have come to believe that if paradox is not present, it's not Christian.). At such times, we are at peace. I have been told by detractors that this is "relief" or a "contrived peace," which tells me, they do not know peace.

Yesterday morning before dawn, on my run where I live just north of Seattle, we had a cold northwestern breeze blowing. I was very aware of it as I was running in the opposite direction. On my return run, I kept hearing the rustling of leaves in the trees above me, and at first thought that raccoons were scampering about, or that some squirrels were getting an early start on the day, but quickly realized, that would be a lot of 'coons and squirrels, so I stopped to investigate. Immediately I felt the cold northwestern breeze on my back, and realized it was the wind in the trees I was hearing.

Is it possible that those who are standing in place, refusing to move, sense the transformational breath of the Spirit as a cold wind? Yet, when one moves with the Spirit, one knows a "stillness" and peace that the casual observer cannot understand given the circumstances.

Fr. Geoff, may the peace of Christ be with you. Do not grow weary! There are many with you on this very important run, and many more to follow.

Anonymous said...

I am praying for you and giving thanks to God for your courage. I am an ordained member of Roman Catholic Women Priests; and I reside on the Central Coast of California. It is only when persons such as yourself make a clear stand for justice, that justice will be done. Your faithfulness to what you know to be just will be blessed. Thank you for remaining steadfast in the midst of persecution. Many blessings!

Alyson said...

Father Geoff:

You have my complete support and admiration for your courage in calling a spade a spade. Though not a Catholic in practice, as a spiritual practitioner and healer, I have been on the receiving end of our European-based cultural bias against all that is outside the pale of 'acceptable' political and social behavior. If there is anything I can do to actively provide continuing support for your stand, please post here and I - and others, I believe! - will respond.
You have my prayers and sincere wishes for strength as you hold your truth. Blessings, Alyson LeBlanc

Birdie said...

I am addressing this to the readers of this blog:

Father Geoff has stated that it is his wish that his action leads to "greater discussion of the treatment of gay and lesbian people in and by the Church." Is it working? Are you talking about it? Please don't let his sacrifice be made powerless by our inaction. It's our move. Tell your friends. Talk to your priest or pastor about it. Link this in your blog.

You're only one person? So is Father Geoff. So am I. As we spread the word, together we can be a powerful army that defeats this oppression. Our weapons are words of truth and love. Do this.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Joe Kelly said...

Father Farrow,
How many responses to you have begun, "As a former Catholic. . ."? The stance of the Catholic Church on sexual ethics is most peculiar and responsible for many folks heterosexual and gay to leave the church of their birth.

In my Catholic high school class on marriage and the family, it was taught that the sacrament of marriage is conferred by the couple on each other. The priest is a witness for the Church and state. It was presumed, of course that the couple were heterosexual, but it does not require a great leap to extend this notion to all couples, same-sex and opposite sex.
It is sad that your witness to justice is received in such a negative way by your bishop.

Be assured of my prayers and hopes for you as you plan your future.

Joe Kelly
Glendora, CA

Scott said...

What you said in your Homily is verbatim to what we learned at Saint Patrick's Seminary from the professor who taught the Second Year Moral Theology course, "Human Sexuality". When I took Jerry's course, I too ran into a conflict. When I voiced what I saw as an obvious inconsistancy, Jerry told me that if I had a problem with Church teaching, that I should come see him in his office. He was Rector at the time. I apologized and stayed silent. I ended up with an "A" in the course because as was said by Scott Ritchey at the time, "Be beige when it comes to expressing your opionion." My "collar is off" to you my friend, a prophet who chose not to be "beige".

Mychals Prayer said...

Dear Fr. Geoff,

You are in good company in the ranks of the conscientious and courageous.

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “It is better to die excommunicated than to violate one's conscience," when in conflict with official church teaching.

And Fr. Mychal Judge, ‘the Saint of 9/11’, often asked, “Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love?!”

Fr. Mychal was the most beloved openly gay Christian of our lifetime, often at odds with diocesan authorities. He reported directly to a Higher Authority, and urged us to, “not let the institutional church get in the way of your relationship with God.”

The Lord is with you, and you are in my prayers.

Davis said...

Speaking the Truth in Love - that's what we must do. May God bless you. A priest forever.

susan s. said...

Many people stand with you on this issue. As all here have said, God bless you for your courage.

Paul said...

Thanks.

So for tonight, we pray for
What we know can be,
And everyday, we hope for
What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for.

SubtleKnife said...

Dear Father Geoff, I think Rev. Lois Keen said it best: you have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Just to prove the point, I too am sending all my love and support to you.

It doesn't just hurt you, me and the people who respond to you, it hurts all of humanity when one person is punished for following his conscience.

I know you've talked to Father Tony (of New York/Florida) and I would advise you to do that again, because I have the utmost respect for his opinion.

There aren't any people that I know (in The Netherlands) who can vote against proposition 8 other than my best friend, who will most definitely vote NO.

Lots of love,

MJ

Doorman-Priest said...

I am so sorry it has come to this. You made a brave and principled stand.

I pray that our God leads you into exciting new ministries.

Anonymous said...

Dear Geoff,
I am a fellow Catholic priest who happens to be "straight" and who is touched by your courage and integrity. In my own way, I have tried to open eyes to the goodness of our gay brothers and sisters, and I too have openly expressed concern over how denial of civil marriage to gay couples, in my judgment, could violate their human rights. Please pray for me as I will for you. May the Spirit of Jesus guide your steps!

MartininBroda said...

I’m trying to make a more appropriate comment than my first one. You're a courageous witness to the truth our religion is fundamentally different from bigotry and hatred. I hope your courage will always save you. Our Lord Jesus Christ may guide and protect you.

Jeremiah Andrews said...

I am saddened by this news. I am in my last year of Theological Studies in Pastoral Ministry taught by Catholic priests. I don't agree with the church and sometimes I find myself hating the church because of its lopsided stances. Pedophiles can stay but gays cannot. Go figure.

I pray for you and I hope that you won't disappear into the desert but find some place USEFUL to do good works. I have moved from the Catholic Church to the Anglican community. I am sure that there is a faith community that will adopt you into their fold and I hope you find your way there.

God forgive what the church is doing to you for being honest.

Peace and Blessings.
Jeremy Andrews

Two Auntees said...

Many blessing be upon thee, my special psalm is 84, v11, "God will withhold nothing from those who live with integrity" which is also the mantra for Integrity, the Episcopal GLBT support group. You are a beloved example for all accepting Christians.
Sarah

Jendi said...

God bless you, Father Geoff. You are bearing witness to the fact that the gospel belongs to all God's children, and like the first evangelists, you are bravely submitting to attacks from those with a narrower vision. I have linked to your sermon on my blog.

You might enjoy the book "Undergoing God" by James Alison, a gay Catholic priest in England whose situation was similar to yours.

Anonymous said...

God bless you. You have given a gift to those who believe that separation of church and state benefits both entities, as well as to gays, lesbians, and transgender committed couples who wish to engage in the civil contract called "marriage". You have heartened the many gay Catholics (and their families)who remain active in parish life. Thank you, and have a blessed National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11).
NancyP

Grandmère Mimi said...

Fr. Farrow, one door has closed, but I pray that God may open another door for you to continue in ministry. You have the heart of a pastor.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Prayers ascending for you and in thanksgiving for your courageous witness.

Bill S said...

Fr. Geoff,

Let me know if you need anything. One of the P&J members has an apartment you could use for a few months if you need it.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Thank you Fr. Geoff for standing up and speaking the truth. I left the Catholic Church when I found out I eas gay many years ago. I wish then someone would have had the courage you did to speak the truth. Your Bishop is being heavy handed because he knows its the truth and the church is again covering something up. Your honor is intact; you did the right thing.

God Bless you.

Anonymous said...

We will miss you at St. Paul's, but appreciate your final message. Many of your other homilies have had equally thoughtful messages as well. I am reminded of Matthew 10:14: "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet."
Please keep posting on your blog so we know you are well. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your inspiring speech on October 5th, your courage, and the attention you have brought to the issue that is Proposition 8. I gladly stood and applauded for you that Sunday, knowing how hard that must have been (and still is) to say. I couldn't agree more with your expressed opinion on gay marriage. I believe fully that everyone should be equal. Thank you for having the guts to project into our narrow-minded society what many people can only dream of bringing into the light. I am a straight female, and I don't care what anyone says anymore. Everyone deserves an opportunity to love and express their love.

I continue to pray for you and I hope you have a bright future. God bless.

-E.C.

Beryl Simkins said...

Speaking as an Episcopalian in the diocese of San Joaquin, I know what courage it required for you to take the stand you took in this area of the state. You spoke up knowing the cost and I appreciate so much the integrity it took. May God be with you.

Robert said...

I applaud you for your bravery and your stand for Jesus.

Tenorebruin said...

"Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression..." BCP Thank you Father Geoff for your brave heart and soul.

James said...

Fr. Geoff, you are the better man. God's blessings on you for following your convictions. As I said the other day you are in my prayers and the prayers of a lot of Episcopalians, too.

we'll pray for taht bishop, too.

Tim said...

Father Geoff, truly you are a man after God's own heart. David said it far better than anything I might offer: Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27.14)

Your bravery and compassion will not go unrewarded by the One who called you. He will strengthen your heart.

I'm praying His will and blessings for you.

Tim

crystal said...

I'm a Catholic and I think you've done a brave thing. Many of the Catholic bloggers I know disagree with the Church on this issue.

John I. said...

Fr. Geoff,

Your words resonate far beyond California. My family and I spent Saturday afternoon at the grave side of our gay son and brother. Yesterday would have been his 27th birthday. His Church turned on him viciously, abandoned him; and he ended up taking his own life last year. What a tragic waste of so much talent and promise. You are the kind of priest our seminarian son could have become. He is why what you (and so many other courageous people) do is so important. Be strong and uplifted by many loving hearts! +

new Episcopalian in the heartland

Mychals Prayer said...

Dear Father Geoff,
Imitator of the Good Shepherd,

It’s important to remember that you are always a validly ordained priest, whether or not you are suspended or even laicized. No ecclesial authority can ever take that calling and gift of God away from you.

As a practical matter, however, no Roman bishop may ever appoint you again. There are always the Anglican churches, but I’d urge you to also look at some of the independent and Old Catholic denominations. Most of them are progressive and share valid Apostolic Succession. I’ve been impressed with the ECC (Ecumenical Catholic Communion) and CACINA (Catholic Apostolic Church in North America).

I want to commend to you, and to all disheartened Catholics, the words of Ezekiel 34. Please read the full text in which our loving God condemns the arrogant, established religious authorities who have abused the flock of the faithful --

”You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them brutally and harshly … Therefore I will claim My sheep from you and put a stop to your shepherding” …

Thus says the LORD: “I Myself will look after and tend My sheep! … I Myself will pasture them, will give them rest. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, shepherding them rightly. Thus they shall know that I am their GOD, and they are My beloved people ... Thus they shall know that I am the LORD when I break the bonds of their yoke and free them from those who enslaved them.”


Father Geoff, may these events be a new beginning for you, may they lead you to new ways of co-shepherding with the Good Shepherd. ”Just trust in God. He’ll let you know what to do next.”
-- Father Mychal Judge.

http://SaintMychalJudge.blogspot.com

kristen said...

Father Geoff, I applaud your courage and wish you peace. The world is a better place because you are in it.

FranIAm said...

This is so moving to see all these comments in support of you.

As a Catholic who is supportive of the fullness of human dignity which calls for the inclusion of all at the table,I am for one saddened by all the "former" Catholic comments. Not only these, but those I see elsewhere and among my many beloved Episcopal friends out here in blogworld.

It saddens me because I do love the RC church with all of its f*cked up brokenness.

However your own words of when one is complict beyond what one can do struck my heart.

In the end I think that like our bread, like our body, like Christ- it must be blessed and broken.

Whatever is must die at some level and rise again in glory.

Whatever you do, wherever you go - you have touched and changed many lives already.

How you are managing your own life at this point is hard to imagine. I send you my every prayer as you walk through this all. May you find all the resources of courage and grace that are required.

Also I hope that positive comments come in in abundance and that there are not too many hateful ones.

So former, present, never or whatever- we are all human, we are all children of God.

May we find our common union and continue to discover God the only real way possible... through each other.

God bless you.

David said...

Father Geoff
I'm praying that the witness of these comments will give you a real sense of the love, gratiude and support your courageous witness had called forth. And we in turn are but pale reflections of that unfailing love which sustains us all- 'a love beyond our widlest imagining' to quote the blessed Bishop of New Hampshire.
Through your courageous stand, dear brother you have become one with an incredible community of faith- brothers and sisters who meet and embody our Lord in the sacred everyday.
In your courageous stand, you have taken the side of the Saints.
As a gay man you have my gratitude, love and prayers.
An a gay Anglican, I would assure you of an unconditional welcome.
Thank-you brother Geoff,

David@Montreal

Anonymous said...

Hi, Fr. Geoff, I wish you the very best. The church and your diocese is much the poorer due to your suspension. I wonder what were the grounds for the suspension, and if you have sought help from a canonist? I wonder what would happen in my state if there was such an issue on the ballot. I would not be able to support such an issue from the pulpit either.

Leslie Littlefield said...

What a wonderful example of truth you are to all of us.

Erika Baker said...

Prayers, on what must be one of the hardest Sundays ever for you.

Tammy Pinkston said...

I only have a brief moment to reply, but my friend Tim told me about your blog and I wanted to contact you in support. I am an evangelical, straight Christian who sees God's move to free His children who are gay, and by "free" I mean from the chains placed upon them by OTHERS (not by God). I don't have a blog but I have taken a stand on my website, which you can read here: http://www.isaiah61psalmist.com/bigotry.html I welcome you to Email me directly (info at the top of my links page). Tammy

Anonymous said...

Get a canonist and fight like hell. You made one statement and they suspended you from ministry and withdrew your faculties? They have tossed you out without any parachute or safety net? With no canonical process? At the very least, you should tie them into canonical knots - and keep the issue in the press - for the four or five years it will take to pursue every appeal.

Fr. John

Gerti Reagan Garner said...

I join all who have praised your courage in speaking up on this issue and pray for God's blessings in your life. Thank you for standing up for equality.

Joyce said...

Please know that you do not walk alone in your struggle. I am a Canadian Anglican priest (female) and chaplain to our local Integrity chapter. The cost of telling truth may be high but the cost of the lie is greater.

Thank you.
Canon Joyce Sanchez,Montreal,QC

The Gay Species said...

The truth shall set you free.

episcowill said...

God Bless you dear Fr. Geoff. I am one of the many who wrote to you at the parish email, and it's likely that you were unable to recieve it. I just want to extend loving support to you, both in what I know you must be experiencing right now, as well as the decisions you will need to be making in the immediate future. As Henri Nouwen has written .. You, Geoff, are the beloved of God, on whom His favor rests.

Much Love and Gods blessing be yours,
Will Byrd
Concord

Bill said...

You probably won't even find time to read this, but I wanted to thank you for your courage. Your message of love is making its way around the world.

toujoursdan said...

Good bless you. Please add my prayers to those eloquent statements above.

Dan
Christ Church (Episcopal) Brooklyn/St John the Evangelist Ottawa

The Dread Pirate Roberts said...

I have a candle burning for you.
I, too, am a Catholic priest, though not of your diocese. I thank God for your courage to speak boldly in the Spirit. Although I am not near, be assured of my support.
--Brent

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Father Geoff,
We rather knew it would come to this. Sadly, a man does not get to be a bishop by championing truth and by facilitating the movement of the Holy Spirit. He is given authority because he can be trusted to uphold the laws of Roman Catholicism. The kindness you extend to the bishop of Fresno is noble but undeserved. Shame on him for having passed on a opportunity for greatness and witness to the real message of Jesus Christ. He has unfortunately chosen to be ordinary in every sense of the word.
You shine a bright light on some important issues, and I am hoping that your voice will be heard widely because of this suspension. If only your brother priests had but a fraction of your courage.

Joyce said...

Thank you.

textjunkie said...

God bless you for your integrity and commitment to your position and the community, and for your goodwill to the bishop. Praying for you, your congregation, and your bishop!!

frumiousb said...

Thank you very much for your bravery and courage. I waver constantly in my commitment to the church precisely because of issues like this. Priests like you give me hope.

Lynn said...

Fr. Geoff,

Jesus taught us that doing the right thing sometimes means breaking the rules. God's peace to you during this difficult time. (And remember - never let a crisis of theology become a crisis of faith.)

Frair John said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers, thank you for your courage and God bless you.

Mark in NYC said...

Like the late, fearless Mychal Judge your spirit and strength of witness serves Catholics and gay people well.
I am what many in the GLBT community refer to themselves as a "recovering Catholic" as I was raised in The Church, completed all the sacriments and even served as an alter boy, only to grow up and realize that the church hated me. Painfully, I rejected my faith and have been rudderless ever since. It is your testimonial that gives me hope that there might be some reconciliation within the church.
God bless you and keep you.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

May God bless you, Father Geoff--your courage is an inspiration to many. Your love of Christ shines through in your words and actions.

Pax,
Doxy

Brian said...

Father,

Thank you so much for your courage. Both my partner and I attended Salesianum School in Wilmington, DE, which is run by The Oblates of St Francis DeSales. Even though the students of this school, being obnoxious, spoiled teenage boys, were less than kind towards gay men, the priests were actually quite accepting. The fact that your Bishop made the statement he did with his actions is quite appalling. However, he learns from the top, so why does the Catholic Church accept gay people (excluding intercourse because they cannot procreate - understandable), but not gay priests? Such a contradiction in terms from Benedict in stating that it's ok to be gay, but if you are, you're incapable of helping others?

Regardless, there are good people out there such as yourself. Don't give up the fight...we need someone like you on our side!

polpal3 said...

I was raised a Catholic and your words cut in my own heart: "In any event regardless of what I or anyone else does in their life, one day you die, and on that day were you true to your conscience, were you true to what you believe. And I think that's the question each of us has to answer. If the answer is no, hell already began before you died."

I tried to deny for 23 years that I was gay. I tried the marriage route and, as you stated, there were two victims. The most freeing words I ever expressed were, "I am gay."

I will be praying for you and hoping the church finally is freed to do what she is supposed to be: ministering as Jesus would do and I believe his two commands were to love God and love each other. When one discriminates against anyone for any reason, it usually is not done so in love....

Neens said...

Dear Father Geoff,

I'm a Lutheran Protestant from Germany and I applaud your courage to stand up for human rights in such a personal way. It's something you see only too seldom with Church officials, which I found very disappointing. You have given me hope that there *are* good people serving the Church who are not afraid. Thank you for that, Father.

I wish you all the best for the future and may God be with you in all his love and compassion!

Anonymous said...

Fr. Geoff,

Thank you. Having heard these words as a gay teenager would have changed the course of my life, I think. I'd already heard the gay=evil message too much, and so I left the church. Knowing that there were clergy who feel as you do may have made the difference.

-jeffrey

Anonymous said...

Father Farrow, I applaud your courage, and wish you well in your future endeavors. Thanks for taking a stand on this issue, and I'm sorry that the Church's reaction to your views on this topic is yet another step I am going to take away from my Catholicism. I hate that it has come to this, but I don't think that the Church represents me, nor any others in our community, whatsoever, so I will explore my relationship with God on a personal basis, and not waste my time attending Mass any more.

FredHall44, San Francisco said...

Thank you for your honesty & courage. It is refreshing & inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Thank you not only for doing this, but for all the loving work you did as a priest in your years working within the confines of Catholic doctrine. I am sure you are a priest who counseled people to open their hearts to God, love and their true selves.

After my mother died, I went to a very dynamic priest in our own parish, Father Mike. I came out to him, and I remember him telling me that he too is gay, and that for that moment he was working from within the confines of the Church. He also pointed out that the Church preached an ideal to which we must aspire, and that if we did not achieve this, then we were not "bad people". That was in 1991.

When I left our own parish and moved out as an adult, many times I tried to hold that philosophy as a Catholic close to my heart, but always heard angry rhetoric from others. I eventually turned my back on a Church that while flawed was the basis for the way I view good and bad in the world. I had to realize after a great deal of therapy and introspection though, that despite what they said, I am not bad.

Father Mike in 1991 did the best he could for me. Now in 2008, you have done the best thing as well. You both gave me hope that from within, this behemoth Church may change with the actions of individuals. Keep up the good fight, and thank you.

Mark Cochran said...

Dear Father Farrow:

As a Mormon/LDS man who happens to be gay and happened to marry at the advice of church leaders 18 years ago, I want to applaud your courage for doing what is right and speaking up for the LGBT community! Your courage and honor are so admirable!

It's astonishing, however, the very attributes the Catholic Church has tried to help you develop as a Priest (benevolent, true, faithful, advocate for those without a voice) are the very traits they are opposing and are using to oust you.

Please know that your actions have had a wonderful affect on those outside your church and you have many admirers who give thanks to you for your courage!

Thank again - and wishing you well as you move forward.

Kind regards,

Mark Cochran
Dallas, Texas

dr dick said...

Hey Geoff, I hope you are hanging in there. Would love to connect with you when your schedule permits. i when through the same thing you are currently going through back in 1981 when i published my doctoral thesis: Gay Catholics Priest; A Study of Cognitive and Affective Dissonance.

i was immediately cut off from my religious community and unable to function as a public minister. I fought the Oblates of Mary Immaculate for 15 years before I was finally dismissed.

The church can be so brutal. As things get more difficult for you, please remember that others, like myself, have tread this same ground. If you need support or encouragement, feel free to contact me.

All the best, my brother!

richard

Anonymous said...

May God bless you! I hope you might be able to find a place in the Episcopal Church. Please talk to Bishop Lamb!

fastlad said...

I can't think of a more Christian action than standing up for love, peace and justice in the face of wrath and hostility.

God bless you, you're an inspiration to us all.

"Bosie" said...

Hello...I was reading articles on what you did and the consequences it had on you and your life...I'm sending you all the good thoughts i have in my heart. I haven't been to church in about 15yrs or so...BUT if I knew there was a person serving the church like yourself...I wouldn't be afraid of doing so...the church for me is a place of hate these days...I don't feel safe or welcome.

I HOPE that your new journey takes you futher and THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE...You have us. :)

Eddie89 said...

Dear Mr. Farrow;

Kudos to you for taking a stand for equality and fighting for minority rights.

Veritas vos liberabit!

Anonymous said...

I admire your courage and resolution. As a lapsed catholic of many years, I fail to understand how the church can continue to be so blind.
Be sure that you have the love and support on many.

Rick+ said...

I've often thought that when John the Baptist spoke of the coming of the Christ and having his "winnowing fork in his hand." It seems at times our lives get tossed into the air so all the chaff floats away... only the good grain remains.

I'm so sorry that because of your great courage and faith your life has been tossed into the air. Still, I rejoice that such courage and faith is still strong in the world. The good grain remains. The harvest comes. You are in my prayers.

Y | O | Y said...

I admire your courage. As the old saying goes, "When one door closes another opens." Perhaps you have opened the door to the most exciting and fulfilling chapter in your life!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how an institution which claims to serve according to the word of God can be so hypocritical in its practice.

Some years back, a cousin of mine, who like me was raised Catholic, got married in a civil service to the boy who knocked her up. As we all expected, it lasted a few scant months before they announced their breakup. Soon after, they divorced.

Several years later she met a man much better suited for her. They eventually decided to get married. It was not a problem at all for them to get married in the Church, since in the eyes of the Church, she was never considered to be married to her first husband in the first place. For the Church to recognize marriage, a man and a woman must be married by the Church-- a civil ceremony just doesn't cut it. To be married only civilly, they claim, amounts to living "in sin". Of course, with a little hocus-pocus, wave the magic hand... all that can be swept away. The point is, their stand has always been that a marriage performed outside of the Church is not in their eyes, marriage at all.

If that is the belief, why then the fuss about "gay marriage"? It's a civil process, not much different from two lawyers deciding to form a legal partnership and go into business together. For something they don't recognize as marriage in God's eyes in the first place, they sure do put up a stink at even the notion that two same-sex persons be granted that purely legal status. But alas, they seek that godly principle of "having your cake and eating it too."

My only solace is the realization they might win a battle here and there for now with legislation such as Prop 8, but they're on the way to losing the war. So many generation that's growing up don't give a fig about the notion of same-sex marriage. The generation that follows them will no doubt be even moreso. The tides are changing and there's no turning them back. Unquestionably there will come a point where the Supreme Court will step in to make it the law of the land and there ain't anything the Church can do to stop it. My heart goes out to Father Geoff for the bravery he's shown us that will help lead us to that day.

Laraine Herring said...

Thank you, Fr. Farrow. You have stood up when others have not, and you have demonstrated what being a true hero is. That word is bounced about a lot lately, but rarely in the context of a true heroic act. I was raised Lutheran, and am now more Buddhist than anything, but I deeply respect an individual's faith and I trust that your words and actions will be honored in the highest way. Richest blessings, sir.

Cany said...

Fr. Farrow:

I want to thank you for your brave decision, I know it must have been extremely difficult. May God Bless You.

I am a straight person, but nonetheless very supportive of my friends, colleagues and fellow Episcopalians that are not. You have no idea how much I respect you for what you have done, and I am terribly sorry that the result of your moral integrity was so hostile.

May God Keep and Bless You, Father, and May the Peace Of The Lord Be With You.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your courage. Your sermon captured the way I felt growing up in the catholic church. Now I am proud to be a gay man, happily married to my husband here in Germany.

We live in Germany even though I am American and he is Austria because the discriminatory marriage laws in our home countries prevent us from sponsoring each other for a visa.

If more people stand up like you have, we can end this pernicious discrimination. I forwarded the text of your sermon to my mother, a devout catholic, who was thrilled to finally have a priest express in words what she feels in her heart. Thanks again.
Andy Andrews - Dortmund, Germany

SFbruiser said...

I just ran across this quote from Pope John XXIII on "Whispers in the Loggia."

To me, it seems appropriate for Fr. Farrow in his current circumstances:

"Every believer in this world of ours must be a spark of light, a center of love, a life-giving leaven amidst his fellow men. And he will be this all the more perfectly, the more closely he lives in communion with God in the intimacy of his own soul. The world will never be the house of peace, till peace has found a home in the heart of each and every man, till every man preserves in himself the order ordained by God to be preserved."

--Bl John XXIII

To me, Fr. Farrow is that "spark of light."

Anonymous said...

As depressing as it is, I'm not surprised that you were removed from your position. I hope that sometime in the near future you are able to find a more inviting place to spread your message from. It's certainly a message worth spreading.

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration. I am a gay man that was recently married in California to my partner of 11 years. We have 2 children and this weekend, our neighbors and each side of our house have put up Yes on 8 posters in their yards. I have never felt more insecure. On one side, is a Mormon family and I would have expected it from them. On the other side, the woman claims to be a witch and practices wicca -- whatever the hell that is. So now my kids, worry about being friends with our neighbor's kids -- and frankly, so do we. Not sure what we will do, but we are considering moving to a more progressive part of the state.

Jillian said...

It is my sincerest hope that you are an inspiration to your congregation and to your fellow priests. You are a hero and no mistake!

Zoe Brain said...

1 Corinthians 13

Everyone can see who is acting with Charity, and who is being Pharisaic.

This goes beyond doctrine, and cuts to the heart of Christian belief.

In a very real way, you are alone, facing the Church in all its Majesty. But in another, know that you have two things on your side. The first is all those from around the world, gay or straight, catholic or no, who know Charity when they see it.

And the second thing, something I hope will sustain you in the trying times ahead, is the knowledge that you can do no other. I see someone else has already quoted Thomas Aquinas. Even when your heart fails, your courage falters, you know that you can't be a hypocrite.

Go with God - for He's going with you. You have been weighed in the balance, and not found wanting.

KB Coll said...

Father Geoff,

Thank you for taking this stand and for continuing to speak out.

Also, my deepest thanks for reminding me that not who call themselves religious are my enemy. In these times, it's becoming harder to remember that fact.

choraleboy said...

Father Farrow - I too want to stand behind you and support you in your desire to live in the light. God will surely richly bless your courage and honesty and I have nothing but respect for you.

Nick Durutta said...

What an inspiring, brave act. These are the times when I see hope for our planet and people.

gaysecrets said...

Words cannot describe my sadness and despair at the ignorance and Bible-based bigotry in this country (and certainly around the world) today. I am hopeful that Californians will do the right thing and say "no" to ignorance and hate, but sadly, a simple majority could end or delay marriage equality for a very long time to come...my worst fear. I wonder if you would write to me at my email address at torrnado (at) gmail dot com? I would like to invite you to be our guest in San Francisco if you are interested in helping on the "No on 8" campaign. Thank you so much for your courage and your strength, Father Farrow.

Anonymous said...

Please consider continuing your priestly service in an independent Catholic jurisdiction that is welcoming and affirming. I am privileged to serve as a priest in the Reformed Catholic Church. We welcome all persons to all of the sacraments. Men and women, straight and GLBT, married and single, are all welcome as candidates for Holy Orders. Check us out at www.reformedcatholicchurch.org

"You are a priest FOREVER!"

Rev. Fr. Bill Heller

Witchy Dr said...

Your courage speaks volumes and genuinely reflects your inner soul. If more people of faith realize that much has been lost through the ages by individuals who are interested in more self righteousness than delivering the message as it was intended then this world would be much more harmonious.

May your path before you know bring you peace and love,
bb

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous from October 12, 2008 7:18 AM. A further thought I've had regards those of our bishops who are themselves gay. Is their ostracism of gay priests their way of dealing with shame and self-loathing? If our gay bishops were able to accept themselves, would they not be more able to accept their gay priests?

Kathryn said...

I am someone who left the Catholic church (and religion altogether) a few years ago, and I have felt the hole in my life ever since. But I could never find a place that really welcomed ideas and people of every type with open arms. After seeing what you did (and all of the support you are receiving for it), however, I feel a small spark again. It's small, but it's wonderful. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

Craig & Colleen - Morgan Hill, Ca said...

Dear Fr. Geoff: My wife and I are inspired by your courage and brutal honesty in the face of a life altering decision. Your words and actions are challenging us to redefine our view of what we perceive as sexually normal both in the eyes of God and of man. Christians always talk of the Holy Spirit continuing to work in our world, yet when viewing current events, we see God 's hand in the issues of the day through a dark window. We quote sacred scripture as if God's creation ended 2000 years ago and we are just waiting for the final Coming. In reality, God is continuing to give birth to a new awareness in man built upon new understandings in both science and in theology (see work of Fr. James Alison). The Church and society today are filled with the fear that just maybe we might have gotten it wrong when it comes to our understanding of human sexuality and the truth. Instead of setting us free ... they fear this new awareness may actually destroy us. Congratulations on your new freedom borne out of the birthing pain of speaking the Truth. Your struggles are not in vain. Many of us are watching and listening and learning. You are in our prayers. Craig & Colleen - Morgan Hill, CA

pete abbott said...

Thank you.
Bless you, you speak as Christ.

Dr. Jillian T. Weiss said...

Thank you for your courage.

green_knight said...

I'd just like to take a moment to thank you for your courage. The legislation does not concern me, being straight and from the UK, but it concerns my friends and their friends and family; and in a way, it concerns all of humanity.

Thank you for speaking out against bigotry and hatred.

archangelbeth said...

As my nick probably suggests, I'm no type of Christian. Nevertheless... You've taken a stance that, as you say, may make your life more difficult -- that one day, other people's lives may be easier. That takes bravery and compassion.

Thank you. Growing up, it was hard to understand that there were Christians who were not all about how I was going to go to Hell if I didn't believe exactly what they did. It made me very cynical about the whole religion. You're someone who reminds me that Christians can also be compassionate. Again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

You give me hope.

M. from Minnesota

Laurie Alexander said...

I am neither a Catholic or a lesbian; but, I applaud your courage and character. Thank you for taking a stand for human rights. We are all equal and should have the freedom to spend our lives with our loved ones without labels, fear, or harrassment. I believe that if there is a god he/she is one of love and they would welcome you with open arms. Thank you.

gaycousinteddy said...

Father Farrow,

Thank you deeply for your courage. You are an inspiration for GLBT people everywhere. Your leadership is extraordinary and I can not help but be inspired by your life. I've shared your story on my blog and hopefully more people will visit this site to learn more.

-Teddy

Anonymous said...

Father, God is smiling in his heaven today at the amazing courage of you, his son. I am a straight grandmother of two beautiful little girls and I pray for them, through the courage of people like yourself, that they will know a better, more equal and more loving world. Love will conquer hate. Today, sir, you made me exceedingly proud to be a Christian.

God bless you,
Theresa Shell
Los Angeles, California

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Catholic, but I applaud you for being true to yourself. That is what is really happening here, being true to who you are and how God made you. You are in my thoughts and again thank you.

ManDancer said...

Thank you what you have done. May others follow your courageous example.

As for those that continue to remain silent, please pray for the Holy Spirit to give you strength, wisdom and words to right this wrong.

p said...

Fr. Geoff

You are an inspiration for all. To be so courageous when it is easier not to be. I converted to Catholicism 10 years ago, but have begun questioning my faith recently. God will bless you for your act of unselfishness.

d.crowley said...

dear father..thank you, you are a
priest forever,no one can erase that..continue your work..you have
my prayers...i remind myself often of pope benedict's statement,"our
conscience is the final tribunal on
which we shall be judged"...i ask you to forgive your bishop, he knows not what he has done...i forgive him too, 'tiz a racial act
to forgive...our Lord did as he was
nailed to the cross....2 of my gay
friends across the street have the
sign on the vote no on p.8...i will
give them a copy of your sermon...i
try to help the "throw-away priests"...hope you read the article in NCR July 28 of '07...
"throw-away priests" by c.duline,she has been helping several of these priests forgotten,...
blessings on your continued work,with affection and pray,d.crowley

Anonymous said...

Thank you for what you have done. Your decision is most inspiring to those struggling with their accepting of who they are as they are.

Bob said...

I applaud your courage, Geoff. I am not a member of the Christian or any faith community, but it helps us all when anyone stands up to oppression.

You and others who agree with you need to unite to take a stand against the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The church ought to belong to the people, not to a reactionary gang of old men enthralled with power.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Father Farrow for your courage to stand up for what you believed to be right.

As a gay Catholic it's good to see that there are gay Priests out there still.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Father Geoff for your courage and integrity. You are an inspiration to many around the world. May God continue to strengthen and bless you on your journey. I admire your bravery. Blessings Always, Andy G. in Saint Louis, MO

N. Vivian said...

I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for you to be so honest and couragous. You have my utmost respect.

cartoonkate said...

I just read about your act of bravery. I know this must be a hard time for you but you have my respect and admiration.

I have left the Catholic church (thru the actus formalis defectionis ab eccelsia catholica) - left for many reasons but their stand on homosexuality was certainly one of them.

I applaud people like yourself.

I know that good things will happen for you. Best wishes!!!

Liz Hale said...

"You are the Body of Christ. In you and through you the work of the Incarnation must go forward. You are to be taken, to be blessed, broken, and distributed, that you may be the means of grace and the vehicles of the Eternal Love."
+ Saint Augustine

Father Geoff, we're praying for you. Please also pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Anonymous said...

as a gay catholic, struggling to find my place, you give me hope.
thank you.

Dan said...

Thank you and God bless you for such a courageous act of honoring yourself and God at the same time.

Tracy said...

Dearest Father Farrow:
I am not Catholic, however, I so appreciate your wise and compassionate words, as well as your strength of character. It is so startling conservative where we live, I often feel that voicing my opinion, or sporting a "No on 8" sticker on my SUV will result in vandalism or something that will require an ice pack. I recently visited family in Utah, it is no less conservative here! Scary!
Perhaps someone can answer a question for me: How does Elton's and David's marriage make Tracy's and Bill's any less valid? How is Ellen and Portia a threat to the sanctity of my marriage?
As far as "forcing the homosexual agenda" in our schools, quoi? I don't remember ever learning about the institution of marriage in school ever! And I attended eight schools! Clearly, this is yet another tactic the homophobic is hawking, just to keep it uncomfortable. To them all I can say is, "Grow up!"
Father, you are in my thoughts, and I hope that our efforts were not for naught, but, sadly, I don't want to hold my breath on it.
Tracy in the Ranchos

kate said...

. . . thank you for having the courage to do the right thing. i'm hoping that by your sacrifice in the name of truth and compassion, for standing up for what you know to be true, that many many doors open to you, as some doors shut. sending you well wishes . . . cheering you on . . .

brother priest said...

Thanks for your prophetic bravery. You give the rest of us courage to follow. Your bishop is obligated to support you. Get a cannon lawyer if you have to.

Anonymous said...

Different ≠ Wrong
By, Michael Sterken
The other day members of the California Family Council came to my door to tell me to vote “yes” on prop. 8. According to their brochure and the website www.protectmarriage.com:
[Proposition 8] protects our children from being taught in public schools that “same-sex marriage” is the same as traditional marriage, and prevents other consequences to Californians who will be forced to not just be tolerant of gay lifestyles, but face mandatory compliance regardless of their personal beliefs.
What does “personal beliefs” mean, anyway? It’s a very generic phrase, but the implied meaning- through subsequent print media, television ads, and other public demonstrations- is that the proponents of Prop. 8 consider homosexuality to be immoral. Because they believe homosexuality to be immoral, they also believe that failing to create this new amendment will have negative consequences to families. That begs the question: why is it immoral? The most common argument comes from the Bible. Leviticus 18:22 says that, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with a woman: it is abomination (or detestable or hateful—depending on what version of the Bible you read). If the Bible is considered the ultimate source of morality and society should cater all of its laws to it, then I guess we also need to obey Leviticus 11:10-12 which calls eating shrimp an abomination. Or how about Leviticus 19:19 which forbids wearing clothing made out of 2 different kinds of fabric or Leviticus 19:28 which forbids getting tattoos. While we’re at it, let’s remember to propose another amendment that forbids women to engage in intercourse during their periods—clearly they are unclean (Leviticus 18:19). This is not an argument for morality: it is a selective reading and interpretation of a powerful text to support a particular viewpoint.
Prop 8 is just legalized discrimination. People who read the Bible literally as if God personally wrote it have been using it to justify discrimination, intolerance, and ostracism for centuries. Look at Leviticus 25:45 which clearly authorizes slavery. If it says that it the Bible, then it must be morally justified, so perhaps we should just throw out the 13th amendment to the U.S. constitution. Our country was founded on democratic principles that would protect minorities, not allow the majority to suppress the marginalized. The American Disabilities Act must be a real slap in the face to Leviticus 21:17-21 which suggests that God does not favor those with infirmities or handicaps. Good thing we have separation of church and state…or do we?
Gay marriage doesn’t break up families, but teaching hatred and intolerance does. Families are held together by UNCONDITIONAL love. When families reject homosexuals, then their love is based on the condition that every member conforms to the social norms and mores of our time. I believe that this rejection of family member or neighbor based on their sexual orientation is what is immoral. I hope this November that you vote with an educated conscience and remember that the Bible is a tool…it can be used constructively or destructively. I prefer to use it constructively by not judging those who are different from me (Matthew 7:1-5), and by following the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). When our children look back at this time in history, which side of the line can you say you stood on?

Mike T said...

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:12)

I do not think I can add anything to that.

Rebecca said...

hello-It's refreshing to come on here and read loving, supportive and informative thoughts. There is much here from many but I must say that Michael Sterken, I really appreciated your efforts here wtih the info from Leviticus this week. There's sure nothing in the Sermon on the Mount except encouragement from Jesus to love one another. Fr. Farrow, don't let the confusion out there get you down. Keep up the good work. Our thoughts are with you.

K10 said...

My wife, daughter, and I are parishoners at St. Therese in Fresno and we support you. My own father left the church years before I was born because, as a closeted homosexual, he was unable to endure the scorn of The Church. To my great sorrow, he has to this day been unable to reconcile himself with Her. I think that I speak for many Catholics when I say that it is very distressing to have to choose between obedience to my conscience and obedience to The Church. I praise you for your courage and I hope that whether or not you are reinstated you will continue to find sustenance in your faith.

Percy Sales Events said...

Father Farrow,

I applaud your courage and for standing up to what is right. Thank you for giving me strength to fight for what's right.

-Percy

Ashanti said...

Father,
I am reassured to have read about your homily offered to your parish in Fresno. I was raised in a Roman Catholic parish in South Carolina, but largely stopped attending mass in high school for the several of the reasons you spoke to in your remarks. For many years I wavered between feelings of wanting to be apart of a parish community yet not feeling "able" to fully be myself. My longing for community came into conflict with my basic identification as catholic and wanting to be part of the community I had grown up among. I have fortunately in the last two years found and become a member of a wonderful, high-church Episcopal parish in Ontario, CA, which makes me feel very much at home.

Now that all the bio is done, the main thing I want to say is that I appreciate your courage and I pray for your fortitude during this transition.

-Shanti

RichardJ said...

You are my hero, Father.

Michael said...

My Dear Geoff,

Do forgive me if I don't address you as Father--I grew up Catholic and still have some scars. I may not be religious in a traditional sense, but I hope you do not mind me commenting on your blog.

You have such courage and such integrity, I felt compelled to comment. Your letter to your parish emanates such humanity, love, and compassion. While I am not religious, all I can think is what a HORRIBLE LOSS for the Catholic Church that you don't have your parish. You are obviously filled with great love and compassion.

Your fan,
Michael

Father Geoff said...

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your kind words, they lift me up today as I pack a bag to fly to Washington DC. I and the twelve other activists that handcuffed ourselves to the White House Fence last November, will be arraigned in Federal Court this Friday.

This morning as I sipped on my coffee I remembered the terminal patients who I visited in hospital rooms. What I am facing is small in comparison; however, it is part of the same process. Life strips us of everything in order to reveal, and for us to discover, our true self. I hope that through my life I am able to make this world a more just and loving reality.

Kunkel said...

Dear Fr. Geoff,

I realize that it has been years since you have written this message, but even today it sticks with me. What you have been forced to give up by the church breaks my heart, but it also resonates with a fear within myself. As the President of my own university's Catholic Student Association and member of their Newman club, I often worry what would happen to me if I were completely honest with everyone there about my life. I know they all love me now, but could that love span what is such a big issue, I don't really know.
Instead, I am choosing to cross that bridge when I come to it, and for now, work within the CSA organization to open people's hearts and minds. It is hard work, but well worth it. Do you have any advice on where I can start in this mission to open people up? I already pass your blog address along when I am out tabling, but I feel I am ready to do more.

Thank you, God Bless,
Emily

John said...

Fr. Geoff,
This past Saturday, Holy Saturday, marked my 26th anniversary of becoming a convert to the Church. In the last decade and a half, I have made many friends within the the Church including several priests. When I had my first confession prior to entering a priest friend of mine giving me absolution told me in the confessional that "there is nothing wrong with you John." Your sexuality is given by God and cannot be put asunder by the church hierarchy, or dogma, or encyclicals, or anything from the Pope 'Ex Cathedra'. He said you have beaten yourself up enough bc you are Gay. My problem was that it took another seven years, therapy, a failed suicide attempt, and my personal realization that I am special in God's eyes and am one of his children. No theology can rip that knowledge away from me. The sadness is that the Church(es) seems hellbent on keeping us as second-class citizens.
One of the scriptures I keep in my heart is from Philippians 4:13, "I (You) can do ALL things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me (us)."
Keep up your valiant and righteous fight Father Geoff, bc we all need a voice.

Fr., you are as Moses leading the Israelites out from under Pharoah's tyranny into the promised land.

May God richly Bless you.

John Snead(former Catholic)

John said...

Fr. Geoff,
This past Saturday, Holy Saturday, marked my 26th anniversary of becoming a convert to the Church. In the last decade and a half, I have made many friends within the the Church including several priests. When I had my first confession prior to entering a priest friend of mine giving me absolution told me in the confessional that "there is nothing wrong with you John." Your sexuality is given by God and cannot be put asunder by the church hierarchy, or dogma, or encyclicals, or anything from the Pope 'Ex Cathedra'. He said you have beaten yourself up enough bc you are Gay. My problem was that it took another seven years, therapy, a failed suicide attempt, and my personal realization that I am special in God's eyes and am one of his children. No theology can rip that knowledge away from me. The sadness is that the Church(es) seems hellbent on keeping us as second-class citizens.
One of the scriptures I keep in my heart is from Philippians 4:13, "I (You) can do ALL things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me (us)."
Keep up your valiant and righteous fight Father Geoff, bc we all need a voice.

Fr., you are as Moses leading the Israelites out from under Pharoah's tyranny into the promised land.

May God richly Bless you.

John Snead(former Catholic)