Monday, October 13, 2008

How we do and don't speak of this issue in our seminaries

This following E-mail illustrates the types of discussions which take place in seminaries regarding this issue. The way in which the discussion is handled is as important as the discussion itself.

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".
October 11, 2008 10:46 AM


Birdie said...

Those who gain position by sublimating truth keep that position—and its power—only by maintaining and enforcing that silence. Thus begins the decline into power and away from God’s truth. Please continue to shine a light on the practices that turn people away from the Lord. So many have had to leave the Church to find God’s loving embrace, and that is indefensible. May this be the beginning of change, of welcoming light, of openness and truth.

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff;

You do realize, dont you, that now that you have started this blog that you are obligated to keep it updated on a daily (or more) basis.

What you did was right. Thank you.

KJ said...

In ecclesiastical settings, how many of us have sat silently as we have heard error swirling around us? I know for myself, I spent until mid-life being silent, as to speak, I feared, would reveal more about myself than I could bear to have known at the time.

However, when the time to speak arrived, I didn't have to wonder if it was time. I hope that none of us looks to the past with regret; God knows we are dust, and his Spirit leads when it's time.

Anonymous said...

I am hardly a seminarian, but I am the result of 12 years of a Catholic education in Chicago. I identify myself as a Catholic and am proud of it. But the Catholic church is wrong on many issues. This is one of those issues. Thank you for taking such a risk and more power to you as well as the brave parishoners who have defended you and your actions. Peace.

Will said...

Andrew Jackson once said:
One man with courage makes a majority.

Ignorance and apathy cause so much death and evil in the world by allowing the outspoken self-righteous free reign. Rosa Parks would be proud. I certainly am. Good luck.


Anonymous said...

At our monastery Mass today, I prayed for you, and our Guardian asked me to explain my intercessions to everyone at the community's breakfast.

Now you have all our monks and nuns holding you in their prayers.

The Episcopal Order of Julian of Norwich.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father Geoff,

Peace be with you. My name is Sharon, and i just read in the LA Times about your story.

I feel moved by your spirit, courage, and audacity to speak at the risk of your own access to the material means of livelihood. I spent my childhood in Catholic schooling, first in a conservative Irish-Catholic parish (I am Chinese American) and then at a Jesuit high school. By adolescence I had renounced Catholicism for all of the injustices i saw and experienced as a child. Nevertheless my life and ethics have been profoundly shaped by those precious and beautiful mentors in the liberation theology tradition who have modeled and actualized the teachings of "Christ." While i do not believe in 'God,' i place all of my faith and feel the divine through the acts of people in the name of justice beyond the law, such as yours.

What you have done makes me believe in fact that God is real and that 'God' is an insufficient way to try to put the unnameable into language.

If this note reaches you, I hope to one day to meet you and hear and learn more about how to make such brave decisions in your example. I will meditate for your safety, health, and wellness. Thank you for your visions and actions for life and love.

Sharon Luk

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff: thank you for standing up in the face of unbelievable pressure. Obama will win California. I think I need to spend my time on the campaign against Prop 8.

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff--Please seek out your Jewish friends who have come out against Prop 8. See this resolution from the Board of Rabbis of Southern California-composed of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Rabbis.

"No on Proposition 8"
Whereas the Board of Rabbis of Southern California recognizes that the State of California permits civil weddings for gay men and lesbians;
And whereas we honor and uphold the separation of synagogue and State;
And whereas we recognize that to officiate at any wedding is a matter of religious discretion of the clergy and is not legislated by California civil law;
And whereas Proposition 8 on the November ballot would eliminate the equal civil rights of gay men and lesbians to wed and protect their families:

The Board of Rabbis of Southern California hereby resolves that we oppose any effort to eliminate the civil rights of any citizen.

The Board of Rabbis of Southern California therefore urges its members and the Jewish community to oppose Proposition 8 which would eliminate the equal rights of gay men and lesbians to civilly marry and deny them equality under the law.

6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90048 | 323.761.8600 |

suzanne said...

Thank your courage, Father Geoff. Catholics in the church are desperate for real moral leadership, for priests who love the body of Christ enough to lead the church in the direction it must go, before it dies of fear, sexism, homophobia, and moral atrophy. We are especially desperate for young priests who believe in the dignity and worthiness of each of God's children and are willing to say so. You are not alone. Keep going. I am praying for you, along with so many others.

Anonymous said...

I will be praying for you. Peace. Jim


Fr. Geoff...

Blessings on you as your continue your journey. I write from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Clergy Conference -- where you and your witness were held in prayer at our Eucharist this morning and this evening I bring you many individual prayers of support and encouragement from Episcopal clergy here in Los Angeles.

May God continue to bless you and bear you up as you speak truth to power and proclaim the Good News of the God whose love is available to all!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your witness. It cannot be easy for you. I pray that God will bless what you have done, what you have said. Know that we in the Episcopal Church would happily have you as one of our own.
A brother in Hawaii.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Father Geoff. At last, I thought, a man who lives what he believes. Maybe you didn't plan to comment on a divisive political issue, come out to your congregation, take on the catholic church and lose your job, all before lunch, but hey, some days are like that. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, I am a gay man close to your age living in Los Angeles (I read about you today in the Times). Tears, rage, pride, compassion - what is it that I feel for you? I can't imagine what you are feeling, now that it is over. Power? Joy? Freedom? That alarming sense of free-fall? I thought these batterings were behind us. I thought we had seen enough discrimination, death (from disease and murder), that we had told all our stories and learned to love each other as we are. The bigotry is thick and enveloping, it is only courageous acts of honesty like yours that show us the way out. The progress you made for us all is immeasurable, and I am grateful you saw and embodied the truth. All the best to you as you begin your new journey.

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

Fr. Geoff,

I too believe that you did the right thing. The Church has ruined so many, many lives and someone needed to speak out against what I refer to as the "spritual murder" done to LGBT Catholics on a daily basis. It has taken me years to get over the damage I suffered.

I hope you will find fulfillment in the future as I have done in a different denomination where modern medical and mental heath knowledge about sexual orientation is not ignored and gays are treated with acceptance and dignity.

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff,

We'd be honored to have you come join us on the website There are many of us there who have lost our ministry jobs due to coming out and standing up. We are praying for you.


Brother David said...

Courage Father as you contemplate what God leads you to in the future.

Know there are many who lift you in prayer, and grow from your example.

There are even those inspired by you in artistic forms;

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff,

Peace be with you!

Thank you for standing up for your beliefs, for the civil rights of gay and lesbian individuals, for your willingness to give up everything.

You are truly an honorable individual, and you are in my prayers.

Rev. Raggsdale said...

Fr. Geoff,

You are in my prayers. Thank you for your witness.

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff, my heart breaks for you over your suspension. You are a hero to many of us and I applaud you for your courage to speak the truth. I too spoke the truth in my catholic parish in Palm Springs when I referred to "my partner Robert" when I got up one Sunday to introduce myself and give a pitch for the Annual Appeal for the Bishop's Fund. Some people were offended that I as a gay man was in a position of leadership (lector etc) and did not hide my sexual orientation. One woman wrote a letter to the Pastor complaining that my "voice did not seem normal for a man" and complained that I was gay and kissed my partner during the kiss of peace.

We have left the Catholic Church and have become members of a most welcoming community of Episcopalian's here in Palm Springs. "Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Monica said...

Fr. Geoff,

I just read about the brave stance you took at your church, but I believe it was the right thing to do. It brought tears to my eyes to know that you garnered the courage to speak against this injustice and inequality even though it goes against Catholicism's teachings.

I admit that I am an atheist now in my life, but I was very involved in my church, I even taught confirmation classes. My sister and I both left the church because we felt it would be hypocritical if we continued to be a part of something that we did not believe. Some of our close friends and family are gay and we truly feel that it is our responsibility to fight alongside in their struggle against discrimination.

There was just one too many times I found myself sitting on a pew during mass wanting to scream, "How could you be teaching this!?" My mother would tell that I was not supposed to speak up, that I had to accept their words as God's words. Until I finally just said, "If this is the God that exists, if this is what he believes, then I guess I can't believe in him." I never went back.

Thank you again for what you have done.

Eric V. said...

"No one will find the way out of hate and violence unless we do. Go without hate, but not without rage. Heal the world." --Paul Monette

You're a good man, Father Geoff. Good luck in your journey. (And if you haven't read Becoming a Man, I recommend it.)

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff, You should come over to the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada. Both are welcoming of everyone and in need of passionate priests that aren't afraid of a Gospel of Inclusion and love for all people.

Anonymous said...

Father Geoff:
I am a gay Catholic man and applaud your prophetic voice and courage! It is sad yet part of the reality we have to deal with. Just this last Friday I attended a local concert made by Catholic singers to collect money for those affected by Ike in Cuba and Haiti. I went with my parents, my aunt, a cousin and my partner. On our way out we were given a leaflet saying "don't vote for anyone who is against abortion or who supports homosexual marriages." I got so upset and furious and felt a "holy anger" [I am glad I had no whips at that point] Ironically many of those who sang are gay/lesbian...and in addition one of the founders of the organization that lead the act and who was honored by all those present [as he passed away 3 yrs ago] was a gay man that I knew very well. As I walked with my parents, family and partner [who is a Methodist but a closet Catholic] this sense of anger came over me. How ironic. How sad. That we have people who spread hatred and feel they are doing Gods work. In addition so many good men and women feel rejected by God as they feel that those who reject them in the church MUST be speaking on behalf on God. So many things went through my head! All I can say is keep on doing what you are doing. God knows that we need men and women who do...and who TRULY stand for the God of joy and love who creates diversity and REJOICES in it! It is us who get scared of this. By the way if you are ever in Miami...let me know as we have a Gay/Lesbian catholic prayer group.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Geoff,
I am a catholic priest and I agree with you regarding Proposition 8 (Hate). I firmly disagree with the way you have been treated by your ordinary. The Dallas Charter has made every priest a dispensable object at the whim of a bishop. Many of the bishops are themselves homosexual. I believe that the majority of catholic priests are gay in the diocese of which I am a member. Many of us love what we do and because we want to continue in ministry cannot speak as you have done. May God bless and protect at this difficult time in your life.


A Brother Priest.

'NINJA-NANA!" said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Your actions have made this a better world!

We have for you some papers and information from a university in CA, we are sure you will like to view, but, could find no one to forward it for us. Rather dumb of us to think we could....
Never the less, after 9-14 phone calls, a Deacon weakened and told me of this "blog" so I am writing in the high hopes you answer.
You are not alone now...your life might be different, but then it really was all along--deep inside you, wasn't it? How sad.
We wish you the strength to keep going forward....the peace to actually enjoy it, and we offer all and any support we can muster.
In reading many, many of the other things that people wrote, I was amazed at how many things we have in common....and sooo many others too. But the truth has set you free, and others will help you keep it going, for yourself and others.

jmKelley said...

Most of the reactionary homophobia of First World hierarchy and clergy stems from self-loathing.

Between a third and half of Roman priests and bishops are homosexual, according to the best research (Sipe, Cozzens, and others), and most of these are closeted, self-loathing homosexuals; many suffer from arrested psycho-sexual development.

This explains why so many of them are threatened by healthy, happy gay people, and why they oppose gay marriage with special zeal. Their dysfunctional egos are threatened, so as a defense, they project their self-loathing onto others who are healthy and happy. They’re unconsciously miserable, and they want others to be miserable too.

”Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye but not the log in your own eye?”

This self-loathing among closeted homosexual priests and bishops also feeds into two other tendencies: their sycophantic identification with Vatican power and its trappings (as a subliminal substitution for affection), and their general emphases on sin and obedience (as projections of their own joyless psycho-slavery).

It also explains why male children were disproportionately targeted for sexual abuse. Closeted, self-loathing homosexuals suffer higher rates of arrested psycho-sexual development which cause them to prey on children. Healthy, self-accepting gay men are not attracted to children.

They cloak their opposition to gay marriage in lofty theological terms, but the underlying psychological reality is that many or most of them are pathetic, arrested, self-loathing, dysfunctional homosexuals.

The bottom line remains: ”A rotten tree can not bear good fruit” -- ”Whatever is psychologically destructive can never be spiritually sound.” (Fr. John McNeill).