Karen Ocamb

Catholic Priest Defies Church Over Antigay Ballot Initiative

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 06, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: anti-gay policies, Catholic church, gay marriage, Geoffrey Farrow, Prop 8, same-sex marriage

"A man of conscience." The phrase seems almost quaint today when most leaders talk largely about tactics, strategies, and short-term goals while not rocking the boat.

FatherGeoffreyFarrow.pngBut some of us remember the agonizing efforts of conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War - men and women of substance such as military analyst Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers, which the Washington Post's Katherine Graham published; Mohammad Ali who gave up his heavyweight title rather than submit to the draft; and Father Daniel Berrigan, a Roman Catholic priest, and his brother Philip, a Josephite priest, who wound up on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for their antiwar/peace activism.

Add to that list now Father Geoffrey Farrow, a Catholic priest at California State University/Fresno, who Sunday defied his Bishop and preached from the pulpit against the antigay marriage initiative on the California ballot this November that would eliminate what the California Supreme Court called the "fundamental" right of same sex couples to marry. In so doing, Farrow knowingly gave up his 23-year career as a Catholic priest.

It was not an easy or quick decision, says Farrow, a former First Lieutenant in the Air Force who holds a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and a masters in Divinity and is considered one of the most popular lecturers at the university. It started when he received the bishop's July pastoral letter.

Farrow said in his homily (quoted in full below):

"This single FAX threw my whole summer, and in fact, my whole life into a turmoil. Recently, I was speaking with some of our parishioners who advocate for the ordination of women. In the course of our conversation, a question arose which has haunted me: "At what point do you cease to be an agent for healing and growth and become an accomplice of injustice?" By asking all of the pastors of the Diocese of Fresno to promote Catholics to vote "Yes" on Proposition 8, the bishop has placed me in a moral predicament.... In directing the faithful to vote "Yes" on Proposition 8, the California Bishops are not merely entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements made by the Church itself that homosexuality is innate (i.e. orientation). In doing this, they are making a statement which has a direct, and damaging, effect on some of the people who may be sitting in the pews next to you today...

How is marriage protected by intimidating gay and lesbian people into loveless and lonely lives? What is accomplished by this? Worse still, is to intimidate a gay or lesbian person into a heterosexual marriage, which is doomed from its inception, and makes two victims instead of one by this hurtful "theology." This "theology," which is parroted by clerics in polished tones from pulpits, produces the very prejudice and hatred in our society which they claim to abhor....

I do not presume to tell you how to vote but I do ask that you pray to the Creator of us all...The act of casting a vote takes you a few minutes but it can cause other human beings untold happiness or sorrow for a lifetime. It can grant them hope and acceptance, or it can cause them to lose civil rights. It can be a rebuff to bigotry and hatred, or it can encourage bigotry and hatred. Personally, I am morally compelled to vote "NO" on Proposition 8. It is my hope that the people of California will join with those others around the world such as Canada, Europe and South Africa who welcome their gay and lesbian family members fully into society by granting them the civil right to marry.

I know these words of truth will cost me dearly. But to withhold them, would be far more costly and I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian people not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well. Jesus said, "The truth will set you free." He didn't promise that it would be easy or without personal cost to speak that truth."

In a phone interview after the service, Farrow said:

I hope people will be reached and that prop 8 will fail but more importantly, that gay people get the dignity that they deserve, along with everybody else.

And hopefully, some young kid who's going through the process of discovering that they are gay or lesbian, doesn't feel alone.

Farrow said he thinks he will now be suspended, which means he won't be able to function as a priest - and the church will call for him to reverse himself and publicly apologize.

But, Farrow said:

I can't do that. So basically this is probably the end of my ministry as a Catholic priest. In a nutshell, that's it.

Farrow put his feelings into his own personal, historical context:

My grandfather was a Sephardic Jew and he left Spain and went to Cuba. He was never religious in his whole life and in that country, they have state atheism imposed. He started going to synagogue all of a sudden. And then he got into an argument with the police over that and he said, 'This is why we left Europe.' And they took him to the police station, beat the crap out of him and he had a heart attack and died.

My family collected the body and then my parents came this to country with an infant, a toddler, two suitcases, $20 and started a whole new life.

I remember being a kid in grammer school and going to mom and saying, 'How come we don't have grandparents? Everyone else in the 4th grade has grandparents.' And she was preparing dinner and she stopped what she was doing, she sat me down at the kitchen table and sai, 'Honey, you have grandparents. But we had to leave everyone behind because your father and I wanted you kids to be free.'

I can't betray that. And I know the reason a lot of people aren't speaking out is for fear. But it just takes one or two people to crack that nut and then things start to change. And it's worth it.

Farrow says he now feels "whole" and "at peace," combined with some grieving. It was hard to say goodbye. Two thirds of the approximately 350 parishioners stood up and applauded when he completed his sermon, with only two expressing disagreement afterwards.

(The local ABC News affiliate was there and told Farrow the story would go to the network.)

Farrow says he gathered up his belongs, including his talkative cat, left the rectory, and will stay with family as he sorts out what to do next.

The battle over Prop. 8 is heating up in California as the election nears. To counter the No on Prop 8 ad, the Yes on 8 campaign has released an antigay marriage commercial featuring San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

I wrote about how the Prop 8 Culture War appears to be trumping the economy here.

In my report I refer to a story in the Whittier Daily News about a visit by Traditional Values Coalition head Lou Sheldon to promote Yes on 8 in the conservative evangelical churches. Sunday, the Rev. Bruce Gray, rector at St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Whittier, responded to Sheldon with an op-ed supporting marriage equality. This, too, is a stunning matter of conscious for the Episcopal Church, which is facing a sever test over equality for LGBT people. In fact, Saturday, the conservative Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to break away and join the Anglican Province in Argentina.

But Farrow, who is gay, didn't come out against Prop 8 in a newspaper, nor was he trying to provoke an IRS confrontation as evangelical leaders have recently.

Farrows' sermon from the pulpit was a personal matter of conscience. Read for yourself:

As most of you know, I was appointed pastor here at the Newman Center on April 15th of this year. When I arrived, I set out to address a series of various projects to repair our facilities. To date, most of these deferred maintenance items have been addressed. In the middle of dealing with contractors, the parish finance committee, the building department of the diocese, neighbors, etc., I received a FAX from the bishop's office on the 30th of June. It was the bishop's pastoral letter for the month of July.

This single FAX threw my whole summer, and in fact, my whole life into a turmoil. Recently, I was speaking with some of our parishioners who advocate for the ordination of women. In the course of our conversation, a question arose which has haunted me: "At what point do you cease to be an agent for healing and growth and become an accomplice of injustice?" By asking all of the pastors of the Diocese of Fresno to promote Catholics to vote "Yes" on Proposition 8, the bishop has placed me in a moral predicament.

In his "Pastoral," the bishop states: "Marriage is much more than simply two persons loving each other. Marriage is naturally, socially, and biologically, directed to bringing forth life."

Actually, there are TWO ends to marriage: 1) Unitive and 2) Procreative. The unitive end of marriage is simply a union of love and life. The Procreative end is, of course, to create new life. It is important to understand that the unitive end of marriage is sufficient for a valid marriage. The Church sanctions, and considers a sacrament, the marriage of elderly heterosexual couples who are biologically incapable of reproduction. So, if two people of different genders who are incapable of reproduction can enter into a valid marriage, then why is that two people of the same gender, who are incapable of reproduction, cannot enter into a valid marriage.

The objections which are raised at this point are taken from Sacred Scripture. Scripture scholars reveal the problematic nature of attempting to use passages from the Hebrew Scriptures as an argument against same gender relationships. Essentially, these scriptures are addressing the cultic practices in which sex with temple prostitutes was part of an act of worshiping Pagan gods. With regard to the Pauline epistles, John J. McNeill, in his book: "The Church and the Homosexual," makes the following point: "The persons referred to in Romans 1:26 are probably not homosexuals that is, those who are psychologically inclined toward their own sex--since they are portrayed as 'abandoning their natural customs.'" The Pauline epistles do not explicitly treat the question of homosexual activity between two persons who share a homosexual orientation, and as such cannot be read as explicitly condemning such behavior. Therefore, same gender sex by two individuals with same sex orientation is not "abandoning their natural custom."

In 1973, as a result of a greater understanding of human psychology, the American Psychological Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. In 1975, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Church's watchdog for orthodoxy) produced a document entitled: "Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics." In this document, they made the most remarkable statement. They stated that there are "homosexuals who are such because of some kind of innate instinct." While these statements are hardly glowing affirmations of gay and lesbian persons, they represent a watershed in human perception and understanding of gay and lesbian people.

These new insights have occurred as a result of the birth and development of the science of psychology and understanding of brain development in the 19th and 20th centuries. The California Supreme Court cited and quoted an amicus brief filed by the APA in the Court's opinion issued on May 15, 2008 that struck down California's ban on same sex marriage. Specifically, the court relied on the APA's brief in concluding that the very nature of sexual orientation is related to the gender of partners to whom one is attracted, so that prohibiting same sex marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, rather than just imposing disparate burdens on gay people.

In directing the faithful to vote "Yes" on Proposition 8, the California Bishops are not merely entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements made by the Church itself that homosexuality is innate (i.e. orientation). In doing this, they are making a statement which has a direct, and damaging, effect on some of the people who may be sitting in the pews next to you today. The statement made by the bishop reaffirms the feelings of exclusion and alienation that are suffered by individuals and their loved ones who have left the Church over this very issue. Imagine what hearing such damaging words at Mass does to an adolescent who has just discovered that he/she is gay/lesbian? What is the hierarchy saying to him/her? What are they demanding from that individual? What would it have meant to you personally to hear from the pulpit at church that you could never date? Never fall in love, never kiss or hold hands with another person? Never be able to marry? How would you view yourself? How would others hearing those same words be directed to view you? How would you view your life and your future? How would you feel when you saw a car with a "Yes on 8" bumper sticker? When you overheard someone in a public place use the word "faggot?"

I remember the first time I heard that word, faggot, I was hanging out with my cousins. They all played on the football team of the Catholic high school in our town. One of them spat out the word in the form of a curse. I was just a kid in the 5th grade, I'd never heard the word before, and so I asked: "What's a faggot?" A faggot is a guy who likes other guys, was the curt reply. Now pause. Think. What would those words mean to someone in junior high school who discovers that he/she is attracted to people of their same gender? The greatest fear that he/she would have is that they would be rejected by the people they love the most--their family. So, their solution is to try to pass as straight, deceive, and in effect--lie. Of course, this leads ultimately to self loathing. It should come as little surprise that gay teenagers have elevated suicide rates. According to the Center for Disease Control's Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999), 33% of gay youth will attempt suicide.

The bishop states: "The Church has spoken out constantly that those with a homosexual orientation must be respected with the dignity of every child of God. Every individual is created in the image and likeness of God and should never be subjected to prejudice or hatred." A pious thought uttered by a cleric, robbed of any substantive meaning, as the executioner begins his work. Only a few select people actually read those documents. What most Catholics hear about being gay or lesbian at their parish church is--silence. A numbing silence, which slowly and insidiously tells them, "You don't belong here, this is not for you, and you are not welcome." It is not the crude overt vulgarity of some churches. But rather, it is the coldness of a maitre d' who simply won't seat you, or the club which has put you on a waiting list with no intention of allowing you to join. And simply asks you to wait in polite almost, apologetic tones.

In effect, the bishops are asking gay and lesbian people to live their lives alone. Why? Who does this benefit? How exactly is society helped by singling out a minority and excluding them from the union of love and life, which is marriage? How is marriage protected by intimidating gay and lesbian people into loveless and lonely lives? What is accomplished by this? Worse still, is to intimidate a gay or lesbian person into a heterosexual marriage, which is doomed from its inception, and makes two victims instead of one by this hurtful "theology." This "theology," which is parroted by clerics in polished tones from pulpits, produces the very prejudice and hatred in our society which they claim to abhor.

When the hierarchy prohibited artificial birth control, most of the faithful in the United States, Canada and Europe scratched their heads in wonderment and proceeded to ignore them. There is an expression in theology: "the voice of the people is the voice of God." If your son or daughter is gay/lesbian let them know that you love them unconditionally. Let them know that you are not ashamed or embarrassed by them. Guide them as you would your other children to finding true and abiding love. Let them know that marriage is a union of love and life and is possible for them too.

I do not presume to tell you how to vote but I do ask that you pray to the Creator of us all. Think and consider the effects of your vote on others, especially minorities in our society who are sitting next to you in church, and at work. The act of casting a vote takes you a few minutes but it can cause other human beings untold happiness or sorrow for a lifetime. It can grant them hope and acceptance, or it can cause them to lose civil rights. It can be a rebuff to bigotry and hatred, or it can encourage bigotry and hatred. Personally, I am morally compelled to vote "NO" on Proposition 8. It is my hope that the people of California will join with those others around the world such as Canada, Europe and South Africa who welcome their gay and lesbian family members fully into society by granting them the civil right to marry.

I know these words of truth will cost me dearly. But to withhold them, would be far more costly and I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian people not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well. Jesus said, "The truth will set you free." He didn't promise that it would be easy or without personal cost to speak that truth.


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What an amazing man- giving up what he has done his whole life to do the right thing! Other religious leaders could learn a lot from Father Geoffrey Farrow.

Thank you for your voice and strength, Father!

If only more people could understand what is really at stake.The fact that Father Farrow will most likely lose his job not just for standing up but also for being gay speaks volumes about where we stand in not only the Catholic church but in the majority of Christian based churches.Thank you Father

interesting sermon. Sometimes we get so caught up here with what we're doing that we forget the basics, the gay 101.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 7, 2008 12:00 AM

I have had much first hand experience with church schizophrenia. Anyone who thinks about life finds Catholicism a very tough belief to hold. The contradictions are rife and the friction between them is explained away lightly as divine mystery.

What it is really is a male oriented and dominated religion designed to enforce control. In this case the church has stepped over the line and endangers any semblance of political neutrality. Start saving up for your property tax bill.

Geoffrey Fallow
Thank you for being brave enough to tell the truth.

Fascinating. It seems to me that he had already made up his mind to leave. He is pushing the bishop into a corner, and I for one will be watching closely to see what happens. I do wish that Father Farrow had remained in his rectory forcing the bishop to boot him out with media coverage. If the bishop chooses to ignore this homily, it will open the flood gates for like-minded clergy (i.e., almost all of them) to speak freely. This would go well beyond what happened a few decades ago when the bishops banned artificial birth control while in the privacy of the confessional, priests told women that it was OK.
I hope Father Farrow has the kind of friends I had when I jumped ship. I'd call to congratulate him, "Hello, Oliver? It's the Artful Dodger."

As a former Catholic and out and proud gay man, I am incredibly moved by the enormous courage of those who understand what it means to pay a price for freedom. I truly hope that this message is not lost on complacent Americans. Father Farrow, You're my Hero!

Ariel Bickel | October 7, 2008 11:37 AM

Reading this story actually made me cry -- tears of relief and hope...It means so much to know that there are people out there who, despite criticism, stand up and do the right thing openly. I also loved the mention of Daniel Berrigan -- I have a quote from him on my office door, but I didn't realize who he was until now: "The gift we can offer others is so simple a thing as hope." Thank-you for bringing some beauty into the day with this inspiring piece.

Ariel Bickel | October 7, 2008 11:37 AM

Reading this story actually made me cry -- tears of relief and hope...It means so much to know that there are people out there who, despite criticism, stand up and do the right thing openly. I also loved the mention of Daniel Berrigan -- I have a quote from him on my office door, but I didn't realize who he was until now: "The gift we can offer others is so simple a thing as hope." Thank-you for bringing some beauty into the day with this inspiring piece.

I find it interesting that Geoffrey did not take the additional step of publicly identifying himself as a gay man. Perhaps, he is still dancing with the whole gay priest thing - he takes a stance against the Church's teaching on homosexuality, yet ambiguously, he holds back on revealing his sexual orientation.

Saturday is National Coming Out Day, perhaps Geoffry will have the courage to come out, too. Perhaps he can also reveal light on the destructive nature of pretending to live a celibate life.

I look forward to the day some Roman Catholic priest will come out and say:

"Do you want to know something? Celibacy is a big scam. Priests masturbate and feel guilty about it. They hook-up online and at bars. They have sexual relationships with others. They are very lonely while pretending to live some fantasy, noble life. Many have suffer from substance addictions. Many are psychosexually immature. Celibacy is all messed up."

But, no Geoffrey does not speak about how his own personal experience of being gay. He's only half a hero, but at least he can now claim his humanity.

Charles Farrow | October 10, 2008 6:58 PM

But he did out himself.

Tom-

He came out in an interview before Mass.

We sat down with Father Geoff before mass, and he answered the question many are probably wondering... Is he gay? "It's a secondary issue. But yes, I am. And when I was a boy I asked God please make me normal and the prayer never got answered and I realized why. Because God would've made somebody else he wouldn't have made me."

I see his point that whether he's gay himself is secondary. His point isn't that HE should get something, it's focused on people in the pews and the people outside the church.

Matt-

I'm glad to hear that Geoffrey is now living out as a gay man.

But, I strongly suspect that Geoffrey's ability to finally embrace his sexuality is integrally connected to his decision to speak out publicly against his bishop. Without doubt, he had been struggling with his sexuality for a very long time and the bishop's order to read a hateful, anti-gay statement was the last straw. He couldn't play the game any longer.

A priest can only offer his parishioners something that HE has. Geoffrey did not have self-integrity while living in the closet. Only when he was able to be truthful to himself was he able to speak the TRUTH to others.

Essentially what Geoffrey did from the pulpit was to flip the proverbial bird to a church that toyed with his soul for so many years. It was a cathartic moment for him. He saved himself first ... the secondary effect was saving others. But, if Geoffrey disagrees and wants to pretend it was first an act of altruism, so be it.

In the passage of time, he'll stop thinking so high and mighty of himself. That's a challenge, because priests are trained to think high and mighty of themselves. He'll learn hubris now that he now longer enjoys a pedestal.

Good luck to Geofrrey in finding a job and discovering who his real friends are. Life outside the institutional church isn't easy for priests who leave.

Do you know something I don't, Tom? Because you're ascribing some pretty negative motives to Fr. Farrow, and I just don't see it in what I've read. I certainly don't see someone who is "thinking so high and mighty of himself".

...or is this a bias toward religion in general?

Matt:

Geoffrey has been struggling with reconciling his sexuality and being a priest for a very long time.

He most likely would have left ministry a few years ago, but was afraid of people associating his leaving with the priest abuse scandal. Thus, he waited.

The bishop's mandate to read the letter provided him a theatrical way to make an exit. What a drama queen!

The truth is that the overwhelming majority of priests who leave ministry don't leave for an idea, but leave for a person .... or perhaps a parent died who would otherwise be very upset over his or her son leaving the priesthood.

So it's a bias against religion in general. As long as we're clear.

Matt: Your self-righteousness drowns out any compassion you might indicate you have for Fr. Fallows. Maybe it is the log in your eye that first needs to be removed. I do not believe he was ever obligated to live or to be judged by your values or timetable.

Matt-

My commentary is directed towards the destructive mentality the Roman Catholic Church instills into its priests. They are trained to think of themselves as more knowledgeable and holier than the people in the pews. They are so full of themselves with their special wardrobe and titles. Thus, Geoffrey would like us to think that he possessed some special insight into the Church's teaching on same-sex attraction that he just needed to share with his congregants on Sunday.

However, the vast majority of GLBT have long figured out that they are not welcome by the Roman Catholic Church. The same is true for women who are barred from ordained ministry or afforded the right to make their own choices regarding reproduction. What took him so long to figure it out?

I actually feel sorry for Geoffrey. All those years of internal torment over his sexual orientation .... running away, first into the priesthood and, then, academia to avoid dealing with it. Now in middle-age does he have the courage to finally leave the priesthood. He probably wished he had left sooner.

But, Geoffrey now needs to get over himself. His grandstanding in the pulpit last Sunday was the act of a man angry towards himself for conspiring in an institution that is spiritually abusive to others. He should be asking himself for forgiveness.

The good news is that Geoffrey can now reclaim his humanity. I'm sure we'll be seeing him around the clubs and bars. What's his manhunt screenname?

Tom,
Perhaps you will be inclined to hear this from me - someone who has no desire to shine a pretty light on the Roman Catholic Church.

Priests are generally more knowledgeable about philosophy and theology than the vast majority of their parishioners. If there is one thing the Catholic Church does well it is to demand that its clergy be highly educated in those areas. This of course does not guarantee holiness. Actually, priests have an expanded sense of their sinful selves more than they do of their holy selves, so your statement about their being full of themselves is simply wrong. These days, they can barely show their faces in public because of the sex abuse scandal. They have been humbled in ways unimaginable because of the crimes of the few, not the many. (And please don't jump on that statement and try to make it seem as if I am sympathetic toward pedophiles. I am not.)

Priests in general don't get off on the wardrobe and titles. Those are things that the laity want more than the clergy. They are good and healthy symbols of a connectedness to things that are not of this world. Very few people think of them as enhancements for the individual guy who inhabits them. I cannot explain this to you if you have no sense of ritual and tradition. If you do have a sense of those things, you would not have said what you said.

You are missing one really major point about what Father Farrow did. He could have left the ministry quietly just like all the rest of us did who had no scandal attached to our names. Instead, he chose to answer the call of his conscience and to preach what he knows in his heart to be true. He is EXACTLY what a good priest should be.

I will agree with you about one thing. If his bishop gives him the boot, he will certainly feel some regret about having invested so much time in a venture that left him on the street in middle age, but he won't regret the quality of his ministry and the good things he did for his parishioners. Even I who got out at a much younger age would never trade my five years of ministry for anything. I did some good for people in those years, I'm proud to say.

Finally, your crack about Manhunt is a cheap shot. Are you still on Manhunt? That is so yesterday's troll.

Tony-

I was under the mistaken impression that Geoffrey Farrow had left ministry. Too bad. The fact that he hasn't and, instead, is seeking a showdown with his bishop only underscores his being a drama queen.

Geoffrey's remaining active as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church is contradictory and self-loathing. It is a continuation of the missplaced illusion that there's a place in the church for those who identify as GLBT, let alone an openly gay priest. His bishop and his church have made in abundantly clear: gays are not welcome and we do not belong.

The smartest and strongest statement Geoffrey can make is to leave ministry. It will be a repudiation of every falsehood the Catholic Church posits about same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage.

But, it seems that Geoffrey is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame and regards himself as a modern day David taking on Goliath. He will quickly find out that while some of his fellow (gay, gay, gay) priests may privately express their admiration for his theatrics, when push comes to shove, they'll disappear on him. The same is true for his parishioners. At best, the bishop will call him in for a reprimand, but that will be about it. Nothing will change.

Maybe he'll land some more interviews with press .... or maybe create a blog or write a book that no one will read. His statement from the pulpit was nothing but a regurgitation of things that have been written about and discussed for many years ... whoppee. Nothing new there.

If Geoffrey had real self-integrity, he would have the courage to do what you did and simply leave the Catholic priesthood entirely. But he lacks a game plan and feels stuck.

As for priests and their wardrobe - puh-leeze, don't for one second think they don't love those costumes. I'm sure you love being up on the altar, adorned in your vestments, sitting upright, pretending to be in deep prayer, making all those gestures and profound bows. As for me, I'd rather go see a Cher concert.

I just want to sincerely thank Father Geoff for his courage and articulate position. I totally relate(as essentially an ex-Catholic who his gay) to his statements RE the position of the church (basically cold, nominally tolerant, actually profoundly hurtful). I commend his courage as potentially making a huge difference in the outcome RE Proposition 8. Personally, I also want to offer support to Father Geoff, and hope that we all can stay in touch with him and support him during this difficult period. I do not see any links or emails for that? Is that available? I really want to reach him more directly. I am in Fresno twice a year and would love to speak with him personally.
Sincerely,
Richard Daley, Redwood City, CA

Rick Elliott | October 12, 2008 9:53 AM

I ws in a similar situation to Father Farrow. Though not Roman Catholic, I'm Presbyterian. When one of the interminable debates over ordination of gay and Lesbian folks to church office, I outed myself as part of the debate. I wanted them to put a face to whom they were voting against.
The inconsistancy comes when a homosexual person displays obvious gifts for ministry, yet a denomination says no because that person is gay. It's basically saying that God made a mistake when creating homossexual folks.

I've looked at the Catholic church with disdain since my youth.

To make is short and simple, the hierarchy, living in the past, dares not to change anything for then people will question them, and the whole basis of the church falls apart. It is really all about power, money, and job security.

In a nutshell, they say one thing: that "gays deserve dignity and respect". But in the real world their pronouncements, such as gays are "inherently disordered", and that gay marriage is "inherently evil" make gay people targets of discrimination, denial, and even violence. And the church knows what they are doing so well.

Bottom line - a religion enforced with the promise of afterlife if you do as they say, and the terrorism of burning in hell if you don't let them control you. And always someone to denigrate, be it Jews, or now gays, to blind the eye and harden the heart to the humanity of all people.

And lets not forget how the church and their puritanical views on sexuality created a large number of perverts who committed terrible crimes, which the hierarchy hid for decades.

It is not the "Catholic Church".

It is the "Church of Hypocrisy"

And I won't bore you with the details of the church's involvement in the Crusades that helped make extremist Islam what it is today, and how it's support of hatred for Jews throughout western history gave hitler the lever he needed to gain total ccntrol of Germany, and the result was WWII and the Holocaust.