Fr. Geoffrey Farrow (Full Homily Text): Priest Comes Out Twice on Holy Day…

james mary evans
james mary evans

       I find it more than notable that prior to Fr. Geoffrey Farrow’s coming out twice on Respect Life Sunday–first in proclaiming himself a homosexual, and secondly in stating his opposition to prop. 8 during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass–the media received a heads up beforehand…

       Guerilla ad promotions by Church dissent groups, as epitomized by Roman Catholic Women Priestettes, is the new-old tactic of choice in effectively furthering (at least in their minds) the cause celebre these days–Call the media, affirm my sin, bomb my Bishop, promote my cause, betray my God, divide His Church, lose my position, write a book, hit the speaking circuits…  Great. Then what dear ones?

       The full homily text is below, but following that is an authentic interpretation concerning Church teaching on homosexuality I’ve linked to. (Just in case someone is gullible enough to believe the garbage spewed below makes sense and is not dangerous to their immortal soul).

Here’s the local news coverage here.

Fr. Geoffrey Farrow 10.05.08 (Respect Life Sunday)

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.

Article link on the truth about: Homosexuality.

9 thoughts on “Fr. Geoffrey Farrow (Full Homily Text): Priest Comes Out Twice on Holy Day…”

  1. I was actually at the mass where Father Geoff spoke. He did not make this statement as his Homily, he made this statement after Communion right before the final prayer and blessings.

  2. Hi Lila,

    Thanks for the reply and correction.

    Nevertheless, the priest made his statement prior to the dismissal rite, the end of the mass. So after receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, he turned upon the same sacred body and judged it–the Body of Christ–guilty of moral evil?

    Then, of course, the final blessing and dismissal sending each member of the congregation to do good works, praising and blessing the Lord…

    So, following Mass outside, was there peace within the heart of the sacred body as the mass concluded in one of the following forms, or division?:

    A. Go in the peace of Christ.
    B. The Mass is ended, go in peace.
    C. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

    peace to you and yours Lila, really.
    james mary evans

  3. I would not know since I did not attend church for the first time in a long time. I was not sure I wanted to attend the church I’ve loved for so long because I had been stuggleing with the thoughts of not welcoming gays fully into our lord’s house. I thought how can our church tell us that what God has created “in his own likeness” is sinful and unable to fully love. It made no sense to me and certainly brought me no peace. Ironically I’d just left a message for Father Geoff for guidence before I decided to serve with another church that did not have this contriction. The next time I heard from him was on the news. Mind you I’ve been and loved being a Catholic for 39 years. I’m only sorry it took me too long to contact Father Geoff because I wasn’t able to tell him how proud I am of him to follow his heart regadless of his teachings. As he said If God had answered his prayers he would not be who he is. Thank you Father Geoff you’ve saved me from becoming a bitter Christian and have given me hope that we can all learn that maybe we don’t know everything. I will be praying for you as well as those who need to learn not to condem or question what God has made.

  4. My Dear Michelle, Thanks for responding.

    All this is wrong on so many levels.

    Let me start with Father’s own ending words following his statement:

    “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 the reality of divine light that is our new life in Christ is found the meaning of Our Lord’s words “the truth will set you free”. The truth sets us free from all sin. At the end of time my dear one we will know this reality in its full and unspeakably peaceful splendor. To finally, and forever, be freed from the sorrows of sin and death—for this (sin) is where death originates.

    If we persevere you and I, (and Father) we’ll know the reality of new heavens and new earth—eternal life. This is what’s at stake here, not only for Father, but for all children of light whom like yourself are mistakenly led into believing that the Church does not love the homosexual and treats them unfairly.

    It is not the homosexual tendency but the act that offends the God of nature. The bible confirms this and the Church complys, and as you know the Bible was written by the Spirit of God, Who is the Lord and Giver of Life. The act does not produce life as intended by the Creator’s Spirit—the Spirit of Love responsible for all creation.

    The Church welcomes gays, but not the sin. And certainly not gay activism promoting such. All men created in the image of God are created beautifully and organically/spiritually equipped to know, love and serve God in this life, and be with Him forever in the next. Indeed, Christ in the Eucharist is the foretaste and reality all souls need in order to reach divine beatitude—so don’t leave the Church because of the controversy of sin.

    Indeed, God created us in His own image and likeness but we are not God, but instead created beings, and having fallen natures rely on God for our return home. This is why He became man, humbling Himself, for our sakes. Sin, and thus death, entered the original splendor of creation and so we need him more than you currently know to return.

    It is lunacy to believe that the Church is condemning or questioning what God has made—the Church in her most intimate union with God, is Christ Himself healing and reconciling us with the Father from the depths of mercy flowing from His most tender Heart—mercy restores what sin has destroyed—the vision of God.

    I pray that you return to the fullness of Christian faith, and may the Spirit inspire your heart to study (and experience) the reality of your Catholic faith in all its truth and beauty.

    Hope this helps toward our shared goal,
    james mary evans

  5. I commend this priest for doing what he did. I think it’s excellent! But I am offended by the comments left by James Mary Evans. This poster wrote, “I pray that you return to the fullness of Christian faith, and may the Spirit inspire your heart to study (and experience) the reality of your Catholic faith in all its truth and beauty.” In reality, I see nothing beautiful about a faith which is so condemning. That’s why I left the Catholic church (and I’m not even considering coming back at this point), and joined the Episcopal church instead. The Episcopal church is accepting, and the people are friendly, warm, loving, and wonderful! Evans reiterated the tired “love the sinner, hate the sin line” (in a lot of words) which is so cliche at this point that it isn’t even funny. I find Evans’s attitude and the attitude of the Catholic church to be patronizing at best, condemning at worst. The attitude of the Catholic church is, “we accept you as long as you are willing to suppress your feelings.” Fr. Geoffrey was right on target when he said that the Catholic church tries to INTIMIDATE people into living lonely lives (or something to that effect).

    I have a challenge for anyone who agrees with the Catholic church’s teaching on homosexuality. Lets suppose for a minute that 90% of the world was homosexual, and the other 10% was heterosexual. Suppose the homosexual population turned on the heterosexual population and reversed the situation, and said, “it’s all right to be heterosexual, just not to act on it. If you do, you’re sinning!” This would not go over well, but this is precisely what the church is doing to gays. Of course, this scenario would not occur, but I’m using it as an example to get people to think. The Catholic church should be ashamed of the way she treats the gay population. I pray for the day when we get a pope who will issue an apology on behalf of the church for YEARS OF MISTREATMENT of its gay brothers and sisters.

    1. This is for Jim’s response. I tell you Jim this has happened. It was called Sodom, and we all know how that turned out. Yes love your brother as yourself, but also tell a brother when he is sining, and correct his action so that too he can be saved.

  6. I couldn’t agree more Thomas… Yes, we sure do need to start telling our brothers when they are sinning and correction his actions…
    In fact the Bible calls us to do so all through Leviticus. I think not enough attention is paid to the teaching of the Father through the old testament.

    Yes, Turn the other cheek is cute and very loving but is it really accurate? We are called to judge and punish all in the name of God, are we not?

    (sigh)
    In reality Thomas… Your entire statement show how idiotic you people are! Let he who be without… oh… never mind… you don’t actually care… it’s the license to hate that you are in search of, luckily you found it.

    May God have mercy on your wretched soul.

  7. Father Geoffrey has my appreciation and admiration. It is truly a great person that knows it is going to cost him to stand up for the rights of others does so anyway.

    Gay people are just that, people. They are loved by God and should be loved by their neighbors. Restricting the rights of one group of people, discriminating against them, making them feel less a part of the body of Christ is never the approach a church should take that is based on the love and grace of God.

    We Catholics are a people called together to be the Body of Christ in the world. That world also includes our gay brothers and sisters.

  8. Father Farrow is the most dead on Priest you could ever experience! Holy Family Visalia CA 2000-2007, every mass I attended I experienced tunnel vision and left like New Years day with determination and resolve to be a better Dad, husband, son, employee or whatever I’d fallen short on and Father Farrow had illuminated for me. Oh what a monumental loss for the church it illuminates the potential for us all to be petty, even this great church I love so starting with Father Farrow. Anyone want to experience passion like this check out lay minister Brian Casey of Seattle. Or Life Teen youth. Father Farrow is the real deal, Priests don’t get any better!

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