Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The scandal of Fr. Geoff Farrow



Fr. Geoff writes today:

In a public comment, bishop Steinbock stated: “Proposition 8 is not about homosexuals and their rights.” I had to read that twice, that is EXACTLY what Proposition 8 is about. Proposition 8 if approved by California voters would take away the civil right to marry from same sex couples. In his actual “pastoral” letter for July, the bishop referenced the State Supreme Court decision and compared the court to the Nazi and Communist regimes.

And on his letter of suspension:
The bishop stated, in his letter of suspension: “Your statement contradicted the teaching of the Catholic Church and has brought scandal to your parish community as well as the whole Church.” A scandal is not created by speaking the truth. The real "scandal" is placing impossibly heavy burdens on the faithful, faulting them for an act of the Creator in having created them with same sex orientation and then, not lifting a finger to help them. The traditional definition of theology is: “faith seeking understanding.” The idea that theology is a “done deal” is absurd. In the area of bioethics alone, theologians and the Church can’t even keep up with new developments in science. Psychology and neurology also have offered us considerable new insights into same sex orientation in the last generation. The Church itself has officially stated, that there are “homosexuals who are such because of some kind of innate instinct.” This begs additional commentary by the Church and ultimately these new understandings should be translated into pastoral practices. We are required to teach and guide those entrusted to our care by God. Jesus himself stated: I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (John 16:12-13).

My “sin” was not to hold the position, which I hold, nor, was it even to voice it. What I stated represents current thought on this issue by many theologians, pastors and some bishops. My sin was to voice it publicly. Why is that such a big deal? Because, it represents a “crack in the dam” if, one lowly pastor in Fresno can state something contrary to the official party line today then, tomorrow it could be several priests or, God forbid, even a bishop or, two. Privately, in the ballot box on Election Day, most priests, most nuns and several bishops will vote NO on Proposition 8. Most of these people involved in pastoral ministry will do this because, like me, they know it is the right thing to do. Perhaps, fifty years from now, the “official” churchmen will.


Read it all here.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nazis? Wow. But then, this is a church that fired Fr Geoff for conscience and reassigns child-molesters.

IT, who has the disgust of a born, baptised, and confirmed EX-Catholic.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Yeah, who is it who causes scandal?

The Bishop - or poor courageous Father Jeff?

FranIAm said...

I am reminded of the scandal of the Cross.

This man is doing something really important and I am deeply grateful for his witness.

Thanks for posting this.

seithman said...

A scandal is not created by speaking the truth. The real "scandal" is placing impossibly heavy burdens on the faithful, faulting them for an act of the Creator in having created them with same sex orientation and then, not lifting a finger to help them.

Amen, Fr. Geoff! Those are words that should be repeated frequently and emphatically.

James said...

You know, TEC is going to get one fine priest when he comes over. I hope I can be there when he is received.

The Church of Rome, like the Church of Salt Lake City just continues to lose all credibility with the masses.

JCF said...

Part of me really WANTS him in TEC, James.

...and another part of me really HOPES that, somehow, someone higher up the RCC hierarchy will see The Light (of Christ) and restore Fr. Geoff to his priestly ministry IN the RCC.

Probably an eschatological hope, to be sure. But there it is.

[I, too, would love to be there to welcome Geoff to TEC if that be God's Will! :-)]