Monday, October 06, 2008

Roman priest preaches "No on 8"

You can watch the video report here ... but here's a transcript of the "Breaking news" from Fresno:

10/5/2008 Fresno, CA, USA (KFSN) -- Father Geoffrey Farrow of the Saint Paul Newman Center in northeast Fresno shocked parishioners Sunday morning when he came out against Proposition 8, an initiative that would eliminate the right for same sex couples to marry in California.

After 23 years as an ordained Catholic Priest, Father Geoffrey Farrow has likely given his final mass. Sunday morning he invited us to hear his message, a message that shocked many parishioners.

11 o'clock mass began as usual Sunday. Father Geoff led parishioners through prayer and communion.

The homily taught of acceptance, love and rejection. But it was his closing remarks that left some parishioners stunned. "What most Catholics hear about being gay or lesbian at their parish is silence."

Fr. Geoff says after numerous inquiries from parishioners asking for direction on Proposition 8, if passed would ban gay marriage, the Father said he must go against the Bishops recommendation and instead go with what he feels is right.
"In directing the faithful to vote yes on proposition 8, the California Bishops are not only entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements by the church itself that homosexual is innate," says Fr. Geoff.

The priest acknowledges his controversial comments will have consequences. "I know that 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 couples, not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well."

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."

Sunday mass ended with about half the congregation giving a standing ovation. Outside parishioners had mixed reaction about the priest's remarks.
Esmeralda Gonzalez, Parishioner, says "My reaction was extremely shocking I believe that as the body of Christ and as being Catholics we are made to follow by commandments. And God made it to be Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve."

Joshua De La Cerda, Parishioner, says "This is something Jesus would have done, or Christ would have done, spoke out for the truth."

Fr. Geoff said after months of struggling with what to do, said in the end he followed his 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."

The parish is clearly divided over this controversy. A few parishioners left in tears.

We contacted Bishop John Steinbock, the head of the Diocese of Fresno this afternoon. He said he has not talked to Father Geoff Farrow, only has heard rumors about what happened today. He told us Proposition 8 is not a homosexuality issue rather about the institution of marriage which is the basis of our society.

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Take a minute and join me in emailing Fr. Geoff for his witness:

4 comments:

IT said...

What a brave man.

To the Bishop, I respond that Proposition 8 is about forcing one group's religious beliefs on everyone else, in the face of science, medical opinion, and social justice.

It is no different than forcing the teaching of creationism, or forcing everyone to abstain from pork, on the basis of one group's religious beliefs.

The Catholic church does not get to usurp my civil rights as a citizen of CA.

Fr Geoff gets it. His bishop does n ot.

Lindy said...

Poor Esmeralda Gonzalez. You've just got to feel sorry for her. Is this really how people reason thorugh tough theological questions... with rhymes?

It's appaling and shameful that people don't have better resources, haven't been taught ways of thinking about things.

I think that people being confronted with issues that they are not equipped to think about is the saddest part of all this. I mean, where has her priest been... off writing anti-homo haiku? He's certainly not been equipping his saints, that's for sure.

Poor Esmeralda.

Grandmère Mimi said...

What a beautiful man.

Joshua De La Cerda, Parishioner, says "This is something Jesus would have done, or Christ would have done, spoke out for the truth."

Yes.

If the institution of marriage is the basis of our society, then why isn't Bishop Steinbock married? It seems a dereliction of duty.

Susan, thanks for the address. I shall email Fr Farrow.

Muthah+ said...

I wrote. I have been in his spot. We need to hang together.