Uh oh

Here’s news from Fresno, California, courtesy of the local news station there, about Father Geoffrey Farrow, who opposed California’s Proposition 8, and also revealed that he is gay, in a homily on Sunday.

From the local media: "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.’"

Advertisement

And from the homily: "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."

Here’s the link to the local news coverage.

James Martin, SJ

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years ago
To those who compare being gay or lesbian to being black or Hispanic: you cannot compare defining yourself as to HOW you have sex with someone, which is all it means to be Gay or Lesbian, to that of being Black or Hispanic, which is your personhood. We are not born Gay or Lesbian my friends. Back in the early 1970's The American Medical Association had homosexuality on the list of disorders, then they have to take it off their list due to political pressure.
9 years ago
My first reaction was to question why you would think the priest had offered his last Mass. Surely not because he is proclaiming his gayness and surely not because he has taken a political stance askew of his bishop and right reason on the issue of 'gay marriage.' The guy is seeking attention. That's not a major sin or reason for defrocking that I know of. Your presentation of this story was sufficiently confusing and discordant as to require me to click to the original report. Nothing there to support your theory. In fact, the bishop gave the reasonable answer - he had heard rumors but hadn't heard from or talked to the priest. The bishop didn't sound in any rush to do so either. If I were the bishop I'd be happy he wasn't advocating dropping a nuclear bomb on someone. That would be a major sin.
9 years ago
I live in San Francisco, California. I know four Catholic priests very well and with whom I interact with a great deal. All of them support gay marriages. In fact one of them has contributed money to the campaign that is trying to defeat the proposition that would not allow gay marriages. All of them believe same-sex partners should have the same legal rights heterosexual partners have. I think it is up to different religions to decide if they want to perform same-sex marriages and not up to the government. No religion should be forced to perform same-sex marriages and no religion should be forced to not perform them. Incidentally I have been in a same-sex partnership for 42 years.
9 years ago
''St. Paul Newman''?? Could they have meant ''John Newman''?? Just wondering.
9 years ago
How can one claim to be a Catholic Priest if the Priest isn't first loyal to the Magistirum and his Bishop?
9 years ago
Fr. Martin is an idiot. He seems to have a problem with a gay person (priest) speaking out about gay rights. He implies that such a person-priest must have a perspective of self interest. My question for Fr. Martin is this: does the fact that an African American who chooses to speak out on the evil of racism, make his statement any less true? after all he is black. According to the moronic Fr. Martin, it would.
9 years ago
'St. Paul Newman'?? Could they have meant 'John Newman'?? Just wondering. Posted By Deacon Greg Kandra. --Since the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman is not yet a canonized saint it probably would not be 'St John Newman.' However, many Catholic centers at secular colleges are called Newman Centers, and many of these are named for St Paul as their patron. Perhaps because Paul was considered a well educated man, or perhaps because many Newman Centers were once staffed by Paulist priests. But the location in question is indeed the St. Paul(,) Newman Center.
9 years ago
The Holy Spirit guides the church here on earth. This is evident in the word of God that appears in the Bible, per the prophets and saints, both in action and in word. In addition, the Spirit has inspired and led countless saints and other individuals to discover the deeper meaning of God’s love for each one of us. Through all of this, the Church has determined the proper rules and roles each of us are called to follow. This is evident in theology, the Catechism, and the Magistirum. Each one of us are called to follow our conscious, but only if it’s well formed and follows God’s teachings, per the Catechism and the Magistirium. Having 'gay' tendencies is not inherently evil and a cross that is provided to bear. It’s part of our flawed nature as fallen human beings. Each one of us is charged to carry our cross as we struggle with our human nature, while struggling towards sainthood. Problems arise when we discard our cross in favor of “moral relativism” in assuming that a minority of individuals have more collective wisdom than all the great saints who came before us. That our own, selfish desires and ideals are more realistic than the church’s teaching. Anyone who supports 'gay marriage' is directly opposed to God’s plan for us, as displayed in his creation and his church. Personally speaking, it is hard to follow the church’s teaching; however, not impossible. If we ground our lives spiritually, placing God at the center and not ourselves, he will provide each one of us with knowledge, insight, family, and friends to guide us along our journey. I once arrogantly assumed that the modern world was correct, but this only brought me pain and agony, and kept pushing me further away from God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Once I discovered the liberating freedom that God’s teachings provide, I started to understand my true role, my true purpose, my true happiness. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. God Bless, John S.
9 years ago
To the poster somewhere above who called Father Martin an idiot, how rude and crass of you! I don't know where you inferred all the stuff you did, because Father Martin didn't post a personal opinion. He didn't post any comments at all, he was just passing on a bit of news and the link to the full story. I saw this story last night and was saddened to read it.
9 years ago
What an egomaniac. What is the Mass about, Jesus Christ, or Fr. Geoffrey? I guess we know now. I don't care if he's gay or straight. To take the focus of parishioners off of Christ during Mass and place that focus of oneself is arrogant and unworthy of a minister of the Gospel, ordained or lay.
9 years ago
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, 'It is better to die excommunicated than to violate one's conscience,' when in conflict with official church teaching. Like many prophets and saints before him, Fr. Geoffrey Farrow now faces persecution by the hierarchs of the institutional church who demand obedience to their authority rather than obedience to conscience. The hierarchs will claim that his conscience is in error, that they alone hold the truth on this issue. Yet Fr. Farrow’s conscience is fully informed by medicine and science as well as by Spirit and Scripture -- far more wholistically formed than their assertions which rely mostly on fallible tradition. Thomas Aquinas was right, and Fr. Farrow is in good company. Fr. Mychal Judge, 'the Saint of 9/11”, often asked, 'Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love?!' Fr. Mychal also reminded us, 'Don’t let the institutional church get in the way of your relationship with God.' http://SaintMychalJudge.blogspot.com
9 years ago
Patricia (top post) claims that people are not born gay, denying the overwhelming consensus of scientific research that sexual orientation is a given at birth. She wrongly implies that homosexual orientation is a ‘choice’ rather than a natural, Divinely-created reality. This is how they cling to their assertion that it’s a ‘sin.' Medicine and science have come long ways since Leviticus. The reason homosexuality was removed from the medical lists of disorders is because medicine now recognizes it as a natural occurrence not associated with mental illness. Homosexuality is about much more than sex. It is often associated with broader personality characteristics. For example, gays tend to have higher creative, healing, educational, and spiritual sensitivities, and they disproportionately fill those vocational fields. Being homosexual is indeed comparable to being an ethnic minority because it is an intrinsic characteristic at birth, and because of irrational discrimination around it. Stop stereotyping your gay brothers and sisters and come to know them as people. The most beloved gay Catholic of our time, Father Mychal Judge, was closer to the Kingdom of Heaven than a hundred who keep themselves locked in ignorance in the name of unquestioned orthodox ‘truth’.
9 years ago
Of every hundred Beloved Children of God who enter a church seeking hope, truth, meaningfulness, fellowship and belonging, ten will feel torn apart when they discover they are not really “OK” in the eyes of its membership, but are ripped away from Christ’s abundant table by Pharisee-like participants who try to keep all the “pie” (as in piety) for themselves, loudly judging others and proclaiming them unworthy of God’s embracing them just as they are. But like the Pharisees before them, the prejudiced are vocal, destructive, powerful (like misdirected superglue), and WRONG. They obscure Christ’s message of moral principles based upon God’s Love through overbearing, intrusive, self-aggrandizing and ultimately selfish testimonials which are supposedly “justified” with out-of-context Bible quotes. Those of us in the role of polite, silent churchgoers are at best like poorly shepherded sheep who merely follow along silently, inadvertently colluding with Pharisees. At worst, we are contributing at some level, always, to the persecutory treatment and oppression of non-heterosexuals. It is the reinforcement of bigotry emanating from the Christian community that encourages hatred of some of God’s children, resulting in repeated incidences of hurt feelings, alienation, isolation, despair, suicide, broken families, assaults and homicides. We Christians have allowed our collective family to hold itself up like a bunch of Pharisees, waving our heterosexuality and congratulating ourselves on being holy. Some of us are prejudiced, others afraid to question the prejudiced, who might exclude us. Exclude us from what—the Pharisee club?
9 years ago
Norman, Why is Father Martin an 'idiot'? Most of his message simply quotes local press reports--note the quotation marks.
9 years ago
'How can one claim to be a Catholic Priest if the Priest isn't first loyal to the Magistirum and his Bishop?' Like the bishops of medival days that preached paying large sums of money to the church would guarantee you a spot in heaven? Bishops aren't God, they're human, and make errors in judgement just like everyone else. 'I don't care if he's gay or straight. To take the focus of parishioners off of Christ during Mass and place that focus of oneself is arrogant and unworthy of a minister of the Gospel, ordained or lay.' If you want to hear about Chirst and only Christ, I suggest reading the Bible...over...and over. In my opinion, that's what the liturgy of the word is for, focusing on Christ. I think what Fr. Farrow did is exactly what a good sermon is made of...taking God's message from scipture, and putting it in context of real world current events, so parishioners can truly examine their conscience and beliefs. The homilies that just focus on God said this, Jesus said that...over and over are the ones that put people to sleep, as we've heard them over and over. The ones where a priest puts forward a thought provoking issue, and presents it with a stance as what he beleives are Catholic and human morals (not the political opinion of the bishop) those are the sermons that get me thinking whether I'm really 'loving my neighbor as myself' as Luke 10:27 eludes to.
9 years ago
1. Fr. Martin merely reported the news. He quoted the local media. He quoted Fr. Farrow's homily. He provided a link to the story. Period. There were no opinions offered. 2. "Newman Center" is the term often used for the Catholic student center at a public university (the equivalent of the campus ministry office at a Catholic university). John Henry Cardinal Newman was a proponent of the creation of Catholic student centers at secular universities. And while it is true that the Paulist Fathers are heavily involved in campus ministry, the fact that this Newman Center is named after St. Paul may or may not have anything to do with that. Newman Centers are often named after saints in the same way that local churches are.
9 years ago
Unquestioned loyalty to the magisterium went out the window with the promulgation of Humanae Vitae in 1968. I think many of us know this by now. Incidentally I am gay and I was not offended by Fr. Martin's comments. He was simply reporting the news.
9 years ago
Conscience transcends any other authority.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Imtiaz Cajee, nephew of Ahmed Timol, poses with his book about the activist on Aug. 24 in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. (AP Photo, File)
A judge has overturned a finding of suicide and ruled that Ahmed Timol was murdered by South Africa’s Security Police 45 years ago.
Anthony EganOctober 23, 2017
Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion, outside of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.
Texas bishops: "No one -- the government, private individuals or organizations -- should be forced to be complicit in abortion."
Catholic News ServiceOctober 23, 2017
It is time for the laity to speak out and act like true disciples of Christ in spreading the joy of the Gospel. 
Thomas J. ReeseOctober 23, 2017
Pope Francis speaks from the Vatican as he addresses Canadian youths in a video message that was included in a Salt and Light Television program on Oct. 22 (CNS photo/courtesy Holy See Press Office).
“The world, the church, are in need of courageous young people, who are not cowed in the face of difficulties," the pope said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 23, 2017