Saturday, October 11, 2008

Update on Fr. Geoff Farrow

On Monday I shared the story of Fresno, CA priest Geoffrey Farrow (pictured at right) who publicly came out in opposition to Proposition 8, an initiative that would eliminate the right for same sex couples to marry in California.

Yesterday, in an open letter to his parish community, Fr. Farrow reported that:

I heard from the bishop that I have been suspended as a priest and removed as pastor of the Newman Center. In all candor, I had anticipated that response which is why I had removed my personal property from the parish house and offices. I bear no personal animosity to the bishop for his decision.

To read the full text of the letter, click here.

Following is the letter’s closing paragraph:

I felt the need to speak, not for myself but, on behalf of those who have no one to speak for them in this matter in our Church. Personally, my life has been rather difficult since I made this statement as I knew it would be. I have no regrets since it was my hope that this statement would lead to greater discussion of the treatment of gay and lesbian people in and by the Church. Also, it is my earnest hope that in some small way, this helps to preserve the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons which are currently under attack by the proponents of Proposition 8.

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
A Priest’s Courageous Act

Recommended Off-site Link:
Fr. Geoff Farrow’s Blog


The Gay Species said...

One of the apologists for the Roman Catholic Church states, "Holy Mother Church proposes, not imposes; her children assent, not obey."

He wrote this claim within the past five years. I don't believe him. I believe he wishes it were so, but clearly it is not.

What is surprising is that Fr. Geoff did not countermand an infallible doctrine of orthodoxy or orthopraxis, but merely a consensus of orthopraxis. I thought the supremacy of conscience requires the freedom to express assent as well as dissent.

According to Aquinas, and reiterated by J. H. Newman, the judgment of practic reason based on the morality of a proposed act is known as "conscience." When the will acts in conformity with this judgment, the act is morally good. According to Aquinas, "man is obliged to act in conformity with his conscience, even when reason is mistaken and the conscience judgment is false."

Summa Theologica, I-II, 19, 5.

Against Augustine, who rejects the primacy of conscience, Aquinas states: "if a man were to know that human reasons was dictating something contrary to God's commandment, he would not be bound to abide by reasons: but then reasons would not be entirely erroneous. But when erring reasons proposes something as being ommanded by God, then to scorn the dictate of reason is to scorn the commandment of God." (Ibid, R. Obj. 2.)

kevin57 said...

Unless I am missing something, the bishop does not have canonical grounds to suspend this priest. GS cites the theological basis. I hope Father gets a good canon lawyer. He needs a pit bull. Michael, if you are in contact with him and he wants a reference to just such a canon lawyer, put him in contact with me.

The most delicious part is that according to canon law, the diocese would have to pay the canon lawyer's litigate against the diocese all the way to Rome.

Anonymous said...

I left a comment on Geoff's blog asking if he has a canonist working for him. I also wondered aloud if he was getting ready to leave anyway. He might have been tired of the hypocricy of the leadership and figured it was no longer possible to be authentic and work for the church. God bless him.

Clayton said...

Given that Fr. Geoff never even showed his bishop the courtesy of speaking to him about this matter, and instead turned the situation into a media event to further his own purposes in opposition to Church teaching, I would imagine the penalty imposed by the bishop would fall under the provisions of canon 1369:

"A person who uses a public show or speech, published writings, or other media of social communication to blaspheme, seriously damage good morals, express wrongs against religion or against the Church or stir up hatred or contempt against religion or the Church is to be punished with a just penalty."