Courageous Priest Pays Price for Dissent

Last week, we shared the story of Father Geoffrey Farrow, a Fresno, CA, priest with a lot of courage. Recently, Farrow gave a homily before his parishioners in which he spoke against Proposition 8, the anti-GLBT bill on the California ballot this fall.

When the priest made the sermon, he knew he was taking the risk of losing his position — the anti-gay Roman Catholic Church supports Prop 8 and tends to punish those who disagree. But he spoke out anyway: “I know these words of truth will cost me dearly,” he said. “But to withhold them… 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.”

Well, the Church went and did the expected.

From the LA Times:

On Thursday, Fresno Bishop John T. Steinbock removed Farrow, 50, as pastor of the St. Paul Newman Center, which primarily serves students and faculty at Cal State Fresno.

“Your statement contradicted the teaching of the Catholic Church and has brought scandal to your parish community as well as the whole Church,” Steinbock wrote in a disciplinary letter that also admonished Farrow against “using the Internet as a means of continuing your conflict with the Church’s teaching.”

The priest also was stripped of his salary and benefits, and ordered to stay away from all church communities he had served.

… [S]ome parishioners praised Farrow’s courage for defending the rights of gays and lesbians, while others condemned him for challenging church doctrine without giving warning.

“It upsets me that we are allowing a ballot proposition to come into our church and divide us,” said Teresa Huerta, who teaches at Cal State Fresno. “We are going through changes right now in society and the church needs to recognize that.”

 via Stand against Prop. 8 costs priest dearly

It is a shame, but these days, it seems to me, when a church gets a chance to do some real good, it does the hateful, non-loving thing and claims to do so in Christ’s name. The spouse would call them vipers.

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