Father Farrow's Stance on Proposition 8

October 6, 2008 10:47:44 PM PDT
The head of the Catholic Church here in the Central Valley is responding to the surprise statements made by a Fresno priest yesterday. Father Geoffrey Farrow admitted to action news he is gay, and then told his congregation he is against a November ballot measure that would ban gay marriage in California. Father Geoffrey Farrow is expecting to be suspended from the priesthood. He's been an ordained priest for 23 years, but likely gave it up with his controversial remarks at the end of mass.

Father Geoffrey Farrow celebrated mass as usual on Sunday. Only at the end of the 11:00 service, he surprised many in the congregation with comments against the church's stance on Proposition 8.

Father Geoffrey Farrow said, "The act of casting a vote takes a few minutes, but it can cause other human beings untold happiness or sorrow for a lifetime."

Against the bishop's direction, Father Geoffrey told parishioners he will not support a ballot measure that he feels discriminates against gay and lesbian people.

"As Jesus said, the truth will set you free. He didn't promise that it would be easy or without personal cost to speak that truth."

Monday Bishop John Steinbock issued a statement about the father's remarks.

He responded saying quote "Proposition 8 is not about gay or lesbian orientation, or their legal rights. Proposition 8 is a reaffirmation of the nature of marriage."

During an interview before the mass Farrow told us of his personal struggle with the issue. In the end, he felt sharing his opinion was the right thing to do.

"If it was just me personally, I would simply be silent. As Saint Paul says offer up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. But it isn't me personally. It's the people who are sitting out there in those seats who I have a moral responsibility as a pastor. "

A spokesman for the bishop says the fathers comments are against the opinion of the church.

Fresno Diocese spokesman Rev. Jesse Avila said, "Father Farrow made some comments that expressed his personal view. That personal view was conveyed at a mass of all the faithful and the ultimate purpose of that statement was inconsistent with all the bishops of California including his own bishop."

Steinbock refused to personally answer questions about Farrow citing it a personnel matter. But his statement said Farrow never contacted him with his personal views or gave notice that he was leaving his assignment.

Farrow told me he is gay. He has already cleaned out his office and his parish home. He says he will spend the next few days reflecting and then will begin a new chapter in his life. He's also hoping to write a book.

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