Have you wondered whatever became of that California priest who refused to give in to a directive from his bishop to instruct folks to vote yes on Prop 8?
If you've been following his blog, you know that Father Geoffrey Farrow was suspended for following his conscience but continues to work for LGBT justice.
The fact that he is barred from functioning as a Roman Catholic priest is bad enough, but recently, through mutual friends, I received some sad news about Father Geoff. News that makes me extremely angry. News that demonstrates the malice of a church that preaches the love of Jesus while deliberately persecuting a priest who for all the right reasons dared to follow the real teachings of Jesus.
Father Geoffrey Farrow had applied for a position with the Los Angeles branch of CLUE, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.
CLUE identifies itself as follows:
We are an interfaith association of over 600 religious leaders throughout Los Angeles County who come together to respond to the crisis of the working poor.
CLUE derives a significant part of its funding from the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Today I spoke with a member of CLUE's board of directors, Rev. James Conn, a Methodist minister and Director of New Ministries for the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. Reverend Conn had been directly involved in the recruitment and interview process involving Father Geoff.
I asked him if CLUE had denied Father Geoff a second interview specifically because the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles threatened to cut off all its significant funding for CLUE should Father Geoff ever be offered the position in question.
As incredible as it may seem, Reverend Conn confirmed the truth of this and expressed his heartfelt disappointment over the fact that CLUE had to choose between continuing the interview process with an extremely promising and qualified candidate or risk losing the financial support of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles that is critical to CLUE's work.
A second interview with Father Geoff had been scheduled for December 15, 2008, but on December 13, Father Geoff received a phone call from CLUE expressing disappointment over their decision to terminate the interview process solely because of the threat made by the archdiocese of Los Angeles whose representative on CLUE's board of directors had brought the situation to the attention of the highest level of authority in the archdiocese.
It is important to note that, in his interview, Father Geoff was not trying to pass himself off as a priest "in good standing" with the Roman Catholic Church, and that the bishop who suspended Father Geoff is the ordinary of a different diocese.
It is also important to note that the ministry performed by CLUE is to the poor. Its primary focus is not the LGBT community. Father Geoff would not be representing the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals in his new position.
It is important to note that at the age of 51, after having devoted 23 years of his life to the Roman Catholic Church plus an earlier 7 years in the seminary, Father Geoff has had his medical benefits discontinued and is without income and assistance from his bishop. While it is disgusting that his bishop has turned his back on Father Geoff, it is infuriating to think that his bishop would conspire with the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles to block gainful and appropriate employment.
I am well familiar with the jargon of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. They will say that they feel compassion for Father Geoff and that they pray for him, but their actions speak too strongly and demonstrate deliberate malice. They do not wish him well. And, God forbid that they should have ever proactively attempted some sort of out-placement effort on his behalf. Some bishops privately do that on behalf of priests who leave, but not the hard-hearted bishop who cut off Father Geoffrey Farrow nor the malicious Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles.
I am writing this because I've learned over the years that the Roman Catholic Church gets away with this kind of despicable and inhumane treatment of men who choose to follow their conscience only when its bad deeds are not held up to a strong light. Father Geoff does not wish CLUE to lose its funding and therefore has remained silent about this, but his friends have brought this situation to my attention, and I want Catholics in California and beyond to understand clearly the level of unchristian behavior and deliberate malice of which their bishops and cardinals are capable.
I hope you will consider going to CLUE's website and leaving them a message about your feelings (please keep in mind that CLUE wanted to continue its interview with Father Geoff so don't paint them as the "bad guy". If you want to leave a message for the real "bad guy", you may contact the office of Cardinal Roger Mahony.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202
213 637 7000
Ask them why they hate Father Geoff. When they assure you that they do not hate him, ask them to prove it and soon. Right now, more than their insincere prayers, he needs a job.