Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fr. Lawrence Farley answers "What to tell the family?"

Several clergy responded to Sr. Vassa's letter to the mother of a teen boy (see here if you have not yet read the exchange). Fr. Whiteford, others, and I have responded to what the monastic had to say, but Fr. Lawrence Farley has responded with what he would say if the letter were directed to him. I commend him on this and link a bit of it below.

Recently Sr. Vassa Larin (famous for her “Coffee with Sr. Vassa” podcast) has attracted much and varied attention from a correspondence she published in which she replied to a question from a woman of a fourteen year old boy about how to handle her son’s “coming out”. (The mother’s question and Sr. Vassa’s response may be accessed here.) Her advice, prefaced by a disclaimer of sorts that it was but her “personal opinion…not in line with some official pronouncements of my Church” (i.e. ROCOR) has drawn lots of admiration and praise from the gay community and lots of criticism from Orthodox clergy.

I have always been and will I trust continue to be a fan of Sr. Vassa’s work, though I think this current episode represents a serious mis-step for her. Clergy such as Fr. John Whiteford have replied at length to her piece with his customary candour, scholarship, and common sense, and there is no reason for me to weigh in as well and respond to her advice directly. I have nothing to add by way of critique, and am happy to simply say “Amen” to what Fr. John has written. But I would like to respond directly to what the mother asked Sr. Vassa, since Sr. Vassa has kindly given me the opportunity to read her mail. What follows would be my own response to the mother’s query if she had asked me. Though it is of course my own opinion, I will not offer much by way of disclaimer, since I hope that it also represents the teaching of the Church. I say this not because I am trying to play it safe, but because I genuinely believe what my Church teaches about this, and because I feel that no one wearing their church’s cassock with integrity has any business publicly dissenting from that teaching...
Complete article here.

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