Mark Farrell And His New Church
If you want to work in a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, you will not be allowed to advise clients that abortion is evil. Planned Parenthood will fire you for causing the loss of the client and therefore, the loss of income. Pro-life advocates will see this as pretty awesome, but even pro-lifers will admit that the employee could rightfully be fired under the law.
If you want to work for the Human Rights Campaign, the HRC would terminate you immediately if you stood up in front of a group of fellow employees and began reciting all the health risks of homosexual behavior and told your co-workers that they too, should make every effort to persuade same-sex attracted people to remain chaste and seek a therapist that will help them do so. Actually, the firing would not be the immediate reaction. First, they would scream insults at you and might even throw things at you. But after they grew weary of shouting “hater” and “bigot”, they would fire you. Then they would ask the SPLC to put you on their list of domestic terrorists. Then they would ask the attorney general to prosecute you for a hate crime. But again, even people who believe in traditional marriage would agree that the HRC has the legal right to terminate your employment.
How long would McDonalds employ a person if they contacted the media to openly criticized their corporate decisions and told every customer that Burger King, Wendy’s and Whataburger had much better hamburgers. They would show that employee the door before he or she could claim that he or she had eaten McDonald’s hamburgers throughout childhood and that they used to be so much better than they are now. Would you blame McDonald’s? I doubt it.
But some elected officials in San Francisco and some who work in San Francisco’s Catholic Schools are saying that Archbishop Cordileone has no right to require that Catholic school employees must refrain from contradicting the teachings of the Catholic Church in the way they speak or behave at work or when their public behavior is so visible that students will likely become aware of their contrary belief. In other words, Archbishop Cordileone is telling Catholic school employees not to live a life of blatant hypocrisy, especially when that hypocrisy is likely to impact the way young Catholics view the Church.
In my opinion (which is not to be mistaken as humble), these vocal critics of Archbishop Cordileone are the most shameful of all hypocrites. I’m sure they don’t see it this way though. The type of person who can muster up the pride to criticize a decision like Archbishop Cordileone’s is among the most narcissistic, deluded, oblivious and mendacious of all mankind.
One such hypocrite is Mark Farrell. I tried to reach out to Mr. Farrell before writing this blog in an effort to see if we could have a conversation that may help each of us understand this problem a little better. However, Mr. Farrell was apparently not available for such a discussion for the past week. I found him on Twitter and sent him a Tweet, I called his office in San Francisco and I emailed him, all to no avail. Therefore, he has left me with no alternative, but to simply look at his public words and behavior to determine what he truly stands for.
Mr. Farrell is on the S.F. Board of Supervisors. This is the legislative body for the City of San Francisco. Mr. Farrell says he is Catholic. He’s not behaving like one, so I will simply suggest that he means that he has a baptismal certificate from a Catholic Church. I fear he has not availed himself of the sacrament of reconciliation for quite some time (unless he has found some renegade priest who has the same views he has), nor has he lived a life that could be characterized as a journey of discipleship. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I am, but by all appearances, Mr. Farrell would be much better described as a lapsed and very poorly catechized Catholic.
I say this because he proudly lists Planned Parenthood and The Guardian as supporters on his campaign website. He has participated in the San Francisco Gay Pride parade for the past few years and donates either his name or his money to LGBT events around San Francisco. Maybe the most transparent example of Mr. Farrell’s hypocrisy is the fact that he touts himself as a “moderate”. This is the political equivalent of the biblical condition called lukewarmness. God spews the lukewarm from His mouth in the book of Revelation. Mr. Farrell’s “progressive” actions speak much louder than the labels under which he attempts to market himself. People who cater to abortion and LGBT advocates typically work only on a deep and personal relationship with themselves.
This hypocrisy is probably no big deal to his constituents, but by aggressively speaking out against his own Church (humor me), he’s venturing into a more global stage, so he opens himself up to a little scrutiny.
What Mr. Farrell has done, is to take issue with Archbishop Cordileone’s decision to ensure that Catholic school employees arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. The Archbishop has decided to require that Catholic school employees must refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true. If a Catholic school employee considers himself or herself to be Catholic but is not in a state of full assent to the teachings of the Church, the employee must refrain from participation in organizations that call themselves “Catholic” but support or advocate issues or causes contrary to the teachings of the Church.
This means that a Catholic school staff member cannot tell students that women should be allowed to be ordained as priests, or that abortion or homosexual behavior are good. Keep in mind that there is no requirement that the staff member believe these things are less than awesome. The requirement is that the staff member refrains from undermining the teaching of the student’s parents, the school, the parish and the Church.
It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? It is. Except for people who are so confused by self-worship, that they are impenetrable by things like logic and common sense.
When a Catholic Archbishop, tells Catholic school employees, to use Catholic values in their education of students, people should not be surprised. Catholic students and those students who may not be Catholic, but freely choose to attend a Catholic School, should expect to receive an education that is consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. But Mark Farrell likes to hear the sound of his own voice a lot more than he likes to pause and quietly listen for God’s voice.
It brings to mind Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” People like Mark Farrell, should remain silent. Of course Mark probably thinks the same about me by now, but he’s entitled to his opinion.
But now Mark has his hackles up and he’s seeing all sorts of objectionable behavior by the Catholic Church. In a recent Facebook post, he criticizes one of the Catholic parishes in San Francisco because they use a watering system to deter homeless people from sleeping in the doorway alcoves at night. Mark, who fashions himself as a champion for the homeless in the City that he helps run, is appalled. He says that the parish does not represent the Catholic teachings that he learned and grew up with.
It is painfully evident that Mark has learned very little about the teachings of the Catholic Church. We know that he likes abortion and that he thinks homosexual behavior is great. He likely feels that the Catholic Church discriminates against women because they only ordain men. Someone should tell him that Jesus Christ actually came up with that rule and that the vast majority of men are not eligible for ordination either. I’m sure he’s appalled that some parishes only have male alter servers for Mass. But now we see that Mark has decided that the Catholic Church has an obligation to make their church grounds available for the homeless. Of course the Catholic Church has been sheltering, clothing, feeding and caring for the poor and destitute for just about 2000 years and does more for the poor of San Francisco than a million Mark Farrell’s could ever hope to do. But Mark would have to be engaged with the Catholic Church to know that. Instead, he prefers to pander to his voters in order to further his career in politics.
In the end, we will see that Mark is nothing more than a Nancy Pelosi understudy who talks out of both sides of his mouth. We will also see that the San Francisco Catholic schools will become much stronger educational institutions when their teaching staff rejects hypocrisy and embraces the fullness of the truth, which can be found only in the Catholic Church.
I stand with Archbishop Cordileone. When a teacher signs up to teach in a Catholic school, they should teach well. That means that they use the best textbooks, study aids and materials to teach every subject. For most subjects, these are the same as any good public school would use. But when it comes to religion (theology) and issues of faith and morals, the best textbooks, study aids and materials come from the Catholic Church and any teacher that thinks they know better than 2000 years of Catholic theologians, doctors, saints, councils and popes, has no business trying to educate anyone. Like Mark Farrell, they should remain silent.