The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon

30-Year Portland Priest leaves. Cites celibacy rules.

March 23, 2010

Oregon Faith Report News Note:

The Rev. Tom Farley, St. Clare Catholic Parish in  Portland, of has announced that he is leaving the priesthood of 30 years.  He said he could “no longer live the celibate life.” and “I leave because of a private longing in my heart and soul that I have ignored or suppressed to my detriment,” he wrote in the letter.”I love priestly ministry but I cannot live this life of celibacy.”

By Nancy Haught wrote an excellent article in The Oregonian…“Parishioners packed Farley’s last Masses — one Saturday evening and three on Sunday morning. As part of the services, the congregations knelt with him to confess their sins and listened as he preached a brief sermon. After Communion, Farley carried a sheet of paper to the lectern and read:”I want to say how honored I have been to be a fellow disciple with you in the Catholic Church. I am leaving without anger or resentment, not wanting to hurt you or the Church. I do not want to be a poster child for married priests.

“Farley, who graduated from high school in Corvallis, said he will live in Portland. He drew chuckles when he said he would be looking for a job, “like a real person.” He said he will remain a practicing Catholic. He can still receive the sacraments, but if he chooses to marry in the church, he must go through a process to be released from his vows.

Meanwhile, he said, “I look forward to parish shopping — like you have been able to do.”

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Discuss this article

Fred March 23, 2010

I cannot imagine a priest giving such a message. It must have been a very touching but bittersweet momement.

Ally March 23, 2010

I’m sure it was a hard choice, but if he wants to get married, he did it the right way.

Robert March 23, 2010

I wish him all the best

Joan March 23, 2010

Now I don’t know much about it myself, but was told once that there is nothing in the bible that states priests must be celibate, or nuns for that matter. I personally think it’s destructive to both mind and body, and is the root of many of the scandals that befall the Catholic church on an ongoing basis. My best to Farley for continued happiness.

Gorman Gray April 9, 2010

He must have had a suitable woman in mind for a long while. Celibacy is a special gift for only a few and whoever invented mandatory priestood celibacy didn’t know what they were talking about.

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