The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Boston priest claims Catholics can support ‘right to choose’ abortion, archdiocese declines comment

By Christine Rousselle for CNA

March for Life participants and counter-protesters hold signs in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, in 2018. (CNS photo/Peter Lockley)

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 26, 2020 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- A Boston priest has said he believes in “a woman’s right to choose” abortion, and will continue his advocacy for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, despite Catholic teaching on abortion and a Church prohibition on clerical advocacy for political candidates.

Msgr. Paul Garrity of the Archdiocese of Boston spoke to CNA Tuesday, after attracting criticism for a Facebook post endorsing former vice president Joe Biden for president.

In an Aug. 23 Facebook post titled “I AM PRO-LIFE AND SUPPORT JOE BIDEN,” Msgr. Garrity wrote: “I am pro-life and I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I will vote for Joe Biden for President because I believe that Joe Biden is pro-life like me.”

Garrity’s Facebook post:

— JD Flynn (@jdflynn) August 26, 2020

Garrity is pastor of a parish in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Biden is running for president on a platform that would codify the full extent of Roe vs. Wade into federal law, effectively preventing any state limitations on the practice. Biden also supports the expanded use of taxpayer funds for abortion.

Garrity added that he believes “any woman who becomes pregnant should have the right to choose to give birth to her baby.”

“I am pro-life and I believe that every woman who becomes pregnant deserves to have the freedom to choose life. This is what I believe Joe Biden believes and is one of the many reasons that I will vote for him in November,” said Garrity. The priest urged “Catholics and others” of similar viewpoints to vote for Biden as well.

“The beauty of newborn babies are a reflection of the beauty and goodness of God and should propel us to do all that we can to help expectant mothers to choose life,” he said.

In a statement to CNA Tuesday, Garrity stated that he has considered himself “Pro-Life” since he was ordained a priest in 1973, despite his support for legal protection for abortion.

“I believe that it is a tragedy when a woman of any age decides to end her pregnancy prematurely,” said Garrity in an email to CNA. The priest added that in his view, Catholics “are also told that we should not be ‘single issue’ voters” and that the Church is “neutral” on the issue of voting.

In fact, the Church teaches that a person can never vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil, like abortion, in order to advance that evil. A person could only vote for such a candidate if they judged there were proportionate reasons which might outweigh the harm done by the candidate’s election, the Church teaches.

The U.S. bishops conference has said that ending legal protection for abortion is a “preeminent priority” in public life, and numerous bishops have taught there are few or no issues that could outweigh the gravity of abortion.

In 2008, Bishop (now Cardinal) Kevin Farrell released a joint statement with BIshop Kevin Vann saying that in their view “There are no ‘truly grave moral’ or ‘proportionate’ reasons, singularly or combined that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by abortion each year.”

Also in 2008, Archbishop Charles Chaput said of the issue that Catholics who support pro-choice candidates “need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.”

“What is a ‘proportionate’ reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life — which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed,” Chaput said.

CNA made several requests for comment on Garrity’s remarks from the Archdiocese of Boston. The archdiocese did not respond to those requests.

While the archdiocese did not offer any official comment on the matter, one archdiocesan leader did say the priest’s view was contrary to Catholic teaching.

In a since-deleted tweet, Thomas Carroll, Secretary of Education & Superintendent of Schools for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, expressed criticism of Garrity’s post. He followed it up with an explanation saying that he believed Garrity’s view is “100% not” in line with Church teaching, and that he did not “want the 30,000 students in our schools to be led astray by false teachings spread by someone wearing a collar.”

Carroll deleted the tweet on Tuesday afternoon. He referred questions from CNA to the Archdiocese of Boston.

Garrity told CNA that he posted on Facebook “to tell Catholics that it is okay to vote for Joe Biden, that they have a moral choice to make in the upcoming election. Cardinal Dolan has publicly endorsed the Republican candidate. He has expressed his personal opinion,” he said.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has not publicly endorsed a candidate, Republican or otherwise. Dolan did offer an invocation Monday at the Republican National Convention, but said explicitly that his presence was not an endorsement and that he has prayed at the Democratic National Convention before, and would again if he were asked.

Dolan has, in the past, written of his displeasure with the Democratic Party’s current swing towards abortion advocacy and against school choice, but neither endorsed a specific candidate nor instructed Catholics how to vote.

Calling Biden the “pro-life candidate” despite his support for abortion, Garrity told CNA Tuesday that “in the 2016 election, church-going Catholics were told they had no choice by bishops and priests. I am hopeful this will not happen again.”

It was unclear what Garrity was referring to in saying Catholics were told by bishops that they had “no choice” but to vote for Trump in 2016. The bishops do not endorse candidates; canon law prohibits clerics from taking “an active role in political parties” and civil law forbids nonprofits from endorsing political candidates.

Another diocesan priest, Fr. Frank Pavone, recently stepped down from an advisory position in Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, telling CNA he had done so at the direction of Church authorities. Pavone has continued to advocate for Trump, though it is unclear what ecclesiastical leaders he is accountable to.

In 2008, Chicago priest Fr. Michael Pfleger drew attention for appearing as part of a “People of Faith for Obama” coalition during then-Senator Barack Obama’s primary battle against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Pfleger’s bishop, Cardinal Francis George, said at the time that “while a priest must speak to political issues that are also moral, he may not endorse candidates nor engage in partisan campaigning.”

Garrity told CNA that no matter who is elected in November, abortion “is not going away even if Roe v. Wade is overturned,” and that it “has become a wedge issue that is being used to divide people for narrow political gains.”

“I believe, with Pope Francis, that ‘Our defense of the unborn needs to be clear, firm and passionate for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development,’” said Garrity.

In January, Pope Francis told Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of the USCCB pro-life committee, that the right to life was “the most fundamental right.” During the same ad limina visit to Rome by several U.S. bishops, Francis reportedly agreed with Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis that abortion is the “preeminent” issue facing the United States, along with the transgender movement.

In the past, Pope Francis has called abortion akin to “hiring a hitman.” In 2019, ahead of the Italian “National Day for Life,” Francis requested that politicians, “regardless of their faith convictions, treat the defense of the lives of those who are about to be born and enter into society as the cornerstone of the common good.”

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    • The evil one has done a number on this guys mind!!How can he stay in power and how can the archdiocise state “no comment”!! Theres a special place in hell for these and their pedophile brothers!

  1. In the past Garrity equated the holy family to a same sex couple, Garrity also wrote a column advocating a change in the Church’s position on divorce and remarriage. His punishment from the Cardinal was giving him a more prestigious parish. Yet the Cardinal made Fr. Dan Moloney, dedicated priest and author of Catholic dogma, resign from his position as chaplain at MIT because he expressed an opinion that was not inline with the narrative set by the media

      • I agree. There apparently was an organized infiltration of the Church with the assistance (of which the Church requested) of one Saul Alinsky. This was documented in the EWTN documentary “A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing”. See it.

    • Thank you for making the obvious contrast between the treatment meted out to Fr. Moloney and the silence that has greeted this character’s comments. I’ll also note that the Cardinal’s reaction to Fr. Moloney’s statement was immediate, unambiguous, and severe. This is the latest in a long series of disappointments coming from the Archdiocese of Boston under Cardinal O’Malley. Perhaps the low point was allowing the public funeral of probably the most scandalous and unrepentant Catholic politician in American history to be turned into a celebration of his wretched career. To cap it off, he turned the pulpit over to Obama.

    • Life is sacred and protected and revered. I have never been more outraged at a bishop or a priest that would agree that abortion is alright. Joe Biden is pro choice which means support a woman’s right to choose< Abortion is not okay . God does not say and never said its okay to have an abortion. It is against the commandment "Do not Kill", When will this senseless killing stop? An innocent baby is snuffed out because a woman is inconvenienced. This in one of the reasons are world is dark right now. Abortion is not of God;s will and that is what counts. We will meet him some day as our final judgement.

    • There are two wrongs here. First, Father Garrity; he is supposed to be Catholic and teach Catholicism. The second is the bishop for not stopping him teaching heresy. By not removing Garrity he is condoning the sin.

  2. Silence is complicity in the case of “cardinal” sean…
    Unlike the chaplain who had to resign over George floyd…
    This so-called catholic priest goes scott free..
    Shameful & Scandalous

    • Silence is more than complicit. In this case, at best it is cowardly, at worst it is an endorsement. In either case, it speaks loudly on why the Church is sinking below the waves of credibility.

  3. I won’t hold my breathe waiting for the Bishops to comment. I guess we should be adding him to our prayer list. As an antidote to this distrurbing and unsettling news, suggest listening to Sister Deidre Byrne presentation at the RNC. The National Catholic Register provides a profile of her, impressive to say the least.

  4. Basically, Garrity is saying he is pro-life so that is why he supports pro-choice candidates. Ok, that might make sense in the City of Man but I doubt it will in the City of God.

  5. I live in Massachusetts and for years this monsignor is well known for his “liberal views and ideas”.
    And Cardinal Sean just stands back and does nothing about it.
    This is one reason I don’t give one penny to the yearly Cardinal’s appeal.
    I hope you are reading my comment your Eminence.

  6. When the serpent, disguised as a priest, says: “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’ You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.”

  7. A priest that rapes another priest will probably be put out to ‘contemplative pasture’ for the rest of his life.

    If one also condones abortion rights and it causes a woman to have one, is that priest any less guilty of grave injustice?

    Everyone of us started out in the womb – duh! Supported in the womb and afterwards!

  8. Garrity is speaking for “His Eminence” O’Malley, and the rest of the McCarrick Establishment, who run the Church.

    When you offend the McCarrick Establishment, like the priest at MIT who cautioned students about the George Floyd death, or like the Catholic high school boy who dared to wear a MAGA hat, you are attacked by the McCarrick Establishment.

    When you promote murdering babies in the womb like “Rev.” Garrity, it is music to their ears, and you get promoted.

    They have “the mind of McCarrick.”

  9. We are blessed to have so many true and faithful servants of Our Lord such as Msgr Garrity, Fr Pfleger, and MartinSJ in our midst, are we not? Yes, so blessed that I want to vomit.
    I thank the Boston Catholic schools superintendent for speaking out clearly regarding these lies.
    Cdn Sean quickly silenced him…of course. There you have it, dear parents and pew sitters.

  10. First of all it’s baffling why Catholic World Report would give press coverage to a heretic.

    Secondly, in this priest’s morally perverted mind (and by implication because of his silence, card. O’Malley’s) it would have been OK for a Catholic in the 30’s to join Hitler and his Nazi Party even though the Party supported the genocide of Jews but you were personally opposed. And, similarly, it would be OK in the minds of this priest and O’Malley s if a Catholic joined the KKK even if that person was personally opposed to lynching Black people.

    Please, Lord, spare your Churcb of heretics.

  11. Justice will be swift when facing our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Matthew 18:6 6″If anyone causes one of these little ones-those who believe in me-to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

  12. Blessed Feast of St.Monica , likely also interceding for the Kingdom of the Divine Will in more hearts here ..
    good news as to how same may be almost here – Rev.Fr Mark Goring ( thank you ) –

    ? as a fruit of the Consecration to the Divine Will, done on Aug 15th – good prayers too .

    Servant of God Luisa – said to have also chosen the name Sr.Magdalene as a Third Order Dominican ..

    Would St.Thomas have been shown what God was going to accomplish , through the Kingdom of Divine Will , in these times , using a little daughter of His ,
    with a first grade education , who wrote 36 volumes ..

    Name Magdalene too , for our times afflicted much by carnal spirits , using worldly power and its ways , to deny to oneself and others the Kingdom –

    ? Would Louisa Magdalene also have been related to St.Monica .. St.Louis .. St.Magdalene of Canossa

    ..all pleading from heaven , for the reign of the Divine Will and its power and goodness in many hearts , to say to The Father as in the daily offering prayers –
    ‘ love You Father , in every act of Your creation ..’ same then , to echo through all in His Kingdom and hearts …to silence what is not true …

    seems God has great designs for our times , the reign of His Divine Will to deal with issues with lots more grace and goodness than we would have imagined ..

    Blessings !

  13. In Ancient Chinese philosophy yin and yang, Chinese for negative-positive is a concept of dualism, describing how opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Described as disambivalence. Does it strike a note? There are many wonderful faithful remarks by Msgr Gerrity and Pope Francis in this article. Then there are the many anomalies here and elsewhere. Here’s a doozy. “Pope Francis’ praise for Argentinian Sister Mónica Astorga Cremona, known locally in Argentina as the ‘Nun of the Trans.’ Praise came in light of her opening a new complex of 12 small apartments reserved solely for men claiming to be women, and their sexual partners. In communication with Sr. Cremona, the Pope referred to her transgender clients as ‘girls’. ‘Dear Monica, God, who did not go to the seminary or study theology, will repay you abundantly. I pray for you and your girls’ (John-Henry Westen LifeSite). I might add in response an awesome example of New Paradigm disambivalence.

    • Thus is my response to this liberal Catholic Msgr. and scholar.

      Beloved: …For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths…
      2 Tim 4:1-8
      Verily, when the day of judgement comes, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; nor how learnedly we have spoken, but how religiously we have lived. Imitation of Christ -Thomas a KempisIsaiah 5:20
      “Woe to those who call what is bad, good, and what is good, bad, who substitute darknesses for light and light for darkness…”
      Lord have mercy upon you Father because you teach a different doctrine than the Doctrine of the Universal Church.

  14. As to the Boston cardinal, the old maxim applies: Qui tacet consentire videtur. He who remains silent is deemed to consent.
    You’re their shepherd, Cardinal Sean; you ought to speak up. (This is another Massachusetts disgrace.)

  15. I am pro-life and I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I will vote for Joe Biden for President because I believe that Joe Biden is pro-life like me.
    — Msgr. Paul Garrity of the Archdiocese of Boston

    That is exactly like saying “I am pro-Black freedom and I believe in a plantation owner’s right to choose to buy slaves. I will vote for Stephen A. Douglas for President because I believe Stephen Douglas is pro-Black freedom like me.” Garrity’s remark is irrational and evil, although Garrity is right about Biden being pro-life like him, which is to day Biden isn’t pro-life at all — just like Garrity.

    The worst part of this scandal is that our leftist first, Catholic second, if at all, bishops will fail to rebuke Garrity. They are going to have to engage in all kinds of strained theological gymnastics to avoid saying the obvious: It has become mortally sinful to vote for Democrat candidates.

    • Let us pray that more Catholics see the light as you do. You do not have to be a theologian to figure this one out. Good is good and evil is evil, PERIOD.
      Thank you for your sensible, true thoughts.

  16. Msgr. Garrity is being fooled just like many other Catholics are, who are considering Biden as a viable candidate. Biden is not “pro-life” he is “pro-choice” a term I dislike using and it’s not “pro-choice” but “pro-death”! Msgr Garrity should be disciplined by the diocese! Let’s face it good Catholics, it’s time, well past time that we take a clear stand on this issue! It’s been long enough! The reelection of the Trump Administration just may afford a chance to get another conservative supreme court judge and get Roe vs. Wade overturned! How, tell me, how can we pass up such an opportunity?

  17. There are some priests who would deny Communion to anyone who publicly supports abortion. Perhaps this priest should be denied the right to consume the Sacred Host after he consecrates it.

  18. More spineless non-reaction from the higher-ups in our church. This priest is giving public scandal and speaking in terms directly contrary to the stated moral position of the church.Abortion is a SIN according to our belief. If this priest does not agree to the extent he is suggesting to parishioners that abortion is just fine, he needs to be removed from not only his position but from his priestly faculties if he refuses to toe the line.This “anything goes if I say so” attitude is why the church has so many problems. She should not wonder why people no longer have a sense of sin or go to confession if nothing is essentially a sin any longer.The people are not only not getting any guidance from the pulpit but priests like this are actively telling people things that are directly contrary to church teaching. This priest is free to vote for Biden ( and God will deal with that reality with him at some point) but he should not be permitted to openly advocate for a candidate whose opinions on abortion are so anti-catholic and offensive that he has been denied Holy Communion.The Bishop here needs to get off his duff and act. Or shall we assume the Bishop there is ok with abortion too??

  19. Matthew 10 provides good guidance here, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

    Those Catholics who live in Lexington, Massachusetts or anywhere in the Commonwealth of MA are free to ‘shake the dust from your feet’. Why would a Catholic continue to fund Cardinal Sean or an anti-religious state ?

  20. Card. O’Malley finally released a statement yesterday (Aug 27). It didn’t mention the renegade Garrity by name and stands as a classic example of a complete milquetoast’s do-nothing approach to ecclesiastical government. But we’ve known O’Malley was a failed shepherd at least since he allowed the killer of Mary Jo Kopechne to have a televised Catholic funeral and then turned over the pulpit to the worse president in US history, Mr. Obama. O’Malley is emblematic of everything wrong with the US Catholic Church. He is a disgrace, an embarrassment to our church. I credit nothing he says, believe nothing he promises, doubt his sincerity at every moment. Garrity isn’t the real problem. His boss most certainly is.

  21. It’s heartbreaking I have to vote for a candidate that basically teaches our children it is okay to be a racist, misogynistic, materialistic, narcissist who’s attitude that HE is a law unto himself and that no laws (human or divine) apply to him has actually founded and perpetuated the culture of death in modern society in favor of a candidate who has suffered a great deal of personal tragedy (through the death of his first wife and daughter in a car accident and then his son to brain cancer) and therefore possesses so much more empathy than the average American (including us comfortably coddled upper middle class Catholics). It seems to me that our culture is so far gone that our vote or imagined influence is pointless and the “Benedict Option” is the only choice we have today.

  22. “Also in 2008, Archbishop Charles Chaput said of the issue that Catholics who support pro-choice candidates need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it” (Christine Rousselle for CNA). Magisterial documents say otherwise regarding a compelling issue, unless someone can produce one that supports Bishop Chaput on voting on abortion. “It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it. Moreover, he may not collaborate in its application” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, November 18, 1974, nos. 19-2). “John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a «grave and clear obligation to oppose» any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life 2002, no. 4). Pope Francis’ musings in Amoris Laetitia are nether definitive, nor binding, and in effect immoral if understood as liceity for abortion, adultery, irregular union. This issue of what definitively forms the conscience of bishops, cardinals, priests and laity is blurred by inaction primarily on the part of the bishops and cardinals.

  23. Monsignor G….Trump is also pro life, , you indicated you’d vote for Biden because he is pro life…you cannot have it both ways… so who will you vote for?

  24. Years ago my aunt was complaining to my Polish grandmother about all she had to do for her children – they were so much work. Grandma listened and simply said, “You mother. You don’t have that name for nothing.” Granted, her English was not perfect, but you get the point.
    We have a presidential candidate trumpeting his Catholic bona fides, even boasting of carrying rosaries. With no reservations or anxieties, he supports unlimited abortion. He wishes to force nuns to provide contraceptives and to compel taxpayers to pay for abortions. He presided over the gay “wedding” of two men in Washington. Through it all, barely a peep from any bishop, although his positions are contrary to Church teaching. And now we have Msgr. Garrity and another silent cardinal.
    A bishop is to defend and explain the teachings of the church, to correct error, to protect the flock from confusion about Church teachings. If grandma were alive, she would no doubt say, “You bishop. You don’t have that name for nothing.” She had very little formal education, but she could get to the heart of the matter in so few words.

  25. When is the Cardinal going to do something? This position brings shame on the Church. Why isn’t he being silenced? You can not be prolife and state that it is OK to have an abortion. His statementis going and what are his parishoners supposed to hink? When there is silence these is complicity? Are your listening Cardinal O’Malley?

  26. The man took down his post and apologized.
    Have mercy on him and pray he grows in wisdom.

    Still so funny the logic of a catholic claiming to be pro life for:
    “I believe that any woman who becomes pregnant should have the the [sic] right to choose to give birth to her baby.”

    By the same logic, Pontius Pilot, was Pro-Life because he believed he had the right to not only execute Jesus but let Jesus to continue to have Life.

    Let’s speak on behalf of those that can’t speak for themselves, the unborn. Trump has done more for the unborn than any president.

    The purpose of Christ’s sacrifice was to give us mercy. And he commanded us to give mercy to others… especially those who need it the most. I see those as the unborn.

    • Cardinal O’Malley, begin excommunication proceedings NOW against the violent Msgr. Garrity.
      If Cardinal O’Malley won’t do that now and publicise it now throughout the US and the world, then Pope Francis
      must immediately excommunicate Cardinal O’Malley for the good of unborn babies and the entire Catholic Church
      throughout the World.

      Garrity and O’Malley are probably mates with the woke Kennedy’s in Boston , the late Teddy Kennedy having been a very strong advocate for abortion on demand and Biden Democrat associate. God Bless America and all it’s children,
      born and unborn. Thankyou.

      • It’s a shame that Catholics and other Christians are like a ship sailing in circles searching for the lighthouse of moral direction and finding none. Every sermon I hear on Sundays is a feel good sermon. I don’t want to leave Sunday Mass “feeling good”, I want leave thinking about something.

  27. Monsignor Garrity should be removed from the Clergy. Go get a job, and take away everything that he got as a result of his priesthood. Bishop O’Malley should be transferred to a remote parish, where he will serve as a local priest.

  28. Dishonest is putting it mildly. Cardinal O’Malley’s known Communist youth is known (apparently he still has a soft spot for Communism) …
    He’s a good talker when he wants money or to “appear” “faithful” … which, by the way, doesn’t really require much these days. He who gave Anti-Catholic Ted Kennedy a funeral of hearts and flowers fitting for a Martyr of Christ. One of many scandals. And he blather on in his monotone, leaving the “leadership” of the Archdiocese to his grossly overpaid Committees. I will stick with the facts. I DON’T wish to detract. His record speaks volumes. Bureaucrat yes. Shepherd, Pastor? Not so much.

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