Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a statement reiterating the Catholic Church’s position on abortion after one of his priests came out as pro-choice on Facebook this week.
“I am pro-life and I believe in a woman’s right to choose,” wrote Msgr. Paul Garrity, pastor of the parish of the Sacred Heart in Lexington, Massachusetts, in an August 23 Facebook post. “I will vote for Joe Biden for President because I believe that Joe Biden is Pro-life like me.”
In his statement, O’Malley said that the Catholic community “has the right to expect the priests of the Archdiocese and those entrusted with handing on the faith to be clear and unequivocal on the Church’s teaching concerning respect and protection for life from the first moment of conception to natural death.”
“This teaching is of the highest priority for the Church,” he added.
Some hours after the cardinal released his statement, Garrity issued an apology on his Facebook page.
“Please accept my apology for the confusion and upset caused by the Facebook post concerning the presidential election and expectant woman carrying their children to birth,” the priest said. “I am totally against legalized abortion. I am committed to upholding Church teaching regarding the sanctity of life from the moment of conception until natural death.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
Abortion “is gravely contrary to the moral law,” the Catechism declares, and, therefore, a person who procures an abortion incurs excommunication from the Church “by the very commission of the offense.”
Throughout his campaign, Biden has reiterated his support for abortion on demand and has promised to work to repeal the Hyde and Helms Amendments that protect taxpayers from having to finance abortions.
Meanwhile, Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, the former editor-in-chief of America Magazine, wrote Thursday that Catholics may vote for Catholic candidates who openly support abortion on demand.
According to Reese, “a Catholic Democrat can vote for Biden, even if his policies promote abortions and gay marriage, as long as the voter’s intent is not to support those positions.”
Reese argues that issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage should be weighed against other issues, seeming to suggest that these issues all carry equal weight.
“A Catholic Democrat might feel impelled to vote for Biden despite his position on abortion and gay marriage because of other morally grave reasons, for example, his positions on racism, immigration, global warming and COVID-19,” Reese declared.
In the end, “most Catholic Democrats agree with Biden that abortion should be legal,” Reese wrote, so many Catholics have no moral quandary anyway.