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.
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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.