Msgr. Paul Garrity is at it once again–this time with perhaps his most egregiously heretical public comments ever–published in the official Archdiocesan newspaper, The Boston Pilot. And Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston Archdiocese have been silent about the scandal and done nothing to correct the heresy.
What Garrity wrote in his editorial column, “Synod Needs Your Prayers” is thoroughly BAD. It is so heretical that it needs to be removed from being accessed and he needs to be made to publicly retract and correct his words. Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute expressed the problems very well in this Open Letter to Cardinal O’Malley.
In his article, Msgr. Garrity directly assaults the indissolubility of marriage. He said:
“It is ludicrous to assert that divorced couples who have found love and fidelity with new spouses are still recognized by the Church as being married to their former spouses after the passage of many years. It is equally untenable (and disrespectful) to try to convince these happily married couples that, in fact, their relationships are sinful. Moreover, the Church’s current prohibition regarding the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried couples would seem to be at odds with the consistent teaching of the Gospel about love, forgiveness and mercy.
In this one paragraph, Msgr. Garrity heretically denies three teachings of the Catholic Church and then heretically asserts that there is a division between Holy Mother Church’s loving guidance of sinners and the Gospels.
As you know, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2089, defines heresy as “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.” Given this definition, it is clear that Msgr. Garrity is proclaiming heresy in the following circumstances:
- Monsignor Garrity said, “It is ludicrous to assert that divorced couples … are still recognized by the Church as being married to their former spouse after the passage of many years.” This claim is at complete odds with paragraph 1614 of the Catechism, which expressly states, “The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it ‘what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.'” Given this, divorce cannot actually dissolve a marriage bound by God Himself. Furthermore, when bride and groom take their wedding vows, they promise before God to be faithful to their spouses “until death,” so the caveat provided by Msgr. Garrity of “the passage of many years” likewise cannot dissolve a marriage. In light of the definition of heresy provided by Holy Mother Church, the only conclusion can be that Msgr. Garrity preached a heretical principle in your publication.
- Monsignor Garrity said, “It is equally untenable (and disrespectful) to try to convince these happily married couples that, in fact, their relationships are sinful.” Our Blessed Lord said, according to Mark, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11–12). In order for Msgr. Garrity to maintain this position, he must also blaspheme by claiming that what was said by Our Blessed Lord was “untenable and disrespectful.”
- Monsignor Garrity said, “The Church’s current prohibition regarding the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried couples would seem to be at odds with the consistent teaching of the Gospel about love, forgiveness and mercy.” In this statement are two grave errors.
- Monsignor Garrity implicitly denies the sacrilege committed by those who receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin. Saint Paul very clearly teaches, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2120, says, “Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist.” What Msgr. Garrity says in this article is extremely scandalous, as it will likely embolden divorced and re-married Catholics to commit sacrilege against the Eucharist, thereby placing their souls in extreme peril.
- In this one statement, Msgr. Garrity attacks the Holiness of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 824, “United with Christ, the Church is sanctified by him; through him and with him she becomes sanctifying. ‘All the activities of the Church are directed, as toward their end, to the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God.’ It is in the Church that ‘the fullness of the means of salvation’ has been deposited. It is in her that ‘by the grace of God we acquire holiness.'” In contrast to the teaching that “The Church … is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy” (para. 823), Msgr. Garrity suggests that the Church’s work to help poor sinners avoid sacrilege is somehow unloving, unforgiving and unmerciful. But even worse, Msgr. Garrity implies that Holy Mother Church is at sinful odds with Herself through a perceived inconsistency in Her teachings and in Her disciplines.
Your Eminence, this is not the first time Msgr. Garrity has openly preached views in direct opposition to Catholic Teaching. In 2013, Msgr. blasphemously compared homosexual “families” with the Holy Family in his parish bulletin.
[As BCI reported in 2013 in our post, “Boston pastor praised by Cardinal O’Malley puts Holy Family on par with homosexual couples“,] Garrity wrote:
Taken all together, the first family of Christianity reminds us that there is no such thing as normal. Every family is different and this means that we need to broaden our understanding of family life beyond TV sitcoms and applaud the virtues of family living wherever we find them: two-parent families, single-parent families, blended families, families with two mommies or two daddies and adoptive families. What is most important is that we continually hold up the family as the instrument that God has chosen to communicate God’s unconditional love to the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.
Your Eminence, countless souls are gravely imperiled by the outright heresy being preached by Msgr. Garrity. At this current time, where there is so much confusion and anxiety over the Church’s authentic and immutable teachings regarding the family, we beg you, for the sake of Msgr. Garritys soul and the souls of those led astray by him, to remove this article from your publication and publicly correct the error proclaimed by your priest.
Yesterday, the Catholic League of Masschusetts weighed in:
The Catholic Action League called Garrity’s column “a shocking disavowal of Catholic morality by a prominent pastor of the Archdiocese of Boston, in the Archbishop’s own newspaper.”
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “Garrity’s heretical assertions go far beyond the so-called concessions in pastoral practice envisaged by some synod fathers. Garrity unambiguously repudiates, and holds up to public ridicule, the constant, 2,000 year old doctrine of the Catholic Church on the indissolubility of a valid, sacramental marriage. Ordinary Catholics, reading Garrity in a diocesan newspaper published by Cardinal O’Malley, could be led to the erroneous belief that Catholic moral teaching is changeable.”
“Although Garrity invokes ‘love, forgiveness and mercy,’ he doesn’t practice it. Apparently, for him, the Spiritual Works of Mercy — counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, and admonishing the sinner — are obsolete. Warning the flock of the dangers of mortal sin is intrinsic to the priesthood. For Garrity, such priestly duty is ‘disrespectful.’”
“There are three scandals here: that a Catholic pastor would propound such heresy; that an official Catholic newspaper would publish it; and that a Catholic archdiocese, would, by its silence, acquiesce in it. Twice in recent years, lay columnists who wrote opinion pieces in The Pilot critical of homosexuality were forced to clarify their comments. We will see if a different standard applies to a chancery connected cleric who mocks Catholic morality.”
Everyone reading this should be outraged. Here is who you should both call and email:
Cardinal Sean O’Malley: ArchbishopSean_O’Malley@rcab.org; 617-782-2544
Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto: firstname.lastname@example.org; 617-746-5619
Episcopal Vicar (West Region) over Msgr. Garrity: Very Reverend Brian R. Kiely: 508-647-0296
Interim Episcopal Vicar and Secretary for Parish Life: Fr. Bryan Parrish: ReverendBryan_Parrish@rcab.org; 617-746-5618
Editor of The Boston Pilot Antonio Enrique: email@example.com