Catholic Action League Urges Cardinal O’Malley to Reaffirm Catholic Teaching on Marriage  

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today is calling upon Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, to publicly reaffirm Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, after a senior member of the Cardinal’s own clergy openly derided that teaching as “ludicrous” in the current edition of The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, whose publisher is the Archbishop.

In a column in the September 11th Pilot entitled “Synod needs your prayers,” Monsignor Paul V. Garrity, Pastor of Sacred Heart and Saint Brigid Parishes in Lexington, wrote: “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.”

Garrity had previously sparked controversy in December, 2013, when he compared same sex couples to the Holy Family in a letter in the bulletin of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Norwood.

Roman Catholic teaching on the permanence of the marital bond, which is definitive and irreformable, is founded on Divine and natural law, expressed by the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Saint Matthew: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” and in the Gospel of Saint Luke: “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery…”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by Saint John Paul II, states: “Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law…Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery.”

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.”