“Please Correct the Heresy Being Preached by your Priest”
As you are no doubt aware, the Church is currently in the midst of a grave crisis of faith, particularly with regard to the Christian family. As we approach the upcoming Synod on the Family, taking place next month, the faithful have been subjected to scandalous confusion at the hands of German bishops. Cardinal Marx, who is threatening schism if the Church does not approve the distribution of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, and Bishop Bode, a German bishop openly suggesting that the Church “bless” same-sex civil unions, are just two examples of the scandals assaulting the faithful. While we certainly understand that you have no control over what the Catholic bishops of Germany do or profess, we ask you to correct the heresy preached by one of your own priests.
On Friday, September 11, Msgr. Paul V. Garrity published an editorial in the Boston Pilot … the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston … with the headline, “Synod Needs Your Prayers.” 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:
- Msgr. 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.
- Msgr. 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.”
- Msgr 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.
- Msgr. Garrity implicitly denies the sacrilege committed by those who receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin. St. 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. He wrote:
It is very easy to forget that Mary would have been an unwed mother were it not for Joseph. It is also easy to forget that Joseph was not the natural father of Jesus but became his foster father and protector, along with his new bride Mary. And the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus should fill us all with a deep respect and empathy for the poor and unwed mothers of our day. 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 sakes of Msgr. Garrity’s 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.
Please know that we are praying for you and for Msgr. Garrity.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
President, Lepanto Institute
Contact for Sean Cardinal O’Malley