After Priest Supports Right to Choose, Boston Cardinal Says Life is Preeminent

Catholics, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, should play an “active role” in public life, and “fulfill the basic obligation of a democracy, to vote.”

Cardinal Sean O'Malley celebrates Mass in the grotto of St. Peter's Basilica during an ad limina visit of the USCCB.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley celebrates Mass in the grotto of St. Peter's Basilica during an ad limina visit of the USCCB. (photo: Daniel Ibanez/EWTN)

WASHINGTON — The Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life are of preeminent priority, the Archbishop of Boston said on Thursday, August 26. 

Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that Catholics have “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 in a statement provided to CNA. 

Cardinal O’Malley said that Archdiocesan clergy, as well as “religious and laity who minister or serve in the Archdiocese of Boston,” as representatives of the archdiocese, are not to endorse or condemn political candidates or political parties. 

“The teaching role of the Catholic Church brings religious and moral principles to the life of our society, our Commonwealth, and our nation,” said Cardinal O’Malley.

“Our advocacy addresses protection of human life at all stages and in all circumstances, including issues of social and economic equality, the pervasive influence of systemic racism and welcoming immigrants and refugees.” 

Catholics, said Cardinal O’Malley, should play an “active role” in public life, and “fulfill the basic obligation of a democracy, to vote.” He said that Catholics are “called to bring the light of faith and reason to our civic responsibilities,” as they “strive to build a civilization of love.” 

Cardinal O’Malley’s statement comes a day after an Aug. 26 report by CNA including a statement by a priest of the archdiocese praising presidential candidate Joe Biden and supporting the “right to choose” abortion being enshrined in U.S. law.

Msgr. Paul Garrity told CNA that he did not think abortion would be illegal in the United States, and that the abortion was being used as a “a wedge issue that is being used to divide people for narrow political gains.”

People collect flags that decorated the National Mall in Washington on Jan. 21, one day after the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. The Presidential Inaugural Committee encouraged supporters to sponsor the flags through donations to 95 groups, including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Turning the Page, Moving Forward

A NOTE FROM OUR PUBLISHER: President Joe Biden has spoken often about the need for unity — this is critical today when our nation is so bitterly divided. Americans must strive to come together, but achieving this will be difficult. Unity can't mean compromising deeply held religious beliefs especially regarding human life.