Gov. Christie on Tuesday reflected on his Catholic faith and told diners at a New Hampshire restaurant that he had used birth control, against the teaching of his church.
While saying he "absolutely" believes in God, the New Jersey governor suggested religion leaves room for different interpretations of the Bible.
"We should all acquit ourselves in a way that we believe is consistent with the teachings that we follow if we follow certain teachings from a religious perspective," Christie said.
He added, "For instance, I'm a Catholic. But I've used birth control - and not just the rhythm method, OK.
"So, you know, my church has a teaching against birth control. Does that make me an awful Catholic, because I believed and practiced that function during part of my life? I don't think so."
(The rhythm method is a calendar-based way to practice family planning.)
The GOP presidential candidate's remarks come amid a renewed debate about abortion. Republicans in Congress tried unsuccessfully Monday to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
That effort came in response to a series of videos released by an antiabortion group, which it says show the family planning organization selling fetal tissue for profit.
Democrats say the GOP attempt to defund Planned Parenthood would deny women access to reproductive health care.
"When politicians talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, they're talking about blocking millions of women, men and young people from live-saving preventive care," Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for president, said in a video Monday.
In a video released Tuesday, Christie, who has defunded Planned Parenthood in New Jersey and says he would do so as president, asked Clinton: "Do you support the conduct of Planned Parenthood in the killing of children in the womb in a way that maximizes their body parts for sale on the open market?"
Planned Parenthood says it legally donates fetal tissue for research and sometimes receives reimbursement for costs.