Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/14/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Catholic Online will be following the midterm Congressional elections in the United States and the coming 2012 Presidential race very closely

September 12, 2010 marked the fiftieth anniversary of one of the defining political speeches of the last 100 years. It was the address given by Senator John F. Kennedy to the Houston Ministerial alliance. In that speech he unleashed a horrid mistake. He laid out an approach to the role of religious faith which resulted in "privatizing" the truths informed by faith. Senator Rick Santorum exposed the Kennedy mistake and offered another model of Catholic political participation. 

Former Senator Rick Santorum.

Former Senator Rick Santorum.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/14/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - September 12, 2010 marked the fiftieth anniversary of one of the defining political speeches of the last 100 years. It was the address given by Senator John F. Kennedy to the Houston Ministerial alliance. In that speech he unleashed a horrid mistake. He laid out an approach to the role of religious faith which resulted in "privatizing" the truths informed by faith.

He failed to acknowledge the existence of a Natural Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason and which is meant to govern our life together in Society. All just positive laws must comport with that Natural Law.  In the wake of his catastrophic mistake too many Catholics in public life, like Esau of the Old Testament, sold their birthrights for a bowl of porridge and helped to construct the current culture of death.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clear directive instruction in 2002 entitled a "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life". It called upon Catholics to be "morally coherent" in the exercise of their citizenship. Sadly, too many have not been.

Many Catholics who hold public office in the United States have hidden behind the "Kennedy Mistake". Former Senator Rick Santorum is different. In anticipation of this anniversary, he gave an extraordinary speech in Houston on Thursday, September 9, 2010 entitled "Charge to Revive the Role of Faith in the Public Square". He exposed the Kennedy Mistake and offered another model for Catholic political participation. We received permission to reprint it in full. (Go Here) Though it is somewhat longer than most articles published by Catholic Online, I encourage our readers to take the time to read it in its entirety. The upcoming elections in the United States of America are extremely important and so is this speech.

We are living under what Pope Benedict XVI called a "Dictatorship of Relativism" in the West. The culture stumbles, drunken on the false notion of freedom as giving some people a "right" to kill the innocent, divorced from norms to guide the exercise of human choice and govern our behavior. When there is a wholesale effort to deny the existence of anything objectively true which can be known by all and form the basis of our common life, then there is no real freedom. Instead, we teeter on the brink of anarchy.

Senator Santorum's speech is a breath of fresh air. In an age of political sound bites and jingoism, he offers intelligent and impassioned reflection. This is a statesman. I identified with his introductory remarks, "Three pictures hung in the home of my devoutly Catholic immigrant grandparents when I was a boy and I remember them well -- Jesus, Pope Paul VI and John F. Kennedy. The president was a source of great pride and a symbol to Catholics that all barriers had finally been broken."

I grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts and we had the same three pictures in our home. I vividly remember the fateful day when President Kennedy was assassinated. I was traumatized. I kept a scrapbook in which I collected newspaper articles, and photos concerning it. My mother kept it for me. She also gave me a card made up marking the day of his funeral with a prayer for the repose of his soul. She wrapped it in "saran wrap" and I have it to this day.  There certainly was, and to some degree still is, a "Kennedy Mystique".

It is clear that our Nations first Catholic President made a tragic error in the Houston speech. That error unleashed a torrent of tragic results.  In Senator Santorum's words, "Fifty years ago this Sunday JFK delivered a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association to dispel suspicions about the role the papacy might play in the government of this country under his administration. Let's make no mistake about it -- Kennedy was addressing a real issue at the time. Prejudice against Catholics threatened to cost him the election. But on that day, Kennedy chose not just to dispel fear, he chose to expel faith."

John F. Kennedy also laid the groundwork for the advance of what the venerable John Paul II rightly called the "Culture of Death." He gave cover to countless Catholic politicians to be morally incoherent. Senator Rick Santorum's speech in Houston is the desperately needed corrective that has been long overdue. Having come to know this gifted and good man, I am convinced he is recapturing the Kennedy Mystique while correcting the Kennedy Mistake.

I have made my concerns regarding both major political parties in this Nation clear. On the predominant human rights issue of our age the leadership of the Democratic Party has lost its soul. Like many of my fellow Catholic Americans, I grew up equating being Catholic with being a Democrat because I thought Democrats cared more about the poor, the working class, the marginalized and those with no voice. I was wrong. The elite of the Democratic Party have embraced a notion of "freedom" as a power over others and "choice" as a right to do whatever one wants.

The failure to hear the cry of the child in the womb while mouthing the language of caring for the poor is unbridled hypocrisy. Medical science has confirmed what our conscience has always known, that child in the womb is one of us. His or her voice cannot be heard because it is muffled in the once hallowed home of the womb and disregarded by political opportunists. Yes, there may be a few truly Pro-Life Democrats. However, after the experience of the Health Care debate this past year, even this former Democrat is beginning to have my doubts.

Then there is the Republican Party. One of the earliest heresies in Christian history was Manichaeism. The Manicheans held that all matter (including the human body) was evil. They rejected the authentic understanding of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Christian claim is that the Second person of the Blessed Trinity really truly became a human person, fully Divine and fully human. The human person is an integrated unity, body and soul. Well, there is a kind of political Manichaeism injecting itself into the political debate in this nation. It seeks to divide "social" and "economic" issues. This is political dualism which will have dangerous results. 

This "political dualism" is being touted once again in Republican circles; the idea that there are "social" and "economic" issues and they must be kept separate. Proponents claim "we" can "only win elections if we stay focused on the economic issues". The most recent example of this was found in comments made by Governor Haley Barbour. We must reject this political dualism and reject candidates who espouse it!

The reason we care about expanding economic opportunity is because we respect the dignity of every human person, including our smallest neighbors, and we want to expand participation. The reason we want to ensure the proper application of the principle of subsidiarity so as to keep government at the lowest level is because we respect the primacy of the family. The family is the first society, the first government, the first church, first school, first economy and first mediating institution. Senator Rick Santorum does not fall prey to the error of seperating "social" and "economic" issues. He is an integrated conservative and a faithful, morally coherent Catholic.

The Republican Party has also not fared well on placing in the positive law protection for the inalienable Right to Life. However, that Right is acknowledged in their platform. They have sometimes fed the stereotype used by their opponents that they care about children only when they are in the womb. Some Republicans seem to favor a "survival of the fittest" approach to the market economy which does not recognize our obligations in human solidarity.

Some Republicans have decried centralized economic planning as leading to collectivism and warned about the growth of the Federal Government - but then participated in propounding the problem when they were in power. Also, though "big government" solutions have not worked well in the delivery of charity the Republican Party has not talked enough about empowering the mediating associations to deliver that charity.

Some Republicans espouse a brand of "libertarianism" that cares little about our social obligations to one another. We are our brothers/sisters keepers and Catholics must never forget that. Rejecting big government solutions doesn't mean rejecting our obligation in solidarity. It means building a ground up model of economic opportunity which expands opportunity and participation to all. 

This historic speech by Senator Rick Santorum in Houston, Texas reveals him to be a consistent Catholic, genuinely patriotic American and impressive leader. He understands the clear direction of his Church to be morally coherent and he understands history. He thinks clearly and is unafraid to speak the truth. He is a man to watch, listen to and pray for.

Catholic Online will be following the midterm Congressional elections in the United States and the coming 2012 Presidential race very closely. There is too much at stake to remain silent or passive.In anticipation of the letters I am sure this article will generate, I want all of our readers to know that Catholic Online is structured as a for profit limited liability company, not a nonprofit organization. One of the reasons - so we can be free to engage the vitally important political issues in the days ahead. We intend to do just that.  

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

CLOTHES HORSE: Wasserman Schultz losing confidence among Democrats Watch

Image of Stylish  Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman has alienated members of her own party by reportedly demanding that the party pick up the tab for her wardrobe!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two "faux pas" have alienated Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz from her party. Her criticism of the White House's handling of the border crisis and comparing tea party members to abusive husbands have alienated her constituency at ... continue reading


Supreme Court justice Sotomayor warns about drones encroaching on American way of life Watch

Image of Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that she's particularly troubled by the potential for commercial and government drones to compromise personal privacy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unmanned surveillance planes called drones pose a threat to the privacy of American citizens, warns Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. Speaking to students at Oklahoma City University's law school, Sotomayor says that frightening changes in technology ... continue reading


Obama says Islamic State 'is not Islamic' - what are they, then? Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama vowed to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria, He intends to do so with airstrikes and a minimal military presence on the ground. The president also declared that the Islamic State terrorists "are not Islamic." ... continue reading


Obama vows to attack Islamic State militants 'wherever they exist' Watch

Image of There has been some progress made against the group. After more than 150 U.S. airstrikes in Iraq in the past month, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have halted the Islamic State advance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has vowed to attack Islamic State militants "wherever they exist." Obama will be sending a limited U.S. military presence of 475 personnel. The president also declared that the United States will act in concert with a broad coalition ... continue reading


Opinion: We Need a Blue Collar Conservative like Rick Santorum in the 2016 Presidential Campaign Watch

Image of Rick Santorum is not an establishment candidate. He threatens establishment leaders in both major political parties. he has always played the role of the underdog and been counted out by the many self professed experts. That is one of the greatest assets he would bring to the 2016 Presidential campaign. He has the potential to draw voters from across party lines and help to forge a new governing coalition which can resuscitate the American dream and set us on a course to brighter future. I sincerely hope he runs.

By Keith A. Fournier

Rick Santorum is a statesman in an age of salesmen - and women. He is a man with a chest.  I will be watching his movements over the next few months. If he decides to run, and I hope he does, he will bring along with him into his presidential campaign a ... continue reading


Pelosi favors sweeping regulations to save net neutrality and ban Internet 'fast lanes' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an unpopular stand for many Republicans, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she wants to give federal regulators sweeping new powers over Internet access. It's a necessity in order to save net neutrality and protect Internet users, she says. ... continue reading


READY TO STRIKE: President Obama prepared to use airstrikes in Syria Watch

Image of President Obama believes he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president recently.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From admitting that he had no policy in regards to Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama is now ready for some clear decisive action. The president says that he is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria in order to defeat the militant jihadist group ... continue reading


Real cost of Obamacare - 350,000 jobs loss and premium hikes for small businesses Watch

Image of Individual year-round employees at businesses with 50 to 99 workers lost $935 annually, while those at firms with 20 to 49 workers are out an average of $827.50 per person in take-home pay.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a new analysis of the effects of the health-care reform law, Obamacare has taken a toll on small businesses. According to a new study, there have been millions of dollars in reduced pay and hundreds of thousands fewer jobs. In short - many ... continue reading


More emails 'lost' connected to Lois Lerner case Watch

Image of IRS teacher Lois Lerner, who was placed on leave and has since retired, has emerged as the key figure in congressional investigations.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the most recent development, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS says it has lost emails from five more employees' part of congressional probes into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Team Clinton turns on Obama! Foreign policy in new book dismissed as 'feckless' Watch

Image of A scathing new book from a member of Team Clinton takes President Obama to task for an unfocused foreign policy.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The honeymoon appears over between top U.S. Democratic alliances, the Clintons and the Obama administration. A member of the Clinton kitchen cabinet is out with a new book that slams U.S. policy as "muddled, irresolute, and even feckless." Doug Schoen's takes ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:12-20
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 6-7, 8, 15
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:1-3
1 Now it happened that after this he made his way ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 19th, 2014 Image

St. Januarius
September 19: St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter