Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/14/2010 (5 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 (5 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

'Faith is the great cure for fear': Obama speaks at annual National Prayer Breakfast in WA Watch

Image of At the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Obama spoke against Muslim stereotypes and hatred (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

During the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, President Barack Obama spoke of God, fear and love. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the breakfast, both Democrats and republicans set aside their differences to build relationships based on their ... continue reading


After Iowa fail, Donald Trump vows to 'beat the ____ out of ISIS' Watch

Image of Many noted that Donald Trump seemed unusually subdued in New Hampshire. He claimed that he remained optimistic after his second place finish in the Iowa primary. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

While he faced defeat in the Iowa caucuses, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was full of his usual bluster in New Hampshire. Never one to mince words, he vowed to "beat the ___ out of ISIS" if he was elected president. LOS ANGELS, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


'Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it': Trump furiously rants on Twitter about Cruz's win demanding a new Iowa 'election' Watch

Image of Donald Trump calls for a new election or to nullify Cruz's results (Reuters).

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

When news of the Cruz campaign "mistake" concerning Ben Carson at the Iowa caucus reached Donald Trump, he was furious. The business tycoon took to Twitter to call for a new election or to nullify Cruz's results. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Despite his initial ... continue reading


Republican Candidate Drops Out of Presidential Race: But who was it? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Following a disappointing show in the Iowa caucus, with only 4.5 percent of the votes, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has officially dropped out of the 2016 presidential race. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It's been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign ... continue reading


Political sabotage: Ted Cruz pleads GUILTY to wronging Ben Carson at Iowa caucus Watch

Image of Ted Cruz admitted his campaign started the lie that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race prior to the Iowa caucus (NY Times).

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a shocking admission, Ted Cruz admits his staff spread rumors of Ben Carson dropping out of the runnings just before the Iowa caucus voting began. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As previously reported, the Iowa caucus was filled with surprises that included ... continue reading


A Night of Surprises: What went down during the Iowa caucuses? Watch

Image of Iowa caucus surprises with historical neck-and-neck race and Trump in second place.

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Iowa caucus results are in after a high-energy night fueled by rumors of foul-play, coin tosses and the waning smile of a smug Trump. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Before the Iowa caucus, polls showed presidential hopeful Donald Trump as the leading ... continue reading


Trump leading in polls as he thanks Iowa's evangelicals Watch

Image of Donald Trump has cut Sen. Ted Cruz's advantage with evangelicals, according to a CBS News poll. (Jim Young, Reuters)

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

As the Iowa caucuses heat up, executive Donald Trump has shown a strong lead over Ted Cruz in recent opinion polls. Trump took time to thank evangelical Christians for their support. In the meantime, Hillary Clinton maintains a thin lead over Bernie Sanders in ... continue reading


Whoa! Secret Microsoft algorithm predicts wins for Clinton, Trump in Iowa and beyond Watch

Image of Computerized predictions are big business, both at the sports book and in politics.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are predicted to win tonight's Iowa caucuses according to a sophisticated algorithm used by Microsoft's Bing search engine to predict outcomes. The search engine has an excellent record. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Microsoft ... continue reading


FBI 'Guilty' of unlawfully refused Freedom of Information Act Watch

Image of U.S. district judge Randolph D. Moss ruled in favor of MIT PhD student Ryan Shapiro. Judge Moss found that the FBI's present policy is

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A judge in a Washington, DC courtroom ruled in favor of a PhD student at MIT and found that the FBI unlawfully, obscured, and refused to requests. The bureau was found guilty of not complying with the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Trump dumps Fox News and becomes the 'elephant not in the room': But who really won the 7th Republican debate? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

With Donald Trump missing from the seventh Republican debate, days ahead of the vital Iowa caucus, many were left wondering: who won the debate? Did Trump actually win by not attending or did another candidate behind him in the polls rise to the occasion, without the ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 3:4-13
4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
9 How can a young man keep his way spotless? By keeping your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:30-34
30 The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 6th, 2016 Image

St. Paul Miki
February 6: Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. ... Read More