Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/16/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Rick Santorum is a man of courage in an age of cowardice

Santorum does not separate social and economic issues. He is comfortable in his skin and has the communications skills and intelligence required of a leader. Any candidate for the Presidency who hopes to win in 2012 must be an effective communicator. He or she will be contending with President Barack Obama, whose oratory in the last election seemed to mesmerize people. His opponent must be articulate, inspiring and unafraid.

Former Senator Rick Santorum

Former Senator Rick Santorum

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/16/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Santorum, Rick Santorum, President Obama, 2012, Presidential race, election, Islam, Jihadi, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - I have long admired former Senator Rick Santorum. I was in the Senate Chamber years ago when he defended our first neighbors in the womb against being partially delivered only to have their heads crushed through the infanticide called "partial birth abortion." He spoke with passion, confronting the empty words of an opponent who defended the brutal procedure. Pointing to a picture of a baby being delivered he shouted "This is a baby Senator!" At that very moment a baby cried, filling the chamber with the sounds of life. The Senator delivered the most poignant defense of life I had ever heard. Over the years, our paths have crossed. He has only improved with age as a communicator. His plenary address at the Catholic Leaders Conference two years ago was outstanding. His willingness to take questions and give solid yet spontaneous answers added to the presentation. He is comfortable in his skin and has the communications skills and intelligence required of a leader. Any candidate for the Presidency who hopes to win in 2012 must be an effective communicator. He or she will be contending with President Barack Obama, whose oratory in the last election seemed to mesmerize people.  His opponent must be articulate, inspiring and unafraid. On September 12, 2010 we marked the fiftieth anniversary of the address given by then Senator John F. Kennedy to the Houston Ministerial alliance. In that speech 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. In anticipation of this anniversary, Senator Santorum gave a speech in Houston on September 9, 2010 entitled "Charge to Revive the Role of Faith in the Public Square." In that speech he exposed the Kennedy Mistake and offered another model for Catholic political participation, one which is authentically Catholic. The Vatican's 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. In an age when many Catholics in public life have not been morally coherent, Rick Santorum stands out as an exception.   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 nothing objectively true which can be known by all and form the basis of our common life then there is no basis for real freedom. Instead, we teeter on the brink of anarchy. Senator Santorum's speech in Houston was a breath of fresh air. In an age of political sound bites and jingoism, he offered intelligent and impassioned reflection. 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." The Nation's first Catholic President made a serious error in that Houston speech which unleashed tragic results.  In Senator Santorum's words, "Fifty years ago 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 laid the groundwork for the advance of what the venerable John Paul II called the "Culture of Death."

He also gave cover to countless Catholic politicians to be morally incoherent in their political participation for too many years. Senator Santorum's speech in Houston is the much needed and long overdue corrective. There is a political dualism too often touted in Republican circles - the idea that there are "social" and "economic" issues and they must be kept separate. In the run up to the 2012 campaign it is rearing its ugly head once again.  Santorum does not separate social and economic issues. He knows that the reason we should care about expanding economic opportunity is because we respect the dignity of every human person and want to expand participation. His advocacy of smaller government is not anti-government. He calls for the proper application of the principle of subsidiarity out of respect for the primacy of the family as the first society, the first government, the first church, first school, first economy and first mediating institution. He rejects the idea that there is any true "right" to an abortion even if the positive law currently protects the act. Every procured abortion is the taking of innocent human life and the denial of the true Right, written in the Natural Law, the fundamental and inalienable Right to Life.  He would place the respect for life front and center, using it as the lens through which every other issue would be approached. He does not back away from controversy or opposition because he has real courage. That was demonstrated in January when he gave an interview to Terry Jeffrey of CNSNEWS.com entitled "Santorum Says He Agrees With MLK on Moral Basis for Human Rights; Can't Understand Why Obama Would Deny Them to an Unborn Child." In that interview he reiterated his belief in the Natural Law as the moral basis of a truly free society.  His grasp of authentic Catholic social doctrine is refreshing - and all too uncommon among Catholics in public service. In the interview, the Senator referenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s reliance on the Natural Law in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." Some in the media attacked Santorum and tried to paint him as a racist for even doing so. Some in contemporary political circles might have backed off, but the former Senator from Pennsylvania refused to back down. In that letter, Dr. King did indeed cite the Catholic Natural Law tradition to bolster his defense of fundamental human rights. As the day progressed the Senator stood his ground and responded to repeated efforts to smear him with these words: "For decades certain human beings were wrongly treated as property and denied liberty in America because they were not considered persons under the Constitution. Today other human beings, the unborn of all races, are also wrongly treated as property and denied the right to life for the same reason; because they are not considered persons under the constitution. I am disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country." This past weekend the Senator again demonstrated courage at the Strafford County Lincoln-Reagan dinner. Among the topics discussed was the threat of militant jihadist ideology. He said, "Jihadism is evil and we need to say what it is.We need to define it and say what it is. And it is evil. Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution." Making reference to the hearings on the radicalization of some American Muslims held last week he noted that the majority of Muslims in the United States do not want Sharia Law in the United States. He said many left their home countries "because of Sharia law" and continued, "Sharia law is not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature and origin, but it is a civil code. And it is incompatible with the civil code of the United States." He is correct and his willingness to say it is refreshing.   Rick Santorum is a man of courage in an age of cowardice. In 1947, C.S. Lewis addressed the decline of Britain in an insightful book entitled "The Abolition of man: How Education Develops Man's Sense of Morality." He warned of the subjective and relativist trends in the British educational system and reasserted the timeless moral truths of Christianity. Lewis called for a return to the classical Christian vision of the human person and the cultivation of virtues as the path to true human flourishing and freedom. He defined what he called "the chest" in this work as the "higher emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments or character." He wrote that without this "chest", men and women devolve into self-idolatry, losing their human dignity and true freedom. They become slaves to disordered appetites. The West is a mess, just as Lewis warned. With its decline we face the eclipse of true freedom. Lewis' words in this book are timely: "And all the time - such is the tragicomedy of our situation - we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive,' or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity.' In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." 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 as one of the most important Presidential elections in American history begins to take shape.

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

BEEN THERE: Attorney General Eric Holder shares personal experiences while in Ferguson Watch

Image of Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, right, following his meeting with students at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Ferguson, Missouri to investigate the officer-involved shooting of teenager Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder shared personal stories of his own encounters with racial discrimination. "I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a ... continue reading


One percent? Try the MORE THAN A THIRD in U.S. who rely on Welfare Watch

Image of Back in the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Back in the "Occupy Wall Street" days, protestors rallied around the concept of the United States' "One Percent," which referred to the people with power in the U.S. government. On the other side of the coin, more than ONE THIRD of all U.S. households are now ... continue reading


SMILE FOR THE CAMERA! Texas Governor Rick Perry cheerfully turns himself in Watch

Image of Under duress, Texas Governor Rick Perry maintained an upbeat and positive attitude. Arriving at the Travis County courthouse in Austin for booking and fingerprinting, Perry gave a warm smile for his mug shot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under duress, Texas Governor Rick Perry maintained an upbeat and positive attitude. Arriving at the Travis County courthouse in Austin for booking and fingerprinting, Perry gave a warm smile for his mug shot. He's charged with felony corruption charges ... continue reading


HIDDEN FROM VIEW: President Obama renders decision largely in private, despite claims of transparency Watch

Image of Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors. Unilateral action on such issues as immigration, gay rights and tax policy has ... continue reading


Texas Governor Rick Perry assembles formidable high-profile defense team Watch

Image of According to Michael McCrum, the San Antonio-based special prosecutor presenting the case against Texas Governor Rick Perry, the governor may waive his arraignment altogether.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas Governor Rick Perry must now complete the humiliating process of being booked, fingerprinted and having his mug shot taken - but he's gathering a formidable legal team in his defense. High-powered attorneys are being gathered after his indictment on ... continue reading


More than 37,000 undocumented children who crossed Mexican border - going back to U.S. schools Watch

Image of The Department of Justice in May issued a statement reminding public schools that they are legally required to enroll all children, regardless of their immigration status.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They come tired and hungry, crossing great expanses of the desert in search of a better life in the United States - and they're going back to U.S. school shortly. More than 37,000 South and Central American children, who made their escape without parents of ... continue reading


Iraq MUST form stable government before bloodshed can end, Obama says Watch

Image of Many write off the idea that Iraq can unite to repel the Islamic State as wishful thinking.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the United States sent military aid to Iraq over the past weekend in the form of fighter jets pounding strategic points, President Barack Obama is adamant that Iraq must address its very real problems. The president insists that a stable government in ... continue reading


COMEBACK? Mitt Romney one of the Republican Party's most in-demand campaign surrogates Watch

Image of Mitt Romney says he isn't interested in a third presidential run in 2016. His recent moves have his supporters yearning for him to give it a go and arguing that he would be a stronger candidate than last time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While he lost to Barack Obama in 2012, Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is hitting the stump for Republicans this fall. In recent months, in which Democratic candidates are keeping their distance from an unpopular president, Romney has emerged as one ... continue reading


CLEMENCY -- CRUSHED: Lawyers forbidden from drafting clemency petitions Watch

Image of Ideal candidates for clemency would have been nonviolent, low-level drug offenders without significant ties to large-scale criminal organizations.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In yet another setback for the Obama administration, a plan to extend clemency to thousands of prisoners was quelled last week after the agency that oversees the federal courts said that hundreds of federal public defenders as well as other court-appointed ... continue reading


Another blow to Obama! The President's war against American law suffers another setback Watch

Image of The American justice system has dealt another blow to Obama's continual unconstitutional power grab, blocking federally paid lawyers from representing clients who want clemency.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ambitious plan by President Barack Obama's administration to grant clemency to thousands of prisoners suffered a serious blow after federal courts ruled that the hundreds of federal public defenders and other court-appointed attorneys were not actually ... 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, Ezekiel 37:1-14
1 The hand of Yahweh was on me; he carried me away by ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 So let them say whom Yahweh redeemed, whom he ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:34-40
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Andrew the Scot
August 22: Archdeacon and companion of St. Donatus. Andrew and his sister, ... 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