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By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/20/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (

America, ladies and gentlemen, is a moral enterprise at its core.

The Silence on Santorum is DEAFENING - in the media and among these establishment Republicans. Have you seen a photo of Rick Santorum in news reports when the remaining field of Republican candidates is discussed? Or, consider when the Pundit class assembles on the screen to banter about the emerging field of Republican challengers to the President - be it on MSNBC to mock them or on FOX to pontificate about them - have you even heard the name of Senator Rick Santorum mentioned?

Former Senator Rick Santorum

Former Senator Rick Santorum


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

5/20/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Rick Santorum, Huckabee, Trump, Pawlenty, Obama, Campaign 2012, Deacon Keith Fournier

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Over the weekend, two potential Republican candidates for the presidency dropped out of the 2012 race. Only one was a serious contender with a clear message and a large following, Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas. He ran during the 2008 Presidential campaign and earned the respect of many Americans, including me. Those who have read my political commentaries recall I wrote numerous articles about Governor Huckabee during the last Presidential campaign. One was a commentary entitled Huckabee and Catholics. I had two interviews with the Governor for Catholic Online during the last Presidential campaign. The first concerned an effort to paint the candidate as Anti-Catholic (INTERVIEW: Governor Huckabee Addresses Anti-Catholicism and Abortion) and the second occurred later in the campaign. (SPECIAL REPORT: Governor Huckabee Tells Catholic Online Why He is Still Running ) I have met Governor Huckabee. I am deeply impressed with his warmth and sincerity of heart. I admire his consistent positions on the dignity of every human life, his support for marriage and the family and society founded upon them, and his genuine concern for the poor and needy. So, when I read that Governor Huckabee had decided not to run for the presidency in 2012, I assumed the Press would come to the obvious conclusion of where the bulk of his large support base would go. They would look to a man who not only holds similar positions on the issues which matter most but possesses similar character traits. After all, from my perspective, the only person left in the Republican field to carry on Governor Huckabee's role as someone who cares deeply about moral issues and is unwilling to separate the moral from the economic, international and social issues, is former Senator Rick Santorum.  Yet, the exact opposite happened! As an old law partner of mine used to say "I may have been born at night, but not last night!" I immediately sensed that the Republican establishment had made their decision on a candidate, or candidates. They either wanted the Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, who called for a "truce" on what are disparagingly referred to as the "social issues", or they wanted the one they are now touting as the "million dollar man", the former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, who seems about as solid as Jello on those same issues.  The Silence on Santorum is DEAFENING - in the media and among these establishment Republicans. Think about it. Have you seen a photo of Rick Santorum in news reports when the remaining field of Republican candidates is discussed? Or, consider when the Pundit class assembles on the screen to banter about the emerging field of Republican challengers to the President - be it on MSNBC to mock them or on FOX to pontificate about them - have you even heard the name of Senator Rick Santorum mentioned? I call myself a "reluctant" Republican. I am a former "Reagan Democrat" who felt morally compelled to leave the political party of my Bostonian blue collar childhood when the last truly pro-life, pro-poor and pro-family candidate,  the late former Governor of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey was censored from speaking at the Democratic Convention because he defended the poorest of the poor, our first neighbors in the womb. From my perspective, the Party which calls itself Democratic gave up their claim to be the party who cares about the poor when they sold their soul to the strange alliance of those who oppose, at least at the National leadership level, the fundamental human right to life.

I have reached a conclusion as to what is behind the effort to pretend that Rick Santorum is no longer running for the Presidency of the United States. The chattering class on the "left" know he is a formidable candidate from a working class family, right on the issues most Americans care about, a formidable communicator - and that he possesses the courage to take on their bullies in a brutal campaign. Lacking the intellectual ability or integrity to take the Senator's positions on and debate them in the public square, they mock and belittle him or simply fail to mention his name.  However, what I find even more annoying is the reaction of the Republican establishment; those who call themselves "right". The ones who kept people like me away from the Republican Party for generations. They seemed to like his economic conservatism. However, they most certainly do not like his moral coherence. All his talk about protecting human life from conception through natural death; his defense of marriage and the family and society founded upon it... doesn't make for comfortable conversation at the club. So, they have pulled the equivalent of the little child who closes his eyes and pretends someone is no longer in the room.  On Saturday April 9, 2011 in Greenville County, South Carolina, Rick Santorum signaled where he was headed in his campaign. He was the last to speak to a small gathering of Republicans and said, "We have people talking in our party that we need to go away from the moral issues.  America, ladies and gentlemen, is a moral enterprise at its core."  He is absolutely correct. For example, our financial problems are, at their root, the bad fruit of our growing loss of a moral compass. His performance at the first Republican debate was excellent. His answers were clear and his consistency of vision excited millions like me who seek moral coherence in a candidate and refuse to buy the alleged "separation" between "social" and all other issues. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an instruction back 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. Many Catholics who hold public office in the United States have hidden their moral incoherence behind what I call the "Kennedy Mistake."

Former Senator Rick Santorum is different. The speech he gave in Houston on Thursday, September 9, 2010 entitled "Charge to Revive the Role of Faith in the Public Square" exposed the Kennedy Mistake and offered a different model for political participation which is morally coherent. Santorum is not embarrassed to speak of morality because he knows that it forms the core of a truly free society. We are living under what Pope Benedict XVI called a "Dictatorship of Relativism."  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 Rick Santorum offers a corrective which is long overdue with courage and clarity.

He showed his courage when he refused to back down in the face of blistering attacks against him for a free flowing and insightful interview he gave in January to CNS news. The perpetrators of those attacks tried to take his accurate exposition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s references to the Natural Law in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and use them against Santorum. In that letter Dr. King cited the Catholic Natural Law tradition to argue the Natural Law as the basis of fundamental human rights. I wrote back then - and reassert now - that Dr. King would have agreed with Senator Santorum. The Senator responded to the attacks against 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." That is courage in operation. In 1947, C.S. Lewis addressed the decline of his beloved Britain in "The Abolition of man: How Education Develops Man's Sense of Morality."  He warned of the 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 in 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 man with a chest. No matter how hard the Republican establishment tries to pretend he is not in this campaign by closing their eyes and attempting to shut out any coverage of his campaign, they will not succeed. The silence on Santorum is deafening and the Republican Establishment is sending their signals. Rick Santorum is not intimidated and his courageous and inspiring campaign continues.


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