Rick Santorum Takes on Jihadism, Showing Moral Coherence and Political Courage
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
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 ...
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