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Kevin ClarkeJanuary 05, 2012

It should come as no surprise, least of all to his campaign staff, that Rick Santorum, elevated to contender in the GOP race, is now getting a level of scrutiny previously reserved for, and, let's see if I get the order right, Gingrich, Paul (sorta), Cain, Perry and Bachman. Now taking his turn as anybodybesidesRomney, the one-time Pennsylvania Senator, who is running on his Catholic bona fides, endures a brutal take down from Faith in Public Life's John Gehring. In "The Catholic Case Against Rick Santorum," Gehring writes, "it’s a political delusion to think Rick Santorum is a standard-bearer of authentic Catholic values in politics. In fact, on several issues central to Catholic social teaching—torture, war, immigration, climate change, the widening gap between rich and poor and workers’ rights—Santorum is radically out of step with his faith’s teachings as articulated by Catholic bishops and several popes over the centuries."

Gehring notes Santorum's tone deafness on poverty (he did not seem to know what the heck that preferential option for the poor stuff was about) and adds:

Catholic politicians across the spectrum will all find aspects of Church teaching that challenge their ideological agendas in discomforting ways. But for too long Catholics in public life have only been scrutinized when it comes to abortion and same-sex marriage. This does a disservice to voters, ignores the Catholic social justice tradition’s broad moral agenda and lets Catholic candidates like Rick Santorum off the hook even when they consistently disregard their faith’s teachings on key moral and political issues.

Santorum also takes some hits from a recovering member of "the thing that used to be called Conservativism," Mark Shea: "Neocons are particularly enthused with Santorum, who promises to ignore the Pope and the catechism on that whole pre-emptive war thing, as well as re-establish torture as a fundamental American value (in keeping with the disproportionately large enthusiasm for torture so-called “conservative” Catholics have in defiance of the teaching of Holy Church). Indeed, the damp-handed Orwellian from Pennsylvania has actually had the temerity to tell Vietnam torture victim John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture as well as he does."

Making the, to my mind, most surprising case against Santorum (I confess to have not been a close follower of his career) was Will Bunch in the Philadelphia Inquirer. iIn "The Rick Santorum that America doesn't know," Bunch writes, "The self-styled 'family values' expert has a surprisingly ambiguous record with his own personal ethics. Also, Santorum’s legislative record shows that his real workaday agenda was not so much waging culture wars as protecting the interests of the 1 Percent, the millionaires and billionaires who funded the modern Republican Party." Bunch details a parade of less-than-savory escapades from the former senator's recent past that rise a tad above getting a little help buying some property on the South Side.

You can read the rest here, but I find this all a little depressing. No one expects our presidential candidates to be perfect, but really as a mature democracy how is it possible that this is the best squad of aspirants our culture could produce for the most important job in the land? Something is not working right--or left--here.

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Leonard Villa
12 years 3 months ago
These knocks against Santorum by the individuals listed above are nonsense.  Santorum can be viewed as out of step with Catholic social teaching if you define Catholic social teaching as liberalism and or socialism.  The idea that Catholic social adopts climate change as a canon is ridiculous.  Churchmen of course have opined on climate change but there is certainly a debate about its scientific merit.  The same thing goes with "solutions to poverty."  It's the easiest thing in the world to advance something as "for the poor" but the alleged help for the poor has to be analyzed. The class warfare rhetoric is not Catholic teaching either: it's a teaching of liberalism/socialism where you punish success and tax to fund a welfare/socialistic State. The poor are not helped in that system. It just creates more poor which then requires more taxes and a stagnant economy and more entitelements which cannot be sustained. Pius XI the architect of Quadragesimo Anno pointed out no one can be a Catholic and a true socialist. Lassez faire capitalism does not exist in our country and Santorum has given no indication that he supports that. Even on the issue of torture: is there a Catholic definition of torture?  It has pointed out that the so-called torture at issue at GITMO and elsewhere was no more intense than Marine boot camp or the boot camp of elite military units. 
12 years 3 months ago
Mr. Tantillo, in all humility, may I suggest tht you read the various documents on social issues provided for our guidance by several of our Popes and meditate on what they really say. This may help you to evaluate Mr. Santorum's Catholic values in the true light of the Cathoic Church's positions.
12 years 3 months ago
How about torture, always intrinsically evil? Or war, intrinsically evil when unjust?
david power
12 years 3 months ago
If the Simpsons ever wanted to create a stock Republican figure in the way of Mayor Quimby (Democrat) then Santorum would be the proto-type.The fact that people would even consider voting for him to be President worries me more than any statistics on the economy. 
I think Sasha Obama would be a more serious President than Ricky. 
Jim McCrea
12 years 3 months ago
Here are some of Rick Santorum’s values:

    Supports the racial profiling of Muslims, irrespective of probable cause.
    No abortions in any circumstances, and he’ll work to make all of them illegal.
    Outlaw the sale and use of contraceptive devices.
    No same-sex marriage nor even civil unions.
    No right to privacy with respect to sexual relations between consenting adults.
    Wants to reinstate DADT.

If that is how he purports to define and impose “Catholic values,” those values should not be allowed into the public square.  Ever.

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