The National Catholic Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In principle, as a Catholic Democrat, I’ve always rejoiced in the presence of Catholics in public life. I remember as child a delegation coming to our house in Trenton to ask my father, a World War I hero and the editorial writer for the Trenton Times, to run for office. But, though an eloquent public speaker, he lacked the politician’s temperament—event though I learned later that his father had served in the New Jersey Assembly in the 19th century. But my brother Dave ran for city council and rose to becoming a Superior Court judge. The turning point for my generation was the John Kennedy campaign, and some of us in the Jesuit seminary in 1960 were jealous that one of JFK’s speech writers was our age, while we were stuck in a remote Westchester cloister where we had to watch the Kennedy-Nixon debates in secret.  

In spite of his language crafted to reassure both an audience of Protestant ministers and a nation of fellow Catholics, his Houston address was a sort of Magna Charta for the Catholic in public life. He proclaimed the primacy of the individual conscience, which has always been Catholic teaching, especially in Vatican II—which was still on the horizon in 1960—and, once elected, he was photographed every Sunday leaving church with that old Sunday Missal in his grip.

Since then, until recently, a candidate’s Catholicism has not been an issue, unless a local bishop proclaims that the Catholic candidate who does not buy the bishop’s stand on birth control, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research, or abortion is anathema, banned from the communion rail—and sometimes you too, if you vote for him/her.

Onto this stage walks Rick Santorum, whom Bob Casey knocked out of the senate in 2006. Santorum, to a greater degree than other Catholic candidates, has constructed his image around an altar boy youth, his coal miner father, his big family of seven children, plus the loss of a son born prematurely in 1996. On the other hand a series of New York Times reports fills in the portrait of the anti-big government Santorum, both of whose parents worked for the federal government at a hospital, with stories on the millionaire lobbyist and the political brawler, the hot-headed name caller, the “bully who was not the potent enough force to be a bully” and became known as “Senator Slash.” (Read one of the Times' stories here.) And now the more thoughtful conservative who has cooled down.

His most developed statement is “A Charge to Revive the Role of Faith in the Public Square,” a talk delivered at the University of St. Thomas in Houston in 2010, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He confesses that as a boy his grandparents displayed pictures of Jess, Pope Paul VI and John F. Kennedy. Then he goes on to reject the Kennedy vision, accusing Kennedy of constructing another “threatening wall” that “sealed off informed moral wisdom into a realm of national beliefs that have no legitimate role in political discourse.” That day, says Santorum, Kennedy “chose to expel faith.” He goes on to explain the First Amendment, insisting that freedom of religion is not just one of the freedoms but the one on which freedom of speech, press, and assembly depend. Kennedy, says Santorum, is closer to “Ataturk than to James Madison.”

I don’t know where Santorum was in 1960, but he was two years old. I was surrounded by Jesuit scholastics in philosophy studies. We knew the speech had been written with the advise of Catholic theologians and that Kennedy knew the proper role of conscience, as well as religion, in making public decisions.

Meanwhile the issues which challenge Catholic conscience have grown, particularly in social justice, since the 1960s; and many, if not most, Catholics see the relationship between life issues as both more intimate and complex than those Kennedy faced. A study by Catholic Democrats shows that Santorum has among the worst voting records in the U.S. Congress on social justice and the family, though Santorum describes himself as “pro family.” In November 2011 he questioned the value of lower income children qualifying for Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance. “Why do these kids feel they are entitled to so much?...Suffering, if you’re a Christian, is part of life and it’s not a bad thing.” He favors massive tax cuts for the wealthy, wants to abolish public service unions, and denies humans are responsible for climate change. While the bishops have condemned torture in all its forms, in the televised debate Santorum endorsed water-boarding and “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He has long been pro-death penalty, but now says he’s thinking it over.

Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.

Comments

david power | 1/13/2012 - 8:27pm
Mike ,

I only get testy an defensive when I have to speak with the taxman.
My argument was not that Santorum could not be taken on but only by someone with a clean slate.
Santorum is hoping for salvation , this is his stated desire.He also claims as a catholic to have a personal friendship with Jesus.This is something that trumps all political ifs and buts.But the very friend that Rick claims ,the one he calls Lord and the one he will pass before on judegment day is also the most famous victim of capital punishment in history.
How can a catholic look at the Cross with Jesus on it without realizing that this was a state sanctioned death?.Santorum speaks  of his rosary and of praying it but at the top of every Rosary is a testimony to the absolute , the most fathomless moment in history and the most senseless of all killings. 
Those who keep an ignoble silence  when the unborn are slaughtered are hypocrites if they later reach for the mike to protest against the murder of murderers and rapists .Clearing their throat they only testify to how long their tongue has been mute.It is not only Rick Santorum who falls far short of the Gospel. 
J Cosgrove | 1/13/2012 - 8:22pm
Mr. Appleton,

''read ''Rerum Novarum'' and ''Caritas Veritate'' for starters, and then get back to us.''


My guess it that they have or seen essentially what they say.  What in these encyclicals would point to policies that the Democratic Party advocates as opposed to what the Republicans advocate.  I do not see anything but obviously could be mistaken and would be interested in different points of view.


''the desirability and legitimacy of labor unions, for example, and recognize the social and moral consequences of increasing income inequality.''


How does these objectives help the poor.  I can show fairly clearly that unions hurt the poor and can make a good argument that income inequality often helps the poor immensely.  If this is true then maybe Democratic politicians are on the wrong side of these issues and should be called on it.


There is much more in dispute and maybe IAT could try in this important election year to shine some light on the various issues.
 
liz rochon | 1/16/2012 - 3:02pm
Yes. Thank you David Powers. Your response was warm and thoughtful. Thank God for humor or I would have gone to live in a cave centuries ago. I just hate snarky, don't you? Just no need for that "I'm right you are wrong" kind of arrogance. I am often wrong and right at the same time! I dunno??

As far as Identity politics. I just can't help myself voting for a Catholic, what can I say? Don't shoot me I bleed easily! I voted for John Kerry and John Edwards in 2004 because I just couldn't stand another 4 years of George W. When political analysts talk about Jeb Bush possibly running in 2016 my eyeballs both twitch something fierce and I find myself screaming "Please Dear God! Not another Bush!"

My family HAD been staunchly Democrat since JFK and it was only after Roe vs Wade ('73) that about 50% drifted over to the Republican side. I think for many of us in our family, that was the demarcation line. The right to life. Since my mother had birthed 13 children we thought that was the worst thing ever. And, I still do. 55 million babies no where to be seen. I have seen the life long effects of abortion in my own family; eating disorders, etc. Not good.

However, someone talked about ''economic justice'' as having no bearing on Republican belief and I disagree. I have largely voted Republican (except for Kerry/Edwards). I am no war monger yet I am accused of it having a Dad in WWII who liberated the Jews from Hitler. Well, if war does this, stops gas chambers then call me anything you want. I did not support George W going into Iraq even though my 18 year old son did and joined the Marine Corps which I strongly disagreed with but what is a mother to do? I could do nothing but cry and watch him fly away. I got him back with PTSD and he is divorcing. But, I cannot feel too bad cause I got him back in one piece. My heart hurts still.

I think economics is a huge issue since Americans gave 80% to the Lausanne Conference (16-17 million). Americans fund 200 countries in Foreign Aid. That is both Republicans and Democrats. Charitable causes inside America are funded by both Liberal/Conservative causes. I think there is plenty of money going around. I think our Defense Spending is out of control. I think our spending is way out of wack in general. I support Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid and Food STamps. We must have these 'social programs' and I know the fraud and abuse in them is rampant, yet I support them. We paid into them all our lives.

I keep up on what Evangelicals are doing. I have many Evangelical family members and Jewish/Native friends. I am staunchly ecumenical in life practice yet have a penchant for voting for any Catholic who runs for President. Please don't sue me I have no money!

I have two much older sisters who have always voted Democrat no matter what who have remained Catholic. I asked them why? They said all minorities are poor and we are wealthy white women. We should do more to help minorities get out of poverty. I gave them the book by Myron Magnet, "The Dream and the Nightmare" about racial politics. We have talked openly about abortion, targeting minorities, and they agree, they don't like abortion, they know the statistics about "Black Abortion", but don't want Roe vs Wade repealed. They are feminists and don't want anyone telling females what to do. Very independent about that. Our DAd was a military man who ruled the roost. That has more to do with what they believe about gender and gender politics than anything else.

Their gender politics rules their voting stance. They see the Democratic party as liberating women and the Republican party full of Mary Kay Cosmetic airheads. i always tell them, "you want us to be ugly or what?" I could not help noticing the Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and his va va voom wife. Call me crazy but why are so many Catholic and/or Democratic women so dowdy? Is it academia? Can't a Catholic woman have va va voom 5 inches pink nails, massive hair extensions, a somewhat low cut blouse, a slit up her skirt, 6 inch high heels and a Master's Degree with sexy cat "meow" glasses and still run for politics? When I go to St. James Catholic cathedral in Seattle, WA I see the dowdiest Catholic women and I just cringe! Is this too superficial for you? All the women in my family are fashionable, sexy and gorgeous! Is this just a Quebecois thing? I think this might be culturally French but please....can Catholic women in Seattle please glam it up a bit? This may qualify as my "snarky" bit. Sorry. Contrition. Contrition.

Getting back to politics. Groan:I do see Rick Santorum has gotten endorsement from Evangelical billionaire Friess in Wyoming and Catholicvote.org (Brian Burch). I am aware of the Cardinal Newman Society. I am aware of Conservative Catholic forums. I don't like the pitting of Catholics along political lines. Some in my family tried to do that for years. Pit our family against each other over Protestant/Catholic and Liberal/Conservative lines. People tore each other up for years and I always stood against that kind of stuff. Tearing people a new one over politics or religion. I hate that stuff. After our little sister passed away from cancer at 45 leaving 6 children behind to care for (she was a Catholic all her life) the rest of us just shut our mouths about religion and politics and put the family first! I think there is room for those who care about the poor, which I do, who care about Civil Rights, which I do, who care about economic equality, which I do. However, "economic justice" leaves a terrible taste in my mouth and I will tell you why. I got "schooled" in graduate school by two AFrican American pastors who told me they don't give a flying flip about abortion or their generations who are unborn. They just want their "damn money" and I asked them if their parishioners believed this and they said, "yes!" They are "owed" and who gives a "F" about abortion or anything else. This is "their Gospel" and just write them a "damn check already." When they "outed" themselves about what they really believe is the Gospel, and "white" students started to challenge that notion of the Gospel as "writing minorities a damn check" then "we" were all racists. So, can you see why I tend to shy away from "economic justice" as interpreted by my local African American community as the end all, be all of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
I deeply care about education and training, hard work, the right to work and access to opportunity and resources as Pope Benedict wrote in ''CaritasVeritas'', which I have read. I think there are those who care about keeping and growing their businesses, which their families have grown all their lives, keeping their orchards viable, profitable and productive, family farms for generations. My biggst problem with the "minority Issue" as it relates to poverty is the obvious problem of bias in lending where minorities couldn't get loans from generational poverty producing no collateral. I know that education lifts people out of poverty. Education coupled with minority loans, specifically targeting the renewal of inner city "ghettos" needs to be a priority for our whole country. My husband worked in micro loans for the Catholic Church in South America for years. He has seen what micro loans can do there. These "women" pay those loans back. Most men do not avail themselves of these loans preferring to fish and sit around and talk and help the women with their craft or vegetable booths.

I think there is room for everyone's concerns. I am concerned mostly, that we are descending into a vicious circle of visceral and animalistic behavior in which nothing humanly decent or kind or respectful will remain. 

It isn't good, in my estimation, for one group to dominate anything, whether religion, politics or economics. My French Cree grandmother Irene DesMarais (of Mary, the BVM) was a wise old woman who had a penchant for calling it like it is. She said, ''in four more years we will probably get another President who won't know what to do or how to fix everything. Just live your life. Make a good life for yourself.'' I think as far as politics goes, Americans have a good deal of a ''Messiah Complex'' and I have no illusions about Rick Santorum or Barack Obama. They are men. They cannot save us or fix everything that has gone wrong. We have to fix the things in our own lives that have gone wrong and what we cannot fix we must walk with these things broken and wounded. Thank God my Catholic theology gives me an understanding of self sacrifice and suffering because many of my Evangelical friends have a ''pie in the sky'' attitude that everything can be fixed and that nothing should be wrong. That every cancer will be healed by prayer. Well, my little sister didn't get that memo and I don't believe that prayer fixes or heals everything. I know it doesn't. 

Having been fairly broke all my life I know that people need money. They need jobs and work. They need loans. They need self respect and other respect. They need to cooperate. If we take a little bit over here and add a little bit over there and if everybody gets behind the car and heaves ho we can probably get it out of the ditch. If everybody does their part we can probably get the old gal running again. But everybody has to help and be involved. That is the most difficult task I can think of because many have already been excluded and have been taught their contributions mean or count for nothing. That has to stop.

Well, that is enough for me. Happy Monday. 


J Cosgrove | 1/13/2012 - 3:20pm
Thank you Mr. Reidy for the link.
Douglas Brougher | 1/13/2012 - 2:34pm
A correction: America is not the "official Jesuit site," nor is America is not the official Jesuit magazine. For a very long time, the magazine has made the distinction that is published by Jesuits, not THE Jesuits. The official Web site of the Jesuits in the United States is here.
J Cosgrove | 1/13/2012 - 2:29pm
David,
 
The Vice President of the United States is a Catholic.  I have seen almost no scrutiny of him on America.  It is not like I am looking forward to any discussion of him but I find it ironic.  In reality it seems that a high percentage of discussions here are based on political leanings, not religious ones.
 
To give an example, on another thread that is currently on the first page of the blog, Vince Miller castigates Santorum on something called subsidiarity.  That is a term not 1 in 10,000 would be able to define or discuss.  When I read the link that Dr. Miller provided, I saw nothing in it that is not compatible with what most Republicans would want to accomplish.  In other words take someone who is a die hard conservative and I believe they would nod their heads in agreement at what subsidiarity means.  I saw nothing there that would lead me to do anything different in my life relevant to complying with this concept but yet Dr. Miller, a theologian, castigates a couple Republican Catholic politicians without really justifying it or considering their point of view.  
 
The Catholicism that I was taught had some very negative things to say about proffering such misleading accounts of someone.  I find the distortion on this site on what conservatives and Republicans actually believe to be beyond the pale and when it is questioned it goes un answered.  There is a tendency of many of the authors and commenters to react that they are better Catholics than those who disagree with them.  Few on the other side of the argument find that disturbing.
 
And as far as going to another site, this is the official Jesuit site and they run almost 20 US universities and several high schools.  If it wasn't for that I would be gone in a second.  But I do find it useful for another reason because it allows me to assess just what the left and Jesuits believes and what has to be answered.   And I found out that nearly all of it is baseless and most of it is based on emotion, not reason and facts.  If this blog eliminated all the ad hominems and negative innuendos, they might be speechless on a lot of issues.
david power | 1/13/2012 - 12:40pm
Josh,

The idea that you spoke of ,of adding another commentator but one with a right of centre angle goes against the wisdom by someone who spoke of "two wrongs not making a right".It may have been you or somebody else,not sure.
The whole idea of All Things was no doubt to find God in culture.
God is nowhere to be found in either right or left wing political positions.
He is not found for that matter in the centre.
God is transcendent and it would be better to have all bloggers striving to bear that in mind as they write. 
Shayne , what you wrote is true and if you go back to the comments on the ambassadors you will see that I see it as grubby as you do.But I am sure that Democrats do not abstain from the practise out of some sense of conscience but simply that their audience is less likely to rise to the bait and may even find it offputting.Watch when Obama speaks of Jesus and you will have to stand back from the frothfilled mouths of outraged democrats who think that he has overstepped the line.Also a million and seven times the writers on America have linked certain political positions by democrats to their "deeply held faith".The great Michael Sean Winters was a serial offender on this one(miss his writing!).I think it is a simple case of "othering" which Fr Martin and Michael Loughlin often point out happens with homosexuals in the Church.I do not have a more positive image of Republicans than Fr Schroth but do not see them as the root of all evil and the only thing standing between a democratic created Eden a.ka Camelot 
Joshua DeCuir | 1/13/2012 - 11:34am
As an example, Fr. Schroth mentions Santorum wanting to "abolish" public unions.  I couldn't find support for that assertion, but it is known that Santorum, while in the Senate, consistently voted AGAINST right to work legislation.
Joshua DeCuir | 1/13/2012 - 11:29am
Mr. Kopacz, if I wanted what I read to confirm my preheld notions and beliefs, then I'd happily agree with you that I should stop reading In All Things in favor of solely "conservative" outlets like Fox.  Unfortunately, I still hold to the I guess Old Fashioned notion that opinion pieces should analyze fairly different points of view.  This piece would have been a much more informative piece if Fr. Schroth had taken some of the opinion pieces I mentioned above and explained why they are flawed, or perhaps how conservative Catholic social thought could be developed.  Instead, we have a some-what defense of JFK over-against Santorum based on some anecdotes from the author's personal life, infused with reports from the NY Times and concluding with a short list of "positions" Santorum supposedly holds that fail to conform with Catholic teaching without bother to explaining why. 
Stanley Kopacz | 1/13/2012 - 9:57am
I've seen oosts from conservative bloggers suggesting America should provide space for to-the-right political writers.  I would advise they go to NABCBS corporate media or FOX GOPTV to get their surfeit.  I prefer America Magazine as my voice crying in the wilderness, thank yo very much.  Also, is "First Things" providing space for liberal comment?
Shayne Labudda | 1/13/2012 - 9:26am
As to the question of focusing on only Republicans, the answer for me is that I don't know of any Catholic Democrats that use their religious affiliation/identity as a tool to help establish their moral standing.  By publicly placing his Catholicism on his coat of arms Santorum exposes himself to scrutiny. 
Joshua DeCuir | 1/12/2012 - 6:37pm
First of all, the comment about Santorum being 2 years old while the eminent Fr. Schroth was paling around with some Jesuit scholastics who appropriately appreciated JFK's comments strikes me as an inherently intellectually snobbish statement.  As if the mere fact of their life circumstances in 1960 should have any effect on their respective positions on the role of conscience in public life?  Does the fact that Fr. Schroth was where he was in 1960 somehow insulate Santorum from criticizing JFK?  Does it mean that Schroth knows a lot more than Santorum, so that dumb rube should just shut?  Certainly Fr. Scroth is aware that there are some heavy hitting people who think that JFK's position is deeply flawed, no matter who he wrote the speech in concert with (and I can't help but adding that it's ashame the Kennedy boys didn't consult these supposed Catholic theologians in their more "personal affairs").

Furthermore, while I disagree with many of Santorum's positions, it's as if Fr. Schroth ignores the comments by David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Michael Gerson, and even EJ Dionne about how Santorum represents a different strain of conservatism, one deeply infused with various aspects of Catholic social thought.  Instead, Fr. Schroth ignores those "Readings" in favor of reports from the New York Times and half-presented positions.

Finally, I read with attention Fr. Martin's post on homosexuality and the call to treat homosexual persons with "respect", "compassion", and "sensitivity."  I couldn't help but think "Couldn't it be urged that America bloggers treat Catholic Republicans the same way?"

david power | 1/12/2012 - 4:57pm
I have never seen anything on this site (ever) about Democrats or catholic Democrats.Why the obsession with Republicans??
Sure these guys are hardly hard targets but why the double standard??Could you not even pretend to be evenhanded?
Throw the occasional Democrat a negative blogging and then you can pull it out the next time I ask.
Obama was down for late-term abortion and you only got riled when he killed a massmurdering terrorist.Should Rick Santorum be worrying about how he will look against your catholic credentials???
Ted Kennedy supported about 6 holocuasts and I'll bet he never got so much as an unkind adjective from anybody of a catholic Democrat persuasion.
I am no fan of Rick Santorum but if anybody thinks they are on higher moral ground than him I wish them well when the Truth comes into town.  
J Cosgrove | 1/15/2012 - 11:57pm
Apparently Santorum has picked up some major evangelical support yesterday.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yabEVdxasSc


I believe that evangelicals are traditionally anti-Catholic which makes this endorsement unusual.
 
Robert Longo | 1/12/2012 - 8:58pm
Thoughtful piece.  I tend to believe that Rick's politics and evolving social philosophies were probably influenced less by his VA employed parents and more by his pro-life, more comfortable, pediatrician, father-in-law.  It is surprising that the child of immigrants did not attend Catholic schools, but nowhere in his early values formation did Rick benefit from a Catholic education.  Arguably, Jack Kennedy also did not enjoy any formal Catholic education, but of course his values were a mixed bag too.  Oddly, the township (Penn Hills) that he declares as home is one of the largest suburbs of Pittsburgh but has many people below the poverty line and a per capita income of only $20K.  This is the hometown of his wife (a Catholic educated, neonatal nurse) and her family.  It simply amazes me that anyone from Penn Hills could hold some of the positions of Mr. Santorum when so many people in that community are struggling to maintain a livable existence for themselves and their family.  For someone who wears their pro-life position on their sleeve it is hard to understand how the same person could be pro-death penalty and pro-torture.  
david power | 1/15/2012 - 6:07pm
LOL Liz,

I made quite a few mistakes in my posting including the repeated misspelling of "Their/there".One little dinner party in Paris is not an empiricallly sound way to decipher the changing of the guards of course.I also did not mean to associate you with the loons on cyberspace but just to say that 99% of blogs do have that pattern.
I spent 6 months in Montreal and could tell you a story or two (including why I got deported) and I am Irish but don't change diapers  or prepare dinner for anybody but myself unfortunately.The Church has relied on identity politics for a long time to keep people onboard and it has worked.People didn't care what Jesus spoke of and who He is but babies heads were splashed with water. We are looking for more slowly but surely.I think.
Bon Appetit and have a nice Sunday Evening.       
Joshua DeCuir | 1/12/2012 - 6:44pm
I'd be curious to know from America bloggers, why can't a Jesuit who represents a right-of-center perspective be added as a regular contributor to In All Things?  I can even suggest a name: Fr. Robert John Araujo, SJ.
liz rochon | 1/15/2012 - 5:36pm
I did add my real name this time thinking it would have appeared on the last post and was surprised when Lizard came up. Surprised and funny. In case you didn't think I had the guts to use it. Would you like my personal email too, lest I get ''kicked off?'' I don't scare easily. I came from a big Catholic family in Seattle, Washington of about 13 kids. I know how to take an elbow and give one. Especially over the dinner table! Ha! That is a joke, get it? 

Getting back to the comment about Catholics as all over the board and whether there will be a split in the Catholic Church over what constitutes a ''real'' Catholic or some say, a ''traditional'' Catholic, which my parents are of that variety. And, they are summarily hated by what some have called the ''novos ordo'' and on and on it goes with labels of Catholicism. It really is the labels and the hate I abhore. Putting everyone into one pot and stirring and calling it ''stew.''I have had some of that stuff. Blechh!  I prefer beef bourgignon. Just some beef, wine, pearl onions and mushrooms for me. Thanks. I went to cooking school.

As far as ''tribalism coming to an end'' because of your dinner party, well, let's just say, I am Cree Indian from Canada and my people up North would probably vehemently disagree. So would my mixed Irish Catholic nephew who can't keep up in his tattoo shop ( a huge revealer that tribalism is still very active).
In fact, in Canada, there is talk of the end of the Indian Act, which made Aboriginals/First Nations in Canada wards of the Crown. So full inclusiion of course in politics but with the caveat that we can help our Mohawk relatives retain their cigarette shacks along the Old Church Road in Quebec, as in other places like Oka, Akwasasne, and of course, our Cree village in Atawapisskat in Northern Ontario where my ancestors come from. But, as you already know, many of us French Cree are still Catholics of a tribal identity I can't expect you to understand nor will I try to express it here. It would not be understood what I mean by ''poor'' or ''oppressed''. We have only tried to ring ourselves out of poverty by cigarette shacks and subsistence hunting and trapping. Of course, political wrangling with Ottawa. Those things long abandoned by Safeway grocery shoppers which I have become since I grew up in the city long removed from my ancestors who still subsist that way. By the way seal meat tastes like fish flavored beef. 
I thought it funny, it tickled my funny bone, big time, that you thought I might be a guy from cyber space, spewing venom. Now that I am a French Catholic Cree Indian whose family is from Canada, who grew up dirt poor, the poorest of anyone in North America,  who grew up in Seattle Washington, the daughter of a Teamster (Jimmy Hoffa's daughter) with a Master's Degree not from Seattle U does that help you? I hope it does. I still go to mass nearby and I have learned that Roman Catholics are extremely varied. I respect my parents Tridentine Rite mass and the New Mass. I will be voting for Rick Santorum because he represents everything that my French Cree family longs for: re-population after 500 years of genocide. When tens of millions of your ancestors are wiped off the continent you tend to value every baby in the womb. And, of course, a working class Catholic from a coal mining town. We value hard working people very much up North. We despise laziness of all types. Enough talk for me right now. I have baby diapers to change, dishes to wash and dinner to put on for the family. I wish you all avery happy sunday.
Amy Ho-Ohn | 1/12/2012 - 6:12pm
I kind of agree with David Power that this is a kind of obscenely partisan hit piece. But I also agree with Fr. Schroth that there is a lot to be suspicious of in Santorum's positions.

I think there are two points that make comparisons to JFK questionable. First, the country was a lot less divided in 1960. Large majorities thought nuclear weapons were a necessity, police brutality unfortunate but no big deal, poverty ineradicable and abortion atrocious. Santorum has to function politically in a much more divided polity than JFK did. That makes it harder for him to take moderate positions.

Secondly, it is not ungermane, when discussing political positions, to also mention private conduct. The Kennedys accomplished a lot of good (I'm thinking here more about EMK than JFK); but their personal lives were abominable. Examples don't have to be given. Whatever else one thinks of Santorum, he is at least a pretty good role model for Catholic youth.
david power | 1/15/2012 - 2:23pm
Jr,

I hear you and can well imagine the situation that you wrote about.
I think though that there is a difference between real name and full name.If somebody was in fear of losing their job or their were other reasons to not give the full name and use a pseudonom that can all be allowed for.
I am sure that Tim Reidy can give a good reason for why America requires full names.
I appreciate the fact that their is editorial control on this site even though I have had a number of comments knocked off.
The fact that I print my full and real name with my comments has no doubt cost me my long cherished cardinal's hat but there you go.
Most sites that have comments with names like "lizard" attached end up with every oddball on cyberspace coming on and spewing venom etc.
There is little enough dialogue or learning from others on America but there would be none if it were not for the applied rules.
I can learn as much from a guy called "Lizard" or "ice-cream boy" as one named Norman Costa but I prefer to have a real name for the mental image associated.In this case I think of beaches  Psycho by Hitchcock and good coffee! :)
    
J Cosgrove | 1/15/2012 - 9:23am




David,
 
Sometimes people use false names on purpose so as not to be identified because they know that there will be negative implications for offering their opinions.  So requiring full real names can be a form of intimidation as it is possible to google a name and sometimes find their address and telephone number.  But we have seen commenting civility abused thousands of times on the internet as people hide behind false names or handles and exhibit quite obnoxious behavior.  But sometimes there are legitimate reasons to hide one's identity.
 
As an example, I spent quite a bit of time commenting on intelligent design forums and if you want to see obnoxious mocking behavior this is as good as it gets.  Probably by far the best apologist for ID was a university professor who could not use his real name.  He could eviscerate anyone who backed Darwinian evolution not only with logic but with incredible rhetorical skills that got to their hypocrisy quickly. He always did it politely.  But if his real name was known he would have been ostracized at his university in a short time so a pseudonym was necessary.  And by the way Darwinian evolution while quite useful for some very important issues in medicine and evolution such as modern day genetics, is bankrupt for the really major issues that cause all the debate in evolution.  There is no evidence to support it.  But if one wants a career in academia, they had better be quiet about the inadequacy of Darwin's ideas or else they will be quickly gone or if tenured suddenly find any funding for projects dry up.  Without Darwinian evolution, atheism dries up in seconds.
 
I have no idea if lizard will appear with his real name soon or if the editors will eliminate his comments but I can imagine lots of reasons for someone to want to remain anonymous and his brief comments were quite insightful and to the point.  The full name usage was not always a requirement here.



Stanley Kopacz | 1/14/2012 - 8:18am
Santorum has made statements to the effect that it is not proven that human co2 emissions are altering the climate as opposed to the overwhelming majority of climatologists. This makes him either ignorant or dishonest.  Perhaps America Magazine should give equal time to similar people such as flat earthers, geocentrics and anti-evolutionists.  Or liars.  But democrats like Obama demonstrate more political cunning in this matter than environmental concern.  So don't construe me as a diehard democrat.  I'd be happy to send the great majority of both parties' elected to a parallel universe.
david power | 1/14/2012 - 9:32pm
Really interesting comment Lizard.
You should remember though that  the editorial board are pretty strict on full names being given.In most  cases your comment will be knocked off if you don't give it.
Tribalism is coming to an end as we know it, I have just been to a party with 17 different nationalities that I could count and a variety of experiences that would strip even your variety . 
Michael Appleton | 1/13/2012 - 6:41pm
I note that many of the responses to Fr. Schroth's comments are testy and defensive, but none of them deals with the substance of what he has to say. Here's my take. 

1. The criticism of Rick Santorum is that while he emphasizes his Catholic faith as the foundation for his political positions, he completely ignores Catholic teaching on issues other than abortion and homosexuality. Indeed, he appears to share the view of another prominent Catholic politician, Paul Ryan, that the Church has nothing whatsoever to say about matters of economics. Both men regard the concept of social justice as a construct of Marxist ideology rather than a legitimate concern of theologians. But contrary to the views of many right-wing Christians, unregulated capitalism is not a biblical injunction. I suggest that Mr. Santorum put down the Baltimore Catechism long enough to read "Rerum Novarum" and "Caritas Veritate" for starters, and then get back to us.

2. The reason that Catholic Democrats are seldom the subject of adverse remarks on the same matters is that for the most part they accept the desirability and legitimacy of labor unions, for example, and recognize the social and moral consequences of increasing income inequality.


  3. Mr. Santorum's reference to Pres. Kennedy's speech on separation of church and state as closer to "Ataturk than to James Madison" is an astonishing, albeit inadvertent, admission of ignorance. Kennedy's views mirrored those of James Madison, who adamantly opposed even the appointment of a congressional chaplain and who would have been horrified at the notion of giving public tax dollars to "faith-based" institutions.
liz rochon | 1/14/2012 - 8:07pm

''Meanwhile the issues which challenge Catholic conscience have grown, particularly in social justice, since the 1960s; and many, if not most, Catholics see the relationship between life issues as both more intimate and complex than those Kennedy faced.'' I think this is where you lost me in your discussion and where Rick Santorum is vilified as some monster lowering funding for food stamps or welfare. Vilification is the easy man's way out for finding something of substance. ''Catholic conscience'' is quite a misnomer as an overarching definition to the people who identify as ''Catholic'' in this day and age but who have fundamental disagreements on issues like welfare, gay marriage, abortion, Papal authority, women clergy, and the role of war. There is no definitive Catholic conscience anymore. I meet Catholics everyday who do not embody in anyway, shape or form the Catholics in the Kennedy era. Nor do they embody anything resembling what it means to ''believe'' in anything that would make you a Catholic. They are as secular as the rest of the society. One might say they are ''nominal'' in that they attend mass and cross themselves. That is it. The history of the Jesuits in the United States? A very poor showing. Ask Native Americans. So, based on Jesuit history your group could be discounted entirely. Based on Santorum's gaffes he could be discounted by a singular group. Liberal Catholics. So, it is nonsense all around. If you want credence for your position let Santorum have his. He doesn't purport to represent all Catholics in the US. You shouldn't either by erroneous references to ''Catholic conscience.'' 
Joshua DeCuir | 1/13/2012 - 6:12pm
The issue, to me, isn't the particular editorial slant of IAT or America; I'm under no misconception that this is First Things.  The issue in the first instance is the quality of the analysis provided.  Fr. Schroth's piece is badly-reasoned (insofar as it seems to suggest that because Santorum was 2 years old in 1960, he misunderstands JFK's position, or that his criticism of JFK's position is untenable) and unfairly presents Santorum's positions (as I've suggested with respect to labor issues).  My only suggestion with respect to having a right-of-center contrubutor is to ensure that the quality of the analysis remains high.  It saddens me that we'd rather stay in our own cocoons than to engage the other - on their terms - and seek to understand.
Marie Rehbein | 1/14/2012 - 11:48am
My main impression of Santorum is that he makes Catholicism seem joyless. 
Anonymous | 1/13/2012 - 5:49pm
Mr. Reidy,
I have no problem with America Magazine being an openly far-left blog.  Glad to know it is not an Official Jesuit site.