The Catholic Right: The Song of Santorum (Fourteenth in a Series)
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 02:39:01 PM EST
He (Senator Rick Santorum) told NCR that a distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, enshrined in John Kennedy's famous speech in 1960 saying he would not take orders from the Catholic church if elected president, has caused "much harm in America."

"All of us have heard people say, `I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it's not right for somebody else?' It sounds good," Santourm said. "But it is the corruption of freedom of conscience."

Santorum told NCR that he regards George W. Bush as "the first Catholic president of the United States."

"From economic issues focusing on the poor and social justice, to issues of human life, George Bush is there," he said. "He has every right to say, `I'm where you are if you're a believing Catholic.'"--National Catholic Reporter, January 18, 2002

No Senator Santorum, George Bush is not "there."  And contrary to the spin generated by many of your friends on the Catholic Right, neither are you.

If any one race this year proves that for those on the Catholic Right are more concerned with preserving the superfluous wealth of the few and not with the well being of the many, just look at this year's U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania.

Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the junior Senator from the Keystone State is now trailing his Democratic challenger Bob Casey, Jr. in some polls by close to twenty points. And on many issues in which the Catholic Church takes vocal positions, it is Casey the Democrat, not Santorum, the Opus Dei "cooperator" who is more consistently in line with Vatican teachings.

Yet almost to the man the usual suspects on the Catholic Right are backing as well as funding Rick Santorum's reelection campaign. That is a rather strange result when the following factors are considered:

*    Both candidates oppose abortion and embryonic stem cell research, yet it is Santorum, not Casey who has accepted over a hundred thousand dollars from tobacco interests and in turn has constantly voted in the interests of an industry whose primary product has been proven to cause death and disease as well as harming a developing fetus.(i)

*    Santorum has constantly voted for legislation and federal judges who gut unions and workers' rights--something that adversely affects working and middle-class Catholics.

*    It is Santorum's Democratic opponent, Bob Casey, Jr., whose economic positions are clearly more in line with the Catholic Church's economic teachings of distributive justice as defined in Rerum Novarum as well as Mater et Magistra.

*    Santorum, not Casey supported the Iraqi intervention---something the Vatican has strongly opposed.


Senator Santorum has also been one of the leaders in the quest to privatize Social Security and hand it over to his friends on Wall Street. Well informed economists such as   Paul Krugman and Peter Orzag have documented how privatization will bankrupt the system, not save it. Money that is now used for benefits payments would instead go for investment fees. Senator Santorum's actions tell us that his primary concern is not with the vulnerable, the widowed or disabled, but with patrons of unbridled self-interest such as Wall Street investor Mallory Factor.

But those on the Catholic Right who value mammon over a more consistent and effective Catholicism--and one that respects the cherished American institution of --Value Pluralism--see it as their mission to prevent a Casey victory. And to that end, they will obfuscate, spin and make highly attenuated claims.

In Catholic League news releases from  September 19 and  October 27, 2006 William Donohue  attacked Democratic US Senate candidate Bob Casey, Jr. The crux of the September 19, 2006 release was that while Casey, who personally opposes abortion, took campaign contributions from which is clearly pro-choice.
Virtually on cue, the Thomas Monaghan-inspired 527, Fidelis, followed with its own press release just our days later repeating the same line of attack as the Catholic League. In the October 27th release Donohue's screed was elevated when he roared, "Casey Is A Fraud on Abortion."

On October 19, 2006 Fidelis' Joseph Cella issued a similar release.

And why did Bill Donohue challenge Bob Casey, Jr.'s pro-life credentials? Did he suddenly become pro-choice? No. According to Donohue, Casey's sin was `...that if elected he would focus more on health care and jobs than abortion. With regard to abortion, he said he wants "to see more of an emphasis on what brings people together rather than what tears people apart." He also said that being pro-life means, "I support initiatives which would reduce the number of abortions."'

Apparently Messrs. Donohue, Cella and Burch. are so rigid in their means to reducing abortion that anything short of an outright prohibition is unacceptable. Such is the way of close-minded men.

But there is more to the method of the Catholic Right stalwarts than meets the eye. Bob Casey is advocating a more consistent position on what it means to be pro-life. And while I personally disagree with his positions on choice and embryonic stem cell research, I find his effort for consistency far more admirable than that of either the Catholic League or Fidelis. And why is both the Catholic League and Fidelis leading this assault? Simply because Mr. Casey's way would entail using government to protect the weaker members of our society by strengthening workers rights, providing better healthcare coverage and being more reserved about the projection of US military power-all agenda items contrary to the many nefarious friends of the Catholic Right.

The attacks by Fidelis and the Catholic League smack of hypocrisy. Where is their call for Senator Santorum to return his tobacco PAC donations? Where is their call for him to better abide by Rerum Novarum and Mater et Magistra as well as the intent of the Bishops' Program for Social Reconstruction?

In sum, it is Casey, not Senator Santorum whose platform falls more closely reflects Church teachings. But to their ecoonomic dismay, Casey's beliefs reflect neither the Catholic Right's war against both reasoned dissent and the meritorious achievement of wealth. And if Senator Santorum chooses to deride President Kennedy for saying that he would not take orders from the Vatican, then he is morally obligated to explain why, in true smorgasbord Catholic fashion, he hypocritically chooses to support an intervention in Iraq that both Pope John Paul II and his successor, Benedict XVI both condemned?

Obviously there is a limit to the Senator Santorum's unquestioned obedience to Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Pope and his bishops).  That threshold is certainly reached when hegemony and trickle-down economics are at stake. And that's why with holy-rollers such as Bill Donohue, Joseph Cella, Brian Burch and Risk Santorum, it's primarily about the Plutocracy, and not about a more consistent notion of maintaining the institutions of the common good.

The Catholic Right: A Series, by Frank Cocozzelli :  Part One  Part Two  Part Three   Part Four  Part Five  Part Six   Intermezzo   Part Eight   Part Nine  Part Ten   Part Eleven   Part Twelve   Part Thirteen

(i) the following links: asp?cid=N00001380&cycle=2000&expand=A - 19k - Supplemental Result - as well as asp?cid=N00001380&Cycle=2006&expandAll=TRUE - 664k


I've been archiving the articles all along, thank you again for your series.


by khughes1963 on Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 06:26:25 AM EST

And by the way, I'll be turning my attention to Bishop Finn real soon. I know you'' be following that installment!

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 07:56:18 AM EST

Neoconservative pundit David Brooks in the October 29, 2006 edition of the New York Times incredibly described that Santorum's pending defeat as "...probably good news in Pennsylvania's bobo suburbs, where folks regard Santorum as an ideological misfit and a social blight. But it's certainly bad for poor people around the world."

Whenever I read our Mr. Brooks I always wonder about his priorities. Here is a neocon who buys into much of the ivory-towered Straussan paradigm. And while Mr. Brooks worries (rather attenuatedly) about poor folks in other parts of the world, he shows little concern for American workers who were victims Senator Santorum's darwinian economics.

Reading Brooks' piece as well as the writings of Santorum's other friends esoterically, it is easy to understand that they are not after individual independence, but an economic as well as spiritual dependence of the many upon a plutocracy of the few.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 02:58:39 PM EST

Brooks does have a resemblance to the barroom loudmouth, all opinion and no research.

by NancyP on Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 02:48:10 PM EST
Brooks is a something of a Leo Strauss neocon. When you read him, do so whle reading between the lines. When you understand some of the Straussian code words ("manliness," "virtue," etc.,) you can then understand what he is really trying to say.

Reading Anne Norton's Leo Strauss and American Empire is a great tool for this endeavor.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:28:23 AM EST

I always look forward to your articles, Mr. Cocozzelli.  Thanks for another great one, and keep up the good fight!

by mkerby on Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 06:56:25 PM EST
Thank you friend. I promise I'll keep it coming!

by Frank Cocozzelli on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:22:41 AM EST

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