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January 7th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Reversing JFK: Santorum’s bid to marry faith and politics

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) - It was election night in November 2006, and Rick Santorum had organized a private Catholic Mass in a room at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. The senator from Pennsylvania had just lost his re-election bid.

The Mass, held just before his concession speech, included a priest and Santorum’s close family and staff. Though the occasion was somber, the soon-to-be-ex-senator aimed for a celebratory mood, said Mark Rodgers, then a top Santorum aide.

“Life is if full of what can be perceived as disappointments or hardships,” Rodgers said, “but Scripture tells followers of Jesus that we approach those situations with joy because there’s ultimate redemption.”

Santorum’s younger brother, Dan, remembers that many attendees - including the senator’s children - were weeping over Santorum’s landslide defeat at the hands of Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

But not the senator.

“You’d think he would have been crushed,” says Dan Santorum. “But he wasn’t even bitter. He didn’t complain. He just said it was God’s plan.

“That’s when I knew he was going to run for president of the United States,” Dan continued. “Because I think that God had another plan for him.”

It’s unclear if Rick Santorum, whose strong finish in the Iowa caucuses has breathed new life into his presidential campaign, interpreted his Senate loss the same way.

Santorum concedes his Senate seat in 2006.

But the hotel Mass, and Santorum’s apparent placidity in the face of an overwhelming defeat, illustrate what confidants say is the key to understanding him as a person and politician: a devout Catholic faith that has deepened dramatically through political and personal battles.

“When I first met him he was an observant Catholic but a fairly privatized one,” says Rodgers, who ran Santorum’s first race for the U.S. House in 1990 and served as a key Santorum aide in Congress for 16 years.

“The journey I saw him on was a gradual awakening to the importance of faith at an operational level within a democracy, the idea that free people need to have a moral foundation.

“The journey was also personal - growing in faith and sharing it with others,” Rodgers says.

Many politicians have ideological concerns about issues like abortion or gay marriage, but “in Santorum’s case, it’s fundamentally religious,” says Richard Land, public policy chief at the Southern Baptist Convention. “That’s the genetic code of his life.”

It’s also the part that most inspires his political backers - among them the Iowa evangelicals who helped fuel his stunning Iowa finish, eight votes behind winner Mitt Romney - and most enrages critics, who take deep offense at Santorum’s views on divisive issues like homosexuality, which he once lumped together with bestiality in a discussion of legal rights.

“I think it’s fair to say that he’s sometimes harsh in the way he makes those arguments,” says Michael Gerson, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush.

Indeed, even Santorum’s own party is seeing a faith-based split around his presidential campaign, with evangelicals who dominate the primaries in states like Iowa on one side and more establishment Republicans in states like New Hampshire on the other.

As he works to convince skeptical voters he has a real shot at winning the White House, Santorum’s religious faith has emerged as both his chief political asset and his biggest liability.

Kennedy's ‘sealed off’ wall

His Catholicism may have deepened as an adult, but Santorum also has deep Catholic roots.

“Three pictures hung in the home of my devoutly Catholic immigrant grandparents when I was a boy,” he said in a speech last year. “I remember them well: Jesus, Pope Paul VI and John F. Kennedy.”

Santorum attended Mass with his brother, sister and parents virtually every Sunday. “You basically had to be on your deathbed not to go to church,” says Dan Santorum.

Both parents worked in a VA hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania. As teenagers, Rick and Dan would push the wheelchairs of patients to Sunday Mass in the hospital’s interfaith chapel. Rick would serve the Mass as an altar boy, wheel patients up to receive Holy Communion, then help his brother wheel them back to their hospital rooms.

Other than that, it was a conventional American Catholic upbringing in the 1960s and ’70s: The Santorums said grace before meals, sent their kids to Catholic grade school and spent absolutely no time discussing how religion influenced their public policy views.

American Catholics at the time were living in the shadow of John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech in which he insisted that neither his faith nor his church would have any influence on his presidency.

Santorum would spend his political life trying to reverse the effects of Kennedy’s pledge. He argued that Kennedy “sealed off informed moral wisdom into a realm of non-rational beliefs that have no legitimate role in political discourse.”

During college and law school at Penn State, Santorum wasn’t especially observant; neither did his religious faith factor much into his political views.

After college he served as an aide to Doyle Corman, a moderate Republican state senator in Pennsylvania. Religion seldom came up.

“My husband and I are both pro-choice,” Corman’s wife, Becky, told The New York Times in 2006. “One of the interesting things about Rick is, the whole time he worked for us, we didn't know what his views were on that issue.”

Dan Santorum says a turning point in his brother’s faith life was his marriage to Karen Garver. They met in the 1980s while Karen was studying law at the University of Pittsburgh and Santorum was recruiting law students for the Pittsburgh firm where he worked.

“There was just a bond between them,” Dan says. “Part of that was that they shared their faith.”

That bond was on display last Tuesday during Santorum’s speech after the Iowa caucuses.

“C.S. Lewis said, ‘A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words.’ My best friend, my life mate, who sings that song when I forget the words, is my wife, Karen,” Santorum said before embracing her in a long hug.

Santorum bows his head in prayer during an Iowa campaign rally in January.

Sometime after arriving in Washington following his 1990 House victory, Santorum began attending daily Mass before work.

The Rev. Eugene Hemrick, who frequently leads Mass at 130-year-old St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, says Santorum led Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback - who served with Santorum in Congress in the 1990s and 2000s - to the church.

“Santorum was always dressed up,” Hemrick remembers. “Brownback was in sweats a lot from running.”

The evangelical Brownback wound up converting to Catholicism, and the two were often joined in the pews by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“When you know these people are out there, you do a little more homework before you preach,” Hemrick said of his high-profile flock. “You try to make it a little more meaningful to them.”

Moral codes and absolutes

The 1990 GOP freshman class, a small group that managed to win in a poor year for Republicans nationally, took a confident line in airing grievances to congressional and party leaders.

Santorum was part of the freshman “Gang of Seven” that exposed the House banking scandal, and he kept up his penchant for bold, against-the-grain gambits after his election to the Senate as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution.

Soon he was taking aim at the overriding culture-war issue of our time: abortion.

Santorum helped lead the effort to impose the first federal restrictions on abortion that could survive court challenges since Roe. v. Wade - a ban on the procedure critics call partial-birth abortion.

Faith and politics may have been separate in Santorum’s childhood home and the homes of other American Catholics at the time, but by the 1990s abortion had become the symbol for the infusion of conservative faith into American politics. The issue forged a powerful political alliance between conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants.

On the wall of his Senate office, Santorum kept a picture of William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian whose evangelical faith stirred him to lead the campaign that ultimately ended the British slave trade in 1807.

The senator saw his campaign for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act as his “Wilberforcean effort,” says Rodgers, now a senior adviser to Santorum’s presidential campaign.

Santorum’s comfort with using his faith to shape his politics was partly a reflection of Catholic intellectuals he had met since arriving in the capital, including Richard John Neuhaus, a priest who edited the Catholic journal First Things, and George Wiegel, a theologian.

For Santorum, such figures and books by Catholic writers like St. Augustine instilled the sense that free societies need citizens who are governed by strong moral codes.

“How is it possible, I wonder, to believe in the existence of God yet refuse to express outrage when His moral code is flouted?” Santorum said in a ’90s-era speech at the Heritage Foundation. “To have faith in God, but to reject moral absolutes?”

For Santorum, legalized abortion represented the ultimate flouting of that code.

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act passed Congress in 1995, but President Bill Clinton vetoed it the following year. Santorum led a failed Senate effort to override the veto and helped revive the bill after the election of President George W. Bush, who signed it into law.

Such campaigns helped make Santorum a national hero to the anti-abortion movement and a bogeyman for abortion rights supporters.

“On the morning after the Iowa caucuses, there were millions of pro-life voters who woke up pinching themselves that one of their very own had emerged at the top rank of candidates, making sure it wasn’t a dream,” said the Southern Baptist Convention’s Land.

Around the time of the Clinton veto, Rick and Karen Santorum confronted a tragedy that added flesh-and-bone experience to their anti-abortion stance, which had up until then been intellectual and religious.

By that time, the Santorums had three children. While pregnant with her fourth, doctors told Karen her fetus had a fatal birth defect. In his 2005 book “It Takes a Family,” Santorum writes about Karen turning down the option to have an abortion.

“Karen and I couldn’t rationalize how we could treat this little human life at 20 weeks’ gestation in the womb any different than one 20 weeks old after birth,” Santorum writes. “So instead of giving our child a death sentence, we gave him a name: Gabriel Michael, after the two great archangels.”

The premature baby died two hours after birth. The next day, in a move that has widened the public opinion gap over Santorum, he and his wife took the dead body home so their children could spend time with it before burial.

“Gabriel died as a cherished member of our family,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family.”

Karen captured the episode in a 1998 book, “Letters to Gabriel,” describing to her late child the reaction of one of his sisters: “Elizabeth proudly announced to everyone as she cuddled you, ‘This is my baby brother, Gabriel; he is an angel.’”

For Santorum, who now has seven kids, holding Gabriel was a lesson about the fragility of human life.

Santorum, wife Karen, and his seven children.

“At that moment, eternity became reality,” Santorum writes. “After Gabriel, being a husband and father was different, being a legislator was different. I was different.”

Conservatism and the common good

Santorum has received a glut of media attention for how his religion shaped his culture-war stances, but allies say his faith has made him a compassionate conservative.

As a senator, Santorum was known for his work on poverty and combating HIV/AIDS. He says such efforts are rooted in the Catholic notion of working for the “common good.”

“Just as original sin is man’s inclination to try to walk alone without God,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family,” “individualism is man’s inclination to try to walk alone among his fellows.”

Santorum and those close to him say that impulse motivated his work on welfare reform during the mid-1990s.

Many conservatives “would have taken a fairly harsh view of welfare reform as a waste of taxpayer dollars,” says Rodgers. “Rick’s view was that publicly funded programs are justified when it’s for the least of these, which comes from Catholic social teaching.

“There’s a compassionate side of the Catholic faith that says you prioritize the poor in public policy, and there’s also the side that says work should be a component of that care, that not working strips you of your dignity.”

Santorum championed welfare-to-work programs in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that Clinton signed, as well as the idea of charitable choice, which gave states the ability to partner with religious institutions to address social problems like poverty and addiction.

Success on welfare reform provoked Santorum and a handful of other religious Republicans in Congress to begin discussing conservative solutions to poverty and other social problems that had mostly been the province of liberals.

Among the participants in those sessions was Gerson, who would join Bush in Texas as a speechwriter in the run-up to his 2000 presidential campaign and bring some of the ideas of the congressional group with him.

One was a plan to start a federal program to help level the playing field for religious groups applying for government money to address social problems.

For Santorum, employing faith groups in such a campaign was partially grounded in the Catholic idea of subsidiarity, which calls for addressing problems closest to where they are. In many troubled communities, the thinking goes, the strongest local institutions are churches, ministries and other religious organizations.

The notion of outsourcing government programs to religious institutions also appealed to Santorum’s beliefs about government’s limits.

“The problems currently afflicting us reflect an impoverishment of the soul more than the pocketbook,” Santorum has said, quoting conservative education scholar Chester Finn. “Government is simply not equipped to address problems of the soul.”

The idea for a government faith-based program had critics on the left and right, who feared government-backed religion and a welfare system for churches.

“A lot of people have a hard time getting Rick Santorum because they’re used to a debate between liberalism and complete free market approach and he’s not either of those things,” says Gerson, now a Washington Post columnist.

Bush created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships via an executive order days after his 2001 inauguration. Santorum helped organize a conference to tell religious leaders from across the country about the new program.

“It was on that day that I decided to swallow my constitutional concerns about it,” says Richard Land, who attended the conference despite reservations.

“Seventy-five percent of the people attending the conference were either African-American or Hispanic,” Land says. “They wanted people who lived where the problems were making decisions about what should be done. They were in a lifeboat situation.”

Santorum was also a key Bush ally in creating the president's $15 billion global AIDS initiative, with the senator’s staff sometimes lending office space to rock singer Bono while he was lobbying for the program on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama has continued support for both the faith-based office and the global AIDS initiative. The programs are evidence that Santorum can be more than a culture warrior, and their staying power suggests he's gone a long way breaking through JFK’s sealed-off wall between religion and politics.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (2,874 Responses)
  1. W.G.

    As a reborn Christian I have a lot of fear for Santorum and his desire to make an Iran of the U.S.
    I think if he were elected religious freedom would suffer in the U.S.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  2. Lee

    What a snob. Trying to tell Americans how to live based on his prejudices.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  3. Lee

    What a snob. Trying to tell

    January 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  4. Benjamin

    Excellent article. I'm surprised CNN has writers with such knowledge of religion and politics. Jesus is the light of the world and when his moral principles influence the people, the country is much more humane.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Kevim

      The Crusades were the light of jesus that went well.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, and let's not forget the threats of eternal torture that Christianity presents as punishment for a whole manner of offenses, even minor ones such as reasonable doubt. Bush-Cheney -era waterboarding is nothing compared to what the nasty and grossly unfair Christian god purportedly metes out.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Be free of religion in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      January 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • newsreel

      excellent article I agree. To expose the dirty agenda of religious extremist to control politics. It is put here so that everyone is aware of extremist and vote accordingly. Excellent!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Grog Says

      In the name of god, spanish inquisition burn you at stake.
      Pass the popcorn.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  5. Dana

    I'm am so sick of religion.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Bob

      Hear, hear.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      No kidding. One of the greatest lies ever spread throughout humanity is that faith is a virtue. It is clearly a vice.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Grogs phone ring.
      Grog answers phone.
      God says hello, who is this.
      Me say, this is Grog.
      God says, oops wrong number.
      Grog spoke to God.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  6. rickp530

    I will not vote for anyone who tries to mix religiion and politics. If this guy is voted in everything that happens in this country, good or bad, would be viewed by Santorum as god's will. This guy is a joke and I hope the voters have enough common sense to keep him out of the White House.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  7. Kevim

    This man is for pro-life but is willing to go to war and kill Iranians because they want to build a nuclear factory, he speaks of the freedom's this country has but wants to take it away from people who were born gay and who follow another faith. He should move to Afghanistan over there they like to hate others just because their different.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  8. Dan

    Will he admit there is no god when he loses?

    January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Nope.
      God works in mysterious ways.
      Works for everything,
      Lying, cheating, stealing, adultery.......

      January 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  9. GAW

    What scares me is that Santorum was one of James Dobson's hopefuls for the Presidency years ago.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  10. Up north guy

    I consider myself a Christian (Lutheran–OORAH!). Religion has no place in politics. I want my Christian beliefs to be manifest in my daily activities. I do not want it written into secular law.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • bnb42

      Up North Guy:
      +1

      January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • RAY

      Finally I read something that shows someone out there has a BRAIN! This "marriage of Religion and Government" is ALL FREAING WRONG! 50 years ago the country was all up in arms about Kennedy and Catholicism..that was BS and so is this! Forget the faith based EVERYTHING. Sure your INTERNAL PERSONAL beliefs influence decisons but running for president based on how your ideals match up to other folks ideals is WAY past the scope of what an election should be based on!!!!! I am sick of "The candidate who says God most wins" nature of the GOP!!!!!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • jim atmadison

      Great post, Up north guy.

      It's nice to see somebody who understands the difference between not hiding your light under a bowl (or basket/ bushel), and not praying on the street corner in order to be seen like the hypocrites do. As a fellow upnorth Lutheran, I'm not sure about the oorah, though.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Up north guy

      Hey Jim, even us Lutherans need a little OORAH now and then! 😉

      January 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Real Jesus would like you.
      Grog thinks that is good.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  11. Gawd

    He can't even win his own state.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Bob

      Yep. All round, a weak slate of candidates, for Rick Should-be-in-a-Sanitorium to be even remotely a contender. Almost seems that the Republicans are giving up and throwing this one to the Dems, hoping for better chance next time.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  12. silliness

    It's not enough that he's a lover of big government, he also wants to bring his religious nonsense into it.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  13. shyboy69

    Ooh, ooh. He wants a theocracy. Oooh, ooh.

    It's funny to see the left with its anti-Christian bias. The lib media actually pracitces the same kind of discrimination it constantly rants against. In reverse, of course. The second anyone says anything perceived as going against Islam or Judaism the media uses the most unkind teminology to describe that person. Yet the moment a candidate describes themselves as Christian or professes the belief that Christian ideals such as family and moral living are important values, the left starts name-calling and, well, discriminating.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • JT

      Oh boo-hoo. Why don't you move to Iran already.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Hypatia

      molest any little boys lately?

      January 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Pat

      You are so right shyboy69. And the response you got is a perfect example of your statement. The left always respond with things like "why don't you move to Afghanistan" or even worse, I have been told to kill myself a lot by people from the left. Do I want people who respond that way with an opinion that differs running MY government?? I think not!! This nation was formed on FAITH and a belief in GOD or a higher power. IN GOD WE TRUST!! ONE NATION UNDER GOD!!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Marky Merlot

      I don't think his "Christian" credentials are the issue here, heck, it's hard to find a candidate who isn't forced to spout his faith, for fear of alienating the extreme Christian right. No, it's his Roman Catholisim, which Kennedy kept low-key for the very same reason. The problem for Catholics (and Mormons too) , is the historical antagonism and distrust felt by the Protestant electorate. Santorum is devout (read extreme) and while his views on contraception are idiotic for a politician, they are, strictly in keeping with his faith.
      Note: I grew up in tha shadows of the Northern Ireland "Troubles" and note one of the biggest obstacles to a united Ireland was convincing Protestent Irish that they could countenance a life under a government run under a "Papist" state where people would cross into the North, to buy condoms and travel the Irish Sea to England, for their abortions!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Grog says, keep your god out of my cave,
      and grog have no problem with you.
      Its very easy for even grog to understand.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Doobie Wah

      Sarah Palin is posting here.
      Hey, Newt, you in here too ?
      Little Ricky Santorum, come out wherever you are.
      You can always tell, they love that word "lib media".

      January 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  14. Kent

    Get this Santorum nutjob out of here now.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  15. Cindi

    I just find it hard to believe that there are those who think that Rick Santorum is anything but a creepy NUT BAG!

    January 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  16. Veritas

    Test

    January 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Grog Says

      Grog say you pass test.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Adnan Khan

    what part of not mixing church and state do people not understand?

    January 8, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • bnb42

      .........+1

      January 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • cigarlover6

      I hope you don't come from one of those 'slamic country where they don't believe in it either 😉
      If you do, then it would be hypocritical of you to say what you just said. I fear the same when the population of 'slamic folks increase in this country. In fact already feeling their increased assertion after 9/11.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • tozzie

      Now we know why Bush pulled funding from any agency distributing condoms in Africa in the fight against AIDS. I wonder how many have died or are dying because of that move?

      Obama reversed the policy in the first days after inauguration.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  18. Georgiano

    Republicans are the furthest from God than any other party. It's why most of them cannot resist using religion to sugar coat their true motive. Greed and power. A cheap attempt at an appeal to the naive and ignorant, Santorum is as much an expert on God and religion as John Madden is on foot care with his Tough actin' Tinactin commercials.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • longshot

      same reason a lot of them are so anti-gay

      January 8, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • gerol

      You are so right!

      January 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Pat

      I am a Republican/Conservative. You go ahead and believe the propaganda from your Gods of the liberal party. We are NOT the ones against religion or God. It is your party that is and has artfully dodged admitting to that fact by using propaganda to make you believe otherwise. The liberal propaganda must have the Russians of the 60s jumping for joy that the lessons were learned so well from them. BUT! Where did their Godlessness get them??

      January 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Grog Says

      Pat

      I am a Liberal/Democrat . You go ahead and believe the propaganda from your Gods of the Tea party. We are NOT the ones against religion or God. It is your party that is and has artfully dodged admitting to that fact by using propaganda to make you believe otherwise. The conservative propaganda must have the Russians of the 60s jumping for joy that the lessons were learned so well from them. BUT! Where did their Godlessness get them??

      There, Grog fix that for you free of charge.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  19. James

    Any politician who believes that their god should take priority over the laws of the land should only have votes counted that were cast by prayer. If their god wants them to win, let that god make a miracle of it.

    January 8, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    It is yet a calamity that we still acknowledge the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).

    I claim that the RCC is no Christian Church at all.

    The RCC is just a nasty midden of Babbitts. Go there to one of their congregations and I am sure they have a lot of competi-tion on the following: Who has the most professional success, who drives the biggest car, who has the biggest house, who has the most beautiful wife, etc.. They are far away from Christianity.

    The leading Catholic Babbitt is the pope.

    In contrast to the pope Jesus Christ was a friend or a brother of people. Jesus was not concerned about honor , power and riches, but he took care of the soul's health of his brothers (the disciples).

    Of course, we shall work and marry, but that is not all about life, not at all! What about our soul?

    January 8, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • AK

      You evangelicals are worse than atheists. Much more hateful and intolerant.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @AK

      Are you a Catholic?

      I am a Lutheran. You can join us, if you want to forsake the pope. Your infant baptism is valid. Just forget the pope.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Up north guy

      I'm a Lutheran too, but you sound a little wacko!

      January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Rainer: While I agree with your distaste for the RCC, to say they are not christian is the no true scotsman fallacy (you know this and you know you were bound to hear it). Personally I think the RCC should be disbanded and all those pedo.philes thrown in to dark deep holes to suffer for the crimes they have committed against the innocent children. I have never heard of a Lutheran minister being accused of being a pedo.phile but then again I believe your ministers do not swear to a life of celibacy (correct me if I am wrong).

      January 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Jvance

      Rainer,
      First I would like to thank you for replying to my earlier post.
      I've been following the commentary on this blog for the last hour or so and I noticed that you have posted a number of times. While I appreciate (and reservedly admire) your devotion to this type of issue I also think that you're just a little bit scary.
      You obviously feel antagonism towards the RCC and the fact that you can quote "chapter and verse" from the RCC Catechism shows that you are well-versed in the topic ("know thine enemy" is a truly effective strategy). I was raised as a Catholic and it never worked for me (but no other religions felt right either, just poor soil for the seeds of faith I guess). The RCC certainly can bear it's share of criticism and believe me I can spout a few of my own but I never sensed an aura of evil from it, certainly no more than I got most other mainstream religions.
      I suppose most of my discomfort comes from a feeling that religious fervor seems to always be tainted with an illegimate claim of moral superiority, that unless the non-believer acquiesces to belief he is fundamentally morally flawed, no matter what the actions of his life have been or will be.
      In no way do I want to get into a theological discussion of justification, good works vs faith, etc. I would just like to point out that overly negative claims and comments can be counterproductive to goals and that a temperate tenor can be quite effective.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Doogie Browser

      The Vatican is a corporation.
      The pope is CEO.
      The product is controlling your soul.
      Human beings are just another resource.
      They own you.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Doogie Browser

      Thank you Rainer.

      Christians are not supposed to worship false idols,
      yet millions flock every year to bow at the popes feet.

      Christians are suppsed to keep gods holy day, and yet the church
      has turned that day (Saturday) into Sunday.
      Doesnt that mean all christians are sinning ?

      And last (but not least) If Jesus and the cross are the symbol of christianity
      why are there many pictures of the pope with an upside down cross near him ?
      The upside down cross is the sign of the anti christ.
      The most perfect place for satan to put the anti christ would be at the head
      of the church.

      I am sure that christians have been given some excuse to answer these questions.
      But i do see something more sinister in all of this.
      Like how every sitting US president can trace lineage back to ancient kings and queens,
      all of the masonic symbols on our paper currency, that nobody ever questions,
      and how many people in the top layers of our government have ties to skull & bones.
      None of this is conspiracy stuff, its all true, but nobody questions it.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.