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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. Who Cares

    Seriously is this site run by the white house?

    Gays, drug users and sicko's with all these left wing nutts and the wallfare crowd. Oh yea this is CNN the devil site I almost forgot.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Your objections only serve to demonstrate the bigotry of your dogma.. Religious 'sickos' far outnumber the non-religious ones. Good people will do good things, bad people will do bad things , but It takes religion to make good people do bad things.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  2. liz

    Rick Santorum wants to marry HIS verison of Catholicism with politics. Birth control check. Fair wages not so much. Abortion check. Health care for all, of corse not (ask the Pope about this one). Gay marraige, sure. Feeding to poor, no way.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Manuel J.

      @ Liz. Do you give of your time or treasure to charities that feed the poor? If not, then you're just another bag of hot air.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • liz

      Yes, I do. Do you have a uterus? Then how dare you tell women what they can and cannot do with it?

      January 8, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • KMW

      To Liz:

      You are wacky and I am a woman who agrees with Rick Santorum. He has my vote.

      January 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • So

      "Rick Santorum. He has my vote."

      You'll vote for someone that was on the list of most corrupt senators for 2005 and 2006 – now that's WACIKY!

      January 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  3. Dorkus

    Wonderful, we're supposed to bend to his religion AND support his 7 brats? Where are all those GOP/TP'ers who scream for welfare recipients to be sterilized because all they do is pop out kids that the working class has to support? MY feeling is that all elected officials should be sterilized ("it's reversible" – State of North Carolina) so we don't go broke supporting the results of their unbridled lust.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Eight brats. Don't forget Gabby the Meat Puppet.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  4. icy

    newt and santorum are catholic. perry and paul are christian. mitt is mormon and obama is a muslim. seems no matter what you are going to have a person who has faith as the president. i still go with someone that does not believe in a religion that says all christians or no believers must be killed. at least christians, catholics, and mormons are against terrorist attacks against those who don't believe in their God.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      If you believe Obama is a Muslim then you are undoubtedly an idiot.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Actually, Obama is Christian as well. And having faith isn't an issue. The issue arises when, like Santorum, a politician announces that government should be run according to religious precepts, that those without or with different faith should receive different and lesser treatment, that law should be based on their particular scriptures rather than on centuries of precedent guided by secular principles. Santorum and his ilk are fundamentally anti-American to their very core, and are the most profound danger to the Republic imaginable.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Mirosal

      The movie "The American President" with Michael Douglas and Annette Benning had a great line that might apply here. It seems the Republicans claim to love America, but clearly can't stand Americans.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Mirosal – don't mistake the minority fringe for the majority. There are a LOT of Goldwater-style Conservatives who would like nothing better than to oust the fundamentalist loons from the movement; they don't belong there and differ sharply with its precepts. Goldwater, for example, was a strong and early supporter of gay rights, because keeping government's nose out of the private affairs of citizens to the greatest degree possible is a core Conservative tenet. Santorum and his ilk have overrun the movement, but are not truly a part of it; they are theocrats, plain and simple, and represent a foundational danger to the Republic.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  5. Queen Lattice

    I would never vote for anyone who is so staunchly against a woman's right to choose or gay marriage. The more idiots like Sanctimonious Santorum tout their religion as a roadway to the leadership of this country, the more I dream of a 2nd civil war.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      I said this on Page 3 ... until Mr. Insanitorium grows a uterus, he, and all men (myself included), should have NO SAY at all about women's "reproductive rights". When little Ricky gets pregnant, then he might have something usseful to say.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Manuel J.

      Based on your thinking, a person who physically or mentally abuses a woman, so as to cause early termination of a baby, should not be charged for murder. After all, in your view, "it was just a fetus and wasn't viable". In other words, your logic is flawed.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Manuel J.

      @ Mirasol. You are a real gem. So-called men that make statements like yours only reenforces a woman's point that men only want one thing from women. You want a piece of A__ but don't want to take responsibility for your actions.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • KMW

      Queen Lattice,

      You are an idiot. What a terrible name you have.

      January 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  6. JohnRalph

    Obama's brand of socialism, which is an amalgamation of the Nationalist and Communist varieties despises America and religion.

    Except Islamic America, which is an excellent example of both types since it is a religion that through Sharia Law controls every aspects of one's life. Virtually enslaving the believer.

    National SOCIALIST German WORKERS Party, referred to in English as the NAZI Party (Hitler's socialism for the German 'Teutonic' Race). In reality though no different than the left's socialism.

    Like Stalin, for the white Russians, or Pol Pot, for the Khmer Rouge, or Ho Chi Minh, for the Viet Minh, or Mao, for the Han Chinese.

    Socialist Gods that brought death and misery to tens if not hundreds of millions of humans.

    Let us not forget our SOCIALIST God, Mein Lord God High Führer Obama, for America’s liberal elite, Muslims, OWS and welfare voters on the dole.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Ehovahjay

      Have your psychiatrist increase your dose...

      January 8, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Dorkus

      Try using your own thoughts and words, I heard all this last night on Fox Fascist News.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • liz

      Lay off the Fox News

      January 8, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • go4it

      Do you live in a shack somewhere in Montanna?

      January 8, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      You better learn to read.. that is the worst I seen in a long time..

      January 8, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  7. Adam

    Tired of all the religious headlines on CNN, talk about pandering.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  8. Reality

    Dear Ricky S,

    Still waiting for your reply:

    Obviously, you suffer from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion and in your case, Catholicism so again we say a prayer on your behalf. Please read carefully and repeat every time you think everything is some god's plan:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    January 8, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  9. Nookster

    If God exist he could care less about a vote pandering lowlife like Santorum. Him and the rest would sell their mothers on Bourbon Street to get elected to the presidency.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  10. Rich

    Rick has that Lee Harvey Oswald /Howdy Doody/Alfred E Newman look....figures

    January 8, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  11. Gonzo

    This guy is real scary. He voted for wars so how is that religious. As far as I am concern religion is a good excuse to kill people. Its used all the time for that. Keep it out of politics.. you want to help the poor and the people losing their jobs and homes.. Tax the Churches, Tax the business's own by the churches.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  12. dhampton100

    As an Evangelical Christian Liberal (which means I pray and I THINK) I have a problem with all these politicians who wear their Christianity on their sleeves but keep their morals in their back pockets. If Mr. Santorum has such a devotion to God and the Bible how do the commandments to not lie or steal coincide with his dedication to all things Holy? If anything he exhibit’s the attributes of a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is one of the main things Jesus taught His followers NOT to engage in as a way of life. Stealing tax payer funds to care for his family is fine, it’s just not right for the rest of us to enjoy them. Using his influence to make goobs of money by stacking the deck towards government dollars for “his” friends is fine but preaching honesty and morality to the rest of us is fine, to him, too. Mr. Santorum is a liar and has failed the first test of being a Christian.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "Mr. Santorum is a liar and has failed the first test of being a Christian."

      That is better known as the 'no true scotsman fallacy'. Gotta love how you christards think you get to determine who is a true christard and who isn't!! Quite the hypocrisy!

      January 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  13. streetsmt

    Another one that thinks he is fulfilling gods plan. Man, don't they understand that that one's been plsyed before?

    January 8, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  14. Rich

    Rick...Please stop picking on the gays,Mexicans and the poor............................god

    January 8, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  15. Steve Gastin

    First, this guy made a racist comment on black people and then he denied the work was blob people not black people.
    This guy couldn't even win his senate seat and now want to be president.

    BTW, I vote republican but not for a person like this.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Manuel J.

      Where is your evidence of Santorum making a racist comment???? Are speaking based on fact or out of your backside??

      January 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  16. Terry

    Since they do not have viable solutions to difficult problems, the Republicans like to bring their God into the discussion as a diversion, aimed at pulling people away from the discussion points at hand. Sort of like the Three Card Monte. " Watch my hands, watch my eyes, my God – your God will lead you to the answer." Every Republican candidate has either proclaimed that God is guiding them to be resident, or that God came to them in a vision, proclaiming that they should enter the race.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  17. Rich

    Rick.........Please let jesus help the poor not cut their food so you can help your rich friends as they have way enough moneynow.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  18. rs1201

    As to the fact that Santorum is Catholic...who exactly has a problem with that? I'm an American Jew and I don't really care what the religion of the President is as long as it's not islam. Catholics have never flown jumbo jets into our buildings. Catholics along with Jews and Protestants have built this country side by side and made it what it is. We are a country guided by a very important principle...separation of church and state. As long as that principle is never set aside, we're in good shape and we'll continue to prosper and lead the world into the 21st century.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      The issue with Catholics is the controversial child s.e.x abuse scandal that surrounds it and will forever hinder it. Until the pope admits the issues and ensures the responsible parties are held accountable for their crimes, the Catholic church has no place in any society but one where the monsters are controlled and not permitted access to the innocent.
      The problem with Santorum is that if voted in to take on the biggest job a country has, he will do his best to ensure that separation of church and state goes out the window. If he can keep the two separate and keep his own belief to himself, then he might stand a chance. However in the grand scheme of it Obama is still the better choice and is more than likely going to see a second term.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  19. Jesus was a space alien

    Jesus. Please keep religious nut cases like this out of politics. The last thing we need is the self fulfilling prophecies of people like this to bring on Armeggedon.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Religion

      Religion brings people together!!!!!!!

      January 10, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  20. Howie76

    This guy is Catholic and went to Penn State. I cannot vote for a person who would be a member of the Catholic Church. An organization with a systemic abuse problems that has done nothing to stop pedophiles until they got caught. Then the Catholics hid their assets so the victims can get nothing. Penn State appears to follow this same mantra. I would classify the Catholics as a cult and Penn State need to clean up their act. And Santorum need to just go away and distance himself from teh cult.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:13 am |
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About this blog

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.