Will presidential candidates wear ashes at Wednesday debate?
Pope Benedict XVI is annointed with the placing of ashes during the Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Sabina Basilica on February 17, 2010.
February 21st, 2012
10:11 PM ET

Will presidential candidates wear ashes at Wednesday debate?

Editor's note: Tune in Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET for the last presidential debate before Super Tuesday, the CNN/Arizona Republican Party Debate hosted by John King. Follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate and on Facebook at CNN Politics. For real-time coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries, go to CNNPolitics.com or to CNN apps or the CNN mobile site.

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - "You've got something on your forehead."

Every year on Ash Wednesday it's how the awkward conversation begins.  A well meaning co-worker points out a black smudge on someone's forehead, not knowing it's supposed to be there.

The smudge is the imposition of ashes, often on the forehead in the shape of a cross.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lenten season, when Christians take time to prepare for Easter through a time of fasting and prayer.  The  imposition of ashes nears a holy obligation for many Catholics, although technically it is not.

As two prominent Catholic presidential candidates take to the debate stage for the CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Mesa, Arizona, lots of people are asking will they or won't they wear ashes?

In the race for the Republican nomination for the White House, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have made no secret of their Catholic faith.

Santorum was born into a Catholic family and served as an altar boy.  A Santorum aide told CNN that Santorum attended Mass Wednesday morning in Mesa, Arizona.  He was spotted by CNN's Kevin Bohn after Mass at his hotel with ash on his forehead.

Gingrich converted later in life as an adult to Catholicism. The former House Speaker told CNN's Shawna Shepherd on Wednesday that he would not be going to Mass on Ash Wednesday. Though he said he's been in the past, Gingrich noted that Ash Wednesday is "not a holy day of obligation," referring to days on which Catholics are required to attend Mass.

Gingrich did say he was giving up dessert for Lent, while his wife Callista Gingrich joked that she was giving up "her opinion."

As the presidential hopefuls get ready to take the stage under the lights and pancake makeup on Wednesday night, what's a Catholic candidate to do?

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

"There is no regulation or even a suggestion regarding how long the ashes remain," according to Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Divine Worship.  Hilgartner helps the Catholic church in the United States oversee liturgical matters.

"Sometimes they just don't 'stick' for long, so if someone receives them in the morning they might simply brush off through normal routines later in the day," he said.

The ashes come from palm fronds, or the stems and leaves, used to celebrate Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week when Christians remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and being greeted like a king, with the crowd waving palm fronds and laying their coats on the ground. During Holy Week Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Easter Sunday marks the end of Holy Week and the end of any Lenten fasts.

In the Catholic tradition parishioners keep the palm fronds in their house all year, until the start of the Lenten season. The church then collects the fronds and burns them to create the ash.

Receiving ashes is a symbolic gesture, said Hilgartner.  He notes in different countries the ashes are distributed in different ways.  In Italy, for example, ashes are sprinkled over the top of the head.  Last year on Ash Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI received his ashes sprinkled on the top of his head.

"Whatever the method, the symbolic gesture is just that...There is no discussion about what might be 'valid' or 'licit,'" he said.

The ashes are a physical reminder of mortality and a call to live a better life. In the Catholic tradition when they are applied a priest can say, "Remember man, from dust you came and from dust you shall return" or "Repent and believe in the Gospel."

Suppose a Catholic who happened to be running for president needed makeup for a televised debate, Hilgarten says there would be nothing wrong, "if out of necessity the ashes were removed in order to prepare makeup for a public appearance."

"It's not like a tattoo. They could get them and by the time they're doing their debate they could be gone," Monsignor Crosby Kern said. Kern is the pastor at the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana.

"Catholics are not required to get ashes," Kern said. Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic liturgical calender, as Christmas, Easter, and several other days are.

While the New Orleans Police department may be busy on Mardi Gras night clearing Bourbon Street of tourists, Kern said come Ash Wednesday morning the faithful show up en mass to get their ashes.

"We're full at the cathedral. We have three masses and they'll all be full," he said.

While it may not be an obligation, it is an important tradition for millions of Catholics.

In Washington, politicians often are seen with ashes. Most notably in recent years, Vice President Joe Biden has been seen on past Ash Wednesdays with the ash on his forehead.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama released a statement on Ash Wednesday.

"Today, Michelle and I honor Ash Wednesday with Christians around the country and across the world," the statement said. "This is at once a solemn and joyous occasion, an opportunity to remember both the depths of sacrifice and the height of redemption. We join millions in entering the Lenten Season with truly thankful hearts, mindful of our faith and our obligations to one another."

With Gingrich choosing not to get ashes and Santorum receiving them, the question remains whether Santorum will make an effort to keep them for their time in the national spotlight.

–CNN's Shawna Shepherd, Dana Bash, and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (557 Responses)

    i think the 2016 republican hopefuls will probably be. Marco Rubio, Chris Christy, Sarah Palin. Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Mitch Daniels, and Jeb Bush! who else?

    February 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • skarphace

      You think Gingrich and Romney will fail to run? Or that they will not be 'hopefuls'?

      February 22, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • skarphace

      Tim Pawlenty, John Thune, Bobby Jindal

      February 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm |

      Oh yeah! Definitely Pawlenty! Can't believe I left him out. And yes to Thune. But jindal may run, and he has a nice conservative record. But he may suffer the same fate as Romney and Huntsman, unless he converts to Christianity. Or has he already?

      Certainly Gingrich won't run? But maybe Mittnes, and im keeping John Boehner as a possible maybe.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • skarphace

      Oh how I wish I could say Colin Powel, Condoleezza Rice. But we all know why they will not win as Republicans.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Oh how I wish I could say Colin Powel, Condoleezza Rice. But we all know why they will not win as Republicans."

      They could call it "The Token Ticket!"...

      February 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • skarphace

      Jindal converted to Christianity in high school.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

      I have a very strong love for Colin Powell! Would love for him to run. But he's another socially moderate that probably couldn't get past the primary.
      and im not so sure about Condoleezza Rice. She may have some issues. Not only is she black, but she's a female as well, and you know how the repubs love their white southern boys! But id never say never! I would however be very surprised.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

      The token ticket?

      Sorry I dont get the pun.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm |

      See how I didnt know if he was Christian or not? I dont usually pay attention to peoples religion, thats why I had to ask. Cuz we know the importance of Christianity for the Republican ticket.
      I wonder how many hopefuls (behind in the polls) would demand a birth certificate, or baptismal records. I think he would have a tough road.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • skarphace

      Token as in token black. It was a crude way of saying what I was already referring to.

      The only reason Cain did as well as he did was because he was willing to make generalizations about his own race ("brainwashed, lazy"). This is something that Powell and Rice would never do, however, so they wouldn't stand a chance, I am afraid. Unless they ran as Independents, that is.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm |

      OIC! Colin Powell would be great. He would also have to explain why he supports gay marriage, as conservatives dont like that, so it would be difficult for him to get a strong base. However if Ron Paul could win the primary, with Colin Powell as VP, things could get very interesting for Obama!

      February 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • skarphace

      Yes. That would probably be the worst case scenario for Obama. However, it could even get interesting with a Romney/Rubio ticket, so we still may have some fun.

      Well, it was nice meeting you, HONESTLY, but I g2g. Just finished my grading for the day (I teach at a small college), and I am heading out. Later! 🙂

      February 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

      I think Cain may have gotten out of the race too early. I was interested in his 9 9 9 tax reform. Of course with se*x*ual harassment allegations placed against you. It gets pretty difficult to bounce back from that. However didnt seem to hurt Gingrich!

      February 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm |

      Take care skarphase!
      Its nice to have a conversation on here without it being a heated name calling event!

      February 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |

    I also think if Republicans can't come to a moderate view in general, they will also lose the house.
    The tea party have pretty much lost their drive and credibility, and the "occupy" movement is going to be really vocal in the general election.
    The Republicans are in serious trouble, and won't have a chance if things dont change soon.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • skarphace

      Well, here is where it could get tricky. It seems to me that all things being equal (which they never are), the Democrats have an equal chance of losing seats in the Senate as the Republicans do in the House.

      "Among the Senate seats up for election in 2012, there are 21 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 Independents."

      "Democrats currently have 19 seats listed as Lean or Toss Up. Republicans currently have 31 seats listed as Lean or Toss Up"

      As there are 241 Republicans and 191 Democrats in the House, the Republicans have almost no chance of losing the House.

      However, as there are currently 51 Democrats and 47 republicans in the Senate, the Democrats could very well lose the Senate.

      So, it could be that the Democrats win the Presidency but the Republicans gain both branches of Congress. Scary, huh?

      February 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • skarphace


      "Democrats currently have 19 seats listed as Lean or Toss Up. Republicans currently have 31 seats listed as Lean or Toss Up" in the House.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |

      Lol at first glance yes. Its scary. But hopefully if the Republicans do hold majority in the house and senate, maybe they won't be so knee-jerk resistant to Obama's ideas. if they do control the house and the senate, and maintain their current "just say no" policy then nothing will get accomplished, and we'll be screwed again, til atleats 2014.
      I just keep hoping it will have the Clinton affect, when the dems lost control of house and senate. Thats when he was able to finally get something accomplished. Still scary, though. Lol

      February 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    I think that given the situation our country was in, war, debt, and the social divide. All and all, im happy with Obama's achievements. And wonder what could have been if everything wasn't gridlocked in the house. In general dont like any party holding the senate, house, and presidency. But wow the Republicans from the beginning made a deal to not let Obama achieve anything.

    Its kinda sad when you think since 2010, the Republicans have been preparing for the 2012 election, and this is the best they could come up with?

    February 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • skarphace

      To be honest, I think that most of the Republicans 'in the know' have been preparing since 2010 for 2016 and still are.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:28 pm |

      I agree!

      February 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  4. skarphace

    Ok, reality check for Santorum supporters.

    Why do you think it is that neither the Obama administration nor the 'liberal' media are criticising Santorum as they did, very often and loud, with Romney? Is it because they can find no dirt on the nice white catholic man?

    Or is it because of all the Republican candidates, it is Santorum that they most want to go up against Obama?

    I would bet on the latter, and many of the establishment Republicans are as well. It is why they are in a panic right now to either get Romney on track or introduce a more palateable candidate like Christie or J. Bush (ugh to both, coming from me).

    Santorum was the "Christian Conservative's" last choice, and now he is their only choice. Unfortunately, he is also the worst choice. He has absolutely no chance at beating Obama in November. He will have moderates and Independents fleeing to Obama and will help the Democrats 'get out the vote' like no other candidate except maybe Sarah Palin.

    In my opinion, Teavangelicals have given up hope of beating Obama in November. They are now voting on principle. The one thing they want to avoid is being forced to choose between Obama and a Mormon come November. They would rather go down fighting, and with Santorum they will go down in flames.

    February 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

      Skarphase, thats exactly right. What happens is the conservative base wants someone who is on the extreme right socially. And though that may play well For santorum in the primary, it won't play so well for him in the general election.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Gfoos

      Mmm. Santorum would be an amazing Repub candidate. Please, please, please!!! I am praying to Brahman, Jesus, Muhammed, Jehovah, the Morman guy, Jain, Bhudda, and that dead Mesopotamian diety as well that it be so.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm |

      The right isn't just the right anymore, its the "extreme" right! So they have a fiscally extremist (Romney), and the social extremist (Santorum). Hoping that either one of them could gain clout! Its their typical "dont give an inch politics". And is exactly why Obama has to bite, fight, and pull teeth to get anything done. They would sell their wives to get Obama out of office. Seriously, they will do whatever it takes. Thankfully for us, they're just a bunch of idiots, who dont realize, to be a little moderate! Thats why Obama will win again in 2012

      February 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

      Let me also say that im aware that Romney's record doesn't show him to be a fiscal extremist. With healthcare in Massachusetts and all!
      But now that he's running. He says things like "I dont care about the poor" Or im a "severe" conservative (whatever that means)! Lol way to go dude!

      February 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • skarphace

      Gfoos and HONESTLY!:

      Don't get me wrong. I support our President, but I am also a big Ron Paul fan. It just irks me that the founding father of the Tea Party gets no respect from the Tea Party even though he is the only true fiscal conservative in the race.

      The Tea Party sold out to Koch money and Fox News publicity and turned their backs on Ron Paul who wouldn't toe the 'Social Conservative' line. He is a fiscal conservative but a social moderate, and the Evangelicals want a social conservative above all else, it seems.

      So although I will most likely be voting for Obama in November, trust me, I wish that Ron Paul were nominated and I had a choice. I want to vote for a candidate, not against one, and with Santorum I will definitely be voting against one. Loudly.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm |

      I've thought Ron Paul was the best chance the Republicans had from the start. I dont know why it's so difficult to get the conservative base to back him.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

      I guess it is because he's not so socially conservative. He's more of a moderate socially.. I think he would do better than the other candidates in the general. What's sucks is he'll never get passed the primaries. I too am a ron Paul fan! Except that I dont necessarily want to barter for goods or carry gold in my pocket. However, I do believe he has a better Vision. Especially when he talks about all the aid we give to other countries, and how we could use that money here in the states! Charity starts at home!

      February 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • skarphace

      Well, I still think that of all the original candidates, Huntsman had the best chance of beating Obama. However, as he was not only a Mormon, but he worked under the Obama administration as well, I pretty much knew he had no chance at the Republican ticket. Of the remaining ones, my vote would only go to Ron Paul. But even that would not be definite. Obama would still have a good shot at my vote. It would depend, in part, on the debates.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  5. Gfoos

    Turbans aren't worn by Muslims. They are worn by some Hindus-Sieks specifically... A disciplined warrior caste. Hindusm is the world's oldest religion, and predates Christianity by a few thousand years. Americans are childish morons. "drunk, spoiled 15 year olds waving a gun in the face of the world". My ancestors came over on the Mayflower- I'm as white, southern, and American as they come, and I am ashamed of what I am reading here.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

      Ok technically the Sumerian religion is the oldest. created before any alphabet was available. The earliest beliefs that lead to Hinduism. However there were also other religions, that in their time were considered sacred. But we now call them mythologies. Which all religions of today will end in that same fate. as they all were, and will be Proven to be fables, and tales.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • skarphace

      Gfoos: saying that all Americans are childish morons is just as much of a generalization as saying that all Arabs wear turbans and pray on rugs. Following up a generalization with a generalization does not make for a very convincing counterargument.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Gfoos

      Ok. 99% of Americans are morons. Thanks for the reality check.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Gfoos

      and I am serious – mayflower, southern- all true.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • skarphace

      Gfoos: "99% of Americans are morons."

      Aaah. Spoken like a true 1%er.

      (Just kidding.)

      February 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  6. eye salve

    Jesus said; ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'
    Anyone read Reveltion 3 lately?

    February 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm |

      Jesus said "god protect me from your followers, for they do not understand compassion!"

      February 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • skarphace

      HONESTLY!: no he didn't. However, if Jesus were around today, he probably would.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

      Forgive me!
      . For all men that claim to know what Jesus said is correct. Except me?
      If your gonna correct what Jesus said and didnt say, you'd better get busy. Cuz there are a lot of people claiming they know. Even though none of it was written about 'til about 600 years after his death.

      But in my defense, thats just a derogatory remark.. I was quoting the bible.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

      Sorry ,I meant "I wasn't quoting the bible".. Lol

      February 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  7. polycarp pio

    Genesis 3:19 for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return. I think you folks need to remember this when you get high and mighty thoughts against the LORD GOD and JESUS CHRIST and his church. PP

    February 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Guest

      You are robots while you live, dust when you die.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • skarphace

      So when we die our bodies decompose? Even athiests believe this much.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm |

      Jesus was a good man. And had a lot of good ideas! But if you think he turned stones to bread, resurrected the dead, or that he himself after being dead for 3 days came back to life. Then youre believing in magic, and that just dont exist!

      February 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

      And im not just talking about Jesus.. All of them Zeus, Hercules, Isis, zephyr, Buddha, Mohammad... Any one who claims they can work miracles? Be skeptical!

      Virgins dont get pregnant without having s.e.x.
      It just doesn't happen. Sorry.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • loveabounds


      "Jesus was a good man." How can he be a "good man" if he claimed to be the Son of God and claimed to have rose from the dead? You can't possibly have that argument. Either He is who He is, or he is a liar. He became human so he would know the temptation of man, yet show us how to turn away from it and live a perfect life; one of sacrifice that we as humans can't possibly live up to.

      I thank God every day that he sent Jesus to die for all of our sins for each of our individual salvation to accept as a gift. And I thank God for men and women who are willing to be strong in their faith and proclaim it in public regardless of ridicule or scorn.

      We are all God's children.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • skarphace

      loveabounds: "[Jesus] claimed to be the Son of God and claimed to have rose from the dead."

      Did he? Are you sure about that? If so, tell me which of the books of the Bible that Jesus wrote. Guess what? He didn't write any of them. They were all written by other people who told stories, some of which were about Jesus. Yes, they quoted Jesus often, but Jesus did not write the words of the Bible: people who were 100% human did, and humans have many reasons for saying what they do.

      I am not saying that Jesus is not the son of God. I am merely pointing out that it was not Jesus that claimed that he was, it was others that claimed that he was. Also, when did Jesus ever 'claim' to have rose from the dead. Does this even make sense?

      February 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm |

      Jesus didnt say he "rose from the de*ad". His di*sciples (or the "men" who wrote the "bib*le"), said that.
      Jesus on several occasions spoke against the bib*le..
      He told the villagers not to s*tone Mary (a pro*sti*tute) to de*ath. Even though the bib*le clearly states that a pro*sti*tute should be put to de*ath by s*toning! He saved Mary's life.. I think that makes him decent enough to be considered a good "man"!

      February 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |

      It took forever to post that comment... You just never know what words are acceptable in a CNN blog! JESUS!

      February 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • skarphace

      HONESTLY!: I know. It is why so many of my words are broken up. I couldn't even use the word "compet ition" the other day. It took me forever to figure out that was the offending word.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm |

      Lol ikr?

      February 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  8. Ramsey Price

    There are three options for Santorum given his use of religion in the race:

    1. Wear no ashes. Not a good choice.
    2. Wear ashes ON TOP of required TV makeup. This would be very phoney.
    3. Wear ashes given at service and refuse makeup (at least on his forehead). The most authentic and respectful thing to do.

    He has quite a dilemma! Nixon proved debating sans makeup is deadly.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • skarphace

      I will be quite surprised if Santorum does not wear ashes. He wants to abolish our separation of church and state, afterall. If he has his way, ash wednesday will become a national holiday and all Americans will be required to wear ashes.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Dylan

      If he wears ashes it will not be sincere of his religion but scoring political points over Gingrich who didn't go to mass as well as Paul and Romney who aren't Catholic and thus not the right kind of christian. Of course Romney is the heathen Mormon so he's of course evil. 🙂

      February 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  9. wileysee

    Why should they where ashes; Obama doesn't wear a turban or throw down a rug when he speaks, does he?

    February 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • skarphace

      When you have to fall back on the 'Muslim', 'Communist', and 'Birther' conspiracies, it is because you have no other legitimate criticism of our President.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Credenza

      skarphase – when you ridicule Santorum's faith it's because you're terrified he'll beat the only "Fixer-in-the-room. Santorum is a decent man and all you Dem Gremlins can find against him is that he took his dead baby home so the family of 7 kids could say goodbye and have closure.
      This practice of dressing dead babies, nursing them for hours and taking photos is widely used in HOSPITALS as healthy grieving. He took the baby home to say goodbye privately. THEIR choice. THEIR business.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • skarphace

      Credenza: I never mentioned the 'dead-baby' issue. I think it is creepy, but to each his own.

      But to say that I have nothing else to criticise Santorum about is wrong.

      I believe that the First Amendment provides for a separation of church and state. To me, when Santorum says, "America should make it's civil laws come more in line with 'Gods Law'", this should disqualify him from running for POTUS.

      He also said that "we need to stop the government from giving our money to black people". This is not only rac ist, it is just plain ignorant, as most of the people on Welfare and Food Stamps are white.

      He thinks that we should outlaw contraceptives. I completely disagree.

      He thinks that ho mose xuality should be considered a crime. I completely disagree (and no, I am not gay).

      He thinks that a woman who's life is in danger, or who has been mole sted or ra ped should be charged with a crime if she chooses to have an abortion. I completely disagree (and no, I am not a woman).

      He thinks that we should wage pre-emptive war on Iran. I think that this is the last thing we should do.

      He was a huge spender when he was a Senator in Pennsylvania. I think this is the wrong course for America.

      Rick Santorum is a social conservative and a fiscal liberal. He represents the worst of both worlds.

      Do you need any other reasons why I think Santorum is the worst possible candidate for POTUS?

      February 22, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Dylan

      Why on Earth would a Christian wear a turban and lay down a mat to pray? That's what Muslims do and the president isn't a muslim.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

      It takes a long time for conservatives to learn. Its been 2000 years, and they are still thinking they are the reason god created everything. And contraceptives are the work of the "devil". Or that an asprin between your legs is effective contraception. it'll at least 2000 more years before they get on board with Obama being a Christian.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  10. Shecky

    WOW. Gotta just LOVE the religious tolerance on this board.
    OH! I forgot! Catholics are FAIR GAME for the lefties.
    But don't you dare crack a joke about a muslim, GOD forbid.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Linda Bradley

      That's because they are all cowards!!!!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • skarphace

      So the other way is ok? It is all well and good to make fun of Muslims but God forbid we critisize Catholics? How is this stance any less hypocritical than the one you pointed out?

      February 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  11. skarphace

    "Santorum was born into a Catholic family and served as an altar boy."

    OMG! That explains so much!!

    February 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Bob

      I was thinking the same thing

      February 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • bobotheclown

      That Catholic Priest/Bishop santorum really stays with you.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  12. Linda Bradley

    What a stupid question!!! Don't we have real issues to discuss...like Obama's failures???? Wake up slumps!!!

    February 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Shecky

      Good point, Linda.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • skarphace

      What about Obama's successes? Oh, I forgot. Obama is to blame for everything wrong, but we should give him no credit for anything good. My bad.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  13. Mike

    Whether or not Santorum or Gingrich wear ashes, I bet Romney wears his magic underwear.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • the poop!

      Lol true!
      At any rate they're all nuts!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  14. One one

    I don't know about ashes but I could imagine Santorum holding a bible, opened to Leviticus, and pounding it now and then while ranting in religious fury.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • the poop!

      Santorum is strictly against contraception. I think he takes that stance so he dont have to sleep with his wife!

      Oh! Can't do it tonight honey, we dont want to get pregnant!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • the poop!

      Santorum: honey, we can't do it tonight, cuz we dont need another baby. And im going hunting again with that alter boy I've been hanging out with a lot lately! ok?

      February 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Linda Bradley

      You are sick inside your head. I have a little advice that might help you, it's called prozac....one a day should do it...if your hallucinations continue, take 2 a day...if that doesn't help, check yourself into a mental hospital....that will be the only protection from yourself!!!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

      Im not sleeping with alter boys... Your church leaders are... I wish you would take a stance with your church. But you dont.. You give them money, and praise supporting what they have done. I think that makes you sick in your head!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  15. ImBetterNU

    santorums forehead ashes will be symbolic of the country's wealth and health if he takes charge...

    February 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  16. glorydays

    Why is the Cardinal giving the Pope the finger???

    February 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • the poop!

      The cardinal didnt think he was enough bird for the pope. So he flip him another bird that was more deserving?

      February 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Credenza

      Amazing – mention Catholicism and the terminally brain dead Democrats creep out of the woodwork.
      Very predictable.

      But your all singin', all dancin' so-called "Christian" president breaks a promise he made to Syria [and the other 9 M.E. COUNTRIES] on world TV without batting an eye! And you lot support him?
      He encouraged and praised unarmed, leaderless, inexperienced people to overthrow their leaders, who had troops, weapons and TANKS.
      He promised them support and any other help they needed to bring about the Arab Spring aka DEMOCRACY.

      If it had been a success he'd be on TV every night telling us how wonderful he is – BUT now it's failed he's nowhere to be seen. HE'S too busy grubbing for money for his campaign. This man has the world's shortest attention span.

      Give me Santorum, Romney,, Gingrich or Paul. Every one of them has faith, morals and integrity. Sadly Americans have an insane need to have a womanizing, lying, warmongering, mini-dictator or "Fixer-in-the-room.

      You wouldn't RECOGNIZE a decent president if you fell over him!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • skarphace

      Cradenza: "[Obama] promised [all Middle Eastern countries] support and any other help they needed to bring about the Arab Spring aka DEMOCRACY."

      I am sorry, but you are going to need a source to back that one up. I have been paying attention to the 'Arab Spring' and I never heard Obama say anything like that.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Credenza

      skarphace – it was on the NEWS and repeated! He was so full of it and I joined a conversation here on CNN and made no secret of my opinion then, that encouraging 10 countries to revolt simultaneously was criminally irresponsible.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  17. Snacklefish

    Ashgate 2012

    February 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm |

    Well being against contraception, and being pro-abortion, isn't mentally sound!
    If you of someone like that get them some mental help, before they kill an innocent human being.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      There is no medical consensus as to when a fetus is classified as a human being. To assert otherwise is merely an opinion.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm |

      Ok how about we forget the consensus, and see if the baby grows, and lives without an abortion.
      If it does live, then in fact it was, and is a living being!

      February 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • ImBetterNU

      how do i know you are not lying?

      February 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Try actually comprehending what I am saying. There is no consensus on the classification "human being", no one is denying that it is a living being, but from a biological perspective, it cannot be classified as human definitively until it can live outside the womb. This is a purely scientific perspective, and it is the basis of the debate. Without understanding it you cannot debate the subject knowledgably (no idea if I spelled that correctly).

      February 22, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

      Well, I think if it's living (whether or not its called a human being) its life! So if you abort it youre killing life. Why not have it, then adopt it out. Then no one has to die, the mother can go on with her life, and 2 people that couldn't have kids are now very happy with their brand new baby! 😀

      February 23, 2012 at 12:04 am |

    I've always found it fundamentally ridiculous that women alone can choose to have an abortion.

    I think at the very least the father of the child should have some say. He apparently had say when you laid with him!
    You were joined in the creation, why shouldnt you be joined in the murder? (let me reiterate, there are so many contraception, to prevent pregnancy, there is no excuse outside of the very "rare occasion, to have one).

    February 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • jdoe

      Some people are against contraceptives as well.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • tony

      It's ridiculous that those who would or do prevent abortions, don't have to pay child support and child medical insurance. Maybe after 2012 we can make them!

      February 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

      If someone is against contraception, but tries to get an abortion, with an excuse something like "oops! I just didnt think I would get pregnant"
      Then in my opinion, they should be tried for attempted murder.
      Killing an innocent baby, because your ignorant, is no excuse!

      February 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Mike

      Hey dude, you should stop pretending to be a woman.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Thomas

      Most girls who get abortions are just that: GIRLS, not women. They're impulsive. They don't think about consequences. They can't imagine anything bad happening to them. Then when they find themselves pregnant after a weekend beer-bash or a rave, their whole lives get flipped on it's ear. Stop judging people who choose to have an abortion if you have no clue what their personal situation is. If you think anyone makes that decision lightly, think again.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Joe

      First off....Laid with him? what is this? the renaissance? I know you're HONESTLY like it to be. The thing i love is how you fine conservative folk will do anything to protect the unborn, but as soon as they're popped out you view so many of them as drags on society, and will do anything to cut they're federal assistance, deny them healthcare, and cut their education funding. This way they too can live that american dream of health, education, and rising up to the top...oh wait, that's what you're preventing...

      February 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

      @ Joe,
      Im not a conservative! What makes you think that?

      February 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • skarphace

      HONESTLY!: you are anti-contraceptive and pro-life. This makes you, at the very least, a social conservative.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

      Being an ignorant drunken teen is not an excuse For an abortion. im sorry, but There is not a teen on the planet that doesn't know that having s.e.x. With someone causes pregnancy.
      Your excuse is an empty one!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

      You show me any post where I say im against contraception. Im not. Just because you get confused easily doesn't, mean im against contraception. I am PRO CONTRACEPTION ITS A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO ABORTION!

      February 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • skarphace

      HONESTLY!: your quote, "Well being against contraception, and being pro-abortion, isn't mentally sound!"

      To me, you are saying that it is sensible to be against contraception only if you are also pro-life.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

      Thats just my point...
      I dont understand these bible thumpers being against contraception. To me it only lowers the abortion rate. And if someone is against abortion, how can they not support contraception? To me that makes no sense.

      Im a huge supporter of contraception!
      However I only support abortion in certain situations.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • skarphace

      Ok, it was a misunderstanding then. I am also pro-contraceptive and I only support legal abortions in the cases of inc est, ra pe, or if the woman's life or long-term health is in danger. So I guess we are on the same side of this issue.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

      Absolutely! 😀

      February 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • JustIn

      Birds of a feather, go flagellate together.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  20. jdoe

    Knowing Gingrich, his ash mark will likely be gold-plated and diamond-encrusted.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • AGuest9

      From Nieman Marcus, of course.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • charlieb

      He will three of them

      February 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
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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.