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God's Children (Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum)Many are, it seems, agag about Rick Santorum due to the devout nature of his Catholicism.  While JFK assured America that Rome wouldn't rule him, Rick seems determined to put into people's minds the reverse.

One of Santorum's notable stand out features: as serious a climate denial as one can find within a pack of climate zombie Republican Presidential candidates.  This, however, stands in strong contrast to Papal statements and other Catholic leadership perspectives.

Here is commentary with the doyen of Republican thought leaders, Rush Limbaugh

I believe the earth gets warmer and I also believe the earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man, through the production of CO2 — which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the manmade part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas — is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd.

Santorum continued that the idea of man-made climate change may be part of a liberal conspiracy: “To me this is an opportunity for the left to create — it’s really a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm. It’s been on a warming trend so they said, ‘Oh, let’s take advantage of that and say that we need the government to come in and regulate your life some more because it’s getting warmer.’”

“It’s just an excuse for more government control of your life,” he added, “and I’ve never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.”


This, of course, was not a one-time movement into anti-science syndrome suffering hatred of a liveable economic system.

Santorum not only denies that manmade global warming is a growing concern, he denies its very existence. “There is no such thing as global warming,” he once said on Glenn Beck’s show [clip above ...], adding that it’s “patently absurd” to think a naturally occurring substance like CO2 – “a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas “ – is warming the planet. (Well, not if you understand the greenhouse effect.) He told Rush Limbaugh: “I’ve never . . . accepted the junk science behind that narrative.”


But it’s not really about “junk” science. Santorum simply doesn’t accept science. A devout evangelical Catholic, Santorum also rejects evolution and tried to amend federal law to require the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools


From the bleachers, one would think that a "devout ... Catholic" would take seriously the Pope's opinions and statements.  On closer look, it seems, Santorum seems to be a pick and choose Catholic.
It’s easy to see why Santorum might appeal Rick Santorum, Jack of Hearts - Cartoonto some culturally conservative Catholics and moderate evangelicals who are wary of Democrats but also turned off by the Republican Party’s cozy embrace of economic libertarianism and tireless defense of struggling millionaires. Santorum is more comfortable with communitarian language, has been a strong supporter of foreign aid to impoverished countries and connects with personal stories of his blue-collar upbringing.

But it’s a political delusion to think Rick Santorum is a standard-bearer of authentic Catholic values in politics. In fact, on several issues central to Catholic social teaching – torture, war, immigration, climate change, the widening gap between rich and poor and workers’ rights – Santorum is radically out of step with his faith’s teachings as articulated by Catholic bishops and several popes over the centuries.

Contrast Santorum's perspective on the "junk science" work of 1000s of scientists with the Papal perspective on what should happen.

A little over two years ago, the Pope issued If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation:

Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change,

Rick Santorum clearly does not believe that the Pope merits listening to, rather than lampooning with commentary about "junk science".
desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees”, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources? All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development.
...
Environmental degradation is often due to the lack of far-sighted official policies or to the pursuit of myopic economic interests, which then, tragically, become a serious threat to creation. … When making use of natural resources, we should be concerned for their protection and consider the cost entailed – environmentally and socially – as an essential part of the overall expenses incurred. The international community and national governments are responsible for sending the right signals in order to combat effectively the misuse of the environment. To protect the environment, and to safeguard natural resources and the climate, there is a need to act in accordance with clearly-defined rules, ...

Consider Rick Santorum's cashing in on his connections when he left Congress, working diligently to promote polluting coal with reckless disregard for "cost entailed -- environmentally and socially ..."

Less than two months ago,

Speaking to the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict expressed the hope that “all members of the international community might reach agreement on a responsible, credible response,” to the phenomenon of climate change, which he described as “complex” and “disturbing”.



While Catholic bishops praised the Administration's decision to, in accordance with court orders, issue a ruling placing regulations on mercury emissions that will save 10,000s of lives per year, Rick Santorum called the analysis behind the decision "absolutely ridiculous" and "not based on any kind of science" and asserted that the Environmental Protection Agency "hates blue-collar Americans" (that is, I'd guess, except those who would have died or suffered health problems due to the pollutants that this regulatory act will prevent).

To be fair for a moment, everyone is hypocritical to one degree or another.  An important point about maturity is to recognize one's own contradictions and be willing to discuss them with others.  Will Rick Santorum engage, openly, about his pick-and-choose Catholicism?  Will reporters challenge him if he doesn't?

Bibliography: Catholic Perspectives on Faith and  the Environment

Originally posted to A Siegel on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 10:48 AM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  cathololic law is sorta odd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, VClib

    There are some things you have to believe (viz, that abortion is an evil) and some things that are encouraged but not necessarily required.  Translating into protestant-ese, a language more comfortable for me, it's akin to the Paul speaking the word of god versus the passages when he enunciates that what follows is just his opinion (ftr: I'm an atheist, although raised evangelical).

  •  He's a Henry VIII catholic... (10+ / 0-)

    As in, if the pope says I'm right, he's right.

    If the pope says I'm wrong, he's wrong.

    And I can marry whoever the hell I want to, and nobody else can.

    One of these days, I'm gonna learn that I'm only really good at convincing people when I'm being a wiseass. Reviewtopia.net

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 10:58:27 AM PST

  •  Evangelical Catholics are the most dangerous kind. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CoExistNow, kait, luckylizard, esquimaux
  •  Evangelical Leaders Huddle Today in Texas To Get (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, exterris, gfv6800

    behind one Antirom.

    I have to guess it'll be Santorum and that they'll be doing their best to put the kibosh on the startlingly-rededicated Perry.

    If they can get together they can get their fundy to the head of the ticket, and that's how Republicans almost always win over Democrats.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 11:18:10 AM PST

  •  Once again a misunderstanding of Catholic (10+ / 0-)

    Church positions.  

    There are only a very very very few issues where Catholics "must" adhere to Church teachings, or the statements of the Pope, in order to remain good Catholics.  Look up Roman Catholic dogma.

    In all other areas, statements by the Pope or statements by the bishops are instructive, but Catholics can in good conscience disagree with aspects of those and remain good Catholics.  This kind of thing is especially true when the Pope, or the bishops, make statements that go into political areas.  Abortion is fairly unique in that it is an intertwining of "dogma" with a political issue.  That is because of the Catholic dogma that the "immortal soul" enters the body at conception, and thus each fetus is a human life with an immortal soul.  

    All things that are not Catholic dogma are areas whether Catholics can in good conscience disagree with the Pope or the bishops.  One example is the death penalty.  The American bishops a while back put out a statement recognizing that capital punishment is not the taking of innocent life, because it is after of adjudication of guilt.  However, the bishops for various political/policy reasons stated their opposition to capital punishment.  That is an area where Catholics, in good conscience, can disagree.  

    All of the areas where you criticize Santorum for purportedly disagreeing with statements of the Pope fall in those areas where the pope's statements are his own, are not considered "infallible," and where Catholics can disagree.

    To make clear, I have no problem with criticism of Santorum on policy issues.  That is absolutely -- absolutely -- "fair game" as they say in politics.  

    But it is illegitimate, in this instance, to criticize him for someone not following Catholic "Doctrine" (your word in the title.) That is just not true.  

    Go ahead and criticize his policy positions on their own terms. But his religion doesn't play a role in the criticisms you listed.  Criticizing him for somehow being a hypocritical Catholic (picking and choosing for supposed Catholic "doctrine") is just not intellectually honest.  

    •  title change ... (7+ / 0-)

      with 'doctrine' changed to values.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 11:31:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are still off base (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        Those are not "Catholic values" if you imply that those are somehow supposed to be the "values" of all Catholics.

        This diary is misleading.  It implies that Santorum is somehow a hypocritical Catholic in that he accepts parts of the religion and not others.  That is not true. What you talk about as "Catholic values" are not values that Catholics are supposed to hold.  They are the personal statements of individuals within the Church -- not binding on Catholics.  Catholics can have different opinions on those areas.  A statement by the pope is not automatically a "Catholic value."  

        His religion plays no part -- none, zilch, zippo -- in Santorum's position on those issues, because there is no "Catholic position" or "Catholic value" on those issues.  His disagreement with some things the pope or bishops say is NOT a disagreement with "Catholic values."  That's just a blatant misstatement based on an incorrect stereotype of that religion.  

        Go ahead and criticize him all you want for his positions on those issues.  Criticize him all you want on the MERITS of his positions.  There's plenty to discuss there.    But the basis for the criticism is NOT that he somehow differs from the "Catholic position" or "Catholic values."  There are no "Catholic" positions or values on those issues, just like there's no "Catholic" position on the death penalty -- there's only the statement of certain American bishops, which is not the "Catholic" position because "Catholics" are free to disagree.

        Your diary is still intellectually dishonest.  

        •  From the introductory comment (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tofumagoo, kait, Bronx59

          to thelinked/quoted Gehring article

          Rick Santorum is no True Believer Catholic, unless you throw out Catholic tradition on Just War, Social Justice, and a host of other Vatican and USCCB taught concepts.  

          Santorum is being represented (is representing himself) as a "True Believer".  Shouldn't he face challenge to discuss what that means and why, for example, Catholics should listen to him as opposed to the Pope on so many issues?  

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 01:36:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Santorum certainly should be challenged (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            on his views.  Absolutely.  

            Why should whether those views are in accord with the pope's statements figure into the equation?  

            After all, if you want whether he agrees with pope's statements to be an issue, why isn't it an even bigger issue when Democratic Catholic politicians go against what really is Church dogma -- the notion that a fetus has an immortal soul and thus is a full human life?

            Frankly, I don't think it's a valid part of the political discourse to attack Catholic Democratic politicians like, say, the Kennedy family, when they go against Church Dogma.

            It would be hypocritical, then, to attack Santorum for going against what is not even a teaching of the Church.  

            Whether or not it is in accord with what the pope says has no role in the political discourse.  

    •  Much of this is technically correct, but I (8+ / 0-)

      disagree with you when you say that the diary is not intellectually honest.  Yes, technically, statements by the pope about global warming are not "doctrine."

      Still, from a secular perspective, the diary is very good in skewering Santorum as a hypocrite who acts as if he is holier than the pope, but routinely ignores most of the positions taken by the pope.  He is, in fact, not a very good Catholic.

      To add to your technical discussion, there is, in fact, only one single statement of dogma that has been declared to be "infallible," and that is the pronouncement of the Assumption of Mary in 1950.

      "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

      by Timaeus on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 11:36:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is just wrong. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib
        He is, in fact, not a very good Catholic.

        The Catholic church expressly recognizes that you can disagree with the pope on these issues and be a "very good Catholic."  Just like you can disagree with the statement of the American bishops on the death penalty and be a "very good Catholic."  You can disagree with lots of things the pope says and be a "very good Catholic."

        Let me give you a basic example.  Right now (for the past 1700 years or so) the position of the Catholic Church is that priests cannot marry.  That is the clear position of this pope and of the bishops.  But that is not dogma.  People can express their belief that priests should be allowed to marry and nonetheless remain "very good Catholics."  They can say, clearly, "I disagree with the position of the pope.  I think priests should be allowed to marry" and nonetheless remain "very good Catholics."  

        The issues that the diary addresses fall into the same category.

        I really, really think it is intellectually dishonest criticize a candidate for not following his own religion when the criticism is based on a fundamental misstatement of that religion.  

        There so, so, so much to say about Santorum's political positions on the merits of those positions.  An intellectually dishonest criticism of Santorum based on a misunderstanding of his religion really has no place here.  

        •  As commented above (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tofumagoo, kait

          Would it not be legitimate for reporters to challenge Santorum on this arena?

          on several issues central to Catholic social teaching – torture, war, immigration, climate change, the widening gap between rich and poor and workers’ rights – Santorum is radically out of step with his faith’s teachings
          E.g., have Santorum make the case about his chooses in terms of political stances for and against Church teachings as he wraps himself so strongly in his religiousity as a Presidential candidate.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 12:20:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, because they are not "his Church's teachings" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            simply because the pope says something does NOT make it a "Church teaching."  You use the words "his faith's teachings" -- the statements on torture, war, immigration, climate change, and the widening gap between rich and poor are NOT "Church teachings."  You quoted and cited statements made by the pope.  Statements made by the pope are NOT "Church teachings."  That's why I linked you to a wiki articlethat gives some explanation of what it takes to be a "Church teaching."  I cannot say this enough:  Just because the pope says something does NOT MAKE IT A CHURCH TEACHING.  Catholics CAN DISAGREE WITH THE POPE ON ISSUES THAT ARE NOT DOGMA and remain good Catholics.  Disagreeing with something the pope says is not -- is not -- the same thing as disagreeing with "Church teaching."  

            The reason I am adamant about this is that the diary shows exactly the kind of stereotyping that John F. Kennedy faced decades ago when he ran for President.  (Yes, I'm showing my age.)  At the time, people assumed that because he was a "good Catholic" he would follow whatever the pope said.  They, too, assumed that because the pope said something, it was automatically "Church teaching" and President Kennedy could not disagree while remaining a good Catholic.  They thought he would "take orders from the pope" (the then-pope was not as progressive on these types of issues as the last 2 popes) on exactly the kind of issues you cite -- political issues.  They did not understand the basic, fundamental premise that just because the pope says something, that does NOT make it "Church teaching" or something that Catholics must agree with to be good Catholics.  

            •  You're way overplaying your hand. (5+ / 0-)

              Statements of the pope darn sure ARE church teachings even if not "infallible dogma."

              I'm well aware that there are many levels of pronouncements from the clergy and the bishops and the curia.  But that's Catholic technicalities.

              "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

              by Timaeus on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 01:19:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes. What is disingenuous is to suggest that years (4+ / 0-)

                and years and years of ingrained Catholic values and teachings--which they are, having been included in everything from religion classes to homilies for decades, is to suggest that because this awful example of a Catholic follows the letter of hierarchy dogma, he's just all peachy and righteous with his faith. You know that many Vatican documents as well as catechism expand the value and respect for life far beyond OMG abortion, and have for a very long time. Social justice, same thing. And this is also a Church that teaches not only free will, but the value of such. Dogma isn't everything.   And even that is going on the assumption that dogma is what matters most in a Church in the spiritual and universal sense of the word.  While it certainly would be technically true to say that if he suddenly was clobbered in the head with some actual thought or prayer or oh hell, someone else pick something, and chose to reverse his position on marriage equality or choice or birth control that he would be out of line with dogma, well big damn deal.  

              •  Also disingenuous to act as if dogma is the purity (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Timaeus

                test. Dogma, on many issues, from evolution to abortion has changed (way too slowly, but  it has).

            •  You are attacking use (5+ / 0-)

              of word "teachings" when, from the very Wiki you link to:

              Yet not all teachings are dogma. The faithful are only required to accept those teachings as dogma, if the Church clearly and specifically identifies them as infallible dogmata

              Again, it is not reasonable to expect media to challenge Santorum on how and why he differs so stridently from the Pope's and bishops' statements (teachings, even ...).

              And, there is a major difference between Santorum and JFK.  JFK ran asserting that he was a politician who happened to be Catholic.  Is that how Santorum presents himself?  

              Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

              by A Siegel on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 01:40:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  A Matter of Heart rather than Head (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kait, A Siegel, Timaeus, RunawayRose

              It matters less that Santorum follow the Roman Catholic "party line" in doctrine than that he appears to have hardened his heart towards most of his fellow human beings. The Catholic Church actually allows a fair amount of leeway with regard to following one's conscience, BUT that conscience must be formed in the light of the Gospels and Church teachings, which as noted in a previous reply are not always dogma. The following items come from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

              1790
                  A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

              1791
                  This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

              1792
                  Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

              Note that "passions" need not refer only to the dimension of human sexuality, but also to the drive for power, wealth and influence. Nobody but Rick Santorum is the keeper of his conscience, but I regard his conscience as immature, insensitive and imprisoned by his own ego.
              •  Yes. The ultimate law is that of the formed (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel, RunawayRose

                conscience of the soul and the Creator. Not widely advertised by the white sepulcher of church hierarchy, but yes.

              •  I appreciate a post like this very much. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tofumagoo, A Siegel, RunawayRose

                Among other things, it may help to show non-Catholics that Catholics are VERY serious about such matters and have devoted incredible attention to them.

                None of us can judge Santorum's conscience. But this comment gives a good suggestion about how a confessor priest should judge his conscience, if he ever ran into a very strong priest (and they do exist, as I can testify from experience).

                Good post.

                "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

                by Timaeus on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 06:27:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  beyond Catholic and Catholics (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Timaeus, A Siegel, RunawayRose, kait

                  Aside from the limitations of gender specific pronouns, I deeply appreciate the first sentence of #1790:

                  A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.
                  It doesn't say a Catholic must or a Christian must, but a human being must. In so many ways, this is a very anti-authoritarian statement. It provides a moral basis for consicious objection, civil disobedience and more. What is unsaid is that you must suffer the consequences of resisting and/or disobeying authority, be it found in the church or the state.
              •  Thank you as well ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RunawayRose

                a very useful addition to the comment thread. I learned. And, you provided things to think about / appreciate.  Thus, again, thank you.

                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 07:06:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  JFK made it abundantly clear that he would follow (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              the laws, the principals, if you will, the "teachings" of the United States if elected POTUS.  Santorum does the opposite, making it quite clear that his religious values (cherry picked just like every other cafeteria Catholic, including me), would not only influence his decisions, but that indeed he feels that they should influence his decisions.  That isn't stereotyping, that is this particular man's stated political position.

              And I really don't understand a sentence which would link the last two popes and the word progressive. That one made my head hurt.

              If you are concerned about protecting the Catholic Church from some sort of religious bashing, I empathize with that, although I do not agree with it.  Or, if you had broadened your comments to include politicians of all religions, I could also empathize with that, although I'd still strenuously disagree. I'd prefer work on getting the believers back in the pews where they belong, and out of our political system, which is secular. Alternatively, religious politicians could make explicitly clarifying statements as JFK did--except that they don't agree with that position. Santorum has called that JFK speech appalling, and stated that it did a lot of damage.

        •  I think it is possible to challenge Santorum's (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timaeus, A Siegel, tofumagoo, kait, RunawayRose

          position on these issues in terms of him being at odds repeatedly with the leaders of the Church he professes to follow.  The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church.  His opinion and judgement matter to millions.  Santorum touts his religion as being  a determining force for reaching decisions.  The line of questioning could be about his judgement as a practicing Catholic not that he's not a Catholic in good standing.  Why does he differ so blatantly in so many areas with top leaders of his church who presumably understand the "catholic way" much more deeply than him?

          "There is nothing new in human affairs. It is only history with ignorance in between." - Harry Truman

          by John Crapper on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 12:32:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We'll just have to disagree. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CoExistNow, tofumagoo, kait

          Santorum is a warmonger.  He wants to cut social security.  He wants to cut social benefits generally.  I think positions like that are antithetical to the Gospels and thus I, as a Catholic, do not believe he is a good Catholic.  I think that's fair criticism.

          "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

          by Timaeus on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 01:17:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Commonweal took up the immigration issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, A Siegel, RunawayRose

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 12:14:02 PM PST

    •  Nice link Mary, thanks. I used to get email things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, A Siegel, RunawayRose

      from Commonweal, now lost in the morass of hotmail. Maybe I'll get back on the list again in my now functional other email account. There is such a long list of things of disgusting things about this man, but it infuriates me that he acts as though he speaks for all Catholics, which is more like one of those weird Dominionist positions, and seems more fundamentalist than Catholic.  And I do not and will never understand, after living admidst fundamentalists for a few years, how he or even other conservative Catholics do not see they are being used. Hard-core fundamentalists will never ever accept that Catholics are "really" Christian in faith.

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