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Who is Rick Santorum, who nearly won the Iowa caucus? And can we trust the BBC to inform us about this or anything else in the US elections?

On Sundays Santorum goes to Mass in Latin; but the BBC Washington correspondent says he’s a Protestant. What else will he get wrong?

By on Thursday, 5 January 2012

Rick Santorum, left, and the Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney (AP photo)

Rick Santorum, left, and the Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney (AP photo)

I begin with a question: how much, under the tutelage of its current chief Washington correspondent, Mark Mardell, will we be able to trust the BBC’s coverage of the forthcoming American election?

I don’t just mean the usual thing one means about not trusting the BBC: that it has an inbuilt liberal bias. We all know that, and make allowances for it while continuing to rely on its news coverage. What I mean is, how competent will the coverage be? How much trouble will Mardell actually go to get his basic facts straight about the candidates, especially during the primary season now on us? Most of the current candidates are largely unknown here. Who on earth, for instance (the BBC should be able to tell us), is Rick Santorum, who has just come from nowhere to a virtual dead heat in Iowa (he lost by only 8 votes) with the much better-known and better funded Mitt Romney?

Well, according to Mark Mardell, Santorum is an “evangelical Christian”. In BBC-speak, that means a Protestant Bible belt-type fundamentalist and extreme rightwinger (ie disbeliever in central government control of economic and social affairs). The only trouble is that Mardell is just wrong: Santorum is a straight down the line Roman Catholic. He may share certain views with American evangelicals: he’s anti-Obama, anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion, among other things. Well, so am I, but that doesn’t make me an evangelical Christian, Mr Mardell (oh, and don’t for heaven’s sake riposte, dear reader, that all Catholics ought to be evangelicals, that the Church should evangelise, that in that sense there’s nothing wrong etc etc. We know exactly what the BBC means by an evangelical Christian).

The details about Mr Santorum’s religious affiliation are right out there in the open. Just look him up in all the usual places. It is easy to discover from Wikipedia, for instance, that he usually attends a Latin Mass with his family (he has seven children, which ought to have given the game away even to the BBC) at St Catherine of Siena, Great Falls, Virginia, near Washington DC, a parish where it seems they take the sacraments seriously. They go in for regular adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; they announce on their website, under the heading “Sacrament of Holy Matrimony”, that “couples must contact a priest and begin preparation at least six months prior to the wedding” and that “living together before marriage is sinful and harmful to future marriage. Couples who are living together will be asked to live separately during the preparation time.”

This policy no doubt has the support of the parish’s best-known parishioner. Santorum is clearly well known as a committed Catholic who has made it clear that he is 100 per cent in support of the Magisterium. He is involved in the affairs of his Church. He and his wife are, inter alia, a Knight and Dame of Magistral Grace of the Knights of Malta.

I don’t know if he’s a member of Opus Dei, but he obviously supports it: in 2002 he spoke in Rome at a centenary celebration of the birth of St Josemaría Escrivá. In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter on that occasion, Santorum said (controversially it seems, though why I’m not sure) that the distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, espoused by President John F Kennedy, had caused “great harm in America”.

“All of us have heard people say [he declared] ‘I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it’s not right for somebody else?’ It sounds good, but it is the corruption of freedom of conscience.” He had, specifically, been critical of Teddy Kennedy’s support for a “woman’s right to choose” abortion; and as a result was attacked by Kennedy himself, in the US Senate, for his bigotry. I have to say that he sounds to me like something of a good egg.

He has “surged” to his present prominence from nowhere. Can he keep it up? According to the Guardian, which today accorded him a lengthy profile,

He bet everything on Iowa, spending more time in the state than any other candidate and holding more than 250 events. Even two weeks ago, it looked like a gamble unlikely to pay off. But, as caucus day approached, Santorum finally began to rise as the conservatives and evangelicals he had courted so strongly flocked to his side.

Now Santorum has a chance to carve out a niche where so many have failed and become the sole conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney.

“It is very difficult to do what Rick Santorum did. It is very impressive. There is no doubt about it,” said Pat Griffin, a political expert at St Anselm College in New Hampshire and a former adviser to a string of top Republican candidates, including George W Bush.

But now Santorum has finally persuaded the spotlight of the Republican race to shine on him, he has to be prepared for what it will find. What it reveals is one of the most socially conservative figures in the race who wears his Roman Catholicism firmly on his sleeve. Santorum takes a hardline on issues like gay marriage and abortion and has frequently courted controversy with the level of extremism [sic] that he is willing to express. It also makes him an odd man out in a race in which social issues have figured rarely in favour of a more widespread voter concern about job creation and the economy.

Mitt Romney has more money, and better name recognition: but the “religious right” doesn’t like Romney’s support for abortion or his Mormonism (neither do I; creepy, if you ask me). And even if Santorum were by some miracle to capture the Republican nomination, he then has to take on Obama, who, though a failed president, is a legendary campaigner and has (also, surely, creepy in a time of recession) one billion dollars to campaign with. Everyone says the New Hampshire Republicans won’t take to Mr Santorum: but who knows? According to a news report on the ABC website, he was warmly received at a packed first speech in the state, and

“The Santorum campaign has raised one million dollars in the last 24 hours and the former Pennsylvania senator told the audience that the amount doubled what they have brought in this entire campaign. An aide said the money was almost all small dollar contributions.”

Obama, don’t forget, originally came from nowhere. Santorum is still an outsider, but the Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power, says that his odds have dramatically improved. According to the Washington Times, Mr Santorum saw his standing improve in the past day, going from 14-1 odds Tuesday morning to win the GOP’s nomination to 11-1 odds by Wednesday, good enough for second best.

Texas Rep Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who previously had second- and third-best odds, now have dropped to third and fourth – Mr Paul tumbling from 7-1 to 14-1, and Mr Gingrich dropping from 8-1 to 16-1.

Paddy Power now lists Mr Santorum with second-best odds to win New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday – a stunning turnaround for someone who has barely registered in polls taken there all last year.

The one thing you can say about American politics is that nothing’s certain, even for those who – unlike me and Mark Mardell – really do know what they’re talking about. That’s what makes the whole thing so endlessly fascinating, even to those safely on this side of the big pond.

  • Jack H

    Fristly Dr Oddie, Mark Mardell is the BBC’s America corospondent NOT its religious affiars corrospondent and to be fair evengelicals are synonomous with the religous right so its an easy mistake to make

    2ndly on Monday’s newsnight Mr Santourum expresed to the BBC reporter that he thinks that the creation of the NHS was the factor the preceptitated the fall of the British Empire, nevermind the fact that the country was bankrupt after WWII, that we simply didn’t have the resources to fight a war to retain control of all our colonies (France the Netherlands tried and failed), that the Attlee government reasoned that having fought a war against the Nazi’s that it would be somewhat hypocritical of the British government to deny its subjects the right of self-determinaton  and that many of our former colonnies actually wanted to be indipendant  ect ect ect.  It would appear his knowledge of foreign affairs is as limited as herman cains, I do not know everything about Sherman’s March to the sea but I do at least understand SOME of the factors that lead to the American Civil War (I am 23).

    Also Mr Santourum is a neo-con of the worst order, he thinks people who can’t get healthcare insurance  should be left to die, that bombing Iran, torture and the like are good an wholesome family values ect ect,  as Mark Shea has said on his blog, opposition to abortion doth not wash away the sins of the world.

    Although I disagree with him on many issues Ron Paul is the only candidate who I can have an inkling of respect for, the others are just complete morons who make Obama look compotent as a President

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for a brilliant, informative article.

    I knew nothing about Mr Santorum before but the prospect of having a committed Catholic in such a high profile post is an extremely exciting one. We should pray for him.

    As for the BBC, I totally agree there too. Every time I have had inside knowledge of something the secular media has reported, I have found myself realising just how many basic facts they have got wrong. One of many examples is the priest abuse scandals. Though, of course, a lot of priests did a lot of bad stuff (which I would never want to play down) the fact is that only 0.4% of priests in England & Wales stand accused of anything. The fact also remains that, taken worldwide, priests are no more likely to abuse than teachers, doctors, parents etc etc. Facts you will never ever hear from the BBC!

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    No, it is not an easy mistake to make. It is a stupid careless mistake to make. And evangelicals are NOT synonymous with the religious right. If you have to use labels, at least use them correctly. And thanks, Dr Oddie, for a brilliant and claer exposition of this problem, namely the BBC’s religious illiteracy.

  • John Lagrue

    So let me understand this: you base an entire article on *your* interpretation of a two-word phrase? If you bothered actually to listen to what Mardell said it would be perfectly clear that he does know what he’s talking about and his summary of Santorum seems pretty fair and accurate.

  • David Armitage

    What I saw on BBC  TV was clear enough. Mr. Santorum prays first thing every morning, and that is why “I am where I am, and I thank God*. So if he is elected we should all thank God. God help us!  Fortunately all American politicians try to confuse us by invoking God for pretty well everything and the more discerning of us dismiss it as bovine product for roses. Qui habitat in coelis irridebit eos….et in furore suo conturbabit eos. What a relief

  • W Oddie

    I DID actually listen to what Mardell said. That’s why i wrote the article.

  • Romulus

    Jack H, you are making us Ron Paul supporters look bad.  To begin with, the man’s name is spelled: Santorum.  Second, Mr. Mardell is a big boy.  He shouldn’t put his name to a story if he lacks the competence to cover the subject.  Perhaps he should be covering politics in North Korea, where religion doesn’t come into it. 

  • Jack H

    Sorry Romulus,  I was typing very quickly and didn’t have time to proof read as I urgently needed to get ready for an appointment

  • Jack H

    Well Father I am a navive soul and believe (generally) in giving people the benefit of the doubt if they make a mistake, particularly if it is in an area where they might be a little out of their depth.

    As for Evangelicals being synonymous with the religious right I stand corrected, they ARE the religious right, along with a few Catholics who are with the Holy Father on matters of sexual morality but ignore those parts of Rerum Novarum that they don’t like.  For the most part these are a bunch of sanctimonious, hypocritical lot who could talk about justice until the last day, but seemed to have skiped the parts where Our Lord talks about being merciful.

    The Hypocracy of these people astounds me and makes me ashamed to be both a Catholic Christian, these people were the reason that I stayed outside of the Church for so long.

    You want to argue that they are not the religious right, then be my guest, however I am sure that as a Priest you have much more importent things to do than argue with a laymen on this issue.

    As for those who say Mr Santorum prays every morning let me say this, Praying does not automatically make you a good person and most certainly does not qualify you be POTUS,  John Calvin prayed on a regular basis as did Martin Luther, Osama bin Laden, Elizabeth 1st ect ect

  • David Lindsay

    Would I welcome an Opus Dei President of the United States? Yes, but not this one.
     
    It looks as if it might be time to draft Bob Casey as Obama’s Vice-Presidential nominee, since Casey has a proven record of beating Santorum, and really does understand the key role of the State in defending family values against capitalism, as defined by, in and as Catholic Social Teaching.
     
    Santorum has mistaken neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy for the Faith. He would do fine in Britain, where only people who have made that mistake are permitted to present themselves as orthodox Catholics, the task of certifying the same have been arrogated to a practising homosexual of that mind.

  • John Bowles

    But you think Anglican Evangelicals are really cool and that Catholics should try and imitate them. That’s what you said in your blog last year anyway.

  • Brian A. Cook

    I’m sorry, but there are too many issues surrounding Santorum for me to back him in good consciences.  When I summarized my concerns, I was attacked and dismissed.  In fairness, though, I may have had a bad choice of words.  May I contribute this link to the discussion?

    http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/fplaction/the-catholic-case-against-rick-santorum/

  • theroadmaster

    It is heartening to see a genuine Catholic candidate for the US presidency who does not wear his religious beliefs on his sleeve and refuses to go down the well trodden road which too many politicians have used in the past and present to compartmentalize Faith into private and public spheres.  This sends a clear signal that Mr Santorum intends to remain consistent in his utterances and voting record regarding issues which impinge on his strongly-held Catholic views.  This of course sets him up as a very prominent target for the sniggering leftist correspondents in the audio, televisual and print media sectors.  Mr Mardell’s piece was reflective of such a bias but this will not deter the campaign of this very able candidate from gathering apace as we go further into the US Republican Primaries season. 

  • Sue Sims

    It’s going off topic, as it’s nothing to do with the BBC’s presentation of Santorum, but it’s worth looking at Melanie Phillips:

    http://melaniephillips.com/into-the-jungle-with…a-blancmange

  • Poppy Tupper

    It is NEVER worth looking at Melanie Phillips.

  • http://profiles.google.com/liamronan49 Liam Ronan

    I was born and raised in Pennsylvania before retiring and moving to Ireland. Rick Santorum is a good Catholic man animated by a genuine Catholic ethic. There may be times he seems liberal on issues involving the need to care for the neediest in society. There are times when he will ‘tell it like it is’ bluntly and charitably. He is intelligent, articulate, and commands a good grasp of world and national issues.
    I do not find the BBC to be reliable or accurate in its reportage generally and do not expect they will have a change of philosophy when reporting on Rick Santorum. 

  • Anonymous

    Many Catholics in the US *are* “Evangelical Christians” – or as they call themselves, “Evangelical Catholics”. Maybe Mark Mardell is better-informed about the religious scene in the US than may at first appear; given that the notion of  “Evangelical Catholicism” is not as familiar or as long established as some others.

    “In BBC-speak, that means a Protestant Bible belt-type fundamentalist and extreme rightwinger (ie disbeliever in central government control of economic and social affairs).”

    In the US, that is very often what the term “Evangelical Christian” means. The Christian taxonomy of the US is not interchangeable with that in the UK, any more than the political taxonomies of the two are. Quite what most self-styled “faithful Catholics” would think of UK Catholicism is anyone’s guess – though a lot of them seem to think of the UK as a God-forsaken wilderness inhabited by hordes of Muslims. Since a lot of US Christians think of the US as uniquely Christian & uniquely democratic – unlike us God-forsaken barbarian cannibal zombies in Yerupland – this is understandable.

  • Anonymous

    “What I saw on BBC  TV was clear enough. Mr. Santorum prays first thing
    every morning, and that is why “I am where I am, and I thank God*. So if
    he is elected we should all thank God.”

    ## What bad logic LOL. JFK was hailed as a Catholic president – his legacy was not exactly flawless, to say the least. Why should a President Santorum be any better ? I’m sure Judas Iscariot prayed. Good luck trying to argue that “exteme rendition” & carpet-bombing civilians is right: but neo-con Catholics were quite happy with both activities. A Catholic was head of the CIA  – are we to think that he had nothing to do with its nastier activities ? And if he did, what good is the Catholic label ? It was a member of Opus Dei, Robert Hanssen, who sold his country’s secrets to the USSR-Russia  for 22 years – he was extremely lucky not to get the death penalty, and has been sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Ante Pavelic, the puppet dictator of Croatia during WW2, a Catholic, had his own chapel – & he presided over one of the bloodiest persecutions of modern times, which killed at least 700,000 Serbs. That is how useless the fact that a Catholic prays can be. So it could be argued that praying every morning is a sign that one is very bad man. Cruelty to men & prayer to God too often go together for the fact that someone prays to mean anything. As Fr. R. A. Knox wrote in “Enthusiasm” 60 years ago, “a man may pray and pray, and be a hypocrite”.

    Santorum is almost certainly a flash in the pan anyway, like Newt “family values” Gingrich. (Doubtless he too prays.) Jesus told his followers not to parade their piety & to pray in secret to God their Father. Prayer is cheap if there is no doing good behind it.   

  • http://profiles.google.com/liamronan49 Liam Ronan

    I don’t know what the basis is for your assertion that: ”
    Many Catholics in the US *are* “Evangelical Christians” – or as they call themselves, “Evangelical Catholics”. 
    I was born a Catholic, raised a Catholic, and lived in the United States for 62 years and, with the exception of a bare handful of Catholics caught up in the ‘Jesus Movement’ of the 70s, I am wholly unacquainted with any species (much less many) of Evangelical Catholics.

  • GFFM

    I can assure you that Santorum will be savaged for his Catholicism by the American press. It’s already starting and will only get much uglier. Just look up Alan Colmes and Eugene Robinson’s cruel comments concerning the death of Santorum baby in 1996. The American press elite cannot abide an authentic Catholic in the race.

  • GFFM

    Ron Paul is a complete dolt–often factually wrong especially when it came to the cost of both wars. He is a foolish libertarian. Whatever you may think of Santorum, he is not a dolt and served well and without blemish as a senator from Pennsylvania. Finally, you let off Mardell too easily. Any journalist should know the basic, yes basic facts about a candidate. Give me a break.

  • Dieu_fractures

    I guess I must have missed the Sermon on the Mount bit about ‘blessed are the smug and arrogant’…

  • W Oddie

    On the contrary: melanie phillips is nearly always worth reading.

  • W Oddie

    Why is it that people like you can never spell hypocrisy correctly?

  • Anonymous

    The French journal Le Figaro which is supposed to be conservative had a rather nasty article about Santorum describing him as  a ‘religieux fondamentaliste’. In the context of the religious and theological illiteracy of most Western journalists, this means someone who is an orthodox believer.

  • Anonymous

    He can’t spell Santorum correctly either.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I liked her book The World Turned Upside Down which should be read by every Catholic reader here.

  • GFFM

    You clearly don’t know the difference between a practicing Catholic and an evangelical. Not surprising in this age of religious ignorance, especially amongst the cultural elite with the “right attitudes” and the press.

  • Sue Sims

    Melanie Phillips is a journalist, not an academic, and one can’t take all her assertions as gospel. However, she does tend to get the broad picture right. ‘All Must Have Prizes’, for instance, has numerous errors of facts, such as dates and sequences of events – but the educational culture she’s describing, with its emphasis on self-esteem and empathy rather than knowledge is one I’ve taught in since 1975, and she hits the nail on the head so many times that I can ignore the odd crooked pin. I would interested to know why ‘Poppy Tupper’ dismisses Ms Phillips with such airy confidence.

  • Jerome Quigley

    One correction here is needed.    Mit Romney was at one time pro abortion but from all accounts he is now pro life and he is sincere about this.   Apparantly he consulted with Doctors and honestly studied the issue which made him change his mind.   But I agree that Santorum has the best Catholic Position.   Newt Gingrge a new convert to Catholicism, but he seems far less reliable making many mistakes even up to recenlty by taking contrary Catholic positions such as when life begins.   He stated but then later corrected himself that life begins at implantation.   Newt is married in the Church but he was unfaithful to two previous women (marriages annuled), he seems more flakey.

  • Jerome Quigley

    I have one more comment.  I was always puzzled by the word “evangelical” but have learned that it is defined in America (my home), as meaning one who is Bible believing.   Many very faithful solid as a rock American Catholics who believe and iterpret the Bible as the Church does, are not bothered by being called Evangelical Catholics, believing the Bible in the same way that our Holy Mother Church does not literally in the Protestant sense but in the Catholic sense.   An example is Fr. Benedict Groeschel a much loved Catholic priest here in America, I have heard him refer to himself as an Evangelical Catholic.

  • The Moz

    Don’t believe a thing the BBC tells you about Rick.

  • South Saxon

    The Kim family cult in North Korea seems to have some of the characteristics of a religion.

  • Parasum

    The basis is what I’ve heard from some of them.  I’m not surprised you’ve not heard of them – I did say that “the notion of  “Evangelical Catholicism” is not as familiar or as long established as some others”. They are sufficiently numerous to be objected to by Ulster Protestants: I have a pamphlet by one, complaining that they have no right to call themselves Evangelical :)

    I didn’t know until a few months ago that there were “Hebrew Catholics” in the US - the Catholic scene seems to be very varied.

  • Parasum

    Take a look at this then –  http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/

    This Catholic weblog: 

    http://timhollingworth.blogspot.com/2009/12/jewel-of-website.html

    even has a link to that site 

  • Anonymous

    You’re making that stuff up.

    US media doesn’t call any Catholic politicians like Santorum “Evangelical Christians”.

    Santorum isn’t an “Evangelical Catholic”, whatever that may be, and in the US the term “Evangelical Christian” means exactly that – evangelical protestants, generally defined as opposed to mainline protestants.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t know Santorum’s record too well.

    He was an ardent follower of “compassionate conservatism” and has supported pretty much every expansion of welfare and big government programs as a Senator.

  • Anonymous

    The idea that Southern conservative protestants have a problem with Romney’s mormonism is a myth – Gallup’s poll showed that the large majority of the people who have a problem with a mormon as a president are… liberal democrats. Plus, Mitt Romney is not pro-choice; cursory visit to his website or wikipedia page would quickly enlighten you.

    I also find your qualification of Mr. Romney’s faith as creepy kind of… creepy. As a Catholic, I still remember when Catholicism was thought as creepy by a fairly large percentage of the American voters. And, in some margins, it still is. You, Sir, are a bigot.

  • Anonymous

    “You’re making that stuff up.”

    ## Just go to the links I provided in answer to GFFM’s post. 

    “US media doesn’t call any Catholic politicians like Santorum “Evangelical Christians”.”

    ## Did I say that they did ? Evangelical Catholics OTOH do use the label. As those links show.  A search on the words “US media Evangelical Catholics” brought up several US media sites that use the phrase “Evangelical Catholics”: such as this:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/272258/rise-evangelical-catholic-bishops-george-weigel?page=2

    The article is by George Weigel, & dates from last year. Since Weigel is a Catholic, & a journalist in the US who has often written in Catholic issues, it is at least likely that he knows what he is talking about. 

    Or there is this article:

    http://www.getreligion.org/2011/07/conservative-vatican-hardliner-or-evangelical-catholic-bishop/

    Or this weblog: http://evangelicalcatholicism.wordpress.com/

    which has the motto: “EVANGELICAL to emphasize the Gospel of Jesus Christ. CATHOLIC to embody that emphasis.”

    This article, by a US Catholic deacon, one Greg Kundra:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2011/08/evangelical-catholicism/

    explains the term, quoting an article by John Allen which can be found in full here:

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/big-picture-world-youth-day-it%E2%80%99s-evangelicals-stupid

    Allen may not be everyone’s cup of tea, any more than Weigel is, but they can hardly be dismissed as ignorant of their jobs.

    Weigel & Allen are not exactly carbon copies of one another – yet they both use the term “Evangelical Catholic”, in the same sense. It might not be true to say that the term “Evangelical Catholic” is very widely known in the way that “Evangelical Christian” is – but neither is it so obscure that no Catholics have ever heard of it. We are all at the mercy of the defects of our sources of information – so how is it surprising if some people have never heard of what is familiar to others ?

    Two Protestant objections to Evangelical Catholics:

    http://www.takeheed.net/Assorted_Articles/Ecumenism/lcc.htm

    The opening sentence is: “The latest ploy to involve ‘Evangelical Catholics’ as full ‘partners’ and ‘participants’ in mainstream so-called Evangelical Mission efforts is being progressively launched over the next months through a series of
    video presentations and talks in various locations around Northern
    Ireland.”

    And there is also this:

    http://www.corkfpc.com/evangelicalcatholics.html

    “Santorum isn’t an “Evangelical Catholic””

    ## Did I say he was, or even that he claimed to be ? I was talking about a comment made by Mark Mardell, who is quoted as using the phrase “evangelical Christian”, & I was defending what Mardell said in a response  to a criticism of it by Dr. Oddie.

    “…in the US the term “Evangelical Christian” means exactly that –
    evangelical protestants, generally defined as opposed to mainline
    protestants. ”

    ## No doubt – but the term some people seem to think is non-existent, or invented, is not “Evangelical Christian”, but “Evangelical Catholic”. Evangelical Christians are Protestants – does it follow that Catholic Christians are not evangelical, or cannot be described as “Evangelical Catholics” ? Christians be evangelical without being Evangelical – the written word distinguishes; the spoken word tends not to. As your words show.

    Dr.Oddie quotes Mardell’s use of the word “*E*vangelical” as though it were written in upper-case – which would suggest Mardell thought Santorum was Protestant, as the article says. But if Mardell meant Santorum was an *e*vangelical Christian – that means something different; & is perfectly compatible with Santorum’s being Catholic.  But if the broadcast was heard, & if Dr. Oddie never saw the script, should the *E* be capitalised – or, should it be in lower-case, as an *e* ? If he hasn’t seen it, then his capital *E* in the quotation of Mardell’s words in the CH article is an editorial decision that may not represent what Mardell intended.

    Santorum is not an* E*vangelical Christian – that is no bar to his being an *e*vangelical Christian, who is a Catholic. I prefer to assume that Mardell knew exactly what he was talking about, and that in this matter the BBC may be less ill-informed than some suppose them to be. If words can be given a benign interpretation that does not put the person saying them in a bad light, then surely they should be given that interpretation. 

    Catholics might not be *E*vangelical Catholics, & they won’t be Evangelical Protestants (AKA Evangelicals); but how does that stop us being *e*vangelical Catholics  – & even from calling ourselves, as some Catholics do, Evangelical Catholics ? Catholics might not be *E*vangelicals, but should, surely, be *e*vangelical.
     
    Those earlier links again:

    http://timhollingworth.blogspot.com/2009/12/jewel-of-website.html

    http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/

  • https://openid.org/locutus LocutusOP

    The most important thing for non-Americans is that he is yet another war monger, and I’ve followed the campaign long enough not to be able to fool myself of otherwise.

    Is it too much to ask for a prominent Catholic politician who actually believes the Church’s teaching that we are all made in God’s image regardless of the passport we hold?

    With the honourable and noteworthy exception of the unborn amongst us, the world will be no safer with him in charge than with the incumbent, although we can be happy that he at least respects the magisterium on social policy and will not be pushing an aggressive anti-morality agenda on poorer nations.

    If he falls in line on just war principles, and respect for the lives of people from other nations, then I’ll be happy to claim that “that he is 100 per cent in support of the Magisterium”….Until then I’ll regard him as just another one of those from the ‘pick-and-choose’ branch. The fact that he has chosen to fall in line on social policy – where most reject the Church’s teachings – does not mean we should be sanctifying him.

  • David Lindsay

    He says that his opposition to contraception is following the Magisterium. So it is. Now, how about his views on foreign policy?

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.tanous Matthew Tanous

    While not a Catholic myself, I would think that any Catholic that does not subscribe to the Just War principles would be in violation of the Church’s teachings, and thus not “100 percent in support of the Magisterium”.  

  • Believer

    You have to be careful when you run up against the ‘wise and learned’. Luke 10:21.

  • maryp

    Thanks for this great article. Here on the ground in the US mid-west, people (that is faithful Catholic people) are pretty excited about Rick Santorum. Thanks be to God Obama appears to have shot himself in the foot over contraception (and the rest) in his Obarmycare. It seems that even luke-warm Catholics are annoyed with him now – let’s hope annoyed enough not to honor him with their vote this time round. All in God’s hands.

  • pbecke

    American voting machines have a strange life of their own, and are prone to contradict the voter trying to register his vote. Almost censorious in their demeanour towards those they perceive as errant voters.