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& GOP Catholics Back Santorum

Just as in the case of the group Catholic Democrats whaling on Sen. Santorum, it is not really very surprising to find our friends at CatholicVote.org endorsing Santorum's candidacy.

"Republicans hoping to win back the White House in November must unite behind the candidate most dedicated to the foundational issues of faith, family and freedom," the group's statment concludes. "If the GOP hopes to defeat President Obama, it takes a Rick Santorum to get it done." The rest of their statement of support is equally fulsome in its praise of Santorum.

What bothers me a bit about this endorsement, and about the Catholic Democrats' attack on Santorum, and indeed about most groups that put both their denomination and their party affiliation at the heart of their work, is this: Shouldn't there be at least one issue on which it is a person's job as a faithful Catholic to disagree with the tenets of their political party? Neither political party is going to bring on the eschaton. The Democrats are afflicted with libertarian foolishness from the left regarding issues of sex and marriage and, increasingly, isolationist foolishness, while the GOP is beset by libertarian foolishness from the right on economic issues and, increasingly, isolationist foolishness too. The relationship between
libertarianism and isolationism can wait for another day.

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But, one's job as a citizen, and vocation as a Catholic, is not only to defend one's political party in the public square but to challenge one's political party when it falls short of the high moral vision that is at the heart of the Church's teachings on the dignity of life, the dignity of work, the absolute claim the poor have on our society, our disposition towards peaceful rather than bellicose solutions to world problems, stewardship of creation, etc. I think politico-religious groups should spend at least half their time working within their own political parties and the other half hashing it out in the public square. They would have more credibility.

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September 12-25, 2014

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