Monday, January 02, 2012

The Santorum forum pt IV: why "brave-hearts" must speak out

Reprinted on Spero News and RenewAmerica.
For Zion's sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch. -Isaiah 62:1 (the opening verse of the First Reading at Christmas Eve Mass)
It is interesting to note that...our evangelical Protestant brothers and sisters are often quick to mention Jesus as the force behind their athletic success [while] Catholics have been reluctant to credit Christ when the mikes are on and the cameras are rolling...Perhaps therein lies the source of the dilemma; although Catholic athletes do see--and readily accept--the reality that sports figures are role models, their humility also reminds them of the far greater truth, that they are not yet saints. -from the Introduction of my book Champions of Faith: Catholic Sports Heroes Tell Their Stories
Freedom! -William "Braveheart" Wallace

On New Year's Eve, my colleague (and friend), Matt C. Abbott, and I both ran political columns on the Iowa primary; mine unabashedly for Rick Santorum, Matt neutral as usual. Now before I state my case for "not being silent," I have to admit there are many solid journalistic (and even Christian) reasons for not taking sides.

Matt, with his neutral journalism, is far more likely to get a paying job (neither Spero News nor RenewAmerica offer any financial compensation for our efforts) at the fewer and fewer media outlets that compensate columnists, while my prophetic, burning-bridges style of writing makes my hire far less likely. And, not only could a neutral Abbott do a world of good at, say, the Chicago Sun Times, in the meantime I'll wager he gets far fewer nasty letters and cyber threats. Also, by taking the neutral stance, Matt doesn't have to worry if a candidate messes up, for whether it is praising an athlete or endorsing a candidate, any misstep by your "hero" drags your name down a little too. And finally, Matt's Catholic humility reminds him that unless or until he himself is a saint (and can see into a man's soul) how can he (especially in the light of three prominent pro-life Catholic priests falling from grace in just the past year) possibly recommend another's integrity...especially when promoting them as the leader of the Free World? And yet, as persuasive as these arguments once were, at a time when we must elect someone who must not only defeat, but reverse the policies of a man Catholic novelist Michael D. O'Brien called "the spirit of the anti-Christ...the most effective advocate of the murder of the unborn ever in America," they must no longer keep us from speaking out.

Knowing Matt as a journalist who does his homework, I have no reason to doubt him when he calls the twelve subjects in his recent column "orthodox Catholics." However, judging from the comments of the majority of these interviewees, if the knowledge of their faith is as low as their grasp of the issues, we will soon be a country dominated by Mormons and Muslims. At least Peter Crumley admits he is "not...well nuance[d]" about the candidates' pro-life positions when he falls back on the old mainstream media practice (as opposed to a decision based on Catholic doctrine) of picking the lukewarm "lifer" Romney because "he has the best chance to beat Obama." On the other hand, Carlos Casa-Rosendi's cynical "I [actually] hope both parties lose" endorsement of Perry is both un-Christian and un-informed considering the several candidates who have come out in defense of the unborn. Meanwhile, William Grossklas must be watching too much pro-Paul propaganda (as opposed to reading encyclicals) if he believes the "mad doctor's" deserting our human rights allies (such as Israel) or abandoning the unborn to "states rights" (no doubt Dr. Paul would have allowed the South to secede over slavery) is in line with Papal teaching.

Still, I reserve my harshest criticism for Judie Brown. As the president of the American Life League, I suppose she, like the bishops, cannot endorse a specific candidate for fear of losing her organization's tax-exempt status. Although like Randall Terry (the radical convert-to-Catholicism who has been in the pro-life battle as long as Brown) I now think it best for the Church to junk its TE status so they can really tell the faithful how to vote instead of beat around the "Bush" (pun-intended), Brown still should know better than to answer Abbott's question by her cop-out endorsement of "God and his power versus the partisan rhetoric and gobbledygook that is undermining" the right to life.

Does Brown not realize, given her status as a pro-life leader, that if she doesn't at least say something to the effect that "there are several fairly good pro-life candidates" instead of lumping them all into the moralless morass of "partisan rhetoric gobbledygook," she is not only opening the way for less informed Catholics to vote for the lukewarm-life Republicans, but even the pro-abortion Obama, whose smooth "I, too am for fewer abortions" rhetoric convinced thousands of confused Catholics to vote for him in 2008? Say what you will about Rick Santorum, but his authoring and sponsoring of the "Born Alive Infants Protection Act" was not "partisan rhetoric," and his opposition to all abortions, as demonstrated by Rick and his wife Karen "authoring" and raising seven wonderful children, including the severely handicapped but extremely happy Bella, is far from "gobbledygook."

I guess this is the point in my article where I make my "Braveheart" speech, the one in which William Wallace asks Robert the Bruce (played for the moment by colleague Matt Abbott) to unite the clans to fight for Scotland--or stand up for Santorum as the current quest for freedom calls for. The reasons why not to are legion; even my Spero News editor, Martin Barillas (based on his time working the GOP), says he doesn't think Santorum can win, although (based upon his experience with me) added "[b]ut [perhaps] the point [is] to fight even if we don't believe we can win, if only to be a witness." THANK GOD we (despite the interference of the present administration) still have forums like RenewAmerica and Spero News where we can openly witness to the faith...and its champions. All the more reason to champion our champions on these sites while there's still time.

I presented my athletic "champions of faith" as "imperfect heroes still striving for the heroic virtue that will make them champions on the next level, that is, heaven." Even Santorum's relatively few mistakes compared to the other candidates were made in this striving--including Rick's controversial support of Arlen Specter (not unlike Wallace's for the Bruce) which was based on a (false) premise that Specter's promise to support Bush's pro-life Supreme Court nominees--which he did--would carry over to the rest of Bush's pro-life agenda--which it did not.

Meanwhile,"winner" Mitt Romney's whole campaign, the Kennedy-esque promise that his faith won't influence his policies, is based on a false premise; either Mormonism isn't meaningful to him, as he always stated it was, or his quirky religion will influence his decisions, and his motto becomes a lie. It is too soon to know if Newt's new-found Catholicism will keep him from his former pattern of adultery, and too late for Paul's outer-space theories of governing to return to earth. If Bachmann and Perry can stop belittling Santorum (and each other) and unite behind the people's choice of Christian conservative, the former Senator from Pennsylvania still has a shot at Pennsylvania Avenue. And if the Catholic abbots (and Abbotts) of the world would only endorse him, I'd say Obama's pro-death agenda no longer stands a chance.

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Rick Santorum.com
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3 comments :

Paul E. Rondeau said...

Tom,

Thanks for engaging and rooting for Catholic values in the political process. However, it is someitmes easier to blog about endorsements and such things than do them.

Just this last week, we have had supporters withhold donations because we would not endorse Ron Paul. Meanwhile, you describe his theories as from outer space.

Judie is attacked both for not being compromising enough and of being too critical of those who are.

Perhaps you do not notice that your own attack on Judie Brown for not endorsing the candidate about whom you feel strongly is the sort of rhetoric which is not helpful.

We can all rest assured that Judie and the ALL gang will be voting for pro-life candidates. However, endorsing one is neither brave nor smart when Judie has 25 people working full time trying to save lives in 50 states and endorsing candidates is illegal for a 501(c)(3).

I know Senator Santorum and he is a fine man. If he is your guy, work hard for him.

Take a look a Judie's new book at BrokenPathBook.com if you want a good insight into Church and politics.

Paul E. Rondeau, M.A.M.
Executive Director
ALL.org

Tom O'Toole said...

Paul,

Thank you for your ALL-rooting and somewhat engaging response. I say somewhat because it appears you've only read some of my article.

While I did say it would be cool if the bishops and groups like ALL broke away from their tax-exempt status, I NEVER said that Judie should endorse one candidate. The quote reads ...

Does Brown not realize, given her status as a pro-life leader, that if she doesn't at least say something to the effect that "there are several fairly good pro-life candidates" instead of lumping them all into the moralless morass of "partisan rhetoric gobbledygook," she is not only opening the way for less informed Catholics to vote for the lukewarm-life Republicans, but even the pro-abortion Obama, whose smooth "I, too am for fewer abortions" rhetoric convinced thousands of confused Catholics to vote for him in 2008?

I stand by my statement that by not saying something positive, but by instead making her cynical "partisan rhetoric gobbledygook" (and you imply my Paul comment was flippant!) comment, Judie, in her position as ALL president, was irresponsible.

Perhaps she was having a bad day, or maybe she was in a hurry when Matt called, but Judie clearly dropped the pro-life voting ball, and unless she wants Barack Obama to pick it up and run with it, she'd better clarify herself quickly.

Regarding Dr. Paul, probably because you have not read many of my articles, you failed to grasp I often use humor and satire to make a point. While I am not the first to comment that Paul looks like he arrived from Mars (conservative talk show host Michael Medved has said far worse), not one economist takes his Gold Standard talk seriously, and when he speaks about legalizing pot, it's hard to not think he must be smoking some himself.

But seriously, Dr. Paul's failure to endorse ANY of the fine pro-life Supreme Court justices during the last debate must make the people at ALL gasp, and I believe the reason so many white extremists support Paul is because Ron's extreme states rights position does more to encourage prejudice than stop abortion.

Thanks you for admitting that Santorum is a fine man; I wish Judie would do the same concerning the true pro-life candidates. I would be glad to review Judie's book if you send me a copy.

God's grace & Mary's prayers,
Tom O'Toole

Tom O'Toole said...

From our mailbox, 1-4-12:

Tom & Jeanette:

Well it is a miracle of the Holy Innocents that Santorum pulled off a virtual tie in Iowa. The Republican elite will spend the day today declaring Romney a big winner and that it is all over. McCain will endorse Romney - which proves Romney is no good.

I think that fat lady just sat down...it isn't over yet.

Here is an article you could refer to in one of your posts....

Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report: Got $487.4M in Tax Money, Did 329,445 Abortions | CNSnews.com

Jim Aroo