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Santorum success in Iowa could shock establishment
By Kevin J. Jones
Former Senator Rick Santorum speaking at CPAC FL in Orlando, Fla. Credit: Gage Skidmore
Former Senator Rick Santorum speaking at CPAC FL in Orlando, Fla. Credit: Gage Skidmore

.- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s late surge in the polls ahead of the Iowa Caucuses is a sign that he may be “poised to shock the Republican Establishment,” a Catholic deacon and political commentator says.

“Is the Santorum campaign the political equivalent of the tortoise and the hare fable? Will ‘slow and steady win the race?’” asked Deacon Keith Fournier of the Diocese of Richmond, Va., who described himself as a friend of the former senator.

“The members of the mainstream media who had dismissed Santorum throughout the entire 2012 primary campaign are now covering his ascent,” Deacon Fournier wrote in a Jan. 3 column for Catholic Online. “Some even seem to have surrendered their dismissive arrogance. Even those who once treated his candidacy with condescension, cynicism and disdain are taking a second look.”

Polls suggest that Sen. Santorum will place among the top three in the Republican Party’s Iowa Caucuses, with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. A Dec. 26-27 poll from the North Carolina-based, Democratic Party-affiliated polling firm Public Policy Polling showed that 18 percent of likely caucus voters intend to vote for the former senator, a statistical tie with the other leaders.

In each precinct caucus, voters ask their friends and neighbors to support a preferred candidate, the Associated Press says. The caucuses are a non-binding straw poll that awards no delegates to the national convention, but the event is considered an important indicator of a candidate’s viability.

Deacon Fournier argued that Santorum’s surge is tied to him being “a refreshing example of moral coherence” who refuses to separate “social” and “moral” issues from economic and foreign policy issues.

He said Santorum does not accept the idea that morality should be “confined to the walls of one's home or house of worship.” Rather, the candidate insists that America as a nation is a “moral enterprise” and that the country will not remain free “without a good strong moral compass.”

The deacon cited Santorum’s April 28, 2011 speech in which the senator criticized the country’s loss of moral and political leadership. He also lamented a loss of hope in the United States, claiming that Americans are “bursting at the seams to have a leader who believes in them and our country again.”

Santorum, a Catholic father of seven, authored a regular column for Crisis Magazine and led the push to pass a partial-birth abortion ban that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. He served two terms in the U.S. Senate before losing his 2006 race to pro-life Democrat Bob Casey, Jr. by 59 to 41 percent.

Many observers blamed the loss on Santorum’s support for then-Sen. Arlen Specter, an incumbent Republican supporter of abortion rights, in the 2004 Republican primary against challenger Pat Toomey, who won the seat in the 2010 elections. His strong support for the Bush administration and for an interventionist foreign policy may also have been factors, as well as behind-the-scenes opposition from homosexual activists angered by his defense of marriage.

Santorum’s longtime pro-life stand contrasts with that of Romney, who publicly supported legal abortion  in his 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor. Romney’s handling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision which imposed same-sex “marriage” on the state has also drawn criticism.

In an October 2011 appearance on Fox News’ “Huckabee” show, Romney suggested he would support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would recognize the right to life from the moment of conception.

A Dec. 30 letter from individuals involved in Catholic and pro-family organizations in Massachusetts defended Romney, saying that he “shares our values.” Signatories to the letter included former U.S. Ambassadors to the Holy See Ray Flynn and Mary Ann Glendon as well as Gerald D. D’Avolio, former executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference.

Rep. Paul is pro-life and considers it a state issue. However, his remarks on marriage have drawn criticism from groups like the National Organization for Marriage. The organization says the staunch libertarian has previously suggested that civil marriage should be abolished altogether and has said that homosexuals should be allowed to “marry.”

The congressman has supported the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which protects states from being forced to recognize same-sex “marriages” contracted in other states and defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. However, he voted for the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring open homosexuals from the military.


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Apr
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April 18, 2014

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Jn 18:1 - 19:42

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First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

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Jn 18:1 - 19:42

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