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Archive for April 11th, 2012

Night Night Santorum

From sea to shining sea, Catholic conservatives are crying in their beer.

Rick Santorum announced yesterday that he was suspending his campaign. This is puzzling, given the fact that he went from nowhere man to leading contender against Mr Inevitable Rich Guy. He claims to be stepping aside for family reasons, and  this may be true; his young daughter was just hospitalized, again. But working from the principle that a politician’s words can rarely be taken at face value, one has to wonder. It was reported that he met with Mitt Romney right before the announcement. Did Romney promise him something? The Vice Presidency, perhaps, or a cabinet position? Or did he present him with a poll showing that he was going to lose his home state of Pennsylvania, which would pretty much sink his career in politics?

We’ll never know, but I for one would much rather see the standard-bearer for preemptive war, torture, hostility to immigrants, and assassination as foreign policy be a heretical polytheist than a very public Catholic.

Speaking of Santorum, I received the latest Ignatius Press catalog in the mail last week and saw that they have published two books, one by Mr Santorum and the other by his wife. I haven’t read them, so I will assume that they are mostly  innocuous, though I’d be surprised if they did not carry a heavy dose of Rightist ideology; Mr S’s is titled “It Takes a Family”, a not so subtle slap at Mrs Clinton’s notion that it takes a village. And I’d be surprised if the book questioned the unnaturalness of the “nuclear family”, an aberration from traditional notions of the extended family.

But I was struck by the fact that Ignatius would publish a work by someone who notoriously dissents from the mind of the Church on so many issues. Yes, of course, Santorum is good on the issues of abortion and the like. But he also has proclaimed a war against “Radical Islam”, and has called the assassination of an Iranian scientist, the father of young children, “wonderful”. He has supported the preemptive wars that the Vatican has condemned. He thinks torture is just fine. However much he may tow the line on sexual issues, shouldn’t such views disqualify him from being published by an “orthodox” Catholic publisher?

Marquette University professor Dan Maguire is capable of articulating Catholic social doctrine faithfully. Would Ignatius publish a book that he wrote, despite the fact that he is also a notorious apologist for abortion and homosexuality? The question answers itself.

But this is nothing new for Ignatius Press. It’s founder, Fr Joseph Fessio SJ, once worked with and published the English language  monthly 30 Days of the Italian lay movement Communio et Liberacione, until, that is, that movement sided with the Pope and denounced the first American Gulf War in 1991. Fessio suspended publication, and started his own monthly, one that was faithful to American imperial interests.

In other words, publishing Santorum’s work is about what one would expect from the American conservative Catholic subculture. 

At least Santorum’s exit means that we no longer have as prominent a representative of that subculture in the public eye.

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The Experts Speak

“Catholic social doctrine is indispensable for officeholders.” – Congressman Paul Ryan

“The virtue of chastity is indispensable for publishers of men’s magazines.” -Hugh Hefner

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