Skip to content

“Rick Santorum Is Not A Catholic, But A Papist”, Supports Opus Dei, Regnum Christi

March 5, 2012

About two weeks ago I asked someone who follows the religious aspect to Rick Santorum if there had been any rumblings about the candidate and Opus Dei.  There is that fringe element to Santorum on the stump and in speeches and interviews that just hits all the wrong buttons, so one wonders how off-beat his religion is taking him.

This weekend some nuggets were unveiled in The New York Times, along with a damning statement by none other than a well-respected Catholic leader, Garry Wills, a cultural historian and professor emeritus at Northwestern University.

The Santorums’ beliefs are reflected in a succession of lifestyle decisions, including eschewing birth control, home schooling their younger children and sending the older boys to a private academy affiliated with Opus Dei, an influential Catholic movement that emphasizes spiritual holiness.     

###

Mr. Santorum has been a supporter of Regnum Christi, the lay wing of a conservative, cultish order of priests known as the Legion of Christ. In 2003, he was the keynote speaker at a Regnum Christi event in Chicago that drew protesters because the group’s charismatic founder, who had spent years denying that he had sexually abused seminarians, was scheduled to share the podium.       

The founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, did not show up, but critics faulted Mr. Santorum for agreeing to appear at the group’s forum. “He was certainly lending them legitimacy,” said Jason Berry, a documentary filmmaker and the author of a book about Father Maciel.       

Many Catholics take issue with Mr. Santorum’s approach to their faith. Mr. Santorum, polls show, has lost the Catholic vote in every primary contest so far, some by wide margins.       

###

Garry Wills, a cultural historian and professor emeritus at Northwestern University, is among many Catholics whose touchstone is the Second VaticanCouncil from 1962-65, which opened up Catholicism to the modern era and proclaimed that the church is its people, not just the pope and his bishops.       

“Santorum is not a Catholic, but a papist,” Mr. Wills said in an e-mail.     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: