Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why Catholics Don't Like Santorum


Republican Catholics cool so far to Rick Santorum

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., bows his head in prayer as he campaigns at a prayer breakfast in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Across all states where Republican primary voters were asked their religion in exit polls, Mitt Romney, a Mormon, trounced Santorum among Catholics, with an average margin of victory above 20 percentage points. Even in Southern states, where Romney has struggled, Catholics broke his way. Sunday, March 18, overwhelmingly Catholic Puerto Rico is holding its primary.

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., bows his head in prayer as he campaigns at a prayer breakfast in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Across all states where Republican primary voters were asked their religion in exit polls, Mitt Romney, a Mormon, trounced Santorum among Catholics, with an average margin of victory above 20 percentage points. Even in Southern states, where Romney has struggled, Catholics broke his way. Sunday, March 18, overwhelmingly Catholic Puerto Rico is holding its primary. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)


The Practical Buddhist Responds

In almost every state The Mitt beats Rick by 20 points with Catholics. But why? Romney's Mormon, Santorum's a Catholic who goes to Mass almost every day, fights abortion and same sex marriage.

Why do Catholics in big numbers take refuge in the LDS guy?

Santorum preaches a rigid, black and white moral view, with no room for nuance, much less for compromise, and he does it with the indignation that only a powerful white man can muster.  Catholic moral teaching is complex and thoughtful, and has always put justice for the poor and working for peace ahead of bedroom concerns.  A lot of Catholics who hear Santorum actually think he's an evangelical, and even more evangelicals think so.  

Santorum is not a mainstream Catholic. Average Catholics do not go to Mass every Sunday, do practice contraception, and the majority favor civil rights for gays. If a middle Catholic wants someone comfortable and familiar, they'll pick Mitt over Rick, and certainly over the other Catholic, Newt. 

Mainstream Catholics are also unconcerned about Mormonism. It's the evangelicals who deny Mormons are Christians and call them a cult. A generation or two ago, they were making the same claims about Catholics, and some still do. 

There really isn't any such thing as a Catholic vote any more, but if there were, it wouldn't go for Santorum.  He's way too far from center to attract the average Catholic.