Major Catholic group backs Santorum
January 5th, 2012
03:03 PM ET
2 years ago

Major Catholic group backs Santorum

(CNN) - Rick Santorum, who frequently talks about his faith on the campaign trail, received the backing of a major Catholic group on Thursday.

CatholicVote.org, which bills itself as a non-partisan grassroots lobbying organization of "committed Catholics," threw its weight behind the rising Republican presidential hopeful, saying he was the candidate best equipped to win "the political arguments."

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"Catholic voters are looking for a candidate who can successfully combine the principles of the dignity of life and the dignity of work. Senator Santorum understands better than any other candidate the profound link between the moral, cultural and economic principles foundational to the success of America," the group's president Brian Burch said in a statement.

With more than 600,000 members on its email list, the group has mostly endorsed Republicans in the past, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona during the Republican presidential primary in 2008.

Santorum, who came in a close second to Mitt Romney by a margin of eight votes in the Iowa caucuses, is known for his social conservatives views, many of which he attributes to his Catholic faith.

In his speeches, Santorum especially speaks out against same sex marriage. He's come under fire for some of his statements arguing that acts -not necessarily feelings– of homosexuality go against his religion.

In an interview Wednesday on CNN's "John King, U.S.A.", Santorum defended his stance.

"I think the Christian teaching on the subject is that one can have desires to do things which we believe are wrong, but when you act out those things, that is a problem," Santorum said. "I was simply reflecting that opinion and that belief structure that I happen to hold as a Catholic."

Asked how he would incorporate his personal beliefs as president, Santorum said he wouldn't favor legislating morality.

As an example, Santorum said he personally disagrees with contraception, a position shared by many in the Catholic faith. However, he said he would vote against any federal rules banning methods of birth control.

"I don't believe that everything that's immoral should be illegal. The government doesn't have a role to play in everything that either people of faith or no faith think are wrong or immoral," he said.

While Santorum performed well in Iowa, a state that votes heavily on social issues, he'll next compete in New Hampshire's first-in-the nation primary, a contest known more for its focus on fiscal issues.

– CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Also see:

DNC highlights old Romney-McCain tension

Gingrich hones message in New Hampshire

Santorum raises more than $1 million in one night

Huntsman to air first TV spot

Perry will 'reset the campaign' in South Carolina, adviser says


Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Rick Santorum
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    They also follow the Pope. We don't need the Pope's rules governing this country.

    KEEP RELIGION OUT OF IT.

    January 5, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    It's interesting to hear all these conservatives go on about "states' rights" and then notice how many state governorships and legislatures are controlled by Republicans.

    The bottomline is conservatives want to establish complete control, from the bottom up. They try to scare you with talk about how the federal government is trying to take over everything, when in reality, THEY want to do that and legislate a pro-corporate, anti-individual agenda.

    Think it through, folks, and you'll see the GOP and conservatives are NOT about freedom, not in the least.

    January 5, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. hypatia

    I didn't know they condoned playing with corpses.

    January 5, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. cisco4

    What does the Pope have to say about SANTA being .....our NEW PRESIDENT?

    January 5, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Clyde

    Hate filled Bible bigots stick together. Molest any children today?

    January 5, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Phil in KC

    There's a big surprise. The only other Catholic in the race is Newt – and he is a convert. Next thing you know, the Mormons will be endorsing Mitt.

    January 5, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Mom to 3

    ThinkAgain hit the nail on the head. The GOP is so worried about "freedom" and keep claiming that the Democrats or President Obama is trying to take away your "freedom." Well, the GOP is concerned about your freedom not to have healthcare, your freedom to consume contaminated products, your freedom to have a polluted enironment, your freedom not to have Social Security, your freedom not to afford to go to college, and your freedom to work for less money in unsafe conditions. Most people could do without these "freedoms." The GOP wants to abolish the EPA and get rid of regulations (that protect consumers), phase out Social Security and Medicare, do nothing about the ever-growing cost of healthcare and the ever-growing amount of Americans without health insurance, cut student loan money and education funding for higher education, get rid of the minimum wage and worker safety regulations, and generally kowtow to what large corporations want at the cost of wiping out the American middle class. Of course when it comes to your freedom to have an abortion, practice any religion you want, be gay, or belong to a union - well they are more than willing to take those freedoms away from you. Don't let them fool you.

    January 5, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. cigarman

    Santorum is an idiot. Santorum is against birth control. Santorum is against legal abortions. Santorum will probably require women to walk at least ten steps behind a man. He is a religious NUT. Anyone who loses a child and then takes the deceased home for show and tell for there other children, really should be analyzed by a psychiatrist and admitted for treatment. Anyone who does this should actually be put behind bars for a certain amount of time to be sure that he is not a threat to society. This is the type of person that the TEANUTS like. Look out America. Beware, this character and anyone who would vote for a nut like this is a danger to American Freedoms.

    January 5, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. A Kickin` Donkey

    Religion is an individual source of personal comfort . . . it has NO PLACE in governmental policy and affairs that impact others. If a particular "moral" code of conduct does not enjoy broad support among agnostics, atheists and those jews, moslems & christians in America.

    There is a word for a country when religion drives policy . . . it is called IRAN

    January 5, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Having 600,000 people on their mailing list does not mean they have 600,000 followers. Somehow, Newsmax got me on theirs and I sure ain't no fan of that group.
    I have no problem with a group that bills itself as a Catholic Voter's organization supporting anyone or other candidate. I have no problem with any other religious-based Voter's organization supporting any candidate. Where I will have a problem is if the support comes from the Pulpits of America. That being said, public support of any candidate by any ordained religious leader can and should lead to the elimination of the tax-exempt status of the organization that person represents.

    January 5, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Rick

    This is what happens when Catholics DON'T follow the pope. Pope John Paul said that Catholics should resist the urge to vote based on only a single issue such as abortion, and instead look at a candidate based on his overall general policies and whether as a package he will benefit the people more.

    Santorum is NOT that man, and his tenure in congress has been rife with corruption.

    January 5, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. rh

    Since your vote is supposed to be private, most closet atheists who profess to Christianity or Judaism in public will never let a very religious candidate win.

    January 5, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. rh

    As for all Catholics molesting children, all whites commit serial murders and Austrians commit Holocausts.

    January 5, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    How is that a non-partisan grassroots lobbying organization can endorse a given party's candidate? How can a group that calls itself a non-partisan organization even have lobbyists? Are these signs of just how broken our political system has become?

    January 5, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Luke Brown

    Hey CNN ... I have a number of idiotic things I would like to say about my candidate for President. Please send Soledad over to my house, so that my comments can be broadcast to millions of people without anyone even asking if they are intelligent or helpful to the national political dialogue.

    January 5, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Fr. J.T.

    Seems as if Santorum conveniently ignores his idol Ronald Reagan who succinctly stated, "church and state are, and must remain, separate."

    January 5, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. When they open their mouths, they insert a foot

    Not a good idea since evangelicals don't like Catholics. They don't think that the Catholic church is a Christian one.

    January 5, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. jonnymadamada

    No suprise here The catholic clergy has spread more santorum than any organization in human history

    January 5, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Lilly

    Rick Santorum would mop the floor with Obama in a debate. He has clear convictions, integrity and values. I believe he could change the negative climate in America. The media is wanting to crush him and push Romney...but that would not be good for America. Presidents don't make things happen, the people do, but the President has to represent the people's values. If you have someone without integrity, values and strength of conviction, America is seen as week. The tone of Americans is in the people we elect. God Bless America!

    January 5, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. John in Brooklyn

    Retract their tax-exempt, non-profit status!!!! Charitable organizations should receive tax exempt status – political PACs (as these folks have become) should not!

    January 5, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |