Big Pocono State Park, Pennsylvania

Follow Sunlit Uplands by E-Mail

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For Santorum, Faith and Reason are Benchmarks for Politics

By Michelle Baumann

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says that reason does not conflict with his Catholic faith, but rather works with it to guide his political decisions.

“When the reason is right and the faith is true, they end up at the same place,” Santorum told CNA in an early October interview.

“Faith and reason. The conclusion must satisfy both.”

Santorum, who served as a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007, has expressed his support for the Church’s teaching on key social issues.

His Catholic beliefs have drawn attention in the media since he announced his bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

“People say that they make their decisions based on their conscience. What forms their conscience?” asked Santorum.

“Clearly for me, as the Church teaches, your conscience is formed by faith and reason,” he said. “And so I apply both.”

Santorum used the example of abortion to illustrate how faith and reason play complementary roles in guiding his political positions.

“The reasoned argument is simply this,” he explained. “At the moment of conception, scientifically, biologically, that is a unique human being, with its own DNA. It is unique in the world, and it’s alive, so it’s a human life.”

“And I don’t believe that the Constitution, as written, discriminates between some human life being people and other human life not being people.”

He sees this principle of human dignity in the Fourteenth Amendment, a provision “that was supposed to be cast as broadly as possible, to include people who were not seen as fully human.”

Santorum explained that reason brought him to the conclusion that abortion is wrong, a conclusion that faith also showed him.

“The faith teaches very clearly that life is life at the moment of conception,” he said.

Santorum acknowledged that his Catholicism “gets mentioned a lot” by the media. But the attention does not bother him.

“Bring it on,” he said. “I’m happy to talk about it. It is a part of my life.”

“I’m proud of being a Catholic,” Santorum added. “I’m proud of the teachings of the Church.”

Santorum also said that those who do not share his beliefs should not feel threatened by him.

“James Madison called the First Amendment the ‘perfect remedy,’” he said. “All views are allowed in the public square – people with faith, people without faith.”

“People can make their claims, and we can have a substantive and vibrant debate,” he added.

“No one should feel threatened, any more than I would feel threatened by someone bringing their ideas in.”

Instead, the presidential hopeful welcomes a reasoned dialogue between different viewpoints.

“I may feel challenged by them because they require me to rigorously defend what I believe in and to argue for what I believe in, but that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Post a Comment