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Is Rick Santorum a Catholic or an evangelical? Yes.

 

Just days after Rick Santorum surged to a virtual tie for first in the Iowa caucuses, conservative activists at an invitation-only summit along the South Carolina coast were buzzing about the former Pennsylvania senator’s sudden and promising breakthrough.

Deal Hudson, who directed Catholic outreach for George W. Bush’s White House before starting the conservative group Catholic Advocate, was among the movers and shakers at the annual Awakening gathering on Kiawah Island. He was especially pleased to hear such praise for a fellow Catholic — until Hudson realized something odd.

“There were a number of knowledgeable people who were very enthusiastic about Rick but didn’t know he was Catholic,” Hudson said with a quiet laugh. “I was really surprised.”

To be fair, those conservative kingmakers may not be the only ones who don’t know what church Santorum attends, much less care. But that, some say, is exactly the point.

Polls in Iowa showed that rank-and-file evangelicals threw most of their support to Santorum, a devout Catholic, rather than either of Santorum’s evangelical rivals, Rep. Michele Bachmann or Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

And in South Carolina, where the Jan. 21 primary is shaping up to be a make-or-break date for social conservatives who want to slow Mitt Romney’s momentum, evangelicals make up about 60 percent of likely voters. Surveys already show Santorum already spiking to a strong second place behind Romney.

Santorum “is exactly what we need to bring the country back — and I think he can beat Obama,” Lynn Waldrop, a Greenville, S.C., homemaker and born-again Christian, told Reuters.

In addition, many of the dozens of evangelical leaders set to meet in Texas this weekend in a last-ditch effort to settle on a social conservative candidate are reportedly tilting strongly toward Santorum.

Whether any of this will slow or derail Romney’s path to the nomination is uncertain. But it does raise the broader question of why a Pennsylvania-born grandson of Italian immigrants who attends Mass in Latin is emerging as the favorite of conservative Protestants.

The answers help explain not only the political dynamics of the current race, but point to a generational shift from the 1960 campaign, when John F. Kennedy had to reassure evangelicals like Billy Graham that he wasn’t too Catholic to be president. [More]

SOURCE

Washington Post

 
 
 
 

2 Comments

  1. jack doyle says:

    Santorum may play well with Evangelicals, however, he should catch up with Catholic social doctrine relating to the rights of labor to organize. I am far from the only Irish Catholic railroad man who will protect my right to a union and who would under no circumstances vote the scab slate Santorum would represent. It should not be assumed that he would have the Catholic vote.
    Jack Doyle

 
 

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