Rick Santorum: Cafeteria Catholic Without a Condom

Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum makes quite a show of his submission to Catholic teaching and his absolute adherence to what I would call Pope Benedict’s Semen Principle.

The Semen Principle is the following:

  • Semen must go nowhere but in a vagina even if this means risking a woman’s life with AIDS transmission. No condoms, mouths, or masturbatory bathroom tissues allowed. The vagina is the Natural Law place for semen; nowhere else. And no woman may preemptively contra her receptiveness to the nervy micro-swimmers either. She mustn’t guide a man’s penis into her asshole as a substitute, take the Pill, or even ask a man to withdraw from her vagina prior to coming.

So is the (missionary) position of Mother Church.

And, contrary to all good common sense and reason, Rick Santorum, by faith, swallows all of it.

All of it.

But wait. Universal Mother Church also declareth access to health care a universal human right—not a privilege available only to those who can readily afford it.

Here’s ThinkProgress quoting the Infallible One on the moral obligation of nations to provide their poorest citizens with health care regardless of their ability to pay:

Pope Benedict XVI has called health care an “inalienable right,” and added that it is the “moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.”

Now watch Rick Santorum squirm and bullshit his way around the question of whether he agrees with Mother Church on this moral issue:

_____

Rick Santorum’s key observation in the above clip is that he claims to temper faith with reason, and so departs from the Catholic Church on the ethical obligation of nations to provide their citizens with universal health care. Apparently, Santorum believes the all-male bishops and theologians of the Catholic Church, including the Pope, have read Adam Smith with insufficient care: on matters of the relationship between capitalism and state they’re not being reasonable.

But this obviously begs the following question:

Why doesn’t Rick Santorum apply the same standard to contraception? Why does submission to Church teaching trump reason on that issue, but not all the others?

Ah, the pleasures of unprotected sex hypocrisy.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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14 Responses to Rick Santorum: Cafeteria Catholic Without a Condom

  1. Iain McMahon says:

    There’s an easy answer to this puzzle. Rick Santorum is no different to any other believer. I think that people with different values, politics, and opinions join a religion or denomination because that group believes things that they are already (mostly) disposed to agree with.

    I don’t think that people are inducted into a religion, denomination, or particular congregation as some kind of religio-cultural “tabula rasa”. If multiple religions claim to be true and if, within a religion, different holy texts can be interpreted differently by the individual groups then this means that people can have the pick of the group that works for them!

    I suits Rick Santorum to be a Catholic. This will be partly because of how he was raised but also partly due to the values he has grown to have. In the case of universal health care, Rick’s political values trump the pick-n-mix Catholicism that he has. The day his personal/religious/political cost-benefit ratio changes and indicates to him that it’s better to side with Catholics on healthcare than Republicans is the day he will decide God told him to change his position.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Well, if all religious people happily pick and choose, then it’s informative what Rick Santorum chooses in the Catholic buffet line. In this case, he picks atrociously. He strains out the sperm, willing to risk the spread of AIDS in the global community for lack of condom availability, even as he swallows the camel of letting the health needs of the poor go unassisted by the state.

      Let them eat cake. (Jesus said that somewhere in the gospels, didn’t he?)

      Way to go, Rick!

  2. Seems like quite a waxing into the vernacular for you, Santi. I question your use of “would” in your first sentence here. Have you understood yourself to be a victim of death and then raised, using “would” then to indicate what you would have said, written, and/or understood had it been otherwise?

    As for your confusing the doctrine of infallibility with to whom the doctrine is entrusted, I remind you that the doctrine does not include the definition that the one to whom it is entrusted is infallible, but the infallibility is in regard to faith and morals.

    Jesus has assured us that He would send the Holy Spirit in His Name to call to mind all of His teachings, to keep us in the know as to all the things He is doing, and will do.

    I would not have been resurrected were it not for the natural norm given through the consummation of Holy Matrimony. Looking back, I needed two church members to agree, whatever the conditions, to have a child. I also need, as do we all, Grace. It is the grace of God, freely given by our common Creator, which allowed me to be reborn to what I have come to know as eternal life, Jesus Christ being “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, the first fruits of the Resurrection, He being Who raised me, through His Salvific work at Calvary, as I was once a rotting corpse without any recourse.

    Christ’s words concerning me, “among those born of women, there has not risen a greater than John (the Baptist), yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than He”, echo the value of Salvation wrought through Our Savior’s consummate act at Golgatha. They also point to the fact that both Jesus and myself were born without the normal consummation of Holy Matrimony, we were conceived miraculously through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even with that distinction, I was doomed to die.

    In this regard, the natural consummation is the only opportunity for anyone to be born, save for Christ, and this in abidance with the command, “Be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth”. For anyone to bull against this is to be debasing to self and others in an initial context. This is the basis for prohibition of contraception, that we value life in all its stages.

    At the Resurrection, we are reminded in the Gospels that we are not married, nor given in marriage, but are as angels serving the Father in Heaven. As eye has not seen, nor ear heard of the glories in store for us, the mystery of Faith continues.

    For your further consideration, if we should continue to multiply and die, why would you even think of bullying down health care? You may be stricken tomorrow and have need of the very things of which you speak lightly. The aversion you show towards birth you seem to express against death as well. You’re feeling your oats about where and when you are now, but those who cheerfully care for others in sowing for the morrow are also reaping their rewards now.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Well, I have two children myself. I’m hardly glib about birth.

      My concern is with such matters as the civil liberties of women and the spread of AIDS.

      And it is, I think, undeniable that birth control is a crucial component to the liberation of contemporary women. If they cannot control their fertility—including early stage abortion and morning-after pills—it is hard for them to choose their own lives.

      90% of women will have a child by the age of 40, but when they have them (and their number) is the difference between, say, going to college (or not) and working outside the home (or not). Women should be free to choose how they live. And they should be able to enjoy a sex life outside of marriage if they want. I’m sorry that you, as a religious person, don’t like the choices many women make. But their liberty is what is at issue here. You can do as you please with your own life. They have that right as well.

      And all the rationalization about the sanctity of egg and sperm at the moment of conception is arbitrary. It lays the onus on women when it might just as well be every act of male masturbation that is considered the misdirecting of a process that would have led to a human life.

      But you don’t see people protesting or making illegal male masturbation.

      The reality is that this extreme and arbitrary “a human life begins at conception” position maximizes the birth of children, which is in the interest of institutions like the Catholic Church. Big families keep religion in business. It’s a growth strategy—educate the children in the faith since it’s hard to get adults to come over to this or that sect once they’re already adults.

      It’s pietizing a self-interested position even as it seeks to disrupt the advance of women’s equality.

      —Santi

      • So you’re saying it is only Benedict’s ‘Semen Principle’ if you were a woman? As the two become one, I don’t consider it a necessarily easy question. But as you replied, doesn’t that just put the whole thing back on the woman?

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        It’s the woman’s body upon which the laws are directed, not the man’s. A man can “flush out” his seed into a napkin and drop it into the toilet without the law intervening. A woman cannot do the same with her egg, dropping it into the toilet after sex by taking a morning after pill.

        And she would not even be able to prevent pregnancy in advance by taking the Pill (if Rick Santorum got his way and it was left to the discretion of state legislatures to decide on whether to make contraception illegal).

        Reproductive control is a human right. Men have it without a single law being directed toward the use of their bodies. Good. But this is not the case with women.

        —Santi

  3. Genesis 38 : 8-10

    “Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also.”

    Though you judge it a right, here we see it in another light. Better. For woman is from man.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Edward,

      Are you saying that a man who spills his seed outside of a woman (either in coitus interruptus or masturbation) should be, if caught, punished by the law—that it should be an illegal act?

      If you say yes, I give you credit for consistency.

      —Santi

  4. You’re hastily assumptive in your reply. I was merely pointing to an example where, even before the Decalogue which was given by the Only Law-Maker, a precedent of proper sexual conduct as regards multiplying was set. Its placement historically gives it weight on a par with all other Biblical accounts for our edification. Admittedly, Onan also disobeyed his parent, but he did so abusing himself and others while spitting so. This story precedes the law, as does the story of the fall. If that isn’t sufficient weight of law for you, try entering Paradise again without Christ Jesus, you’ll then know the seriousness of the matter.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Edward,

      Please answer my question directly. Should the civil law in the United States reflect the biblical principle you direct me to: that a man pulling out of a woman at climax is displeasing to God? If so, what should be the punishment if one is found to have disobeyed this law?

      And should masturbation be illegal as well? Should a man’s seed, like a woman’s eggs, be a concern of the civil authorities?

      —Santi

  5. Pingback: Rick Santorum: Pro-Torture Catholic | Prometheus Unbound

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