Got news? Is Marco Rubio really a Catholic?

As I watched CNN’s Election Night coverage last week, my GetReligion antenna immediately shot up when I heard the first part of Florida Sen.-elect Marco Rubio’s victory speech:

Let me begin tonight by acknowledging a simple but profound truth. We are all children of a powerful and great God. Of a God who isn’t always going to end — things are not always going to end up the way you want them. His will is not always going to be yours.

But I promise you this. No matter what you face in life, he will give you the strength to go through it. I bear witness to that tonight as so many of you do in your own lives and must always be acknowledged in everything we do and everywhere we go.

As political junkies know, the Tea Party favorite with Cuban-American roots makes no secret of his faith. He’s an avowed Roman Catholic (see his religious affiliation on his Florida House profile and on this CQ Politics candidate profile on Yahoo). A Catholic Advocate profile last February featured this headline:

Marco Rubio, A Catholic Candidate Who Will Not Compromise

RenewAmerica blogger Eric Giunta writes:

Mr. Rubio has long represented himself as a practicing Catholic, both at his once-official webpage at the Florida House and personally to a good friend of mine, who met him last year at a campaign stop in Tallahassee. I also know that the Catholic clergy of Tallahassee are under the impression Rubio was, and is, one of their own.

Apparently, the only thing not Catholic about Rubio is the church that he attends.

In the aftermath of Rubio’s election, UK Telegraph religion journalist Damian Thompson created a stir, particularly among Catholic blog sites, by questioning Rubio’s religious affiliation (first here and then here). In his first post, Thompson complained:

I assumed until this morning that Marco Rubio, the pro-life new senator-elect from Florida, was a Catholic. That’s because I kept reading in articles that he was “a conservative Roman Catholic.” Then I came across this curious article from Politics Daily which (without apparently realising that it is doing so) reveals that he has abandoned the faith of his Cuban parents:

Here are the pertinent parts of that Politics Daily item from just before the election:

What is Marco Rubio’s religion?

Rubio is a Roman Catholic.

Where does Marco Rubio worship?

Though he is Catholic, Rubio belongs to the Christ Fellowship nondenominational Church in West Kendall, Fla., where he has attended for the last six years.

As Thompson noted, Rubio has not hidden the fact that he attends Christ Fellowship Church. The St. Petersburg Times reported in May that Rubio gave $66,000 to charity between 2000 and 2008, much of it going to Christ Fellowship Church. A profile of Rubio by the evangelical World magazine reported in August:

Rubio turned to faith and family when trying to determine whether he wanted to run for the right reasons. “For those who have the Christian faith and are in politics, there is a constant struggle between a desire to do what is right and how that sometimes may not coincide with what is popular,” said Rubio, a Roman Catholic whose family has spent the last six years attending a Miami-area nondenominational church, Christ Fellowship. “I hope that, more often than not, I make the right choice.”

Now about that non-denominational church. Sometimes, non-denominational means that a church is not affiliated with a denomination. Sometimes, though, non-denominational means that we live in a world where denominational labels turn off potential congregants.

In the case of Christ Fellowship, the West Kendall church’s beliefs page includes this note at the top:

Christ Fellowship is aligned doctrinally and cooperatively in missions locally, nationally, and globally with the Southern Baptist Convention.

As you may be aware, the Southern Baptist Convention is a rather prominent denomination. (A bit off topic, but I remember writing about Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, a non-Baptist SBC church, during my time with The Associated Press in Dallas.)

Back to Rubio, a key question seems to be: Is Florida’s Roman Catholic senator-elect really a Southern Baptist? A related question: Does this matter? One Catholic blogger said he liked a commenter who suggested:

“Get back to me when he claims to be a Christian but is actually a Muslim.”

In other Catholic circles, though, there is a clamoring for more details on Rubio’s faith and what he believes (click here and here for two examples). As Giunta put it:

Still, one’s religious affiliation does matter; voters have a right to know what informs the ideology and worldview of their elected leaders, and to take religious affiliation into account when determining who to give their vote to. There’s also a question of honesty.

What are mainstream media reports saying about the brouhaha over Rubio’s religious affiliation? So far, as best I can tell, nothing. Hmmmmm, it certainly sounds like news to me. If I’ve missed any relevant news reports, by all means, please share the links in the comments section.

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About Bobby Ross Jr.

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning reporter and editor with a quarter-century of professional experience. A former religion editor for The Oklahoman and religion writer for The Associated Press, Ross serves as chief correspondent for the The Christian Chronicle. He has reported from 47 states and 11 countries and was honored as the Religion Newswriters Association's 2013 Magazine Reporter of the Year.

  • Jerry

    voters have a right to know what informs the ideology and worldview of their elected leaders, and to take religious affiliation into account when determining who to give their vote to.

    The right wing used to castigate the left for “political correctness” tests, now the right is applying something similar, “religious correctness” on politicians by insisting that they know what religion or denomination they belong to, as if that automatically and necessarily determines their approach to specific topics. So we’ve replaced the left’s search for a physically challenged, black/native american transgender person with one that is a member of a politically/religiously acceptable church.

    Otherwise, I do agree with what you wrote about the church he belongs to and the brouhaha being much ado about nothing, unless we find out something else.

  • Julia

    The MSM seems to think of Catholic as an ethnicity.
    That’s what the phrase “born Catholic” indicates.
    So – I guess if he’s still a Cuban-American born to Catholics, he’s still Catholic no matter what church he attends.

    It looks like he’s trying to attract Hispanic voters who are mostly, but not all, Catholics.

    The relevance is the way he is presenting himself to potential voters. If he wasn’t so publicly putting himself forward as “Catholic” like them, it wouldn’t matter.

    How about the complaints every election cycle about the war heroes who turn out not to have served as claimed or not to have served at all.

    It’s the misrepresentation of himself that many voters would like to know. Same if he was claiming to be Baptist, but really was a Catholic in Alabama.

  • Martha

    Is it a case of a mixed marriage, where for the sake of family unity, he’s attending a church everyone is happy with? (e.g. he’s not going to a Catholic one, his wife isn’t going to a Baptist one, this is non-denominational enough to keep the peace)?

    Or he could be affiliated with them of his own accord. It’s hard to know.

  • Patrick

    My guess is that the MSM doesn’t see a big difference between Southern Baptists and Catholics. Apparently, though, Marco Rubio doesn’t either. Transubstantiation, Marco: ever heard of it? It’s why Roman Catholics can’t go to Protestant communion. Heh.

  • http://bullschuck.blogspot.com Bull

    It doesn’t make him a good Senator or a bad one, just a deceitful one. (Insert obvious political joke here)

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    Is it a case of a mixed marriage, where for the sake of family unity, he’s attending a church everyone is happy with?

    Excellent question, Martha. I’d love to know the answer.

    Bull, did you have a comment about the media coverage or issues?

  • http://www.redletterbelievers.com David Rupert

    Our labels are being more and more mired and blurred. And even the word “Christian” has fallen out of favor (thanks Mr. President!).

    So what’s a guy to do?

    Christ-follower seems so difficult to fathom.

    I like what God said to Moses when asked for a name.

    “I am what I am”

    David, Red Letter Believers
    http://www.redletterbelievers.com

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    What if this is simply a case of his wife being Baptist and him going with her to church? Is there any indication that he is not a member of his local parish? Does he attend her Baptist congregation but worship at a Catholic parish? This is something that happens not infrequently.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Ack, hit publish too soon.

    My question is whether Thompson or the writer from Politics Daily — or both — jumped the gun. Yes, his family gives money to the Baptist church. Yes, they attend the Baptist church. Does that mean that RUBIO is not Catholic? Not necessarily. How did they draw that conclusion?

    And why isn’t he being asked about this?

  • Padraic

    The blog, “The Curt Jester” covered this recently. I believe the relevant quote from it is,
    Very strange for a reporter to call someone who attends a Protestant church for six years a Catholic. Somehow I doubt the reporter is considering the nuances of formal defection introduced by the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the subsequent very strict interpretation of it by he Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts in 2006. Though since this clarification likely was not retroactive Rubio could be seen as formerly defecting since he is enrolled in another Christian church. Though I don’t play a Canon Lawyer on my blog or on TV.

    The Curt Jester

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Again, though, what does “enrolled” mean in the Baptist sense? Does the evidence suggest that Rubio had an adult baptism and what not? That would be a very public profession of his commitment to the Baptist church. If not, what does it mean that he attends this church?

    I’m somewhat surprised that Thompson wouldn’t ask these questions of Rubio.

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    Mollie, I don’t know much (read: nothing at all) about Thompson. Although he’s described as a journalist, he seems to be writing more as a Catholic advocate. At least that’s my impression.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Bobby, That’s why I’m kind of surprised. The rules for what makes you a Catholic and what makes you not a Catholic mean that I think he or the PD reporter jumped too quickly to a conclusion.

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    The PD item was more of a Q&A and didn’t question Rubio’s Catholic creds. PD simply explained that he attends the non-Catholic church.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    But PD wrote that he “belongs” to the Baptist church. What does that mean, exactly. Not that these awesome PD profiles (which I loved and were glad to have during the election) had the space to go into these matters too much.

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    Ah, OK. I see what you’re saying.

    Given that some are already touting Rubio as a presidential contender, I do wish some reporter would go more in-depth on his faith background and ask those kind of questions. Especially since, as evidenced by his victory speech, his faith is something that he touts himself.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “Back to Rubio, a key question seems to be: Is Florida’s Roman Catholic senator-elect really a Southern Baptist?”

    It looks like it.

    “A related question: Does this matter?”

    I would imagine that it might matter to some Catholic voters.

  • http://goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    This is the perfect American religion story. Here’s a candidate who says he’s Catholic but goes to a Baptist church which doesn’t have Baptist in its name.

  • Bible Belt Blogger

    I met Marco Rubio at a Huckabee for President rally in Orlando in late January 2008. He was the only major Florida politician who was supporting Huckabee, if I recall correctly, and “major” is probably an overstatement. His was hardly a household name in Florida. But he seemed awfully sharp, charismatic and youthful — and not a bit deflated by the reality that Huckabee would finish toward the middle of the pack. McCain had Crist. Two and a half years later, Huckabee is now a Florida resident and has a friend and ally serving in the U.S. Senate. If Rubio backs Huckabee again in 2012 and does so forcefully, he could really be an asset for the Huckabee campaign in Florida and elsewhere.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    BOB:

    Bingo. What an era.

  • tipi tim

    sometimes i wish we could “like” a comment here like on some other forums or facebook. if i could i would give bob smietana’s comment a big thumbs up.

  • Bill

    Bob #18 wrote:

    This is the perfect American religion story. Here’s a candidate who says he’s Catholic but goes to a Baptist church which doesn’t have Baptist in its name

    .

    Perhaps the pastor is a Catholic woman-priest who is also a muslim.

  • Dan

    Maybe it’s a politically motivated ploy to get both the Catholic and the Protestant vote.

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    BBB,

    Any chance Huckabee converted Rubio to the SBC? :-)

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    Giunta has a new post up today with what he says is an e-mail from Rubio’s director of faith-based outreach:

    Subject: Re: Rubio’s Religion?

    Dear Mr. Giunta,

    Thank you for your recent e-mail. I appreciate [sic] your interest in Senator — elect Rubio’s religion. However, I do not have any new information to convey to you; Mr. Rubio is still a Roman Catholic. He was baptized, confirmed and married in the Roman Catholic Church. [emphasis added] If you find that there is a dearth of pertinent material to write about, perhaps you can focus on the many serious issues facing our nation, and the reasons why the citizens of Florida overwhelmingly elected Mr. Rubio as their next United States Senator. You may wish to highlight Senator-elect Rubio’s consistent and conservative social and fiscal policies such as his pro-life stance, his commitment to reducing the national debt, enacting a balanced budget amendment, lowering the tax burden for Americans and maintaining a strong military presence to defend our nation from the various threats abroad.

    I hope that you find this e-mail helpful, and that you focus your future writings on salient matters that face our nation. Good luck on your final exams, and have a great Christmas.

  • Jon in the Nati

    Perhaps the pastor is a Catholic woman-priest who is also a muslim.

    How foolish.

    Everyone knows that only happens in the Episcopal Church.

  • Bible Belt Blogger

    John McCain was an Episcopalian who attended a Baptist church. Marco Rubio is a Catholic who attends (allegedly) a Baptist church. What’s the big deal.

    American religion today is more like an Ipod than an LP record. People pick and choose, mix and match the doctrines they believe and the churches they attend. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    This raises a question we’ve debated before: Can a Catholic be both an evangelical Christian and a Catholic Christian or are the two groups mutually exclusive.

    I would argue that a Catholic can be an evangelical. A Protestant can be an evangelical. And a Mormon can be an evangelical. Why? For one reason, because the term “evangelical” is pretty squishy. But even if Mormonism and Catholicism aren’t evangelical, this does not mean that there aren’t evangelicals sitting in Mormon and Catholic pews.

    In our day and age, the people in the pews don’t necessarily have a good grasp of what their own denomination teaches. Polling backs this up. People may marry into a religion or join because a friend invited them, but their beliefs may continue to be syncretic: a combination of what they’ve learned from their parents, neighbors, friends and Oprah.

  • Jeffrey

    I love the response from the faith-outreach coordinator. Talk about avoiding the question of why he attends a Baptist church. It actually raises more questions than it answers and suggests Rubio has something to hide or be embarrassed about. Since almost everything a politician does has a political calculation, bridging the gap between being a Catholic Latino-Cuban who can win over South Florida Cubans and being an evangelical that can appeal to white Republicans in the state’s panhandle and mid-section is interesting.

  • http://goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    John McCain was an Episcopalian who attended a Baptist church. Marco Rubio is a Catholic who attends (allegedly) a Baptist church.

    Transubstantiation, maybe :-)

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    I love the response from the faith-outreach coordinator. Talk about avoiding the question of why he attends a Baptist church.

    I had pretty much the same reaction. Can’t help but wonder if the campaign will be any more forthcoming/eloquent if the MSM starts asking about this.

    What’s the big deal.

    That’s the fun part. It’s either not a big deal. Or it is, depending on whom you ask. But if I were a religion writer in Florida, I wouldn’t be able to resist at least digging into it, if only for the delightful reason cited by Bob in Comment #18. And I’d be especially intrigued if the senator-elect’s officials got defensive about such questions.

  • http://lexetlibertas.wordpress.com Eric Giunta

    This is a big deal because Rubio campaigned on his Catholicism to win the endorsement (and monies!) of a Catholic PAC while simultaneously sending signals he was a practicing Southern Baptist.

    A man’s intellectual credibility is at stake, as is the integrity of the “Christian Right.” Do we demand honesty from politicians courting our vote(s), or do we let them play us for naieve ignoramuses who can be impressed by their pretending to identify with us?

    As I noted, Rubio doesn’t have to play games to win my “Catholic vote”; I just don’t appreciate being lied to.

    Secondly, religious affiliation is important, even if it isn’t the sole consideration most serious religious persons take into account when electing their candidates. It’s important not only for the implications one’s religious beliefs clearly have for a political worldview, but for what the public witness of what one of one’s own can offer in the public square. As a Catholic who believes his is the fullness of the true religion, I have no qualms in saying that, *all things being equal* (which is almost never the case, save in some very few primary races) *of course* I prefer a Catholic be nominated to govern than a non-Catholic. Why *wouldn’t* I want this? Leadership can be very influential on civil society, and I for one wish all my elected representatives were faithful witnesses of Catholic Christianity. Why wouldn’t I, given my religious beliefs? *All things being equal* (not the qualifier) *of course* knowing and practicing the true religion is an asset to one’s performance in statecraft! How can it be otherwise if one beliefs that righteous governance is nothing less than a participation in God’s own sovereign authority?

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    Eric, I appreciate you commenting.

    Just a note to remind everyone that GR is concerned about journalistic and media coverage issues, not in debating politics or religion. I’ll be a bit more scrupulous from this point forward in spiking any comments not clearly related to the media/journalism issues.

  • Anthony

    I understand Giunta, Thompson, et al.’s frustration with the seeming ambiguity about Rubio’s faith. But I suggest that they and others express the same skepticism toward the evidence that suggests Rubio is a Protestant.

    There is only ONE, I repeat ONE article that says he has attended an evangelical church for the past 6 years. As far as I can tell every other reference cites back to one original article. On the other hand there is a wealth of sources showing that Rubio is Catholic. Maybe we should consider for a moment that perhaps it isn’t Rubio that is misleading but rather that single news report.

    Also, there is the report of the donations to the evangelical church. Again, we don’t know much about this and it may have been a donation to that church’s charities.

    Overall, the evidence pointing to Rubio being a Catholic is much stronger than the evidence that he isn’t and while I agree that some clarification would be helpful we need to stop jumping to conclusions and relying on scant unverified reports.

  • Bob Barnes

    Fascinating.

    What would thoughtful media coverage look like? How should the media cover what’s inside a man’s heart? I SAY I’m Catholic. Is that enough? Or I have received 5 of the 7 Sacraments? (This seems to be the spokesman’s argument: Rubio received three Catholic sacraments, therefore he must today be Catholic.) Or I am a registered (and contributing) member of a particular parish? Can I become an “ex”-Catholic, other than by making a formal disavowal? (There doesn’t seem to be such a thing as an “ex-Jew,” not even a Jewish convert to Christianity.)

    Is Nancy Pelosi Catholic? How do you know? More or less Catholic than Rubio? Let’s suppose that Pelosi attends Mass much more frequently than Rubio does. Pelosi rejects Catholic Church teaching on abortion (and botches it badly); Rubio (I’m guessing) has beliefs consonant with the Magisterium.

    Is Obama a Christian? How do you know? (No, he’s not a Muslim!) Does he believe that Jesus was a real historical person, a Jew running around Palestine 2,000 years ago who was also the son of a virgin and the Son of God? He died (really) and rose (really)? Who knows what Obama thought about as he sat in the church pastored by Wright? Obama says he didn’t pay attention to the racist preaching. Who knows what Rubio thinks about when he sits in the pew at the secretly Baptist church?

    One reason the media cannot cover these questions coherently, cannot challenge Pelosi and Kerry when they say that they “are” Catholic, is that most reporters cannot comprehend religious belief. They can understand whether or not somebody attends Mass (and receives Communion). They can understand how somebody votes. But they cannot even understand THE QUESTION, do you believe that the priest really and truly changes the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ?

    Is Rubio Catholic? The answer would probably be, “not much of one.” Attending Mass (a Protestant service does NOT count) on Sunday is a serious obligation and one of the precepts of the Church; missing Mass is a serious sin. (On the other hand, heck, the world is filled with almost a billion sinning Catholics.) He seems not to care about that. And if he really believed in, say, transubstantiation, he’d be nuts to pass up the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Sacraments. The fact that he does pass up the opportunity suggests (doesn’t prove) that he doesn’t believe it.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    From Mr. Giunta’s article referenced in #25:

    “In short: Mr. Rubio doesn’t have to be a Catholic to earn my Catholic vote — I just don’t appreciate being lied to or misled. And neither should Baptists, if indeed it turns out Rubio is attending and patronizing one of their churches in order to court the Evangelical vote.”

    Here’s a clear accusation that Mr. Rubio is lying. To evaluate the truth of the accusation, the question must be asked: Is Mr. Rubio really lying? [Of the many follow-on questions: How would one define Catholic? [Has he been excommunicate?] Which definition of lying does one use? Etc….]

    This is a serious accusation. Although Mr. Giunta believes the accusation is warranted, I’m not yet ready to agree with him. I prefer to give Mr. Rubio the benefit of the doubt.

    “As for my own ecumenical street creds: I myself regularly assist at Orthodox and Protestant church services. Every Sunday evening, and many weeknights, one will find me seated in the Great Choir of Washington National Cathedral, celebrating choral Evensong. If I were a public figure, and open about my Catholicism, and someone asked me why I frequent these services, I’d have an honest answer: these services are beautiful and prayerful, I have a deep appreciation for Protestantism’s intellectual, theological, and artistic patrimony, and these choral services are the closest thing Washington, DC offers to a Catholic celebration of Vespers. For similar reasons, back in Tallahassee one will find me celebrating Great Vespers on Saturday evenings at Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church, and at choral prayer services at St John’s Episcopal. Were I public servant, there’d be nothing untoward about anyone asking me to explain these things.”

    If Mr. Giunta as a Catholic worships in Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Churches, then why the denial that Mr. Rubio cannot do so as a Catholic?

    Mr. Giunta, although this may come across as an attack upon you, please do not think so. I merely want to establish some consistency so that objections of a double standard against your argument are addressed.

    Pax.

  • http://homepage.mac.com/bjmora/rpdenom/Reflist.html BJ Mora

    What I haven’t seen (and not necessarily expecting to see) is a statement from Mr. Rubio’s parish. As much as church membership is voluntary, it is still up the church as to whether I belong to it or not. Many churches (Catholic and Protestant) are weak in their practice of church membership. So if Mr. Rubio’s parish allows him to attend whatever church he wishes, so be it.

    As an historic “old-school” Protestant and ex-Catholic (yes we do exist!), I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Catholic mass (save to be a witness at a marriage or a funeral); and similarly a true Catholic shouldn’t be attending a Protestant worship service (save to be a witness at a marriage or a funeral). But that’s just this layman’s opinion.

  • http://alypiusminor.wordpress.com/ alypius

    Apparently he attends both his Catholic parish and the Protestant church with his family on Sundays, according to his spokesman in this article in the Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/us-politics/8129826/Marco-Rubio-tries-to-still-debate-over-his-religion.html

  • Passing By

    alypius –

    Thanks for the Telegraph link. What a great pair of quotes:

    …the Southern Baptist Convention, whose theology is firmly anti-Catholic.

    The Catholic Church teaches that abandoning the faith for a non-Catholic denomination is a mortal sin.

    Both statements are effectively deceptive. Both the Baptist and Catholic positions are much more complex an nuanced. Yes, of course there are Baptists who regard a Catholic as “an unsaved idol-worshipper”, but in my experience, they are fairly rare among Southern Baptists (the church of much of my family).

    This is the best, and one wonders how accurately Rubio’s spokesman was quoted:

    he attended Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Tampa … He also attends services at a Christian church with his wife and children.

    Emphasis mine, of course. Great stuff.

    Let me say that I am the worst sort of Catholic – worse than tmatt’s sweaty Catholic: I’m a convert. I would, however, vote for an evangelical, a Baptist (not always the same thing), a Methodist, or a Mormon if I agreed with their policies and qualifications. But I wouldn’t vote for a liar. I hope Senator-elect isn’t one. His people need to make a clear statement and the press needs to report that statement clearly.

  • Bob Barnes

    Don’t get your religioius instruction from the Telegraph:

    “The Catholic Church teaches that abandoning the faith for a non-Catholic denomination is a mortal sin.”

    I believe that statement to be utterly false. I’m poorly catechized, but I suspect I can hold my own with the reporter from the Telegraph.

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    Jerry,
    It is unclear that the people wanting to know more about Mr. Rubio’s religion are right wing. It is just as likely that they are liberals who think they could have turned certain voting blocks against Mr. Rubio is they properly understood his religious views, but never supported him themselves.

    Even more to the point, the best way to understand the views of candidates is to ask them their views. Antonin Scalia and William Brennan were both Catholics, but they had almost opposite Judicial philosophies.

    Thus the claim we need to accurately know someone’s religion to understand their potential views on anything is questionable. This is all the more true if they openly state what there religion is and it does not agree with what we think it should. Considering how many people are “catholics” without ever going to mass, it is hard to see how anything Mr. Rubio does could make him a non-Catholic if he says he is a Catholic.

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    I second Mollie, if these people really want to write a story on this matter they should ask Mr. Rubio “why do you say you are a Catholic but go to a church affiliated with the SBC?”

    Even if he does not give them an answer they should tell us. The fact that they write the articles without even trying to speak to him makes the whole matter suspect.

    It strikes me of being a political hack-job done by people who know that if they asked their intended victim he would be able to give them a worthwhile answer that would kill their story or at least make it something other than their “this guy is a total liar” angle that they are going for.

    Such failure to live by the rules of journalism is par for the course of politico, but one would expect a writer for a real publication like the Telegraph to actually try to contact his subject, especially when he is a public figure.

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    To quote from statements on Mr. Rubio “On the final Sunday of the campaign, for example, he attended Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Tampa”.

    Considering how many Catholics only go to mass on Christmas and Easter, the fact that Mr. Rubio went on All Hallow’s Eve too (and maybe even more times) clearly shows he is not only a Catholic but a heavily participating Catholic.

    Donating money to various positve cuases through a non-denominational Church is not to my knowledge a violation of Catholic practice. Mr. Giuta himself admits that one can participate in other religions services and still be a Catholic, which I think illustrates that he is motivated by something other than the truth in his writting.

    Who better to represent the people of Flordia than a Catholic who also regularly attends Protestant services. This makes him more aware of the culture and concerns of more of the population.

    I can tell you that if reporters in Utah tried to ferret out the particular religion of a candidate, especially if they tried to prove a Mormon who claims to regularly take the sacrament and who married his wife in the temple is not really a Mormon, there would be no end to attacking the papers for breaking the “seperation of Church and state” and who knows what else.

    The whole spirit of Mr. Giunta’s attack on Mr. Rubio seems to be crude, rude and unkind. His false headline about someone saying “screw you” is to me the sure sign of a deceptive and hate motivated campaign.

    People elect members of the senate to enact certain laws, not to represent the interests of religion. I would say that if you would chose to vote or not to vote for someone based on their religion you are making your voting decisions wrong. I have Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of The Quorum of the Tweleve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a former member of the Utah Supreme Court, to back me up on this view.

    Personally I think the religion of a candidate is a personal matter and they should not have to share it more than they wish.

  • http://www.mormoninmichigan.blogspot.com John Pack Lambert

    I would also question how much a British Newspaper reporter understands about the teachings of the SBC. There is long-standing documentation that most of the people in the MSM, especially outside of the South, totally do not know anything about the SBC and believe a lot of false and dated stereotypes about them.

    This would be even more so about a non-Baptists SBC church in Miami, where the false notion that virtually all Hispanics are Catholic is the first thing people need to be disabused of. It would not surprise me to learn that a minority of Hispanics in the Miami area are Catholic. Even if it is still a majority, it would not be a pronounced one, and I would not be surprised if there are others at this non-denominational Church who are Catholics who at least occasionally go to mass who are also at that Church.

    Beyond this, if actual Catholic priests accept Mr. Rubio’s Catholic credentials, than who is Mr. Giuta to question them? If the priest says you are Catholic and can take mass, who are laymen to say no?

  • Padraic

    “The Catholic Church teaches that abandoning the faith for a non-Catholic denomination is a mortal sin.”

    I believe that statement to be utterly false. I’m poorly catechized, but I suspect I can hold my own with the reporter from the Telegraph.

    Lumen Gentium states in the second section, “Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”

    I’m not a scholar, but that statement seems to say exactly what the Telegraph reporter was writing.

  • Passing By

    Padraic,

    The statement from Lumen Gentium is conditional: if you believe the Catholic Faith, specifically what the Faith says about the Church…

    Anyway, “mortal sin” requires 1.) behavior that is objectively serious; 2.) knowledge and belief that the behavior is wrong; 3.) Freedom of choice. In other words, a sin must be serious and chosen freely in full knowledge to be “mortal”. The reporter took a shortcut in using the terms, which probably wasn’t a mortal sin, journalistically speaking, of course. ;-)

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby

    David Gibson has a new Politics Daily piece up about this.


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