The Spectacle Blog

Catholics Santorum, Hannity Attacked by Ron Paul Activist

By on 1.2.12 | 12:51PM

Bear with me as we connect the dots.

This latest journey into Paulville began when I received a missive from a self-identified South Carolina Catholic Ron Paul activist named Chris Golden. The note, clearly part of a mass e-mail, and addressed to "Dear Fellow Republicans, Conservatives, Constitutionalists, and other Patriotic Americans," attacked the surging former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum -- a famously staunch Catholic -- as being a "heretic."

The all-important South Carolina primary is scheduled for January 21.

Curious, no? As a Pennsylvanian who knows Mr. Santorum a bit (and if needed to know, voted for him for U.S. Senator), I am well aware that he is constantly under attack from the left precisely because he is a Catholic. So to see this odd missive attacking him as a heretic was, well, strange.

So what's up here? Ahhhhhhhh. As always, more than meets the eye.

Included in this hot note from the South Carolina Catholic Ron Paul supporter were two very interesting articles. By which hangs the yet again inevitable tale that always seems to pop up in Paulville. On the surface the attack revolves around Santorum's national security beliefs -- famously far apart from Ron Paul. But this difference of political opinion between two presidential candidates was used as an excuse to circulate two quite specific articles on Catholics to Paul supporters.

The first article attached by Golden and circulated was by one Robert A. Sungenis. In which this Protestant boy was startled to see our friend Sean Hannity, a Catholic, attacked in this fashion:

Typical examples of leading Catholic figures who have been ensconced by the Neo-con agenda (or, worse, are mere plants posing as Catholics) are Sean Hannity who, having advertised his stance against the pope's opposition to the Iraq war, had the temerity to host Protestant Franklin Graham (Billy Graham's son) on his popular Fox television show, allowing him to chastise the pope. So enamored is Hannity with the Evangelical agenda that his best-selling book, Deliver Us From Evil, contains the Protestant, not Catholic, version of the Our Father on the inside cover.

There was more, but you get the flavor.

Nor was Hannity alone. Also attacked by Sungenis were Catholics George Weigel (biographer of Pope John Paul II), the late William F. Buckley Jr. and his brother, former New York Senator and federal judge James A. Buckley, the Catholic philosopher Michael Novak, Princeton's Professor Robert P. George, former Reagan Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, former Judge Robert Bork and wife Ellen Bork and… well… you get the picture.

The second article attached was by Daniel McCarthy. The 2005 piece, attacking Catholics like the late Father Richard John Neuhaus, can be found here at the American Conservative -- but that isn't where I found the link. Where did I find the link to the McCarthy piece?

That's right. Over there in Paulville -- aka the Lew Rockwell Report. Mr. Rockwell, you will remember, is the longtime Ron Paul ally and ex-chief of staff who was publicly fingered recently in the Wall Street Journal by no less than Cato Foundation president Edward H. Crane as the "likely source" of those controversial Ron Paul newsletters.

So, who is Robert A. Sungenis that his writings would be cited in a mass e-mail as back-up evidence of Senator Santorum's alleged heresy?

Sungenis is the man behind a publication once called Catholics Apologetics International but now renamed the Bellarmine Report, found here. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) was a Cardinal and is a saint in the Catholic Church. And while I could not find a link to the article quoted above, I have found that Mr. Sungenis apparently renamed his publication after being directed to do so by his Bishop. Why? The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was not happy over Sungenis's writings on Jews and Judaism. Quite aside from the Catholic side of this curious incident, this is a familiar problem yet again with a Paul supporter and allegations of anti-Semitism that seems to eternally pop up with Ron Paul supporters.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Sungenis, and another story from the Washington Post that says:

Sungenis's writings on Jews have been sharply criticized by fellow Catholics, who accuse him of anti-Semitism. His local bishop, Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg, has demanded that Sungenis stop writing about Jews and made him stop using the word "Catholic" in his organization's name.

Sugenis posted a statement on his wrangle with Bishop Rhoades here. Interestingly, when one scrolls down at this site, one finds photo scans of original correspondence from Bishop Rhoades himself on Mr. Sungenis written to a third party.

What do we have here after following all these dots?

Senator Rick Santorum's Catholicism is under attack in a mass e-mail by South Carolina's Mr. Golden, a South Carolina GOP activist who self-identifies as a Catholic Ron Paul supporter.

Mr. Golden was recently in the news for a tangle with prominent South Carolina Republican Dean Allen, a veteran and one-time candidate for South Carolina Adjutant General, over Allen's letter to the state GOP chair requesting Paul and his supporters be banned from future debates based on what Allen believed to be "the boorish behavior of the Ron Paul idiots" at the November, 2011 nationally televised debate from Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Mr. Golden made his case on Santorum with material by Mr. Sungenis and Daniel McCarthy as backup evidence. In the latter case the McCarthy piece is linked by the Lew Rockwell Report.

One last thing:

Mr. Golden ends his attack by saying this of Santorum:

Let Santorum follow Bill Kristol. I'll worship Jesus Christ and follow His Vicar: the Pope.

That's a curious statement when one realizes the Catholic Church and the Pope say homosexulaity is a "sin" -- and Ron Paul, as heard here in 2008, specifically denies this to be the case. Which apparently means Mr. Golden makes exceptions to Catholic doctrine and the views of the Pope on what is a "sin" -- if Ron Paul has a different view. Does this make Golden a "heretic"?

Golden adds a P.S. with this note -- all in caps -- at the bottom:

PS: PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ALL THE CATHOLICS YOU KNOW -- ESPECIALLY IF THEY LIVE IN IOWA OR NEW HAMPSHIRE. THANK YOU.

Consider it done.

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