In the recent spurt of travel expense examinations of Congress, a juicy little tidbit surfaced about Little Ricky. He traveled to Rome in 2002 to give a speech at a University to pay tribute to the man who founded Opus Dei.

“The Rome university, which has trained hundreds of new priests, is the educational arm of Opus Dei. It traces its roots back to the Saint Josemaria Escriva, the Opus Dei founder whose life and subsequent canonization under Pope John Paul II has been shrouded in controversy. Indeed, Santorum’s 2002 trip — which got little attention in the post-9/11 haze — was to address of celebration of the 100th anniversary of Escriva’s birth. He was interviewed there by the National Catholic Reporter and said he was an admirer of Escriva — who is recorded as having whipped himself until the walls of a bathroom were splattered with blood and once wrote: “Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain…Glorified be pain!”

So, I guess Ricky likes a little pain with his politics… I think we should give it to him. Not one to pass up a microphone, he obviously blabbed quite a bit.

When in Rome, Santorum also disavowed John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the separation of church and state — the speech that is credited with helping to elect JFK as the first, and still the last, Roman Catholic president: He told NCR that a distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, enshrined in John Kennedy’s famous speech in 1960 saying he would not take orders from the Catholic church if elected president, has caused “much harm in America.” “All of us have heard people say, `I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it’s not right for somebody else?’ It sounds good,” Santourm said. “But it is the corruption of freedom of conscience.”

Ricky then declared Geroge W Bush as the “…first Catholic president of the United States” !!!??? Is Opus Dei a threat? A lot of folks think that it is.

Opus Dei is a political and political powerhouse within the Roman Catholic Church. Beyond that, there is little upon which the group’s critics and supporters agree.

The most extreme opponents accuse Opus Dei of functioning as a cult and have even formed an Opus Dei Awareness Network. Certainly, the self-inflicted corporal punishment has raised many eyebrows.

So is Little Ricky a minion of this controversial extremist wing of the Catholic Church? He says no, but the signs say otherwise:

There are other threads in Santorum’s biography that suggest his Opus Dei ties are close indeed. In addition to the 2002 trip, it was reported in 2001 that Santorum was one of several Washington luminaries who received written permission to attend St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Great Falls, Va., a parish closely associated with Opus Dei.

Its pastor told the Washington Times in 2001 “a good number of Opus Dei members in the area attend his church because it is more conservative and sticks closer to traditional Catholic teachings.” Others who have attended the church include Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former FBI chief Louis Freeh, and TV talking head Kate O’Beirne, the National Review’s Washington editor.

Well, Opus Dei wants desperately to dissolve the wall between church and state, and we know where Little Ricky stands on that issue. I had read an interesting article by Sidney Blumenthal via Truthout about ties between Bush and the new Pope. The article hinted strongly that Ratzinger (sorry, he’ll always be Ratzinger to me) is a proponent of the marriage of church and state. I posted the link on Kos; Blumenthal’s take was refuted by others in the thread. Now I’m not so sure that Mr Blumenthal got it wrong . here is the link to Attytood, where you can read the entire Santorum article, and I strongly urge that you read it… fascinating at best, damn frightening at worst. Little Ricky’s got to go.

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