From ‘Nominal Catholic’ to Clarion of Faith

NY Times: GREAT FALLS, Va. — Rick Santorum was, in his own words, a “nominal Catholic” when he met Karen Garver, a neonatal nurse and law student, in 1988. As they made plans to marry and he decided to enter politics, she sent him to her father for advice.

Dr. Kenneth L. Garver was a Pittsburgh pediatrician who specialized in medical genetics. The patriarch of a large Roman Catholic family, he had treated patients considering abortion but was strongly opposed to it.

“We sat across the table and the whole evening we talked about this issue,” Mr. Santorum told an anti-abortion group last October. He left, he said, convinced “that there was only one place to be, from the standpoint of science as well as from the standpoint of faith.”

For Mr. Santorum, a Republican candidate for president, that conversation was an early step on a path into a deeply conservative Catholic culture that has profoundly influenced his life as a husband, father and politician. Over the past two decades, he has undergone a religious transformation that is now spurring a national conversation about faith in the public sphere.

 

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