January 22, 2012 By Joseph P. Farrell

I ran across this piece about Senator Sick Rantorum (that name by the way, is not my own, it's someone else's) and the Roman Catholic organization known as Opus Dei:

How Opus Dei Influenced Rick Santorum

Now don't get me wrong. Roman Catholicism has done a extraordinary amount of good in the world, running hospitals, hospices, orphanages and charities worldwide. But it also has a mixed track record, as we well know: burning people alive simply for believing things that were not official church doctrine. We're told, reassuringly, that the leopard has changed its spots, that it has reformed itself, that those"nasty mediaeval things" would no longer be acceptable. Really?

Enter Opus Dei, whose "numeraries" wear a "cilice", a spiked belt with the spikes turned toward the skin to practice the mortification of the flesh. Nothing mediaeval about that... because it is taking place in the 21st century.

...And Senator Rantorum is associated with it, a man who informs us that America is all about forcing its moral values on others? See Santorum: “Imposing” our values on each other is “what America’s about”) Who found the recent assassination of the young Iranian scientist a "wonderful" thing? Who sent his children to a school associated with an organization whose numeraries wear spiked belts and whose website says it is "nothing traumatic?" Who wants to lecture us about "natural law" while being associated with an organization promoting celibacy (that's nature, right?) and wearing spiked belts because they have volunteered to do so? Who wants us to believe that contraception is somehow contrary to that wonderful natural law? Who literally sneers at opposing candidates when they say something that conflicts with his own views?

Let us be clear: his is a deeply morally conflicted vision; it is mediaeval in all the worst ways. It is, I am bold to suggest, yet another manifestation of the inherent contradictions in Yahwism that Dr. de Hart and I wrote about in Yahweh The Two-Faced God. Mr Rantorum is, of course, free to practice his beliefs, but lecturing the rest of us on the meaning of morality and family values while attending a 100 year celebration of the birth of this organization is not, to my mind, very reassuring.

And let us be clear about something else, the logical end result of Mr. Rantorum's moral vision of America is a tyranny, just like the religious organization of which he is a member is, in the final analysis, a tyranny, headed by an office that claims the sole right to speak for God. We would do well to remind ourselves of the decree of Boniface VIII, that it was altogether necessary to salvation for every human being to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. We would do well to remind ourselves that the decree of the First Vatican Council stated that said pontiff had an universal, supreme, and immediate jurisdiction, and that said pontiff was infallible. Doesn't get any clearer than that folks. And Mr. Rantorum wants to raise the specter of Governor Romney's belonging to a "cult"!?: "Would the potential attraction to Mormonism by simply having a Mormon in the White House threaten traditional Christianity by leading more Americans to a church that some Christians believe misleadingly calls itself Christian, is an active missionary church, and a dangerous cult?" Mr. Rantorum's language here is, of course, disingenuous, for by the teachings of his own church, every other religion is a "dangerous cult."

No, Mr. Rantorum... every time you open your mouth to deliver your encyclicals on happiness, morality, family values, natural law, the sanctity of human life, and faith, I see the pyres of the Albigensian Crusades, the autos da fe of the Inquisition, and I am reminded that your children went to a school associated with an organization whose members wear spiked belts, and reassuring us it is "nothing traumatic."  I see the record of the institution to which you adhere, and I question how anyone can, without moral hypocrisy, be a member of it and presume to lecture the rest of us on values and the sanctity of human life.