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Rick Santorum: 'Very Difficult to Listen to' Pope Francis

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Rick Santorum: 'Very Difficult to Listen to' Pope Francis

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 03:21 PM



By: Jennifer G. Hickey


Potential Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he often finds it "very difficult" to listen to Pope Francis, particularly when he makes "off the cuff" and impromptu comments, such as he did when he commented to reporters on a Monday flight from the Philippines that the ban on contraception does not mean Catholics should breed like rabbits.
"Sometimes very difficult to listen to the Pope and some of the things he says off the cuff, and this is one of them," Santorum, a devout Catholic, said Tuesday during an appearance on
"The Hugh Hewitt" radio program.
"When he speaks as the leader of the Catholic Church, I’ll certainly pay attention. But when he speaks in interviews, he’s giving his own opinions, which I certainly will listen to, but from my perspective, that doesn’t reflect the idea that people shouldn’t be fruitful and multiply, and that people should be open to life as something that is a core value of the faith and of the Catholic Church," said the former Pennsylvania senator.
When asked by Hewitt, who also is a practicing Catholic, whether Pope Francis' comments might lead to confusion and provide ammunition to the opponents of the Church's position on birth control, Santorum dismissed any chance the Church would alter its stance.
"No, well look, the bottom line is that’s not going to happen. I don’t think anyone who seriously looks at this believes that it’s not possible to happen. I mean, the Pope is the Pope, but the Pope has a lot of other people around him who advise him. And you know, the most important thing is that as a Catholic, I believe he has the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit isn’t going to let him make that kind of mistake," he contended.
Today, Pope Francis, who was back in Rome, appeared to clarify his remarks, saying "it gives consolation and hope to see so many numerous families who receive children as a real gift of God. They know that every child is a benediction,"
according to CBS News.
Pope Francis has frequently ruffled the feathers of some Catholics with his conversational comments on matters of church doctrine, such as when the pontiff suggested on another plane ride that the Church should be more welcoming to gays,
reports the Los Angeles Times.
At the time, Santorum argued that Francis' comments had been taken out of context.
"I’ve read the whole transcript, and what he said early on was that ‘I don’t know anybody who puts gay on their identification card.’ He said it in that context. I think all believers need to understand that we need to respect and love everybody and treat everybody with dignity and respect. There’s no room for harshness in respect to this issue — but that doesn’t mean the church doesn’t have the right to believe what is right and wrong," he asserted in an interview with
Buzzfeed.
Santorum has previously expressed excitement about Pope Francis' approach to leadership.
In a March 2014 appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Santorum told host Chuck Todd that he thought he is "a humble man" and that "he lives the faith out in his own personal life. ... He's here to be a shepherd; he isn't here to be a scold. I think that's a good thing for the Church and for the world, frankly,"
according to Huffington Post.
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