WASHINGTON — There was a rare personal attack on the floor of the Senate.
Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy accused Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum of being self-righteous and insensitive for a column he’d written three years ago.
In that column, Santorum linked Boston’s liberalism with the sex abuse scandal in its Catholic diocese. Santorum had written that promoting alternative lifestyles feeds such aberrant behavior as priests molesting children.
"Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture," Santorum wrote. "When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."
Kennedy is calling for Santorum to retract his remarks and apologize to the people of Boston and Massachusetts — and the nation.
A spokesman for Santorum said his boss recognizes that the church abuse scandal was not just in Boston, but all over the country. The spokesman said Santorum "was speaking to a broader cultural argument." [Source]
Complaining about a three year old column? Wouldn’t that be water under the bridge? (Sorry couldn’t avoid Chappaquiddick reference) Well the scandal certainly was all over the country, but it certainly appears to be more heavily concentrated in less than orthodox diocese and it should be no surprise that people willing to abandon the faith in one area will be less constrained to abandon it in others. This is not to say that there haven’t been fairly orthodox priest who have fallen in this direction, but they do seem to be the minority in these cases. Temptation to sin is an equal opportunity employer and it is only through the grace of the faith, prayer, and the sacraments that these temptations can be destroyed. Once you weaken the ability to resist temptation obviously there will be problems.
Update: WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., yesterday accused Democrats of dredging up 3-year-old remarks on the Catholic Church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal for purely partisan reasons.
Santorum refused to apologize for statements that blamed the church’s scandal on Boston’s liberalism.
Santorum, a devout Catholic, shot back at U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who upbraided Santorum Wednesday in an unusually personal attack on the Senate floor.
"I don’t think Ted Kennedy lecturing me on the teachings of the church and how the church should handle these problems is something I’m going to take particularly seriously," Santorum said during a conference call with Catholic media.
Santorum also questioned Kennedy’s following of church doctrine and said he is unaware of Kennedy or Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., getting involved to address the church’s problem. [Source]