Nov 012010

Going over the news feeds I found it odd to see the headline What Is Marco Rubio’s Religion?. But apparently the reporter who wrote the story has been running similar pieces on politicians running in the midterm election.

What is Marco Rubio’s religion?

Rubio is a Roman Catholic.

Where does Marco Rubio worship?

Though he is Catholic, Rubio belongs to the Christ Fellowship nondenominational Church in West Kendall, Fla., where he has attended for the last six years.

Was Marco Rubio born Roman Catholic, or did he convert?

Rubio was born Roman Catholic.

What has Marco Rubio said about the Roman Catholic Church?

When asked about how his faith has sustained him, Rubio said that he derives his family’s strength from faith. “If you get the personal part of your life wrong, nothing else makes sense,” he said, adding that his most important job is father and husband, and “I try to get that right, … and certainly that comes from our faith.” As a Catholic potential senator, he has expressed a possible division (as well as an inference that his Christianity informs his morality): “For those who have the Christian faith and are in politics, there is a constant struggle between a desire to do what is right and how that sometimes may not coincide with what is popular,” he said. “I hope that, more often than not, I make the right choice.”

These were suppose to be answers to frequently asked questions. So whether someone is a convert to a faith is a frequently asked question or what church they attend?

Very strange for a reporter to call someone who attends a Protestant church for six years a Catholic. Somehow I doubt the reporter is considering the nuances of formal defection introduced by the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the subsequent very strict interpretation of it by he Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts in 2006. Though since this clarification likely was not retroactive Rubio could be seen as formerly defecting since he is enrolled in another Christian church. Though I don’t play a Canon Lawyer on my blog or on TV. [Jimmy Akin on the subject]

Now the question is how accurate is this report? It does indeed seem that Marco Rubio attends this “denominational non-denomonational” church to which over the years has donated close to 66,000 dollars and his attendance there is referenced in several stories. Though The Huffington Post calls him an “observant Roman Catholic” so I guess that proves that he is now a Protestant. Easy to see the confusion since maybe Rubio is confused himself since his government web page lists Roman Catholic and just about every other source does the same. I would be curious as to what the actual situation is – though this has no effect on my voting for Marco Rubio. Religious affiliation is not what I look for in a candidate, but certainly I desire the unity in that all belong to Christ’s Church – the Catholic Church.

  15 Responses to “So is Marco Rubio a Catholic or not?”

  1. If Marco Rubio has found his way out of the Catholic Church and into one of those evangelical churches, we can credit the latter for taking Christ’s mandate to evangelize very seriously. As for us Catholics, we seem very reluctant to evangelize. We wait for people to knock on our RCIA doors but do little else that could be considered active evangelization. It is a shame to travel to Central America and see so many evangelical churches, knowing full well that these were once former Catholics who no longer avail themselves of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist.

  2. To be, after hundreds of years apart, a ‘baptist’ or whatever, is something separate from being a protestant in the earnest sense of protesting the state of the Catholic Church with hope of reform. Perhaps he is both a Catholic and a Protestant, in that simple sense of protest and a separation that is temporary by design, waiting for something particular to happen in the Church.

  3. It’s quite possible that Rubio may believe himself to be a good Catholic who just happens to attend a Protestant church.

    Not everyone who changes religion does so after a spiritual crisis, or after deep and prayerful study. I’ve met a lot of people who have changed religious allegiances, and thought the change no big deal. “We’re all basically the same, we all believe in God or Jesus, don’t we?” And in a lot of cases there is no price to pay in terms of ecclesiastical censure, or social, or family consequences.

    A lot of this can be blamed on the sorry state of Catholic catechesis over the last forty or so years. (Eight years of Catholic schools, and I never would have learned that the Catholic Church is the one True Church if I hadn’t learned it from my own studies.) We can also blame the wrong-headed ecumenism that has afflicted the Church since Vatican II. (How many Catholic priests did Scott Hahn have to talk to before he could find a priest that would help him come into the Church? And Dr. Hahn’s case is not unique.)

    I’ve also begun to notice cases where Catholics of orthodox and conservative sensibilities have been alienated from the Church by the heterodox and decidedly liberal tendencies of too much of our Church leadership. And let’s face it, a lot of those heterodox liberals have been actively alienating those who disagree with them for years.

    I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more of this as time goes on.

  4. Hmmmm, I am going to start praying for Marco Rubio in earnest. I honestly believe his sincere desire to follow Christ will lead him back to the Church HE founded. 😉

  5. Wouldn’t a Catholic who has joined a Protestant church be a lot like a man who lives with “the other woman”, while his wife continues alone in another city?

    “Mark Reed and his wife, author Patience Rift Reed, have been married for fifteen years. Mark shares his Desertville, Arizona home with Aphrodite Lovelace; Patience lives and writes from the former family home in Toronto, Canada.

    Wouldn’t most people say that’s a marriage that is pretty much over?

  6. Now, folks, there’s another possibility. He might attend various parishes to go to Mass, but then go to the nondenominational church also for sermons, or for the support of some friend or family member who’s big in that church.

    My dad’s a United Methodist and ushers at his church, but he also comes to Mass almost every Sunday with my mom and has donated lots of money to the Church over the years. (Or rather, the family bank account has, but he’s probably done as much of the check signing as my mother.)

    There also might be the situation where he attends the Protestant church, his wife and kids attend the Catholic parish alone except on special occasions, but he still regards this as good enough.

    If we understood his family situation better, we might understand what’s going on. Then again, if this reporter had actually written better and asked better questions (or if his editor hadn’t cut it down to incomprehensibility), things would probably be clearer.

  7. Ok Jeff. Now you are finding out. This is what you are dealing with. I told you so on FB.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE HILARIOUS. He says one thing and does another.
    How about all the Florida bloggers take up a collection and send you and Pat the Man Madrid down there to Metro Dade with a translation book and you evangelize him before he gets sworn in as the next Fla senator.

    The Dems still hold the US Senate. It is not going to make any real difference.
    Be a sensible Floridian and THINK BIG PICTURE. BUT somehow we cannot do that.

    This is hilarious. And like he is really going to get rid of abortion. I remind you that the Senate is where the Foreign Policy is made and China is still doing abortions and Wal Mart contracts with factories in China. Gamma in China is good. Read Brave New World by Huxley people. The Chinese are the modern reality Gammas.

    Pla…. leeeeeze…. but you all voted for him. I didn’t. He won’t do a thing against abortion. Wait and see.

  8. Sounds more like a fallen away Catholic. Hopefully, one day he will come back to the Church. Miss Pelosi on the other hand calls herself a Catholic, go figure.

  9. FWIW, in general, I’ve found fallen-away Catholic politicians to (eventually) demonstrate confusion over first things in their legislating. “Confusion” is a polite word, by the way.

    Too bad.

  10. Yesterday, I found out that Boehner was Catholic and it gave me pause. Too many Catholic politicians turn out to be Stupak squishy. Evangelicals don’t compromise their principles.

    At least he supports his church. Check out Biden’s charitable contributions vs. Palin’s [another former Catholic].

    And what about John Kerry?

    “In all, taking into account losses from investments, Kerry reported a total 2003 income of $395,338. His total federal tax bill was $90,575. He had $27,277 of that withheld from his paychecks and paid the rest, $63,298, with his tax return.

    Kerry reported giving $43,735, or about 11 percent of his total income, to charity. That significant level of giving stands in contrast to his record in the 1990s, in which the issue of the senator’s charitable contributions was a source of controversy. In 1995, Kerry reportedly had a taxable income of $126,179, and made charitable contributions of $0. In 1994, he gave $2,039 to charity. In 1993, the figure was $175. In 1992, it was $820, and in 1991, it was $0.”

  11. So is a fallen away Catholic still a Catholic? Is a fallen angel still an angel?

    I don’t think even our bishops can agree with the Vatican on when someone has actually left the Church. It sounds like the difference between adultery and anullment.

  12. Not to change the subject, but while Sarah Palin is technically a “former Catholic” because her parents had her baptized Catholic as an infant, it’s my understanding that she was raised as a Protestant and never practiced or claimed any other faith. To call her a “former Catholic” implies that she consciously chose to abandon the faith as an adult, which is not the case. Her situation is NOT the same as Rubio’s.

  13. Elaine, while I would agree with your assessment for Palin and Rubio, at least some in the Vatican apparently believe differently. Like Jimmy, I’m surprised that the Vatican has set the criteria to leave the church so high.

  14. Doesn’t Catholic pro-life hero Sam Brownback also attend protestant services?

    Maybe Rubio’s wife, like Brownback’s, is protestant so he attends church with her. Do we know for a fact that Rubio doesn’t also attend Mass?

  15. Catholic from the point of view of canon law (ie, sacramental reality and rights, interpreted very broadly and generously to prevent injustice) is different from Catholic from the point of view of what somebody knows and practices, or what they could possibly confess in the confessional.

    Rubio is an adult and a politician, and the normal honest practice would be openness about his religious practice. If he’s “seeking”, he should have been honest about that. If he’s attending Mass and this other church for whatever reasons, he should be honest about that and say why.

    In politics, it’s not a big deal unless you conceal.

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