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Does Santorum Represent Catholics? Fans, Foes Argue

Fellow alums of Carmel High School say he doesn't practice the type of Catholicism taught at the school; Santorum campaign director has a response. Plus, they have pro- and anti-Santorum Facebook pages.

Matt Muchowski, Toni Weaver and Jon Zahm all attended Catholic schools, but  disagree strongly over Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum's views.

They also disagree on whether Santorum represents the Catholic values taught at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein.

"I was once where he is now, but I've grown," said Weaver, who, like Santorum and Muchowski, graduated from the school.

Facebook wars and Santorum protest

The three, and others, are on opposite sides on Facebook.

After starting the "Carmel Catholic Alumni Against Rick Santorum" Facebook page (with 403 likes), Matt Muchowski used it to organize a protest outside Santorum's planned rally Friday in Niles.

Note: Just before posting this story, Niles-Morton Grove Patch learned the rally has been moved to Arlington Heights, and that there will be 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. events.

"Santorum has really built a career on hating the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement," said Muchowski.

"For a candidate who keeps talking about how Catholic he is, a majority of Catholics don't agree with his views. And on issues like the war and immigrants, his positions don't align with the teaching of the Catholic bishops."

Zahm, Santorum's Illinois campaign director, countered by noting that other Carmel alumni have created the Carmel Catholic High School For Rick Santorum page on Facebook, with 360 likes.

"These people (on the anti-Santorum page) are simply a disaffected minority and I don't put a lot of credence in their numbers," said Zahm.

True nature of Catholicism

Weaver, who has liked the anti-Santorum page on Facebook, said that Carmel taught St. John of the Cross' statements that Catholicism is about love, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. She does not see Santorum's views, widely characterized in the media as intolerant to homosexuals, as consistent with that.

As a member of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the mother of a gay son, she said she wished Santorum would listen more to gay people's heartfelt stories and, through that experience, become more accepting.

"I would hope Santorum would grow as he sits and talks to gay people. That's how hearts and minds are changed, by talking to people one on one and sharing a journey," she said.

Church's view on traditional marriage

Zahm said he thinks those on the anti-Santorum Facebook page have it wrong.

"The Catholic Church teaches the sanctity of life and traditional marriage and I think the people who are protesting Santorum are not in line with Catholic faith. So I think it's ironic they're protesting," he said.

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Jean Hughes March 17, 2012 at 09:44 PM
No person should be told whal the can or can not.The goverment has no right to tell any person what they can do with our sealf.vote eny one buy. OBAMA
Jean Hughes March 17, 2012 at 09:56 PM
That is so right, I my self Obama He is trying to take over eve thing I truely belive he will try and make every and make us like Canada,
Jean Hughes March 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM
That is write how ever I will voye for any ( not obama )
Julie Ann Hamlet March 18, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I am a graduate of Carmel Catholic high school and attended Catholic schools for 13 years. We were never taught anything in school about homosexuality being immoral or unnatural, and the issue of birth control was never mentioned. Religious voters seem to be letting politicians inform them on their faith, which is a really dangerous thing. Santorum and others like him are making religious issues where none exist in order to polarize people and manipulate the religious into voting for them. Santorumdoes not represent Catholics' faith, but is promoting the illusion that he does. He is a hypocrite, and his refusal to help the poor and the disabled and his insistence that "smaller government" includes systematically denying women and gays their rights on a religious basis is disgusting. Maybe if women could afford to raise their children, educate and feed their families, and had free access to birth control, there would be far less need for abortions.
Dave March 20, 2012 at 06:00 AM
Santorum is better than Obama who hates Catholics, sat in a racist church (Rev. Jeremiah Wright) for 10 years without walking out in disgust, Obama supports killing fetuses (abortion), and Obama appoints Marxist, secularists in all parts of his admn. The LGBT agenda isn't about "rights", all Americans already have rights. The queer agenda is an "anti" movement steeped in hate of everything Julie's ancestors and the Carmelites stand for. Wake up, you're very naive.

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