READ THIS ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Peggy Noonan, writing about Rick Santorum:
I end with a story too corny to be true, but it's true. A month ago Mr. Santorum and his wife were in the car driving to Washington for the debate with his opponent on "Meet the Press." Their conversation turned to how brutal the campaign was, how hurt they'd both felt at all the attacks. Karen Santorum said it must be the same for Bob Casey and his family; they must be suffering. Rick Santorum said yes, it's hard for them too. Then he said, "Let's say a Rosary for them." So they prayed for the Caseys as they hurtled south.
A friend of mine called them while they were praying. She told me about it later, but didn't want it repeated. "No one would believe it," she said.
But I asked Mr. Santorum about it. Sure, he said, surprised at my surprise. "We pray for the Caseys every night. We know it's as hard for them as it is for us."
Er, I don't get this. I was Catholic until I quit the church as a teenager. I prayed a few rosaries in my time, so I know how the process works.
What happened when one of the Santorums took call? Did Rick or Karen say, "Sorry, we can't talk right now -- we're praying a rosary for our opponent, Bob Casey, and his family, because it's just what Jesus would have done"?
If I were still a Catholic and a rosary I was praying was interrupted by a phone call, I hope I'd just stop and take the call. Or I'd let it go to voicemail. Or I'd say, "Can I call you back? I'm busy."
I'd like to think, especially if I were a public figure, I wouldn't take exquisite care to make sure my caller knew what an incredibly generous person I was to be praying a rosary for a certain specific person who was my enemy -- my caller, who just so happens to have a friend who is a devout-Catholic columnist with a large national right-wing readership.
By the way, here's an interesting commentary about making a great dog-and-pony show of your faith:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
That's Jesus (Luke 18:10-14).