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NY TIMES: How Saint Rick Got His Sanctimony On


[Illustration via VETERANS TODAY]

NEW YORK TIMES: The Santorums’ beliefs are reflected in a succession of lifestyle decisions, including eschewing birth control, home schooling their younger children and sending the older boys to a private academy affiliated with Opus Dei, an influential Catholic movement that emphasizes spiritual holiness. As members of St. Catherine of Siena, a parish here in the wealthy Northern Virginia suburb of Great Falls, the Santorums are immersed in a community where large families are not uncommon and many mothers leave behind careers to dedicate themselves to child-rearing, as Mrs. Santorum has. Mr. Santorum has been on the church roster as a lector, reading Scripture from the pulpit. The parish is known for its Washington luminaries — Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court is a member — as well as its spiritual ardor. Mass is offered in Latin every Sunday at noon — most parishes have Mass only in English — and each Wednesday parishioners take turns praying nonstop for 24 hours before a consecrated communion wafer, a demanding practice known as Eucharistic adoration. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: But [the future Mrs. Santourm], those who knew her say, had broken with her family and her Catholic faith over her relationship with Dr. Tom Allen, who founded Pittsburgh’s first abortion clinic. The two became a couple in 1982, when Ms. Garver was a nursing student in her 20s and Dr. Allen was in his 60s. An obstetrician-gynecologist, he had delivered her and knew her father professionally. In an interview, Dr. Allen, now 92, said that Ms. Garver rented the basement apartment in the building where he lived and worked, and that they soon became romantically involved. (The Philadelphia City Paper reported on the relationship in 2005.) “He was a pillar of the liberal community in Pittsburgh, well known for his charitable work, for the arts, and also very well known for his wine collection,” said John M. Burkoff, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who knew the couple. While Dr. Allen was a strong personality, Mr. Burkoff said, Ms. Garver “was not in his shadow.” She joined Dr. Allen in hosting fund-raisers for liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and for his clinic and expressed strong support for abortion rights, said Herbert Greenberg, a concert violinist and friend of Dr. Allen. MORE

CITY PAPER: When she met Rick, Karen was living with Tom Allen, an OBGYN who in the early-1970s cofounded Pittsburgh’s first abortion clinic. It was a somewhat unusual pairing. Allen was the doctor who delivered Karen. She began living with him while an undergraduate nursing student at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University. She was in her early 20s, he was in his 60s. “When she moved out to go be with Rick, she told me I’d like him, that he was pro-choice and a humanist,” said Allen, an elderly but vibrant man, during a brief conversation on the porch of his Pittsburgh row home. “But I don’t think there’s a humanist bone in that man’s body.” Santorum has often said that at the time of their meeting neither he nor Karen were that devout in their faith. Upon falling in love, he says, they embarked on a soul-searching examination of their lives that brought them both closer to God. A cousin of Santorum’s with whom I’d corresponded over e-mail remembered Santorum becoming decidedly more serious after meeting Karen, whom he married in the summer of 1990. “Rick was a funny guy,” wrote the cousin. “He sported a bushy moustache for a time, wore Hawaiian shirts and smoked cigars. He liked to laugh, drink and call things ‘horsey-assey.’ He was very popular and fun to be around. I think the change happened when he met Karen.” Santorum’s views on abortion changed around this time as well, recalls the cousin. MORE

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