Marco Rubio: America’s Favorite New Catholic

The Kennedys, Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Joe Biden. These are the names that Americans think of when they are asked to name the top Catholic political figures. Former Senator Rick Santorum, a Catholic, of course made a recent resurgence in the political world after the Republican primaries, but there are few new Catholic stars in the national political spotlight today.

Meet freshman Senator Marco Rubio, who is already a rising national star and already the subject of vice-presidential speculation. The son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio still has the spark of a politician who feels he owes his success to things greater than himself.

In June, Rubio delivered a well-received speech at the Faith and Freedom conference in Washington D.C.

“We believe government is an important institution in society; it’s just not the most important institution in society,” he said. “It’s a reminder of those of us who serve here in Washington, that while our job is very important, and what I do in the U.S. Senate matters a lot, what I do at home matters more.”

Rubio has admittedly enjoyed a speedy rise to national prominence, but he reveals in his new memoir that his faith supported him during his deepest political struggles, particularly during his recent Senate campaign.

Already an important figure with a legacy in Florida politics, a frustrated Rubio planned to drop out Senate primary race, when the more popular and better funded Republican, former governor Charlie Crist, seemed unbeatable.

As many of his Republican colleagues abandoned him, he was confronted with anemic fundraising reports. He was written off by his party, the political press, and even some supporters. His wife and his friends however, were convinced he should stay in the race to wage a principled campaign.

This did not make him happy. “I went to sleep angry and confused. I wanted out, but the people I trusted wanted me to fight to the bitter end,” he writes after a grueling night spent trying to convince his friends to let him drop out, in order to save his political career.

Later he quotes his wife as saying, “nothing important in life is easy, and the problem with you, Marco, is that you want it to be easy.”

“I was furious with her,” he admits.

After glumly resigning to running what he thought was a losing race he turned to his faith for support and inspiration. One scripture quote in particular that he writes, inspired him at that time was Joshua 1:9.

“I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

The rest, as they say, is history, as he went on to shock the political world upsetting his opponents by a substantial margin.

Today, Rubio has emerged a stronger political force, although he has yet to boast a long track record of legislative success.

Rubio helped lead the battle in the Senate by co-sponsoring the Blunt Amendment in the Senate, a failed attempt to restore the right for religious freedom for employers in the wake of the HHS mandate issued by the Obama administration.

Although baptized a Catholic, Rubio’s parents joined the Mormon faith after they moved to Las Vegas as a young child, while his family lived in Las Vegas. Rubio explains that even as a youth he told his family he wanted to return to the Catholic faith, after watching a papal Mass broadcast on television during the Easter season.

A similar situation happened in his own family, as his wife was drawn to an evangelical Church, which he attended because of its “accessible and contemporary” message.

Eventually, he writes he was drawn back to the Catholic Church, thanks to some help from a friend who gave him books by Scott Hahn, which showed him the richness of the Catholic tradition.

“A deep, almost mysterious, emotion attachment pulled me back into the church,” he writes. “The challenges of the church’s teachings and sacred traditions inspired me to not just practice Catholic liturgy, but comprehend it. By 2005, Rubio was reading the popular Magnificat periodical and attending daily Mass with his friend.

Today, Rubio attends Mass every Sunday with his family and raises the children as Catholics. But, he still attends services at Christ Fellowship – an evangelical church, with his family.

“To paraphrase a title of one of Scott Hahn’s books, I have come home to Rome, but with a real appreciation for the work being done by my brothers and sisters in Christ, who live their faith in other traditions,” he explains, noting that some of his Catholic friends question his decision to occasionally attend services at the evangelical church.

In one of the closing chapters in his political career, Rubio cast off political correctness in his 2008 Farewell Speech to the Florida House of Representatives.

“God is real. God is real. I don’t care what courts across this country say. I don’t care what laws we pass. God is real,” he said excitedly, electrifying the room.

“God is not some sort of old man with a big white beard that just kind of hovers over the world and makes us feel good from time to time, God is a real force of love,” he added. “He loves everyone that has ever lived.”

Rubio’s earnest attitude has won approval from tired political activists and is already inspiring the next generation. In an era of self-important political figures who preach their version of political and economic change it’s encouraging to see the newest star in the Senate preaching a message rooted in his faith.

Charlie Spiering


Charlie Spiering writes in Washington D.C. for the Washington Examiner. He previously wrote for the Rappahannock News and worked as a reporter for columnist Robert Novak.

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  • Reets46

    It’s so refreshing to have a real Catholic politician instead of the pro-abortion, fakes like Biden and Pelosi to name just a few.  Sebilious comes to mind as well…  They love to flaunt their “Catholic identity” when it suits them politically.  I’d love to see Rubio on the Romney ticket.  Can you imagine him in a debate with Biden? 

  • Just recently I read that Marc Rubio is a member of the Mormon Church!   Which is it?  Is he a Mormon or a Catholic?

    • jk4dios

      I think the article answers this clearly. When he was a child, his family became Mormon, but he, at least, has returned to the practice of the Catholic faith.

  • jk4dios

    May this young Senator continue to hold to his faith. We need such men desperately. May St. Michael protect him!

  • Alecto

    I would be extremely cautious of lauding any politician in light of the betrayal of another highly lauded Catholic, John Taney Roberts.  These people do not possess one ounce of loyalty to anything other than their own legacies.  Be very careful and put your trust in God. 

    • I certainly did not like John Roberts’ decision.  But, I can see just why he made it.   I do believe he was following his responsibility and conscience rather than simply throw out the entire baby with the bath water.  His inference about “who put the president in power”  to allow such a condition to exist?   I can’t believe that O’bama wanted a decision like this.  It will now occupy his total effort to get re-elected. 

      • Adam_Baum

         “But, I can see just why he made it”

        Yes, we all can: dereliction of duty and failure to follow his oath of office.

      • Alecto

         I had to respond to this because many people think as you do, that somehow the Court has an obligation to defer to the vox populi as represented by elected officials.  This, however, is untrue.  Article III outlines the powers and duties of the Supreme Court and such lower courts as it sees fit to establish.  The judiciary is a separate branch, not a water carrier for other branches.  John Marshall’s writings on the early Court are enlightening as to the role of the Court, which is to impartially, free of political pressures, apply the Constitution to cases and controversies before it.  Recent Courts have repeatedly failed to uphold Constitutional restraints on government, especially in the Kelo decision, Roe v. Wade, Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott, and now NFIB v. Sebelius, which will surely become one of the most reviled decisions in history.  That the majority opinion in NFIB was written by a Catholic is yet more salt in the wounds.

        The primary issue before the Court (simply stated) was whether or not the ACA complied with the Commerce Clause limits.  The Court has neither the authority nor the duty to rewrite legislation to make it conform to constitutional requirements or to fix legislative deficiencies.  However, the ACA not only doesn’t comply with  Commerce Clause limits, it also violates the Origination Clause, a fact which Justice Kennedy noted in his dissent.  Roberts opinion is so poorly reasoned and written, it makes one believe he slapdashed it together on his way to pick up his drycleaning before heading off for a Maltese vacation. 

        I jokingly renamed Chief Justice Taney Roberts because his opinion and his actions so closely resemble that other infamous Catholic justice, Roger Taney, in the Dred Scott case.  It’s almost eerie.  Taney also faced unpopular choices, and decided, wrongly, to make the expedient political choice as Roberts has here.

        That we continue to suffer under this petty tyrant of an imperial president, is perhaps just punishment for our moral failings as a society.  I cannot say.  We get the government we deserve.  However, I do know this:  I will never stop fighting to repeal it, to defund it, disembowel and eviscerate it and to ensure this generation and future generations never have to endure suffering under a collection of out-of-control deviants!

  • Patrick Mulvey

    Although Senator Rubio returned to the Catholic faith, it indicates that the Church has a major problem with Hispanics and their targeted evangelicalism by protestant sects,  It used to be in San Diego that if you met a Hispanic person you could assume that they are Catholic……no longer….many have been poached by storefront churches preaching a variant of sola scriptura and ‘getting saved.’  Obviously, the social justice focus over the past half century in lieu of Catholic traditional Catholic pastoral work has created a spiritual vacuum into which the evangelicals have had easy pickings along with the Mormons.  

    • How True!  The Church is NOT reaching out to Hispanics as it should, and the Protestants are gobbeling them up!  Sad that some of these Churches preach false doctrines, such as Jesus really being the Archangel Michael-and NOT the Son of God!  Mormons believe in many gods and Jesus is looked upon as inferior to their founder ,Joseph Smith.  He is not the Son of God, but a son of god.  Which god is the question?

      • One terrible trait of the Catholic Church is their clergy’s failure to totally drag their feet.   It is only in recent times that Catholics have truly been saddled with the responsibility of taking an active role in their evangelization.  Just Baptism is no longer the prime identifier of a faithful Catholic.   Of course we can’t support the Mormon founder, Joseph Smith but we sure admire many of their depth of faith, morals and their charity toward one another. 

  • jaques

    “there are few new Catholic stars in the national political spotlight today.”What about Paul Ryan? He is pretty high profile and is comfortable speaking about his faith, in terms of subsidiarity and solidarity and the federal budget. Other Catholics in the national spotlight would include Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Bob McDonell, etc. In fact one of the biggest trends of the past decade or so is the rise of devout Catholics in the GOP and their ability to function well in both the economic and cultural milieus, something which had once been the separate purviews of the, for lack of better term, the old waspy “Countryclub Republicans,” and the Evangelical “Moral Majority” types. 

  • LSK49rs

    Thank you, Senator.  Your return to the True Church mirrors my own journey.  I understand it and I applaud you for being the type of strong man The Church needs right NOW!!!

  • Famijoly

    This tells you all you need to know:

    “Today, Rubio attends Mass every Sunday with his family and raises the
    children as Catholics. But, he still attends services at Christ
    Fellowship – an evangelical church, with his family.

    “‘To paraphrase a title of one of Scott Hahn’s books, I have come home
    to Rome, but with a real appreciation for the work being done by my
    brothers and sisters in Christ, who live their faith in other
    traditions,’ he explains, noting that some of his Catholic friends
    question his decision to occasionally attend services at the evangelical

    Also this from an article on Marco Rubio by Pat Buchanan:

    “John Quincy
    Adams’ declaration that America goes not ‘abroad in search of monsters
    to destroy,’ says Rubio, is an idea that he rejects.”

    In other words, Rubio is just another warmonger in league with the foreign banksters.


    • Tout

      Rubio does not make excuses when his leadership is needed. I’ll pray for Rubio, his family, and America.

      • Adam_Baum

         Assume for a minute that we need “leadership” of the political variety-you know what is frequently cited as the motivation to foist all sorts of deviancy on us-why should we assume that such leadership should always come from someone with an Ivy pedigree, but with precious little experience outside of politics?

  • Mack

    “Still attends services at…an evangelical church.”

    No, synthesis won’t do. 

  • The Big Fella

    Maybe Marco could find one or two more churches to fill his Sunday, and appeal to even more voters!  Senator, you are no Rick Santorum!

  • Any half way Catholic that pays attention to politics can totally refute “The Kennedys, Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Joe Biden. These are the names that Americans think of when they are asked to name the top Catholic political figures.   These people may have been baptized as babies and in no-way represent “Catholic” faith.  Pelosi has used it the most and is the worst of the bunch.   Marco Rubio can run rings around all of them and he will get my vote.  His honesty and demeanor is what is needed especially in refuting the pseudo Catholics. 

  • Macchabee

    God works in strange ways.  He cn raise up armies from stones.  It is tough to take God seriously in America today. The trouiible is not with God but with America and us.

  • Adam_Baum

    I’m beginning to think that politics is inherently corrupting and that almost all politicians are corrupt -after all, politics is about power and we were warned about power and its effects by Lord Acton. 

    First of all, I don’t believe Rubio was dragged kicking and screaming to staying the Senate race by his wife and Scripture. People who attend Harvard Law School are nuclear powered, white-hot furnaces of ambition. Pardon me if I express a crude reservation-I think he’s “full of it”. Contrived reluctance and sudden epiphanies to mission are boilerplate themes for the denial of preexisting ambition.

    However, perhaps he was more honest when he said he wished to quit to save his “political career”. That rings truer, but shows us a a deep contemporary pathology-any system that relies on a largely monocultural and insular professional political class, unacquainted with any occupation except politics-becomes inherently oligarchical and increasingly tyrannical. We have allowed the formation of a new class of Pharisees, presuming to know what’s best for us and eager to enforce their dictates.

    Before anybody begins engaging in the same kind of hero worship of Rubio that gave us his predecessor at the Harvard Law Review as President,consider his normal attendance at Protestant services. If not calculated, this is syncretism or cognitive dissonance. It might very well be calculated to gain the sympathies of Evangelicals who are a major constituency in the Republican Party, but I admit to cynicism in regards to politicians. If we charitably assume that this is a matter of maintaining family peace and unity is there some reciprocation by his Protestant family members regularly attending Mass?  
    “Catholic” politicians have not acquitted themselves well-they have been generals and guerillas in the war against marriage and the unborn and for the statist idolatry. Even those that aren’t in open defiance  (such as Justice Scalia – who, as I recall, made troubling remarks about the need to subordinate one’s conscience to “the law” or resign,and Rick Santorum, who voted to fund contraception-and who offered a flimsy excuse in his recent Presidential bid that didn’t comport well with his Catholicism or claims to conservatism, seem primarily obedient to temporal political concerns at times. 

    This is not a particularly new problem, lets not forget that Henry the VIII was awarded the title “Fidei Defensor” before the Church denied him a divorce and he responded by conducting a war against the Church and against Catholics.

    We already have evidence that Rubio will play politics-he recently surprised a great many free-market supporters by voting to continue sugar subsidies-showing that he’ll subordinate principle to practical politics.

    As for the Church not reaching out to Hispanics (a term devised by Richard Nixon to encapsulate disparate groups of ethnic voters bound only by having Spanish as their primary language), I don’t think they are any different than any other group. It’s a lot easier for most people to declare themselves “saved” and go about their merry way, than to confront one’s failings in a confessional, over and over.  

    When people complain about the Church, they are complaining about the Clergy, and while the Clergy is far from perfect, these are not the times when we can contract Evangelization to a few charismatic speakers-even if another Archbishop Sheen were to arise. To those that complain about the lack of evangelization, who have YOU reached out to?

  • Bjtjm8492

    XCatholics are the Kennedys, Pelosi, Biden, Kerry.  They are apostates and should be considered as such when talking about them.  “Ardent Catholic Pelosi”–I don’t think so!  None of the above are
    following the precepts of the church.  They are the best in hypocritical thinking!