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09/30/2015 01:20 pm ET

Rick Santorum Wrongly Predicted Pope Francis Would Majorly Focus On Same-Sex Marriage

“I suspect he’s going talk a lot about this subject,” the presidential candidate said regarding a subject the pope spoke little about on his U.S. trip.

At the Values Voter Summit last weekend, former U.S. senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic, seemed to struggle with Pope Francis’ downplaying of social issues important to conservatives, something that had many commentators on the right irked. When asked during an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress about what he thought about the lack of emphasis on abortion or same-sex marriage during the pope’s speech to Congress, Santorum replied, “Well, as a matter of fact, he mentioned both. “

In fact, the pope didn’t use the word abortion (though he did urge legislators to “protect and defend human life at every stage of its development” before pivoting into an explicit condemnation of the death penalty) and made no reference to same-sex marriage during his discussion of the problems plaguing marriage and the family. 

“You have to understand that the pope is here to give a series of speeches, and as you may know, he’s giving a speech over the weekend in Philadelphia to the World Meeting of Families,” Santorum explained, predicting the pope would focus on the issue more in Philadelphia in a way he didn’t in his address to Congress -- though the pope, once again, didn’t raise the issue in any overt way in Philadelphia either. “And I suspect that’s where he’s going to talk a lot about this subject.”

“I have no doubt he’s going to talk about it, as he has in different forums talked about different issues,” Santorum continued, before launching into an obscure analysis of Pope Francis’ message. “Here’s an interesting point: You’ll notice he talks about all of the issues at all of the forums. He emphasizes different ones depending on where he is… He weaves them all together into a whole. They’re a fabric that’s woven together…And he’s trying to at least open the door of understanding of how your concern for this fits into a larger mosaic. Well, actually, not a mosaic -- they’re interconnected. He uses the term integral a lot... I think it’s important. I’m glad he’s done it. I’m glad he’s reached out. And I’m glad he’s tying it all together. I would just hope that the people who are focused on one piece of the message understand his greater and larger point: That this is not a message onto itself. That’s it’s integrated into a larger whole. And that one without the other is not sufficient.”

Listen to the interview below.

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