Marco Rubio: Baptist or Catholic?

Friday, 24 Feb 2012 08:55 AM

By Margaret Menge

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Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was not only baptized as a Mormon before converting to Catholicism, but also attended a Southern Baptist church in Miami on a regular basis and has alternated between referring to himself as a Baptist and a Catholic, according to The Miami Herald.

The news of Rubio’s baptism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints broke on the website BuzzFeed yesterday, causing some to question whether Rubio, rumored to be the top pick for vice president, could share the ticket with Romney, who is Mormon.

But the new revelation has raised even more questions, and has people asking whether Rubio is in fact a Catholic or a Baptist.

The Herald reports that the Rubios left the Mormon church by the time the boy was 12, and that Marco Rubio received First Communion in the Catholic Church a year later. After the family returned to Miami, Rubio received the sacrament of Confirmation.

Editor's Note: Prayer Changes Your Brain in 4 Astonishing Ways.

But as an adult, Rubio began attending services at Christ Fellowship in Miami, a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Rubio gave about $50,000 to the church over a period of several years, according to the Herald, and in 2002, as a member of the Florida House, he listed himself as a Baptist in the House Clerk’s Manual.

In 2000, the manual had listed him as Catholic. In 2004, Rubio was back to calling himself a Catholic in the manual, the official directory of members of the state legislature.

The Herald based its story on a sneak preview of details from Rubio’s memoir, which will be released in the fall, and on conversations with Rubio’s staff.

Rubio’s office told the Herald that in about 2005 “Marco began to return to his Catholic roots.” But the staff also said in a written statement that the senator “enjoys the sermons and the excellent children’s ministry at Christ Fellowship, and still attends often.”

Although Catholics and Southern Baptists share a faith in Christ, there are distinct differences between the churches. Southern Baptists, like most other Protestants, do not recognize the authority of the Pope, do not venerate Saints, and do not believe in transubstantiation, the bread and wine of Communion as the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Many Americans might question how someone could attend both churches and fully share in both denominations. But some scholars point out that it is increasingly common for Hispanics to participate in multiple faiths.

“A lot of the recent working-class immigrants, they go to evangelical church because they like the preaching, but when it comes time for a baptism or burial or First Communion, they say it’s got to be Catholic,” said Timothy Matovina, director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame. “They don’t see any dissonance.”

Rubio has said he attends daily Mass in Washington, D.C. His staff points out that he was also married in the Catholic Church.

Editor's Note: Prayer Changes Your Brain in 4 Astonishing Ways.




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