Former Maryland governor and probable Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley speaks at a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast in Bedford, N.H., on March 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-OMALLEY-FAITH, originally transmitted on May 29, 2015.

5 faith facts about Martin O’Malley: 'A Pope Francis Democrat'

Former Maryland Governor and probable Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley speaks at a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast in Bedford, New Hampshire on March 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-OMALLEY-FAITH, originally transmitted on May 28, 2015.

Former Maryland governor and probable Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley speaks at a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast in Bedford, N.H., on March 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-OMALLEY-FAITH, originally transmitted on May 29, 2015.

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

UPDATE: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley suspended his campaign Feb. 1, after the Iowa Caucus.

(RNS) Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is loudly, proudly Catholic -- even when some doctrine-devoted church followers hiss at his socially liberal views.

Undaunted, O'Malley wrote an essay for the National Catholic Reporter the day before Pope Francis' first U.S. visit offering his view on "why so many people — not only Catholics, but people of so many creeds and faiths, and those who profess to not have religious faith — are energized by Pope Francis’ message. He is a reformer, but one who creates change by “letting the light in” so all of us can see the truth and act upon that truth."

O'Malley, campaigning to the left of the Democratic center, pins his views to the pope's moral charge to all to work for immigration reform and to battle income inequality.

READWhat do 2016 election contenders believe? Check the RNS ‘5 faith facts’ series


Here are five faith facts about O’Malley, 52, who announced his candidacy on Saturday (May 30).

1. He’s Catholic-educated all the way -- almost.

He attended a parish elementary in Bethesda, Md., and Jesuit-run Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., where public service was expected of students. He then earned his undergraduate degree at the Catholic University of America in Washington, before veering off the parochial path for law school at the University of Maryland. In 2002, while serving as mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley told Gonzaga students in a commencement address that the commitment to public service instilled at the school was a driving force in his choice to pursue politics rather than a private law practice.

He’s a pray-every-morning, church-every-Sunday (St. Francis of Assisi in Baltimore) believer who sent all four of his kids to Catholic schools. Democratic Party activist and author Jonathan Miller called him, “the rare progressive to frame his strongly felt policy positions in the language of faith.

2. He holds positions contrary to some Catholic Church teachings.

O'Malley is for abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research. His website boasts he led the push to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland.

In March, he told The Des Moines Register in an interview that he had no problem aligning this with his religion. O'Malley said, "I found the passage of marriage equality actually squares with the most important social teachings of my faith, which is to believe in the dignity of every person and to believe in our own responsibility to advance the common good."

3. He doesn't think corporations should refuse contraception coverage on religious grounds.

During the battle over whether faith-based religious institutions and businesses must heed the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act -- an issue still wending through the courts -- O’Malley said Catholics need to calm down about it. In 2012, he told Candy Crowley on CNN:  “There has been a little bit too much hyperventilating over this issue."

4. He credits a Jesuit priest for shaping his identity.

He told Esquire magazine one of his role models is a Jesuit priest by the name of Father Horace McKenna, who ran a mission out of the basement of Saint Aloysius Church. He gave his entire life to serving the poor, and he truly did see the face of God in every individual that he served.”

5. He agrees with his church on the need for immigration reform.

As governor, O'Malley brought more than 2,200 refugee children to shelter in Maryland following the 2014 crisis over unaccompanied immigrant children getting caught illegally crossing the Southwest border. He also signed a law allowing some undocumented immigrants to be eligible for in-state college tuition. Such actions prompted one Maryland state senator to call O’Malley “a Pope Francis Democrat.”



  1. Martin O Malley sounds delusional.

    I think Satan might call him a useful idiot.

  2. How touching, Ms. Grossman. Martin O’Malley is as “fervent a practicing Catholic” as is Nancy Pelosi.
    Since the swinging 60s the “social justice” wing of the Catholic Church marketed itself as a prophetic sounding board for the leftist policies of the Democrat Party. Nuclear disarmaments & freezes, women’s “reproductive health” issues, racial & ethnic quotas, race card-mania, a zealous LGBT advocacy, open borders, redistribution of wealth —-You name it and they were out there painting a pious veneer onto some very thorny secular movements. Jesus morphed into some sort of barefoot Marxist hawking “social justice”.
    Sorry, no sale!

  3. Well, it seems like this O’Malley paid little attention during Religion class throughout his Parochial school years. I don’t know on who’s authority he is allowed to redefine some basic and doctrinal Catholic Teachings, but it certainly came from no Catholic source.
    Now bragging that it was he ( a pray every day Catholic ) that led the push for gay marriage by aligning it with the required dignity of all of God’s creatures sounds politically beautiful, but it is so off the mark of any Catholic teaching that he has rendered himself an egomaniac, free to teach Catholicism as he interprets it. (Psst……O’Malley, that is Protestantism).
    Same goes with the pro-choice stance he holds. Totally non-Catholic, mainly because God does not allow some to sin and damn others for doing the same thing. Catholicism teaches as God would, not as O’Malley does. He needs to drop the focus on his Catholicism, as does the egregiously ignorant Pelosi, for his Catholic voice is just wrong.

  4. Thank God for Catholics who practice Christ’s gospel of love over man-made doctrines of hate.

  5. Another delusional poster. Christ’s Gospel of Love also defines the boundaries of love. You may be thinking of Charlie Manson, Ted.

  6. The entire Bible is about God’s Love for us: love that includes telling us what is sinful like murder, rape, robbery, homosexual behavior……………

    O’Malley does not even qualify as a cafeteria Catholic, he is more like a drive through window Catholic.

  7. This man is not Catholic if he promotes gay marriage ( a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance ). This man is not a Catholic if he has supported the violation of the 5th commandment and supported abortion ‘ he automaticall.
    This man is not a Catholic if he has openly supported acts of moral evil, he is in the service of Satan, and will end up in the pit assigned to Satan and his minions. This man is not a Catholic if he has not followed the precepts of the Church.

    St Leonard of Port Maurice, St John Chrysostom, St Catherine of Sienna and the seers of Fatima ALL warned that men like this man are damned, and those who follow him are damned. So to for politicians like Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kenndy, Mario Cuomo, Joe Biden and the rest.

    The over whelming majority of Democrats are damned to Hell because they support moral evils . Those Catholics who vote Democrats are similarly damned to Hell because they are supporting a party that propose and support moral evil.

  8. Typical media hype about the pope. The pope has been “hammering on the controversial themes of abortion, divorce, homosexuality, contraception, without swerving a millimeter from the strict teaching of his predecessors Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. From October until [mid-May 2015], Francis has spoken out on these questions no fewer than forty times, hitting hard above all against “gender” ideology
    As a Democrat, O’Malley is person non grata in the Vatican. Hundreds of insignificant leaders get audiences with the pope including the heads of Hobby Lobby and the secretive Wash DC “The Family” but not Sect. of State Kerry nor NYC Mayor DeBlasio when they visited the Vatican. Obama is the only US Democrat welcomed.

  9. Betty anyone can “call” himself a Catholic, but the Church requires adherence to its dogmatic positions; and abortion, divorce, etc., all fall under the category of formal teachings. Those can never be changed. Now disciplines & expressions can change–and do–but fundamental teachings are bedrock. Pope Francis is simply presenting a more human gospel, and one that addresses gospel in its entirety, but with compassion, love, and forgiveness.

  10. Catholic? Pro abortion and pro gay marriage? Where did he learn this?? As a Catholic, it would be a mortal sin for me to vote for this man.

  11. Pope Francis recently criticized modern views on gender identity, going so far as to compare the basis for transgender rights to nuclear weapons and genetic manipulation.
    in January, the pope famously likened “gender theory” (which provides the intellectual basis for same-sex marriage and a host of other progressive ideas related to sexuality) to “ideological colonization” and even “Hitler Youth.”

  12. “His website boasts he led the push to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland.”

    That seems like an odd position for a “Pope Francis Democrat,” since Pope Francis has publicly declared a “war of God” against same-sex marriage.

  13. The United States is a secular nation; meaning we have no state religion and we favor no religion. Anti gay legislation always stems from religious doctrine. You can ask any politician what their reasoning is for blocking gay rights and it is ALWAYS based on their hypocritical faith. Religion and politics never mix; we have thousands of years of human history that proves. In this country we are free to practice any religion or no religion at all, but the State cannot recognize or favor any religion. (Thank you, First Amendment). So with that being said: Keep YOUR religion out of OUR government.

  14. And you know who is hell bound and heaven sent? Who are you to judge? Compare any politician’s positions (either side of the aisle) to Catholic teaching and one will come up short. Rather than vilifying people, support them in their quest for truth.

  15. Methinks you protest too much. Such vehemence and disdain over homosexuality/gay marriage is usually a red flag and indicates a latency problem. And such rigid orthodoxy is very Talibanish. Life must be very, very hard and unhappy to live with such fear and focus on the other. Try LOVE and life in your own lane. It makes the journey heaven on earth.

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