The Newest Catholic: Newt Gingrich

Dan Gilgoff of US News has the inside story on the reception into the Catholic church of Newt Gingrich.    An excerpt:

"The moment that finally convinced me [to convert] was when Benedict XVI came here [to the United States] and Callista in the church choir sang for him at the vespers service and all the bishops in the country were there. As a spouse, I got to sit in the upper church and I very briefly saw [Benedict] and I was just struck with how happy he was and how fundamentally different he was from the news media's portrait of him. This guy's not a Rottweiler. He's a very loving, engaged, happy person.

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I'd first seen Pope John Paul II when he came to the U.S. when Carter was president and I was a freshman congressman. And I [later] met him as Speaker.

The other sense is that the church has had two of its most powerful popes back to back, in their intellectual ability to engage the secular world on behalf of Christ. And the weight of all that, and going with [Callista] to church every Sunday to the Basilica [in Washington, D.C.], a magnificent church with a wonderful mass. In that sense I felt differently a long time ago, which is why I converted.

And part of me is inherently medieval. I resonate to Gothic churches and the sense of the cross in a way that is really pre-modern."  Read the rest at the link above (and read Dan's blog "God and Country" regularly.)

James Martin, SJ

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8 years 5 months ago
His story about the power of the Mass is similar to my mother's conversion story, although when she converted the Mass of Pius V was being said.  The Mass fills a hunger that is just not fed in some Protestant services - so brining folks to Mass can be a definite blessing for them.  This is especially true for inter-religious dating.  Like Newt, who converted after marrying a Catholic, my mother was engaged to a Catholic, my father.
8 years 5 months ago
have become "more conservative" ... the failings of the "liberal ethos" [sigh] Not that cradle Catholics aren't guilty of it either, but it would be nice if our newest Catholic were to come to the realization that being "Catholic" is not defined by one's political philosophy. The limitations of politics should not be the construct for a Catholic's participation in the public square. Instead, Catholic  social justice teachings must guide our participation in that forum. Hopefully, Newt will be taking a course of two on CST.  
8 years 5 months ago
The mass was also instrumental in my conversion. Other important factors were deep history, Catholic social teaching, clarity on basic doctrine, and the ability of a unified, universal and organized Church to engage the world constructively. So if Mr. Gingrich and I converted for essentially the same reasons, how is it that we seem to see so many things so differently?
8 years 5 months ago
The liturgy. The Eucharist. What unites us even as we squabble about much. I wonder how Newt's marriages were resolved canonically. I wonder what he thinks about the Profession of Faith and a variety of other beliefs and practices. I wonder if a different pope will alienate him.  Although his political views are about as distant from my own as I can imagine, with admittedly mixed feeelings, I will still try to say...Welcome Newt! (Boy, that doesn't roll off the tongue!)

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