Newt Gingrich: Why I Became Catholic

Now home: Newt Gingrich

I do not follow enough US politics to be able to judge whether Newt Gingrich is a Catholic a’ la Tony Blair, or a sincere one instead.

Still, I found this article with his reflections about his own conversion path both inspiring and indicative.

It seems to me that what happened to him is what happens in the majority of cases; not – or not only – a dramatic moment of enlightenment on the way to some personal Damascus, but a gradual approach – in this case clearly helped by the beautiful example of his wife – at the end of which one doesn’t experience conversion, but rather takes notice that it has already happened.

I also found rather moving that a Southern Baptist – probably, though I can’t be sure of that, raised up in the condemnation of the pomp and splendour of the Papacy – would come to the first powerful realisation of his already happened acceptance of Catholic truth within the walls of St. Peter’s. I liked this, because I have always believed – and have often written about this – that the symbolism of the Catholic church is very powerful, and the splendour of her churches are one of the most striking aspects of this symbolism.

Also please notice that Mr. Gingrich had the humility of studying the catechism for one year even after having followed the catholic mass for one decade and a half and having been – one wants to hope – already subject to more Catholic doctrine than most western cradle Catholics alive. This is the right attitude, and it is beautiful that he mentions it with a natural humility that does him honour.

I do not know how sincere or orthodox a Catholic Mr. Gingrich will be. But I think that it can safely be said that he would be – in case – an infinitely more Christian President of the United States than “punished with a child”, no-bible-in-the-office, late-abortion-as-first-priority Hussein Obama.


Posted on April 27, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Oh no, M! That thoroughly Protestant, though I must admit, beautiful hymn Amazing Grace has even infiltrated the Catholic Church in China!? It just perpetuates bad catechesis. The point being that it promotes the idea that grace enters only when we allow it to enter, a Protestant idea. Grace is there at the moment of baptism–that’s the Catholic belief. I generally tune it out at Mass here in the states, or, if it is the recessional hymn, walk out.

    • Redvelvette,

      I think that in matters of music almost everyone is ready to make concessions. The protestant J.S. Bach is very big at the Brompton Oratory, and the Catholic “Faith of our Fathers” verybig among Portestants (ok, I think they have purged the text, but you get my drift…). The most beautiful modern Anglican hymn, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”, (no idea if it is popular in the US but it is breathtaking, ) is sung in Catholic churches without any problem.

      As to Amazing Grace, apart from the stunning beauty of the music, I do not think that you should allow theological considerations to diminish the great emotional force of this song.

      I would have thought, though, that here what we call actual grace is meant, not the baptismal one.

      AFAIK, actual graces recur again and again in Catholic belief, too. The author of the song was an Anglican clergyman, so I assume he believed in baptismal grace too.

      On Easter day I have allowed myself to tweet a version of Amazing Grace.



  2. With Catholics like Mr Gingrich, we are as a Church indeed in a mess.

    He is most definitely of the Tony Blair variety. I don’t know if his weird marriage situation has been or will be sorted out by the Church but that is the least of his problems. He is a phoney conservative, paying lip service to the pro-life people while stabbing them in the back. He is one who thinks nothing of killing innocents in the myriad unjust wars of aggression now being waged by our corrupt government – in fact he is a cheerleader for this madness. He is totally under the thumb of the Wall Street big wigs and was enthusiastically supporting the “bailout” that has and will continue to decimate the US middle class. He is a stooge of that most ubiquitous of lobbies, AIPAC, and has promoted the “let’s-be-tolerant-of homosexuals” party line now espoused by the Republicans.

    Don’t waste your time on him.

  3. The two American contributors sound about right. One suspects that they are more attracted to the pro-life libertarian and Lutheran Ron Paul. The problem in the USA (as in Europe) is that there are too many people watching X-Factor to care about the takeover of their country by a cartel of financiers and their political agents. Iceland seems to be showing the way but Ireland (producer of the greatest resistance leader of the 20th Century, Michael Collins), has totally lost the plot.

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