Newt swims the Tiber

newt-708794-731738So former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was received into the Roman Catholic Church this past weekend. He had been Baptist. For most people, conversion isn’t exactly a political event. But when you’re a prominent Republican whose name is being mentioned as a possible future candidate for President, well, everything is political.

Much of the coverage has centered around what this conversion means for his political future. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that it’s difficult to pursue the story on many other levels — Gingrich hasn’t been giving interviews about his conversion, as Dan Gilgoff at U.S. News & World Report notes.

Katharine Seelye had a mostly straightforward report about the conversion for the New York TimesThe Caucus blog:

Mr. Gingrich was confirmed into the church on Sunday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill and celebrated that night, according to The Hill, with friends at Cafe Milano, one of Washington’s most insider-y dining establishments. His guests included Cardinal McCarrick, the retired Cardinal of Washington.

On the occasion of Mr. Gingrich’s conversion, the Daily Beast listed a dozen other notable converts to Catholicism. They include Jeb Bush and Nicole Kidman. Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, converted to Catholicism in December 2007, facing too many political difficulties of trying to do so while he was prime minister.

Things are a bit different in the United States, of course. While Britain has never had a Catholic P.M., the United States has had a Catholic president. Still, being Catholic can complicate a political career: John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 and a Catholic, was threatened by some bishops with excommunication because of his support for abortion rights.

Um, I don’t have the best memory but I feel like I would remember if Kerry was threatened by some bishops with excommunication. I suspect that Seelye doesn’t understand the difference between excommunication and Catholic teaching about who should and should not receive communion. It was that latter point that various bishops weighed in on, considering Kerry’s support for abortion rights was in conflict with church teaching on the sanctity of human life.

The blog post goes on to discuss the political ramifications of Gingrich’s conversion. Most other coverage was of the bloggy variety. It was a bit snarky. The most mean-spirited punditry had to come from Christopher Buckley.

Much of the punditry and blog reports seemed confused about whether Catholicism requires all converts to have lived perfect lives prior to their conversion, much less after! There was lots of evidence confusion about how Gingrich, thrice married, could be received into a church that forbids divorce. I’m always amazed at how little the mainstream media and popular culture understand what Christians believe about sin. Yes, they think divorce, adultery, lying, gossiping, etc. are bad. They also believe in something called forgiveness. This is, in fact, the much more important part of the equation. Christians believe that God forgives sin.

To that end, I was appreciative that this Los Angeles Times blog post — cribbing from the Daily Beast — examined the issue of past marriages, sin and forgiveness:

The twice-divorced Gingrich, who has confessed to previous marital infidelities, converted to the faith of his third wife, Calista Bisek. And politicos are already speculating that the conversion will help shore up his position with values voters as he contemplates another race for the presidency in 2012.

Deal Hudson, who founded the Catholic magazine Crisis and advised George W. Bush’s political guru Karl Rove, argues that the Gingrich’s conversion represents a personal and political cleansing.

“From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson told the Daily Beast’s Max Blumenthal, “Newt’s sins no longer exist — they’ve been absolved. He’s made a fresh start in life. So Newt will continue to sin and confess but there aren’t going to be a lot of Catholics who will hold that against him. They understand why being a Catholic makes a difference.”

Our final Gingrich selection comes from Betsy Rothstein at The Hill. In a gossipy item about the conversion, she ends with this quote from Former Rep. Vin Weber, now a lobbyist at Clark & Weinstock:

tiber

Becoming Catholic isn’t simple.

“It’s harder than becoming a Lutheran or a Methodist,” said Weber. “You go through several months of preparation — it’s not like joining a country club.”

Now I don’t know how anyone from Minnesota could know so little about Lutherans but at my Lutheran congregation and every Lutheran congregation I’ve been a member of, there’s no set amount of time that one must be catechized before reception into the faith or communion. But the minimum is “several months.” For my husband, it took years from start to finish. From his first visit to our church to baptism was at least four or five years. And the last two or three years were spent in regular catechesis. Our pastor teaches ongoing catechesis classes for interested parties and individualized instruction as well.

Catechumens are taught the key accounts and teachings of Scripture, the “whats” and “whys” of liturgical worship, Christ-centered prayer, church history and the basics of the Small and Large Catechisms. And at the end, you’re not guaranteed membership. If our pastor determines that the candidate has learned the chief parts of the Christian faith and is able and and willing to confess them; if the catechumen has shown a desire to worship God and receive the sacraments and has given evidence of faithful participation in the Divine Service; and if the catechumen demonstrates the desire to renounce his or her sin and live as a Christian — then he or she may become a member. My church might do things differently than other Lutheran churches but such catechesis is the norm for reception into traditional, sacramental, liturgical churches.

Now, reporters can’t be responsible for all the misstatements of their sources but there’s an obligation to balance out the “country club” slur.

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  • http://bullmoosegal.blogspot.com bullmoosegal

    Does he get dispensation for cheating on two prior wives, divorcing them (the first one was gravely ill when this happened), and marrying successively younger ones? I like much of Newt’s political thinking (although he went of the deep end of power hungry in his final two years as Speaker). …

  • Bruce G

    There was lots of evidence confusion about how Gingrich, thrice married, could be received into a church that forbids divorce.

    Perhaps I too am confused, but an acquaintance of mine could not be received in the Church because he could not get a previous (protestant) marriage annulled. I would’ve thought the Church would take a “clean slate” approach, but I guess that is not always the case.

  • http://www.followingthelede.blogspot.com Sabrina

    Um, I don’t have the best memory but I feel like I would remember if Sen. Kerry was threatened by some bishops with excommunication.

    No bishops, but a number of lay Catholics and some clergy did in fact create something of a stir (at least in the Catholic press) by petitioning the Vatican to excommunicate Kerry. A similar petition was presented a number of years earlier requesting that then-Gov. Mario Cuomo and 20-some other politicians be excommunicated. Neither effort, that I can recall, received any official Vatican response. Also, re: Kerry, a U.S. canon lawyer claimed to have received correspondence from a Vatican official indicating support for Kerry’s excommunication — an assertion that was later proven unfounded.

    In the past five years excommunications have included members of schismatic associations or sects, those related to the ordination of women, and the rather bizarre and fascinating Zambian (ex-)Archbishop Milingo.

    I agree with you, Mollie, that many people — some of them reporters — conflate excommunication with the denial of Communion issue.

  • Darel

    Mollie,

    I think your consistent sensitivity to the media thinking all Lutherans are liberal ELCA Lutherans has gotten the best of you at the end of this post. As a former adult member of The Episcopal Church, LCMS and ELCA — and now Catholic — I rank the “difficulty” of admission as clearly:

    1. Catholic
    2. Episcopal
    3. LCMS
    4. ELCA

    The ELCA was easy perhaps because I was coming from the LCMS and thus received in a very perfunctory way — transferring “from another Lutheran denomination” as the pastor said as I was received. But I entered the LCMS from The Episcopal Church, and my LCMS pastor never asked me to prove I was baptised or properly married, nor demanded some period of catechesis. We did chat in his office once or twice.

    If one is not already a baptised Christian, I can see how every denomination requires catechesis. However, most Protestants wave new members through as long as they are already Christians. Rome is not like that at all. Her ecclesiology makes it so.

  • saint

    On the occasion of Mr. Gingrich’s conversion, the Daily Beast listed a dozen other notable converts to Catholicism. They include Jeb Bush and Nicole Kidman.

    Umm, Kidman isn’t a convert – she was raised a Catholic with just er…lapses here and there.

  • Daniel

    Mollie,

    Christians may believe in forgiveness, but they also (and especially Catholics) believe in repentance. If John Kerry were not seen fit to recieve communion, it was not because he had at one time supported abortion rights. Rather, it was because he had not repented of his support for abortion rights.

    One could argue (and I think they’d have strong scriptural support) that Newt Gingrich is in a continual state of non-repentance for his sin in getting a divorce. That would probably look a lot like not continuing in subsequent marriages.

    Keep in mind that to Roman Catholics, doing something you think is a mortal sin is in fact a mortal sin, even if the RCC does not teach that it is a mortal sin. If Newt were to repent of a divorce, it would suggest that he believes divorce to be sinful. Yet… he’s still divorced. Multiple times.

  • FW Ken

    According to the Catholic understanding, marriage is a natural good, into which non-Catholics and non-Christians can enter.

    In any case, the “continual state of sin” would be the remarriage. Divorce, per se, is not a sin; it’s the adultery that occurs in the new (purported) marriage that’s the problem. Adultery is always a sin, and, yes, those acts we would all agree are infidelities are, like all repented sins, easily forgiven. The mercy of God is never far away. When you set up a new living (and presumably sexual) arrangement, however, absolution depends on getting out of that arrangement. Gingrich’s prior marriages would need a declaration of nullity and his current arrangement regularized (which is actually a quite simple matter of paperwork, although a ceremony is allowed).

    Also, Gingrich was not “confirmed into” the Church, but “received”, after which he was confirmed. Episcopalians are “confirmed into” the Episcopal Church (at least I was), although they might be “received”, if they had a Catholic or Orthodox Confirmation previously.

    I’m not an expert, but from what I’ve heard, the hardest Church to get into would be one of the Orthodox jurisdictions. A Catholic who knows what they are doing can be recieved and confirmed immediately (I was), although the more usual path is the RCIA program from September to Easter.

    One might hope that Gingrich has experienced a genuine conversion of the heart. I also hope that he spends some time converting his mind by reading up on Catholic social doctrine.

  • Davidfromcali

    The Catholic Church is against the death penalty, and the Pope has stated he believes the war in Iraq is wrong. Why no denial of communion or excommunication over these continuing deaths? It seems that the average Catholic here in America ignores these two points, votes for the death penalty and believes the war is just.

    I guess they just pick and choose.

    Any enlightenment here would be appreciated.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    I seem to recall that at least the previous marriage was annulled. Seemed to be a news story when it happened. I’ll see if I can find coverage.

  • Julia

    The Catholic Church is against the death penalty, and the Pope has stated he believes the war in Iraq is wrong. Why no denial of communion or excommunication over these continuing deaths? It seems that the average Catholic here in America ignores these two points, votes for the death penalty and believes the war is just.

    There is no obligatory teaching on the death penalty or a ruling on a paraticular war. Those are judgmental matters that can different depending on the particular facts. The Pope always deserves deference, but sometimes he is just giving his opinion.

    As to Newt’s former marriages:

    It’s possible that his first two marriages were only civil marriages and not considered by the Catholic Church to have been sacramental.

    And if he had not been previously baptized, he could have availed himself of the “Pauline Privilege” – entering the church by means of a first baptism with no previous marriage counting at all.

  • Julia

    I apologize for the typos.

    Excommunications are governed by canon law. There are only a few things that merit excommunication. Abortion is one of them; executing criminals and prosecuting wars are not.

    Here’s the Canon Law section on abortion. Latae sentiantiae means “automatic” – an announcement of the excommunication is only stating what has already occurred automatically. It occurs whether announced or not.
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P57.HTM

    [Note there are also penalties for kidnapping, physical harm and murder - but the penalties mainly relate to persons in the clerical state. That doesn't mean they aren't sins if commited by a lay person, but they are not covered by canon law if the perpetrator is not a cleric]

    Here’s the Canon Law section on marriage:
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3V.HTM

  • Franklin Jennings

    As regards Newt’s divorces and his conversion, there really are only two questions:

    (1) Is Jackie Battley (wife #1) still alive?

    (2) If she is, has their marriage been annulled?

    If she has passed, he is a widower capable of contracting marriage with #3 (who is actually #2 from a catholic perspective, since he was merely shacked up with his second wife, being unable to contract marriage to her, due to his real wife being alive at the time.) Ditto if there is a finding of nullity by the proper tribune.

    If she is alive and there is no finding of nullity, his current marriage cannot be regularised and they must live out their civil arrangement as a Josephite marriage (that is, they must live as brother and sister rather than husband and wife.) Otherwise, he commits adultery and continuing in the situation makes it impossible for him to receive absolution for this sin, since there would be no sign of repentance.

    I’m no expert, so I am open to correction on some of these points, but I am fairly certain the above is correct.

  • Martha

    The “Daily Beast” also included T.S. Eliot as a convert to Catholicism, seemingly under the impression that “Anglo-Catholicism” (High Church Anglican) is the same thing as Roman Catholicism.

    That, plus mixing in a couple of reverts (Anne Rice and Nicole Kidman) means that though they do have a fabulous name (and I certainly appreciate the Waugh reference), they aren’t 100% reliable on the facts.

  • Martha

    Franklin, I read one reference to his second marriage having been annulled. I don’t know what the status of his first marriage is, or if his first wife is still alive.

    Perhaps his first marriage was not considered valid, since he was only 19 at the time (and married his ex-geometry teacher) so he may have been considered to be incapable, as a minor (under 21) and not fully realising the gravity of marriage, of contracting a valid marriage. Possibly even the notion of duress or improper influence, given she was older and had been in a position of authority over him.

    I’m frankly more worried that his third wife engaged in an adulterous affair with him when he was married to his second wife and then married him after that divorce. I certainly hope that has been cleared up, with both parties instructed as to exactly what was wrong with that scenario and the meaning of a sacramental marriage.

  • Julia

    Correction on “Pauline Privilege”: both the existing spouses must be not baptized, and the one not converting must be unwilling to also be baptized. Then, the converting person is considered free of that marriage, if he/she wishes not to continue the marriage after baptism.

  • Dan Crawford

    Mollie writes: Much of the punditry and blog reports seemed confused about whether Catholicism requires all converts to have lived perfect lives prior to their conversion, much less after! There was lots of evidence confusion about how Gingrich, thrice married, could be received into a church that forbids divorce. I’m always amazed at how little the mainstream media and popular culture understand what Christians believe about sin. Yes, they think divorce, adultery, lying, gossiping, etc. are bad. They also believe in something called forgiveness. This is, in fact, the much more important part of the equation. Christians believe that God forgives sin.

    I have no trouble believing that God forgives sin – what I have trouble understanding is how in his “conversion” was apparently given a free pass on his divorces, remarriages and sleeping around when devout Catholics who have had divorces from abusive spouses have had no end of trouble trying to get a church annulment to remarry – in many instances – another Catholic. What I hear from too many of them is that it is a matter of money or some other “impediment”. Mr. Gingrich certainly has money, and perhaps he is free of impediments. I’m sure he possessed the sufficient notoriety.

  • http://www.post-gazette.com Ann Rodgers

    I don’t pretend to know anything about the state of Newt Gingrich’s soul, but if he was once a Baptist then he had been previously baptized by his own choice.

    And, though I can’t quarrel with anything he said on the matter, I wonder if Deal Hudson was the best person to speak on forgiveness for past sins? I would have chosen someone who was a theologian and whose own past was less open to question. On the other hand, the context suggests that the writer called Hudson for a political assessment and Hudson waded into theology of his own volition. But since he was essentially banished from the White House due to his own past scandalous conduct, seems to me that that should have been pointed out.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Ann,

    I have to admit I thought the same thing about Hudson.

    As this comment demonstrates, reporters have missed a fabulous opportunity to discuss the fascinating issues at play here of annulments, adultery and divorce; repentance and forgiveness; how Gingrich’s reception compares to other, etc., etc.

  • Franklin Jennings

    Martha,

    I wrote a much longer response and crashed before posting.

    Short form is the age of majority under canon law is 16, not 21. Her authority as his teacher had ended before marriage was contracted. So neither of these pose an impediment to marriage. But, most important, there has been no finding of nullity by competent authority. Unless you sit on one of the tribunals having jurisdiction over the case, you are not competent to make such findings.

    Since neither he nor his current wife killed either’s previous spouses, nor was she his concubine, merely his mistress, neither crimen nor concubinage apply to their marriage. However, if his first wife is still living, the current marriage can’t be valid and continued relations would constitute adultery which cannot be forgiven without repentance, in this case, ending the relations.

    Of course, we all hope he received good catechesis before his reception into the Church. Ironically, crappy catechesis of that sort usually occurs in the hands of those who are diametrically opposed to ol’ Newt, politically speaking.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Speculation! Speculation! Speculation!–And I do a lot of it myself here and elsewhere. But maybe the best comment I and other Catholics should be making at this time is “Welcome, brother!”

  • Franklin Jennings

    That bit about crimen and concubinage, and all thereafter, was directed at the comment about his 3rd wife

  • Miguel de Servet

    Will Newt Gingrich be for the United States of America what Constantine I was for the Roman Empire?

    Does anybody have any doubt that this is NOT a case of conscience but merely a case of shrewd political calculation, good bargain for both sides (Newt & Josi Ratzi)?

  • Miguel de Servet

    Talking about “family values” was this, link => Cardinal Ratzinger On Europe’s Crisis of Culture, April 1, 2005 another April Fools Day event?

  • Miguel de Servet
  • Karl

    The Catholic Church doesn’t really want to look closely and ponder its annulment/pastoral processes. It might come to some conclusions that it would be uncomfortable with.

    I went through that process and I was one of the rare ones that defended the valid sacrament. Now I have two ecclesial pieces of paper that say, Daria(not her real name), is my wife.

    However, Daria and Lance(not his real name) have a couple of civil(oxymoron) pieces of paper that claim otherwise.

    The Catholic Church accepts them as husband and wife in all things except a Church marriage, which they will get as soon as I die. They live as “brother and sister” or so they say, but how many “brothers and sisters” have children together, wear wedding rings from each other, call them selves husband and wife and take vacations alone, together.

    You get the picture.

    I left the Catholic Church.

    There is much that goes on that is dishonest and far, far, far worse. The few decent clerics that know the truth do not have the “juice” to expose what goes on. Or the power to maintain the status quo is on many levels and is just too much inertia to overcome.

    The theory behind why the Catholic Church has embraced nullity as a valid concept is solid. What the Church has built to act upon that theory is badly flawed and there, honestly, does not seem to be the desire to address those inadequacies or to review the large number of past annulments in a systematic, scientific and canonically/legally feasible manner in order to have a real “view” of the accuracy and application of the theory.

    For me, there is nowhere to go, as Peter, himself spoke to Jesus. I, however, do not have the strength of character or faith to remain part of the Catholic Church, which to me is THE TRUE CHURCH, in spite of its faults. I will remain, as I do to the vows Daria and I spoke almost thirty years and five children ago, as faithful to both of the brides, Christ’s and mine, but at the distance that the emptiness of their “love” keeps me, as my continuing efforts will allow.

    Pray for me, for Daria and the Catholic Church and pray for all of our children.

    Thank you.

  • Miguel de Servet

    Karl,

    I will pray for you, also because I think there are few things worse that abuse dressing as right (any reference to the Trial of Jesus is deliberate).

    Now, let me ask you a question, as you seem to be an educated person: if it is so (relatively) easy for the Church to decree an annulment (if they really want to, and if the person is important enough), why didn’t Pope Clement VII satisfy Henry VIII’s request for the annulment of his (first) marriage with Catherine of Aragon? Especially as times were so troubled, and the Pope could easily imagine that, by his intransigence, he would lose a “champion” against Protestantism?

    Thanks in advance for the reply.

  • Louisiana Catholic

    Karl:

    I agree with the analysis provided by Miguel. On a similar note, one of the Kennedy clan was married to a Protestant, he left his wife for another woman and filed for an annulment with one of the MA Catholic Dioceses [I think it was Joe Kennedy, son of the late Robert Kennedy]. Mr. Kennedy claimed that his wife, who was Protestant, was not willing to raise his kids Catholic. Thus, the annulment was granted by the Mass. Catholic Diocese [I assume Boston]. His first wife appealed the annulment to Rome and demonstrated that she [who was Protestant] was the one who took the Kennedy children to Catholic Liturgy/Mass and made sure they received Catholic education and formation.

    After reviewing the facts, A canonical court in Rome overturned the annulment and sided with Mr. Kennedy’s ex wife, who again was Protestant.

    In summary, your wife and her civil husband are not married in the eyes of the Catholic Church. So, if she or he dies, then that is something they will have to answer for, but even then, lets still hope for God’s Mercy. Despite what is sometimes believed, divorced and remarreid Catholics are not outside of the Church, they just have put themselves in situations where they can’t recieve Holy Communion. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1665) states “The remarriage of persons divorced from a living lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic Communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by the educating their children in the faith.”

    As for after death, you are correct your wife would be free to marry, but that applys to everyone for marriage while a sacrament, if not something that men and woman enter into in heaven for as Christ states “At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven” (c.f. Mt 22:30). Putting it more eschatalogical terms, what those who embrace celibacy are now, we will all be in heaven.

    Finally, I would also suggest that one should never look at one example and apply it as Universal Norm as the historic case of Henry VIII an more recently, Joe Kennedy illustrate.

    Pax et Bonum

  • Karl

    I do not know enough about the circumstances at the time of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, nor do I think it would have mattered in the long run given Henry’s, apparent proclivity for many female sex partners.

    It was either toward his, inability to be faithful or through his lack of desire to be faithful, where I would have looked for “evidence” for nullity, if such a canon existed then. Henry would have done what he wanted and nothing the Pope could have done would have pleased Henry’s sexual appetite sufficiently, as a King, to have prevented what happened.

    It is my feeling that even when nullity is certain that it is not necessarily a good thing to allow marriage for either of those involved because it gives the “appearance” that a marriage was “violated” or that the Catholic Church has simply come upon a way to permit “trial marriages”. I think there must be more thought given to such situations.

    Also, when there are children of the relationship I think the Church should STONGLY encourage convalidation of the relationship that has been found invalid and perhaps even not allow either parent to remarry, except to each other.

    These are complex situations for which simple answers like these may do more harm than good, as well. But, what exists now is fundamentally unjust. It creates and encourages situations that should be forbidden.

    For one, I am absolutely opposed to marriage, ever, to a partner in adultery, even if nullity is certain. It is vile beyond description. It rewards criminal behavior and so much more evil that come through that criminal behavior.

    For me, the attraction for women has always been there, but I made the choice, when I dated my wife and asked her to marry me that she was the ONLY ONE. She remains so. I have not further complicated the lives of our children with half-siblings and a blended family. They have that on their mother’s side. I do not know the girls well but I am glad that they have good relationships, for the most part, with the five children Daria and I had together.

    By the way, because of my experience in this situation, I am more convinced than ever before of the wisdom of a celibate priesthood. I accepted it before, theoretically.

    I have seen the horrors of adultery. Were my wife to die I doubt I would be any different than I am now. If I did date, I would never go on a second one with a lady who admitted adultery to me. I would be happy for her if she had repented and changed her life. I could be a friend, but never anything more. If she admitted adultery later, I would not even remain on friendly terms with her. Such deception is a shadow of the adultery, still lurking and still dangerous.

    One thing I have learned from this is that each of us, no matter how disciplined or deeply Catholic or committed to Christ we are or may be, is capable, under the “right” conditions of any evil behavior imaginable, but for the grace of God and our response to it.

  • Julia

    I hear you Karl, but the world treats marriage these days the same as going steady. It’s amazing to me the outrageous adulterous behavior that is winked at by almost everybody. Meanwhile, what are the children learning from watching all of this.

  • dalea

    What I see here is the press accepting whatever heterosexuals do as somehow part of normal sexuality while comparable behavior by gay people is labled promiscuous. I also note the commentors who come up with all sorts of ways in which Newt is entitled to call his current bimbo his ‘wife’. The contortions and deceptions of heterosexuality are clearly on display here. They are precented as hetero=normative and thus part of life today. The press then goes to discuss how Christians have been able to dump ancient doctrines and traditional understandings because they can then promote heterosexuality as normative.

    The issue the press is dancing around, and not addressing, is that in a comparable situation involving gay people there would be anathemas and condemnations flowing. The press coverage of supersleaze Newt simply shows the endless press adoration of heterosexual priviledge.

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  • Matt Jamison

    I doubt that Christopher Buckley regrets his lapse from Catholicism any more than he regrets his lapse from conservatism.

    For the sake of decency, he should change his name.

  • John

    Probably he got married before the first time before becoming a Baptist. The Catholic Church would had not allowed his conversion if he didn’t get the dispensition prior to marrying his current wife back in 2000.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    For one thing, at the time Pope Clement was fleeing from the irate brother-in-law’s troops. Should we condemn him for NOT accepting martyrdom in the cause of Henry’s fleshly appetites?

    And I am impressed by all the commenters who can tell from reading news reports whether or not someone is “repentant”.

  • Stevo

    I can’t get past the date of this story- is the whole thing an april fool’s joke?

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    On Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Peter Abernethy reported that “His two previous marriages were annulled by the church.” (I assume he means “declared null”.)

    Does he know what he is talking about? And who is the ectoplasmic TheChurch in this case?

  • Jeremy

    hey there – enjoyed this item

    however, as previously commented on – Nicole Kidman is not a convert

    us Catholics here in Australia were heartened to see Kidman get married to Keith Urban in a Catholic chapel in Sydney – a kind of return to the faith in which she was baptised as a child, and later lapsed from, presumably, when she married the Scientologist Tom Cruise.

    Jeremy


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