Newt Gingrich, a “John Paul II Catholic”

Newt Gingrich, a “John Paul II Catholic” December 17, 2011

An interesting take on the GOP frontrunner’s faith:

Mr. Gingrich represents a new kind of Catholic, one very different from the Kennedys, who were Democrats, political liberals and cradle Catholics shaped by the Irish immigrant church. To a Kennedy-era Catholic, divorce was a sin, labor unions were a virtue and anti-Catholic bigotry was a staple in many Protestant circles.

Mr. Gingrich is a culture wars Catholic for whom the church seems a logical home for conservative Republicans. Generations removed from the Kennedy years when Catholics predictably voted Democratic, this is a new era in which conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants have joined forces in what they see as a defining struggle against abortion, same-sex marriage and secularism.

Critics and cynics have derided Mr. Gingrich’s latest religious transition as a conversion of convenience designed to give moral cover to Mr. Gingrich, who is on his third marriage — this one to Callista Bisek, a former Hill staff member 22 years his junior who had been his mistress for six years. But those who know him say the conversion was sincere, born of both an intellectual and a spiritual attraction to the church of his wife.

Michael Novak, a prominent Catholic writer on philosophy and political culture now teaching at Ave Maria University, a Catholic institution in Florida, said he remembered running into the Gingriches in Rome when Mrs. Gingrich was singing at the Vatican with the basilica choir from Washington.

“He was just attracted by the stateliness and the beauty of the church, and the antiquity, and that’s what prodded his historical interest,” Mr. Novak said. “As he got involved with the history, it blew his mind. There was just so much of it and I don’t think he had understood that before, that he really had a sense of the intellectual tradition behind it.”

Mr. Gingrich’s campaign staff did not respond to requests for an interview. He spoke about his conversion this spring in a speech to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington: “People ask me when I decided to become Catholic. It would be more accurate to say that I gradually became Catholic and then realized one day that I should accept the faith that surrounded me.”

Like many recent converts to the church, Mr. Gingrich is what Catholics call a “John Paul II Catholic,” those inspired by that pope to embrace traditional church teaching, eschewing calls to liberalize or modernize the faith, Mr. Novak said.

Mr. Gingrich’s enchantment with John Paul led him and his wife to make a documentary film extolling the Polish pope’s role in liberating Poland from the Communism. (The film, “Nine Days That Changed the World,” is co-produced by Citizens United, the same organization involved in the landmark Supreme Court decision on campaign financing.)

George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative research group in Washington, and a papal biographer who appeared in Mr. Gingrich’s movie, said, “Mr. Gingrich was impressed by John Paul II’s courage and by the late pope’s conviction that aroused consciences can be a powerful force in reshaping history — which is what happened with the Solidarity Movement in Poland.”

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116 responses to “Newt Gingrich, a “John Paul II Catholic””

  1. Is he a Benedict XVI Catholic too?
    From the Pope’s World Day of Peace Message 2012:
    “Peace, however, is not merely a gift to be received: it is also a task to be undertaken. In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God’, as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:9).”
    The Pope’s Message is a wonderful statement on our obligations as educators of the young people in our world – a wonderful and powerful counterstatement to the horrible example set by those parents in the “making out with their kids” post. I found the full text that was released on Dec. 16 on the Vatican’s official website. It is worth careful reading and reflection.

  2. Barbara P —

    I was puzzled at what connection there was between the Pope’s message and the parents who kissed their children suggestively at the pep rally. I don’t think the words you quoted convey that connection. But if one reads the whole document, which you link, one finds the following, which I think is apposite to that situation:
    “Man is a being who bears within his heart a thirst for the infinite, a thirst for truth – a truth which is not partial but capable of explaining life’s meaning – since he was created in the image and likeness of God. The grateful recognition that life is an inestimable gift, then, leads to the discovery of one’s own profound dignity and the inviolability of every single person. Hence the first step in education is learning to recognize the Creator’s image in man, and consequently learning to have a profound respect for every human being and helping others to live a life consonant with this supreme dignity.
    … Deep within his conscience, man discovers a law that he did not lay upon himself, but which he must obey. Its voice calls him to love and to do what is good, to avoid evil and to take responsibility for the good he does and the evil he commits(5). Thus, the exercise of freedom is intimately linked to the natural moral law, which is universal in character, expresses the dignity of every person and forms the basis of fundamental human rights and duties.”

    But I don’t see that the pep rally behavior has anything to do with Newt Gingrich in particular. Perhaps you can explain why you chose to bring it up here, rather than as a comment in the thread about the pep rally.

    Furthermore, I wonder whether reading this document gives you have any particular reason to question whether Newt Gingrich is a Benedict XVI Catholic.

  3. From the Pope’s Message:
    “My Message is also addressed to parents, families and all those involved in the area of education and formation, as well as to leaders in the various spheres of religious, social, political, economic and cultural life and in the media. Attentiveness to young people and their concerns, the ability to listen to them and appreciate them, is not merely something expedient; it represents a primary duty for society as a whole, for the sake of building a future of justice and peace.”

    I don’t know enough about Mr. Gringich to say whether he is a Benedict XVI
    Catholic but I will be listening and watching carefully especially if he becomes the Republican nominee.

  4. I wasn’t aware that the pope and Gingrich shared the same view on child labor laws. That being that Gingrich feels we dont need them.

  5. This is scary stuff. If indeed the Catholic Church in the United States becomes the private preserve of conservative Republicans, we can kiss goodbye the Northeast, the West and a good section in between; never mind the burgeoning population of Hispanic Catholics, who may no longer be comfortable in a body composed of angry white cultural warriors.

    The Catholic Church is not an exclusive body, and should not become the tool of any political party, Republican, Democratic, Libertarian or Green. Look at Europe, where centuries of identification with monarchy, empire and fascism has reduced it to an inconsequential force.

    Christ told us to go out to the nations and preach the Good News. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the likes of anyone, especially that hypocrite Newt Gingrich, co-opt my church for political expediency and deny us our ability to command us to love our neighbor as ourselves..

  6. I haven’t seen the demographics lately, but I would venture to say that a magority of Catholics are now on the right. If Newt’s temperment was different, I could easily support him for POTUS. And for the most part, I am in political sympathy with him. However, his temperment is definitely an issue. I am, though, glad and proud he turned Catholic.

  7. There seems to be quite an effort to categorize Catholics based on their political leanings. Is that really what should be done?

  8. It is an insult to Blessed John Paul II to say that Newt is a JPII Catholic. This guy cheated several times on his wives. This guy has no conviction. You can’t trust this guy. It is easy to use JPII as a political tool for his own motives.

  9. Just an FYI, the “burgeoning population of Hispanic Ctholics” are probably the most conservative group of Catholics next to Pious X Catholics. And why must you include angry? Seems to me the flea party aka the occupy “insert name here” groupis angrier than anyone.

  10. You’re too late. The Church in America has often been co-opted by the Democratic party. Unfortunately too often many in Americhurch have used it to support the Democratic party. And… methinks thou dost protest too much — your political biases are showing.

  11. To chose a leader we should not only chose the one trained to boost the economy, who has the most experience in government, the one with most knowledge, or who willl bring jobs.
    Only chose the one who is also fully obligated to bring the American government back to God to the state when America was being admired by the rest of the world as an example to follow for its freedom and for its efforts to give freedom to the rest of the world.
    We must chose a man to bring America back as it was before to make millions of people from all over the world to come to America and live there in freedom and protected for their faith in God.
    The most important issue in chosing a leader is “Who will bring God back to the government?” .

    Marie Jalsevac Smit

  12. Deacon Kandra, I am assuming that you are not aware of how Mr. Gingrich answered the first question on the National Right to Life Candidate Questionnaire: Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe abortion should be legal? He checked the following: To prevent the mother’s death, in cases of incest committed against a minor, and in reported cases of rape involving force or threat.

    That’s not the description of an authentic Catholic, and it is most certainly NOT a portrayal of a JPII Catholic. Very, very disappointing, to say the least.

  13. Gingrich has publicly said that he rejects Catholic Church teaching that life begins at conception. He is NOT a John Paul II Catholic.

  14. I am very glad that Gingrich converted and I have great hope that his faith is sincere. That being said his positions on war, the death penalty, and even surprisingly abortion are not particularly those of JPII, and in fairness to JPII who I loved, JPII probably would be much more in favor of a welfare state (which IMHO is a prudentially bad idea, granted).

    Even though he is not as bad as Barrack, I think we in the clergy ought to be very careful anointing anyone as the Catholic candidate. We should just stick to our guns reminding the faithful that you can’t morally vote form Obama–because of his anti-life, anti-marriage, anti-conscience positions.

    Prudentially I wouldn’t vote for anyone in favor of big government, Gingrich included, because the bigger it gets the more it wants to intrude on the rights of conscience–whether to the right or left.

  15. I don’t believe for one minute that gingrich is a John Paul II Catholic…that’s my opinion not a judgement. Perhaps he converted – but how could he have been inspired by his ‘mistress’ or led to the Church by her unless they both have a very skewed idea of what Catholicism is – Callista, his former mistress/third wife, was engaged in sexual relations with gingrich for 6 years while he was married and while she was a ‘practicing’ Catholic (in her words) singing in the Choir…he treats women shabbily and has too high an opinion of himself…even now, he claims he is the smartest man running…when Newt and his former mistress made a documentary about Pope John Paul whom I loved, I actually felt sick to my stomach – something felt wrong, as if they were using his beloved memory to win people, but to me it felt as if they were tarnishing Pope John Paul…I can’t explain it…there’s just this sense I have that something is very off balance with those two…newt and callista…

  16. I am so relieved that you see this too Father Michael…he is fooling so many, many people…and he changes according to what will get him what he wants…I honestly believe the man is deeply flawed psychologically and needs help…people need to study his long ‘pattern’ of behavior…and look behind the words because he has said that people don’t care about what he does, only what he say..he is delusional although I have heard some people say that character doesn’t matter as if a person could be one thing on the job and another in his/her personal life…if a man cannot keep his commitment to his wives, why would he keep his pledge not to commit adultery any more? and how bizarre that such a pledge would even be necessary for someone running for president of the United States…we must pray for a candidate with good moral character and judgement above all…

  17. I don’t understand what you mean MJL…I am not a Catholic because of angry Dems or angry Repubs or angry people or … I am a Catholic because it is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the only Church that contains the fullness of the faith…there are good men and women of character in both political parties but we don’t hear much about them…as for Hispanics…Hispanics will follow Mary, the Mother of Christ for whom they have great love and devotion…especially Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of American and of the unborn baby…they will stand for the sacredness of all life…I worked with Mother Theresa in Calcutta and she used to say: “If we would kill the baby in the womb of the mother, what will we not do?” and “A nation that kills its young will not survive”…no freedom matters if one is not allowed to be born. Over 50 million human babies’ lives have been terminated, often brutally, often late term – and believe me, no woman benefits from the killing of her unborn baby. I work with women and they grieve for the rest of their lives, with few exceptions…I guess I’m responding to your anger at ‘angry white cultural warriors’…do you mean those that stand for the lives of mothers and their unborn babies?

  18. Fr. Michael
    “Gingrich has publicly said that he rejects Catholic Church teaching that life begins at conception.” That is a strong statement and may be true but we have heard many politicians make many statements. i.e. “I never had sex with that woman” and “it depends what your definition of is is”. What they say and what they mean is often different. Like Obama saying Bil Ayers was just a neighbor down the street from him.
    You seem upset that Newt Gingrich is not all the Catholic we think he may be and possibly not presidential material. However, he seems to be way out in front of the guy so many church leaders and Doug Kemeic (spelling) begged us Catholics to vote for in 2008 ignoring his avidly pro-abortion stance cautioning us not to be single issue voters. How is that working out for us????

  19. @ Fr. Michael – Respectfully, you may have that wrong. At the Iowa debate he clearly said that life begins at conception.
    @ other posters who seem to know what’s in Gingrich’s heart or what his motives are, how did you come by this supernatural knowledge granted to so very few of us???

  20. That’s wretched hyperbole, at best, patrick. If there were any chance that somebody would actually believe it, it would be a grave calumny.

  21. With respect to the question about when abortion should be legal, we need to remember that we are dealing with a country in which abortion is legal virtually on demand. So if it were made illegal except under the circumstances Newt mentions, it would be a vast improvement over our current situation. The Vatican has indicated that a politician may conscientiously support legislation which improves the law, even if it is less than idea. IMO, voters can apply the same principle in choosing candidates. We must not the unattainable perfect become the enemy of doing the attainable good.

    florin — being a Catholic does not mean being sinless. It means receiving God’s mercy through the ministry of the Church he founded.

  22. I believe the danger in that approach is that it denies the truth we are trying to teach – that new life, worthy of protection under the law, begins at conception. If that is true, then exceptions for incest and rape are hypocritical. How can you argue against abortion for any other reason once you allow it for rape and incest? What about for birth defects, etc. etc. Then it becomes about the mother’s sensitivities/wishes and not about the child’s right not to be murdered.

  23. My understanding of the Catholic is a person who deeply believes in the power of the Sacraments and Mercy of God. So… with that said, let’s stop judging Newt and Callista and stop feeling self rightious. I am delighted that he became catholic and pray that he uses all his talents for good. Yes, Jesus said he will repay does that come late to work at his vineyard at the late hour of the day. Let’s roll up our sleeves and clean up house in Washington D.C and fight to bring back our God given rights!

  24. If the question were, “Shall we outlaw all abortion or shall we outlaw it with these exceptions?” then you would be right. But realistically, for the foreseeable future, there is only a slight chance of getting it outlawed with the exceptions and none whatsoever of getting it absolutely outlawed.

    The problem isn’t that if we get a law with the exceptions Newt mentioned we’ll be starting down the slippery slope to something worse. The problem is that we’ve got to get back up the slope.

    Politics is truly the art of the possible, and the principal virtue of the statesman is prudence. It is not hypocrisy to accomplish the best you can, rather than letting a rigid absolutism prevent all progress.

    It is absolutely true that abortion is never justified, and IMO it would be gravely imprudent to disdain any opportunity to stop the vast majority of abortions simply because a few ( among those that already happen now) would still continue.

    Let me put it this way: suppose that by 2025 we might be able to change public opinion enough that it would be politically possible to outlaw all abortions, but by 2015 there would be enough change to make it possible to outlaw all but Newt’s exceptions. Is it your position that for the ten years from 2015 to 2025 we should insist that all abortion should remain legal? Is it prudent to make this an all-or-nothing matter, or is it better to take whatever improvement we can get as soon as we can get it?

  25. Ran,

    Your first, third, and fourth sentences were all words of judgement – the rest legitimate political opinion. You didn’t use the word, but please examine how you publicly pronounced what’s in his heart; that is, you ascribed to him an insincere conversion which of necessity included forgiveness by the Church of his past sins. A priest or perhaps a bishop was invloved in his being received into the Church. Are you substituting your urge to judge for the wisdom of those spiritually responsible for receiving him?

    To assign motive to someone without actual, compelling, and convincing proof – without any doubt – is to read what’s on their heart, and the Church teaches that, too, is judgment. True, you are not judging him to hell, but this second understanding of judgment is not new – just under-discussed.

    This may touch on Church teaching about the sin of detraction, wherein it is sinful to unnecessarily disclose to others, who do not need to know, the past sins of another – even if true. The Church understands that we too easily draw inappropriate and harmful pleasure or satisfaction from revealing someone’s dark past when we do so to satisfy ourselves and our need to vent or to hurt them.

  26. I think God’s Truth is more powerful than politics. When we argue His Truth, He is on our side. Trust in Him. I think hypocrisy, even in the service of a lesser evil, is wrong.

    There is no scientific argument against human life beginning at conception – every other time point is merely opinion and can be refuted. Once you agree to let the camel stick it’s nose under the tent, you have lost the fight and every other opinion becomes valid for argument. The only way to put an end to abortion (and in-vitro loss of life) is to declare that protection of human life begins at conception.

  27. An important part of the article you inexplicably left out provides a concise bit of counterweight to Weigel’s and Novak’s sycophantic hagiography of a consistently opportunistic politician who, so far, repents only a little bit for his decades of sleazoid and mean-spirited behavior (nobody has ever even considered calling him a “compassionate conservative’) and mostly blames that systematically reprehensible behavior on his over-weaning passion for enhancing america’s greatness:

    “Francis J. Beckwith, a professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor University (who returned to Catholicism during a career as a prominent evangelical) recently wrote in the blog ‘The Catholic Thing’ that true absolution of sins requires “ongoing conversion,” which means ‘detaching oneself from those things that may provide an occasion for sin.’ ‘It seems to me,’ Professor Beckwith wrote, ‘that a man whose sins arose as a consequence of the pursuit of political power and the unwise use of it after he became Speaker of the House should not be seeking the most powerful office in the world.’ ”

    Deacon Greg, there are more than a few reasons why Tom Coburn, George Will, and Peggy Noonan are appalled by the concept of Gingrich returning to power and Joe Scarborough warns that he is “a very bad, bad man”.

    While I think she’s barely tethered to this material plane, I also think Michelle Bachmann probably has more integrity in her little finger than the Newster has in his substantial bilious corpus.

  28. Excellent analysis, naturgesetz. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Many of our more purist brothers and sisters would refuse the incremental approach, even though it has been most effectively used to advance the culture of death as well as all other progressive agendas over the last 5-6 decades.

    It calls to mind the old adage, “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

  29. ralph pendutti: Was Christ ever married? No. He may have been clear on divorce, but he never experienced an unhappy and sometimes life threatening marriage either, I would assume. No one should stay married if some circumstances are present —but that’s another topic.

  30. The reasons for a possible abortion are numerous—excluding the excuse that it is just inconvienent right now. Outlawing it would only drive it underground again—-it wouldn’t eliminate it and it would could cause the deaths of the women who find it necessary to try and attain one.

  31. I don’t see how Newt is not in full agreement with this statement. What issue is he at odds with and which magesterial teaching of the Church is he not in sync with again? The Republicans certainly believe in “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution.” It is called the American system of capitalism within the democratic republican system that has given more people the opportunity to build better lives than any other system in the world.

    I do think that many Democratic Catholics seem to have a problem with what this same Pope stated very directly and listed as not negotable:

    “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

    – protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

    – recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

    – the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

    These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself.”

  32. Wrong. You keep harping on the same point with I guess the intent being that the right way to deal with the issue he suggested is to block anything that would end having union driven excess janitors making more than the teachers in the same schools as the only way to go in our school system while leaving teens unable to find work in the droves, especially in the poor urban neighborhoods where the only job is to work for the local drug dealer. The old liberal solutions have not worked in our schools system. Why not free those from the grip of the teachers unions that create a permanent uneducated underclass. Vouchers to allow escape from poor schools, Democrats say no even as they send their own kids to private schools. Teach the high school going no where to work within the schools part time using existing poorly used funds that also allow the families a little more income…no way. Got to keep the union janitors making more than the teachers protected and the kids unemployed and unemployable.

  33. Lets see, the post talks about the good ol days of JFK when the Democrats controlled the bulk of the Catholic Church and still has a very strong control of the liberal wing. What happened since those good ol days of JFK….the Democratic Party became the Party of abortion and gay special rights, both in direct opposition to non negotiable catholic teaching as described above in my comment quoting our current Pope Benedict on those issues. So you say that the Catholic Church will lose those Catholics in those places where they are in direct dissent from non negotiable church teaching if the Church if the Church continues to hold these positions and instructs their faithful that supporting these grave sins is wrong? Is that correct?

    Could it be that those who hold those positions have already in many ways left the Catholic Church long ago and seem to be screaming that the Church has to change to meet the positions of the Democatic Party?

    And by the way, many of the Hispanic Catholics that we see here are at least as conservative and are begging to understand that the Democatic Party supports things like abortion and gay marriage. We have started a very strong pro life and pro family outreach to this community and many are shocked to learn of the democratic stance on these issues.

  34. Manny, I am very glad he turned Catholic and have read a lot about his conversion process and the extensive time he spent over many months in that process. Many who knew him then and know him now see a far different person. I think he showed this somewhat in taking a more lenient position on those in this country illegally but who have families and have been here for years. In allowing that he would support a program and process that allows them to stay here legally, he in many ways ran the chance of alienating some on the right, but it is more in line with Catholic teaching which balances the right to protect the border and doing the more humane thing for those here now. In fact, if you look at many Church leaders in this country such as the new bishop of Philadelphia, his position as outlined is very close.

  35. No, what your faith should do is outline your political as well as the rest of your life. If the Catholic Church teaches that voting for those who support abortion is not to be done unless you have a proportionate reason, it places you at odds with the Church unless you can clearly show what is proportionate. The Democratic Party, after generations of being in line with most Catholic teaching, decided it would go a different way starting with support of abortion. Some say it started before this with attacks on prayer based on the distortion of the Constitution protection of Religion from government. Both Pope John Paul II and now Benedict XVI have outlined clearly those positions which are at total odds with the Church teaching.

  36. MLee, I would rather see those who have lost their way come back to the full teaching of the Catholic Church. However, I would rather see them leave than distort what the Church teaches for political purposes. I note that in a post above, it talked about the bishops in Illinois trying their best to educate that Catholic governor who seems lost. But we need to remember, when Jesus taught hard facts about solid teaching on eating His Body and drinking His Blood, some walked away as well. Now they are doing it on abortion and marriage between one man and one woman and on not making gay actions normal and not gravely disordered. Their excuse is that the Democrats care more about the poor, but have nothing to show that this is true. Trillions spent on the war on poverty and decades later, with poor families destroyed and school systems in decay, they are more concerned about supporting teachers unions and big government than new ideas that might work to actually help the poor.

  37. I doubt you will find this in any politician of either party that will bring the American Government back to God. I will settle for one that will try to stop the legal slaughter of 4000 babies a day and this will be a good start. If reelected, Obama will keep that going on for another generation with more appointments to the Supreme Court. I see the attack on Newt already for his suggestion that judges are supposed to do their job of actually using the written text of the Constitution and that he would put judges in place who will do just that. This gives us an end to Roe, stops the onslaught on religious beliefs, and will prevent legislation from the bench by unelected lifetime appointed judges. That will help bring this country back toward God in a big way.

  38. WRONG. He has repeatedly said life begins at conception. If you want to talk about someone, it would be a good idea to at least present some truth and context to your statement. If you go to his website you will see this. If you go to multiple sources from him prior to when he misspoke one time while talking about embryonic research and how the church looks on life which was taken out of context, you will see that your saying he ‘REJECTS Catholic Church teaching on life beginning at conception’ is not true. If you are a priest, shame on you.

  39. If your choice is Newt or Obama, it is a clear vote. Only one of the two can win and so not voting for Newt supports the election of Obama. Newt has almost a perfect record over 20 years that is pro life. Obama is zero. If you care about abortion ending in this country, we would be best to vote Newt over Obama who will keep it legal for generations by his addition of more radical pro abortion judges. That is all fact and true. Observe his clear stance that judges he appoints should not do what was done in error with Roe and that was to make up words not in the constitution.

  40. Mark, it’s not his political positions that bother me, nor really the money he took from Freddie and Fannie, though that’s pretty bad. What bothers me about Newt is his flying off the plan and playing everything by ear. You say he changed, but just a few months ago he completely undermined Paul Ryan and before that he caused his political team to quit. That was exactly what happened with his House Republicans while he was speaker. It just makes him a poor leader. Yes, he’s changed a little bit, but not enough.

  41. Lets look at your post florin..”but how could he have been inspired by his ‘mistress’ or led to the Church by her unless they both have a very skewed idea of what Catholicism”

    Have you ever herard of St Augustine. He is a Doctor of the Church. He is obviously a Saint. And he did much the same as Newt and many others in his life. He was a guy who had a different view and experience on moral issues from the Catholic Church. Now, Saint Augustine is the Doctor of Grace. St Augustine has led many to the Church and one of those influenced by what he read of St Augustine was Newt. Newt said he finally saw that his life had changed in his new relationship with Callista and that his beliefs were in fact surrounded by Catholic teaching. I think we should look with joy that one was lost and now seems to have found God. I see a lot of folks here who want to throw the first stone who scream at others for simply stating facts about what the church teaches and to what level of authority various teaching carry within the Church.

  42. naturgesetz, well stated. I am in full agreement although I would love to see the final impact of what Oregon Catholic is stating and know you would as well. But lets not forget that if limited to these abortions, we are talking about ending a holocust and still have some clean up work to do on less than 1% of all abortions. In fact, there are many ways this can be dealt with for these much fewer abortions. Newt has talked about setting up a program driven by faith based groups to center in on helping these women with keeping the baby with support and or adoption. so if you end abortion with everything but rape and incest and you have a very good program in those areas to save lives and help the raped women and children bashed by incest, you will have virtually ended the holocaust. Not supporting the Republican candidate leaves us with the worst abortion loving president in our history. He is the PARTNER of the abortion mills as stated on their own website. see all the way at the bottom on election of Obama.

  43. Old argument. If this is even a concern, why do the Democrats block every attempt to force the abortion mills to match safety requirements for healthcare facilities like hospitals? Why do we see abortion mills with unsafe and unsanitary facilities? Why do we see abortion mills refusing to report when children are brought in for abortions, often by the adult men who have done the statatory rape? over the last few years, this farce about safe and legal has been shown for what it is, a lie.

    And frankly, while 4000 babies are being slaughtered a day, no one can tell me that if the law is changed, this number will be anywhere near that in back alley abortions. In fact, it will cause many women to pay more attention to what they are doing which will help with the growing spread of disease.

  44. So that should not be an issue for Next. His marriage was annuled. No divorce in the eyes of the Church founded by Christ. Mercy and forgiveness are wonderful things given to us by Christ through His Grace.

  45. Yes, relationships can be very bad between people. Separating from these bad relationships is hard, but nothing in the Church says we have to stay in them. If one wants to form a new relationship and was married in the Church, one needs to get the first annuled and then is free to marry again in a new relationship.

  46. It is less troubling perhaps that Newt divorced (abandoning a merely inconvenient, rather than “life-threatening”, marriage) than that he then followed up his that first divorce with serial marriages and serial affairs.

    Of course, I get that a lot of Catholics are willing to vote for anybody that might beat Obama and claims to have really found God on his fourth try, but even the Catholics I know that will hold their noses and vote for Gingrich aren’t silly enough to consider him a John Paul, Pope Leo, or any other kind of Catholic (other than one of transient expediency)…

  47. Manny, don’t get me wrong, I have not decided on anyone yet and we do not vote until March so I have time to see how things play out. I would support Newt in a heartbeat over Obama and will never do as some are talking about and not voting for Newt or Obama or for some potential third party. As far as I am concerned, that is helping Obama and in fact is one of the things Obama team will be trying to do is to keep anti Obama home or throwing their vote away. It is his only chance.

    I keep seeing the answer from Mitt on the abortion issue stand while running against Ted Kennedy and for governor and there was more passion in his pro abortion position than I have seen to date in his pro life stance. He also worries me on special rights for gays. But I will vote for Mitt over Obama as well. Anyone but Obama the abortion Partner.

  48. considering Obama will keep the holocaust of abortion legal and supported for another generation if elected as the Partner of the abortion mills, any Catholic who didn’t vote to end this guy from accomplishing this certainly has a lot to explain to God. He already has two readical pro abortion judges on the courts. The next president will more than likely put a couple more on and that spells trouble for the infancts being slaughtered.

  49. That’s why you’ve got to love the new-found flexibility of the Church in recent decades in granting annulments like handing out raffle tickets (it wasn’t that way when Gingrich was growing up in the ’40’s and ’50’s, that’s for sure) !

    So BOTH of his first two marriages were anulled ? Really ?

    If that’s actually the case, I’m dying to know which diriment impediments made those first two marriages vanish in the eyes of the Church (and why the Church concluded that at age 57 Gingrich had finally achieved the intellectual capability and the spiritual depth to understand what entering into a third marriage sort of means).

    So it’s nice that the divorces that Gingrich used to terminate those first couple of marriages (not “life-threatening, but rather inconvenient to the Newtster, nonetheless) may not be recognized by the Church (although I think the Father probably has the final say-so on that issue), but I bet that first divorce still seems quite real to the two children of that marriage that watched their dad walk out the door and that second divorce seemed awfully real to his second wife who cruelly he dumped right after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (if I were Newt’s third wife, I’d have made sure the property settlement was inked up-front).

    Yes, mercy and forgiveness are wonderful things given to us by Christ through His Grace, but we are also taught that we are to use not only our heart, but also our mind, in making grave choices (like electing Presidents).

    I don’t know, of course, but I suspect the Lord doesn’t expect us to credulously submit to a communal lobotomy when it comes to judging a presidential candidate that boldly (and day-in-and-day-out ) claims to really be honest and caring (and a Catholic to boot !) this time around after half a century of behaving otherwise.

  50. (if I were Newt’s third wife, I’d have made sure the property settlement was inked up-front).”

    A pre-nuptial agreement of that sort is clear proof that the parties entered the marriage with the idea that it was not necessarily permanent, meaning that they did not understand the nature of sacramental marriage. It would provide solid grounds for a declaration of nullity.

  51. This is all well and good for Newt and his immortal soul, and a sign perhaps, for others, but mark my words, if you want anything but a heap of smoldering ash left in the wake of what was once America, vote Dr. Paul.

    Maybe just listen to him once, on youtube, with a clean conscience, and see if you don’t cry to hear for once the truth.

  52. Start implementing 65th trimester abortions, that’d end them pretty quick. Oh, (antiphons), wait, congress just passed the ‘Indefinite Detention, (no-trial-line-you-up-against-a-wall-and-shoot-you) bill’, for US citizens.

    Let the games begin!

  53. I don’t want to belabor this conversation about the validity of Gingrich’s catholicity any longer because as most sensible people realize any of the GOP candidates would be a better choice for Catholics and all Americans than Barack Hussein Obama but I do want to say this.
    If more American Catholics could be granted a larger portion of the true understanding of their faith which is so evident in Mark here, we would all become better voters as well as better Americans.
    As I see it there are entirely too many holier than thou Catholics who chose to wear royal robes and have fists of iron. I would remind them that a golden chalice filled with the gall of pride is no match for a tin cup with a little of the wine of mercy and forgiveness.
    The Pope is not going to be on the ticket next year and the media has already murdered one of our candidates. The rest, again with the help of the media, are wounding each other every day. The process should not be to search for a prince (or princess) but to select someone whose values and vision at least hold hope for the protection of those our founding fathers used to form the foundation for this great nation.
    Stop micro-analyzing the candidates doctrinal views and be grateful for their “clear” adherence to Christianity. The current occupant of the White House has made it “clear” that “If the winds shift, I (he) will stand with the Muslims”. And his record validates that statement. Personally, I don’t want to live under Sharia Law and the Koran even if the president thinks it’s not such a bad idea.

  54. Mark: Gingrich a week or so ago said that at “implantation” life begins, not at conception. His disagreement with church teaching has been highlighted in the Catholic media.
    Fr Michael

  55. Mark, check out the Catholic press between about December 2 and December 6 for Gingrich’s claims about life beginning at “implantation”…..He also admits he doesn’t know much about the subject.

  56. “A pre-nuptial agreement of that sort is clear proof that the parties entered the marriage with the idea that it was not necessarily permanent, meaning that they did not understand the nature of sacramental marriage. It would provide solid grounds for a declaration of nullity.”

    Well, that’s one interpretation (and, in the case of any of Newt’s expected series of future marriages, not an unreasonable interpretation).

    However, since roughly 1 in 5 Catholic marriages end in divorce (for a variety of reasons – thankfully that’s a lower rate than most other Christian denominations), it’s not wholly unreasonable for a couple to plan up front (to protect the kids and spouse) for an unexpected, but possible, termination of the marriage.

    And, if the Church thought otherwise, its priests would be directed not to perform any marriages for which it discovered in pre-marital counseling there was a pre-nup. But, as I’m sure you know, that’s not the current guidance

    The Church is often between a rock and a hard place, either taking a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to the flagrant and obstinately sinful behavior of powerful Catholics (e.g., Kennedys, Kerrys, Pelosi, Corleones, Sopranos, etc) or skillfully applying rarely-used canon law techniques to explicitly give get-out-of-jail cards to convenient allies like Newt and born-again celebs.

    But that doesn’t mean that lay Catholics have to pretend they don’t know what’s going on may be less divinely inspired than merely just one more “pragmatic”, and unseemly, tack taken by the Church as part of a longer term strategy to maintain its institutional viability and spread the word.

    So, by all means, vote for Gingrich if you’re impressed by him.

    But some of us would be genuinely grateful if Newt fanboys wouldn’t keep twisting the teachings of the Church into pretzels in trying to mask their lesser-of-two-evils-based advocacy of him and really grateful if the libelous slander of John Paul II, in the form of heralding Gingrich as a “John Paul II Catholic”, could be finally put to bed.

  57. In the 1990’s, Gingrich wanted the federal government to fund abortions in specific cases. We may dare to hope that he has seen the light in these matters…

  58. In 1988 Gingrich publicly declared that, notwithstanding his mostly consistent support of pro-life initiatives, he would not only support, but also would actively campaign for, Republicans who were in support of partial-birth abortions.

    Gingrich justified his support of proponents of “barbaric” (his word) late-term abortions as a necessary step to maintain a majority of Republicans in Congress so that it could ultimately ban the procedure.

    While to some of us that predictably sorry behavior is just one more episode in a lengthy string of public failures of core integrity by Gingrich, I’m sure that, to the lesser-of-two-evils-based advocates of his candidacy that find him such an attractive exponent of Catholic values, his expedient turn-about on a such fundamental issue is just one further demonstration of the skillful “pragmatism” Newt will bring to the fight against Obama.

  59. Jon Barry:
    Your statement “…since roughly 1 in 5 Catholic marriages end in divorce (for a variety of reasons – thankfully that’s a lower rate than most other Christian denominations)… .” is interesting.

    Can you cite your source for “that’s a LOWER RATE than most other Christian denominations”?

  60. Newt in line with all of Catholic teaching – I’ll be darned – his comments on the poor and his support of Freddie and Fannie, lets do away with child labor laws – if all it comes down to in voting for a person is his view of abortion then we in america are damned to reap idiots in leadership positions. Hearing him say he would ignore supreme court decisions he doesn’t agree with, or have activist judges arrested makes fear for our country if he is ever again near any kind of power. Listening to people who know him Noonan, Scarbourogh, et al. and witnessing his temper tantrum over not sitting in the front of Air Force leads me to wish he had stayed writing the bad historical fiction he writes.
    The sad fact is that none of the folks who seem to be running for president, or any other elected office is worthy of a vote for anything.

  61. I don’t think that Newt Gingrich’s statement is a clarification. It seems to me to be more like a “delete” (or, in the days before desktop publishing, a “wite-out) the previous statement.

  62. You’re right, of course, HMS. I was being charitable. Gingrich goofed.

    Truth be told, more than a “clarification,” it’s more like a “back-pedal.” 😉


  63. The seemingly most frequently cited statistics are from Barna Research (around the year 2000) with Christian divorce rates ranging from non-denominationals (including evangelists) in the mid 30% range down to Catholics in the 20% range (along with Lutherans and, surprisingly, atheists/agnostics).

    The General Social Survey (GSS 2004) used a slightly different methodology that included a stratification by church attendance (in which non-church-attending Catholics appeared to be divorcing at twice the rate of active Catholics) but still showed “active” Catholics generally experiencing a lower divorce rate.

    The people that have done these surveys do seem to agree that a number of factors extrinsic to religious affiliation, including geography, race, income, education, etc., also have a lot to do with the outcomes. And to me it should also be noted that they’re working off of extremely limited data in reaching their conclusions.

    But, whatever the reason, the active Catholics seems to be more than holding their own, so far, in the long-term marriage sweepstakes in modern america.

  64. Mark, you are the reason I’m getting ready to check out of the church. Am absolutely convinced that yours is nothing more than Ayn Rand objectivism mantra hiding behind your espoused beliefs. As I see it, they are not compatible.
    You moan about “union” janitors. What do you know of the duties of these “union” janitors? Let me guess: absolutely nothing. You only know they, ALL OF THEM, are overpaid. Let me also guess some more: we have too much regulation, too many taxes, too many gays, too many lazy poor people. The list goes on and on.
    Do you remember Reagan? Do you remember his saying that he would balance the budget with his “supply side” bs? He TRIPLED the national debt. He blamed congress for the debt even though Congress’s appropriated less monies than he asked for. Do you remember Alan Greenspan, a Rand disciple, telling congress in February of 2001 that the possibility was real that we will have paid off the ENTIRE NATIONAL DEBT by 2011? Instead we enacted tax cuts, the vast benefits of which went to the wealthiest, just like Jesus said they should. We fought two wars, without paying for them. We allowed the financial sector to pillage the economy and then bailed them out with borrowed taxpayer money. We had Catholic justices of the Supreme Court tell the world that corporations, entities without souls, were indeed people. We lay the rubble at the feet of Obama and then blame him for the destruction. I blame him for not fighting back.
    Wealth HAS been redistributed and continues to be. Janitors are hurting out there, union or otherwise. We don’t see eye to eye. For me, that is a good thing.

  65. Jon, naturgesetz is correct on the issue of pre nup and the Church. Many are married in the Catholic Church who should not be if one holds that both parties need to be in the state of grace to have the sacrament of matrimony actually be legal in the eyes of the Church. I wish that the leadership in the Church did take this issue more seriously when people come in for example that are living together in direct violation of serious church teaching. They should not be married in the Church unless the priest has some assurance that this has stopped and that both have received absolution in Reconcilliation. We do a horrible job on this point and it shows in the failure of many marriages which do not receive the full graces Sacraments can bring if we receive them in the state of grace. So what naturgesetz says is indeed not his “interpretation” but actual teaching. Newt with the annulment of his marriage and act of repentence and reconcilliation came into the Catholic Church under our teaching as free of sin as anyone else if all was done properly.

    This was far different from those Catholic politicians who continue to act in support of abortion even after multiple times the bishops have sat down with them to educate them in their grave sin. As to your view that seems to say that Church leaders take the “tack as part of a longer term strategy to maintain its institutional viability and spread the word,” I do not feel that this is what is going on with Catholic bishops, but more trying to balance between the secular lost world and Catholic teaching while not confronting the lost world head on.

  66. If you look into this entire situation, you can find that on multiple occasions before this discussion when talking about life, he said consistently that life begins at conception. That was before this and on multiple occasions. Newt was in a conversation about embryonic stem cell research and the discussion there was about the use of embryo’s for research and this topic came up as an aside. He immediately put out a statement when there was confusion so that no one would not understand his confusion. Lets face it, 20 years in congress with a pro life voting record of over 98% is certainly a major improvement on Obama at 0% pro life.

  67. “Mark”…

    To clarify: there’s nothing in Canon Law that states that a couple “need to be in a state of grace” to receive the sacrament of matrimony validly.

    The only stipulation in that regard is this: “To receive the sacrament of marriage fruitfully, spouses are urged especially to approach the sacraments of penance and of the Most Holy Eucharist.” (Emphasis mine).

    Couples certainly need to have the proper mental and emotional disposition toward marriage. Being in a state of grace is desirable. It’s helpful. But it’s not necessary for valid reception of the sacrament.

    Dcn. G.

  68. Well, my observation is that the 20% figure might be a bit high. One day a month or so ago when I was totally bored, I went through our Parish’s Marriage Register book and found that in the past eight years or so, I officiated at close to 50 weddings. Of those 50, I was only able to identify THREE that fell apart. Now that data is complicated by the fact that maybe only 50% returned to live in our parish so that we do know them personally. I suppose there is a good chance that the statistics on failure would be higher if we had any clue what happened to the folks that moved away.

    Forget the National Stats. Have one of your parish clergy compile the data from within your own records and see where it leads you.

    Frankly, I think we are doing a lot better than an 80% survival rate.

  69. Old argument, Mark? I don’t know how old you are, but I’m old enough to remember before terminations were legal. Not pretty. As for your other comments? Don’t know where you get your numbers or how accuate they are—but my stance isn’ going to change when you quote those things. I’ve known 4 women in my life, 2 family members, who would have been dead in a back alley if there were no doctors who would and do legally and safely perform a service needed by some women. I’m for keeping the service legal. I’m also the first to say there should always be alternative given to the procedure and help offered to help women who decide to not terminate. As for rape and/or incest victims? That service should always be available IMO.
    As for Newt? Seems his popularity is slowly dropping, as his own party has a lot of questions—and not because of his latest conversion to the Church but his personality.

  70. Mark, I’ve known a couple of Catholic women who got a civil divorce but didn’t bother with the annulement. Takes forever I understand. Also one had no intention of ever getting married again. She was a teacher in the Catholic school I taught in.

  71. Mark, please refer to my 12-18-11, 1:36 a.m. post and link to the Gingrich site above. He filled out the National Right to Life form proclaiming that he does not follow Church teaching regarding murder. He had a clear choice on the questionnaire, and his choice is clearly wrong, clearly abhorrent. There is a magnificent priest in my diocese who, after the 2008 election, had the Catholic backbone to tell his congregation, “If you voted for Obama or other pro-death politicians, do not present yourself for Holy Communion.” God bless him! The culture will never begin to turn around until Christ’s Bride, the Church — all of us — begin to speak the Truth boldly again.

    The link again:

  72. CorDeDomini —
    “He filled out the National Right to Life form proclaiming that he does not follow Church teaching regarding murder. He had a clear choice on the questionnaire, and his choice is clearly wrong, clearly abhorrent.”
    Gingrich was presented with two positions: allow abortion to save the life of the mother or allow abortion to save the life of the mother or in cases if forcible rape or incest involving a minor. Neither of the alternatives he was given outlaws abortion in all circumstances. So you might have have said the same thing if he chose the “life of the mother” exception. But either way, you’re wrong because you are confusing what the Church teaches about abortion (which is always wrong, without exception) with what the Church teaches when it comes to legislation.

    You need to learn that the Church teaches that a legislator can support a less than perfect law if he judges that it is the vest possible. So what Gingrich checked does not proclaim that he does not follow Church teaching.

    Notice also that in every question after the first one, his position agrees with the NLRC.

    You need to get in line with the Church on the question of legislation. Abortion is always wrong, but that doesn’t mean that it is always wrong to support legislation which is less than perfect, but still improves things.

    Stop libelling Newt Gingrich.

  73. The question asks under what circumstances do you believe abortion should be legal. He was free to write in the correct answer as the third choice. The question didn’t reference the details of a particular case or legislation, as you suggest. It’s simply under what circumstances do you believe it should be legal. His answer is not in accord with Church teaching.

  74. Have you checked, or will you check to see if any of the other candidates gave an answer which was in accord with Church teaching, according to your interpretation of the question? Will you also put forth a scathing denunciation of any who accept letting abortion legal under any circumstances? If not — to either question — why the inconsistency?

  75. Glad things are going so well for the marriages in your parish.

    But since, in just my extended family alone, none of our last five divorces were reported to the parish, I think it’s unlikely our parish records would prove to be a decent source of reliable data on this topic.

  76. naturgesetz says: “So what Gingrich checked does not proclaim that he does not follow Church teaching.”

    Now that you’ve read CorDeDomini’s explanation that Gingrich was asked what he believed about the permissibility of abortion (and was not asked, as you declared, what abortion legislation was the best possible), do you still persist in believing Gingrich’s views on abortion clearly expressed on the RLF form are in accordance with the Church’s teaching ?

    It seems that you’ve lept forward to launching a scattered attack on other candidates as potentially even more impure than Gingrich (and then preemptively attacking CorDeDomini for not yet having denounced whomever they might be) without first accepting or rejecting CorDeDomini’s explanation.

    Newt would be proud of your zipping and zagging !

  77. naturgesetz says: “Stop libelling Newt Gingrich.”
    the common law: “Truth is an absolute defence to a charge of libel”.

  78. I’ll readily admit I cannot validate that raw data I gave you. My own pastor challenged me on it himself. One of our plans in 2012 is to develop a “Family Ministry Team” and my first task for those volunteers will be to try and make contact with all our recent marriages to see how they are doing and — if they are not actually registered with us any more — where they might be living.

  79. When I read the question, because it was in the context of a questionnaire for candidates for public office, I took it to refer to what he would support as a matter of public policy. CorDeDomini points out that a literal reading, uninfluenced by the context, makes it a question of personal moral belief. If Gingrich took the question the way Cor did, then his view is not in accord with Catholic teaching.

    The question then is, “So what?” Well this is a thread on whether he’s a JPII Catholic, and Cor’s interpretation would indicate that he isn’t. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he is unworthy of being voted for by Catholics (or that he’s worthy). We’ve never had a JPII Catholic as the nominee of either major party, yet most of us have found a non-Catholic we could support.

    But I don’t think it is justifiable to assume that Gingrich parsed the question as carefully as Cor did. He could very well have read it the way I did. And considering that they gave the alternative answers that they did, either they don’t know Catholic teaching on the subject, or they meant it the way I took it. And if Gingrich answered it in the sense in which it seems to have been asked, then the answer does not prove that his personal views are out of line with the Church.

    Bottom line: he may or may not be a “JPII Catholic,” but even if he isn’t, that does not lead to a conclusion we should not vote for him, and I asked about other candidates to raise that point.

  80. The RTL questionnaire Gingrich completed was very clear: “Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe abortion should be legal ?”
    (That’s not too nuanced for you, is it ?)

    Had you bothered to follow either of CorDeDomini’s two specific references to the url where a copy of Gingrich’s executed questionnaire is posted and could reviewed by you, you would have already known that and would not have had to laden your latest comments with weasel word like “parse”, “literal”, “context”, etc. to create the impression that even a self-described genius like Gingrich could have easily been confused about a central tenet of his current favorite denomination and a most basic litmus test for a politician than wants to appeal to the right-to-life base.

    Obviously you’re in the tank for Gingrich and believe you have a credible basis for arguing that supporting a lying, cheating, religious tourist, widely detested, etc. politician may be the best among a number of unattractive alternatives. That’s OK by me.

    But, when facts (like what Newt actually says and writes) are brought to your attention about Newt that are inconsistent with your (and his) fantasy of who he is, please at least consider that information rather than trying to pretend, bloviate, or “parse” it away.

  81. AMEN, Elihayu!

    And enough with the “JPII Catholic” designation on here already. We are supposed to be Roman Catholic – period. Stop politicising and polarizing the Church into different camps the way you are doing with the election. Bad enough our country’s come to a standstill over such ridiculousness in Congress.

  82. OC:

    FWIW: That description of Gingrich came in the article, evidently from Michael Novak.

    Dcn. G.

  83. “Had you bothered to follow either of CorDeDomini’s two specific references to the url where a copy of Gingrich’s executed questionnaire is posted and could reviewed by you …”
    The reason I was able to tell you how I read the question and the reason that I was able to talk to Cor about the rest of his answers and the reason I was able to tell you how I took the question in context was that I did follow the link. If you had thought about it, you should have realized that.

  84. ” [T]he reason I was able to tell you how I took the question in context was that I did follow the link. If you had thought about it, you should have realized that.”

    I’m sorry, naturgesetz, for not realizing that “under what circumstances, if any, do you believe abortion should be legal ?” would prove to be just as as confusing, complex, and unfairly subtle to you as it apparently was to Mr. Gingrich.

    In the future I’ll try not to make any unwarranted assumptions about your critical faculties.

  85. “In the future I’ll try not to make any unwarranted assumptions …”
    Realizing how hard it must be for you to avoid making unwarranted assumptions, I appreciate any effort you make along that line, or even to think clearly. (Perhaps for starters, it will help you see how you’re prone to unwarranted assumptions if I point out that “Obviously you’re in the tank for Gingrich and believe you have a credible basis for arguing that supporting a lying, cheating, religious tourist, widely detested, etc. politician may be the best among a number of unattractive alternatives” contains two unwarranted assumptions about me.)

  86. naturgesetz says:
    “Gingrich was presented with two positions:
    (a) allow abortion to save the life of the mother or
    (b) allow abortion to save the life of the mother or in cases if forcible rape or incest involving a minor.
    Neither of the alternatives he was given outlaws abortion in all circumstances”

    WRONG, naturgesetz.

    You curiously neglected to mention that Gingrich was actually presented with the opportunity to adopt a third position (c) “Other (please explain)” and to provide a couple of lines in the NRTL questionnaire in which to clarify that other position (e.g., something consistent with his current church’s teachings).

    However, Gingrich rejected position (c) and opted instead for (b) to express his belief that an abortion to save the life of the mother or in cases if forcible rape or incest involving a minor should be legal.

    That that questionnaire and the answers he submitted in response to it on November 28, 2011 remain proudly posted on his web site as part of his campaign materials pretty well demolishes your theory that Gingrich was somehow confused, as you believe you might have been, by such a direct question.

    But I am beginning to realize that who Newt Gingrich really is (which occasionally even converges with who New Gingrich claims to be) matters less to you than who he is not.

  87. I bet you’re right on my having at least one unwarranted assumption about you.

    You probably aren’t fully in the tank for Gingrich (that would be so embarrassing).

    Perhaps you simply think that he’s an appealing candidate if the alternatives end up being Romney or Obama and, therefore, anything you can do to confuse yourself and/or others about who Gingrich is and how little he truly stands for, is all for the greater good.

    But what’s the other unwarranted assumption ?

  88. Too bad you weren’t up to the challenge, but keep trying to think.

    You did come close enough on one that I’ll give you credit for it. But then you went and made an an incorrect suggestion. Oh well. At least you’re trying, really trying, very trying.

  89. Glad to hear that you agree with my perception of your willingness to do almost anything you can to confuse yourself and/others about who Gingrich is and what he really stands for in pursuit of what you think is the greater good (quite a clever application of natural law principles, so-called naturgesetz !).

    By the way, you never responded to my comment providing the detail on Gingrich’s clear response to the RTLC’s questionnaire (and posted on Gingrich’s own campaign web site) in which he affirmed his BELIEF (not merely taking some advocacy position, like his cynical support of Republicans voting for late-term abortions – that’s a whole other topic) and rejected the clear opportunity to ally himself with the doctrine of the Church.

    Do you still stand by your position that Newt was (and still is) confused about what was asked, what he replied, and what is still on his website ? Or are you still confused ?

    To make it a bit easier for you to stay focused on this issue, here’s a copy of my earlier comment that directly addressed the charming fantasy you spun of a bumbling, confused Newt not noticing what he was saying, writing, and putting on his web site about the sanctity of life:

    “naturgesetz says:

    ‘Gingrich was presented with two positions:

    (a) allow abortion to save the life of the mother or

    (b) allow abortion to save the life of the mother or in cases if forcible rape or incest involving a minor.

    Neither of the alternatives he was given outlaws abortion in all circumstances.

    WRONG, naturgesetz.
    You curiously neglected to mention that Gingrich was actually presented with the opportunity to adopt a third position:
    (c) ‘Other (please explain)’
    and to provide a couple of lines in the NRTL questionnaire in which to clarify that ‘Other’ position (e.g., something consistent with his current church’s teachings).

    However, Gingrich
    rejected position (c) and
    opted instead for (b) to express his belief that
    an abortion to save the life of the mother or in cases if forcible rape or incest involving a minor should be legal.

    That that questionnaire and the answers he submitted in response to it on November 28, 2011 remain proudly posted on his web site as part of his campaign materials pretty well demolishes your theory that Gingrich was somehow confused, as you believe you might have been, by such a direct question.”

  90. Anyone notice that even the great Gingrich is losing ground in the “lead” category? He may have had his time in the sun—and it won’t make any difference just what his stance on abortion is. I personally don’t think even his own party trusts him—they have worked with him and know what he is REALLY like.

  91. “Glad to hear that you agree with my perception …”
    I never said I agreed with any perception you had of me. You are making stuff up about me and you are wrong, wrong, wrong. You are playing with words and behaving like a slimy troll. You do not seem to be interested in having an honest discussion, just in scoring invalid debaters’ points.

    Once more, what you’ve said about me is not true.

    Good bye and God bless.

  92. “You did come close enough on one that I’ll give you credit for it.” I thought that by saying that you meant you thought I was right about that perception – sorry for not understanding what you were trying to say by that cryptic remark, whatever it may have been.

    The honest discussion I would like to have with you continues to boil down to your answer to just one question that you consistently evade:
    do you still wish to stand by your view that Newt didn’t understand his written representation of his belief about the acceptability of abortion under certain circumstances, even in light of the detailed information provided to you by CorDeDomini and me and available of Newt’s web site ?

  93. “You did come close enough on one that I’ll give you credit for it.”

    IOW you are right in identifying the suggestion that I am fully in the tank for Gingrich as one of what I called your incorrect assumptions. The fact is I’m undecided about Gingrich.

  94. If you were lying in a ditch dying after being mugged, which candidate would you like to walk by? My Jesus is a Jew, and the mainstream Pharisaical media back in the day didn’t like him either. They were so hung up on splitting jots and tittles that they missed the point; love and liberty. Not policing the world, killing 600,000 people a year in other countries. My candidate doesn’t wear clothes dipped in Corporate blood. My candidate delivered 4000 babies. My candidate is deeply religious and will NEVER speak of it publicly. Finally, my candidate has seen our freedoms erode into fascism, and anyone of any true religious stripe would be well advised to run or prepare to ‘water the tree of liberty’.

  95. I am sorry to go on like this while you debate the best candidate for Catholics to back, and good blog, by the way. But I have to tell you that during the last election term I happened on the debates, and was arrested by what Ron Paul said. I read his platform and began to think, ‘Could this be one of Isaiah’s witnesses?’. Now I know theologically that is not sound, but still. You may not know it yet, but America has been pillaged and your money confiscated via inflation by corporate interests for a hundred years. If you saw a chart of the postwar middle class wealth distribution, you would see a normal curve, a lens that ends quite badly for us all, and soon.
    We will be a third world nation inside of a decade, not because of capitalism, which is good IMHO, but because of CRONY capitalism, that allows the Madoffs and the Rahm Emmanuels and guys like Newt to drink at the trough of great wealth, and then to make laws beggaring the average man. There is a devout catholic who understands this far better than I at… thanks

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