April 6, 2009
Gingrich Speaks (A Little) of his Conversion to Catholicism
News of Newt Gingrich's conversion to Catholicism was buried in a large New York Times profile, and Gingrich isn't eager to talk about it.
But this is what the former House speaker had to say to "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.
"I'm not talking about this much publicly, but let me just say that I found over the course of the last decade, attending the basilica ... reading the literature, that there was a peace in my soul and a
sense of wellbeing in the Catholic Church, and I found the Mass of conversion last Sunday one of the most powerful moments of my life."
Gingrich was baptized in a Baptist church, but he converted to his wife's faith March 29. This is what The New York Times reported:
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.