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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.

Comments

Salvation is possible without belonging to any church or denomination. "in Him all things are possible". I am a Roman Catholic but if you are not Jesus still died for you. However, life is tough, there is suffering and pain in this world. I have found that for many reasons the Roman Catholic has a much bigger "toolbox" available when facing our own humanness and the problems in this world that befall us all including debates over what God is telling us in a particular passage of scripture.

Welcome Newt!

Mostly of my relatives are catholics. I once was a catholic & now a born again christian. one thing i observed being a catholic is knowing the word of God. Once again, people perished because of ignorance.

While I cannot judge a person's motives, I can say that these conversions to Roman Catholicism are to be lamented. Contrary to the opinion of many, Roman Catholicism, although having some Christian roots, have deviated from the Word of God to become a mixture of Paganism and Idolatry, with somewhat of a Christian facade. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ bought salvation for all, but it is only validated in our lives if we acknowledge and accept His sacrifice, repent from our sins, and live by His Eternal Word, rejecting what is contrary to the Word, and there is much of that in Roman Catholicism. I was a practicing Roman Catholic until the Lord saved me from such darkness.

Jason, if you go to church, any church, then you belong to some form of denomination whether Baptist, Independent or Methodist etc.The leaders of your denomination are/have interpreted the Bible for you for example, the methods and forms of your church service etc. If you disagree with the Catholic interpretation then fine but be careful of agreeing with the leaders of your own denomination as well. If you belong to no denomination and have no church that you attend I hope you are receiving Christian fellowship in some other manner.

I don't think Bill understands protestant churches. Many (as in thousands) of protestant churches are nondenominational (i.e., community churches) and even many denominational churches are autonomous. WE HAVE NO POPE. Newt just wants to be president, that's all. But that's OK. I would vote for him.

Thanks for the comment alison! My bad! I understand that thousands of believers belong to non-denominational churches and that's cool. However, my comments are still valid i.e. an individual Christian has received the Spirit of Discernment and must be very cautious when accepting the scriptural interpretation and spiritual direction of their leaders. The poor folks at Jim Jones place are good examples of this. I'm just sayin----------!

Isn't the Catholic church tougher on divorce and remarriage than most Protestant denominations? In my home state of Massachusetts there is controversy over whether Catholics who have divorced and remarried without paying undisclosed annulment sums to the Church can ever take communion. Since Gingrich is, I believe, on his third marriage, this seems strange. Perhaps if you convert after your three marriages, this is not an issue.

You have no pope? Is there a leader of your church? Is there a person or board of elders who is responsible for listening to the direction of God in order to make strategic decisions about what your church should or should not do?

If so, then you have the equivalent of a pope in your church.

All that is required for salvation is a belief in the Lord Jesus and according to Acts 16:31 only a belief, period, end of story. The rest or our life and how we worship all falls under God’s grace as we attempt to live a Godly life. It doesn’t matter if I kneel in church or raise my hands in prayer and praise. It doesn’t matter if my body tremors and shake on the floor in praise or whether I sit quietly, eyes front with hands folded on my lap. It doesn’t matter if we have no musical instruments or if we have a rock band centered on the stage. If I believe in the Lord Jesus, I am saved. To my knowledge, the Roman Catholic Church believes that.

(See next post for conclusion)

What all this is said and done (the world thing) and God is sitting back with us in heaven, what do you really think He's going to have to say about how we have loved one another? How do you think He feels about all the rules we have made in order to properly worship Him?

I'll close with a quote from Don Miller in "Blue Like Jazz";

"Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don't believe in God and they can prove He doesn't exist, and some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it's about who is smarter, and honestly I don't care."

It's the same between all the Christian denominations. After salvation... It just doesn't matter...

I am not a Catholic. I was baptized in a Baptist Church when I was moved to confess that Jesus Christ died for me. I didn't understand much else, but I do remember as this young person (11) hearing through the door the minister saying that he didn't believe that I was truly "saved". The church (some representatives) voted me to become a member (at my baptism) Well, I never discussed what I heard with anyone...I was just a kid and didn't know much of anything...parents were not a part of this at all. But, just before my baptism, I told the minister that I wanted to be baptized, but not become a member. He asked why, but I couldn't tell him as we went into the baptism pool. So, I will always remember my baptism. God has been with me. I am not a "spiritual giant", but this journey continues. I have trouble trusting what "man" says and even what a "church" says. I raised my sons in a Presbyterian Church. There is NO church or minister that doesn't error. That is what I have concluded as I continue to study, grow in HIS Grace and in the KNOWLEDGE of our Creator-Savior-Redeemer God. We still need to fellowship with other believers and yes, in the Catholic church there are BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS! I love my Catholic Right to Life friends and they Love the Savior also.

If the Lord's apostles were still among us proclaiming Christ's ordained message of salvation, it would be the same message that initially issued from their lips. Read Acts 2, especially note verse 38, then find preachers who today proclaim that same apostolic message and you will have discovered what constitues the gospel - neither more, less or different.