Notre Dame’s exit strategy: Invite Gingrich instead

posted by David Gibson

Newt at Liberty.jpgHey, the former House Speaker, pro-death-penalty, thrice-married, GOP comeback kid is making it official and becoming a Catholic this Saturday at St. Joseph’s Church, the venerable Capitol Hill parish. The WaPo’s Chris Cillizza has The Fix.

Media Matters details Gingrich’s deep disappointment that Notre Dame would invite Obama, whose policies are “so anti-Catholic.” Okay.

So since Notre Dame is apparently about to become Newt’s new alma mater, the easy thing would be to replace Obama with Gingrich. That’d keep the Catholic right happy. No? After all, he pulled it off two years ago at the recently-deceased Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University–the Evangelical Notre Dame–where he assailed a “growing culture of radical secularism.” 

Sounds perfect.

Comments read comments(19)
post a comment
Steve T

posted March 25, 2009 at 5:20 pm


report abuse

Mere Catholic

posted March 25, 2009 at 7:07 pm

David, this post is strikingly similar to what I read from many on the Catholic political right concerning Tony Blair’s confirmation as a Catholic. Back then they detailed Blair’s various political moves against the unborn that were at odds with church teaching, whereas now you have felt free to mention Newt’s previous failures at marriage. A Church large enough to have accepted a repentant sinner like me can surely open its doors to Blair and Gingrich. I wonder at what point we Catholics can simply rejoice that one more soul has entered the Church we proclaim as Christ’s own and pray earnestly for that soul, rather than try to score a point on a blog post.

report abuse

Your Name

posted March 25, 2009 at 7:47 pm

There’s a quote about a british convert ( not Tony ) who was asked by his very protestant relatives why he joined the Catholic Church, his answer, “because that’s where all the riff-raff is and I feel right at home”
Welcome Newt ! From some liberal catholic riff-raff , me.

report abuse


posted March 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Let’s see, who would I like to hear speak at ND…Gingrich or Obama? Most certainly NOT NEWT…newly to be RC. Newt certainly isn’t an example of how to live one’s life!

report abuse


posted March 25, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Mere Catholic
thank you for your gentle reminder what Catholics are about. I am struggling to find my way home to the church and I cannot appreciate your words more. They offer me great hope and compassion.

report abuse


posted March 25, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Thank you also for your gentle reminder of what Catholics are about. You are a bunch of flaming hypocrites.

report abuse

David Gibson

posted March 25, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Dear Mere: I would never think of criticizing Gingrich’s entry into the church. Conversion is a great grace–was for me–and this is a “hospital for sinners,” as Augustine had it. But it’s also important, I think, to have a degree of humility when entering, not hypocrisy, and not to use one’s faith (or soon-to-be faith) as a political platform. He is not really in a position to criticize the Catholic values of others. IMHO.

report abuse

Gerard Nadal

posted March 25, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Why impute ignoble motive to Gingrich? On this grace-filled eve of his conversion, the same one you made, you rub his three marriages in his face, then seek refuge in Augustine? Sounds like a hasty and sloppy retreat.
Gingrich has been pro-life for as long as I’ve followed his career. Can you consider the possibility that perhaps the man is genuinely pro-life, that his conviction has led him to seek to work for change through the democratic system we have, and that all of this squares with the faith he has chosen to adopt?
Again David, are you pro-choice or pro-life? The answer may well go to explain why you attempted to besmirch Newt’s moral credibility two weeks before he is received into the Church. If you want to best him in a political joust, I expect that you can fight cleaner than you have on this thread.

report abuse

Catholic Voter

posted March 26, 2009 at 12:56 am

See the YouTube clip at the top of: http://www.catholicvote.com
If you are a true Catholic (no C.I.N.O.s please), be sure to sign the petition at: http://www.notredamescandal.com
If you need a little boost to encourage you to sign the petition, view the YouTube clip below, but note that it contains two expletives which may offend some (not that Obama speaking at Notre Dame isn’t already the most offensive thing going). See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dib2-HBsF08

report abuse

Your Name

posted March 26, 2009 at 10:13 am

“thrice married”???
Such is not possible in Catholicism.
Is it?
Cafeteria, here we come, I guess.
No wonder “The Church” (TM) is in decline. Moral decay starts at the top apparently.

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 11:34 am

George Nadal: Why impute ignoble motive to Gingrich?
Only God knows what his motives are. Having said that,
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:20, KJV
“It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address, since his policies are so anti-Catholic values.”–Newt Gingrich.
“But if you show partiality, you are committing a sin and you stand convicted by the law as offenders. For if a man breaks just one commandment and keeps all the others, he is guilty of breaking all of them. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” said also, “You shall not commit murder.” If you commit murder you are a breaker of the law, even if you do not commit adultery as well. Always speak and act as men who are to be judged under a law which makes them free. In that judgement there will be no mercy for the man who has shown none. Mercy triumphs over judgement.” James 2:9-13, REB
It does not seem to me that Gingrich’s fruits are showing mercy and impartiality towards others. It does not seem to me that the hierarchy’s lambasting pro-choice Democrats while saying nary a peep about pro-choice Republicans, or anything at all about pro-choice European pols, is showing impartiality. It does not seem to me that those who rant on about how evil Obama is are mindful of the injunction to “judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:1-2, KJV)
Having said that, I am a sinner and have no clue who is leading the parade into either Heaven or Hell. Lord have mercy on me a sinner, and on us all.

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm

How can someone who is been divorced multiple times, and is currently married, become a Catholic? I didn’t think that was allowed. Can someone explain the Church’s position on this to me? I have no axe to grind here…I just didn’t think you could do that?

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Hey Turmarion – name me ONE pro-choice Catholic republican and I will make sure the bishops go after him or her too. Fact is, you can’t.
You who call yourself Catholic and idly stand for the slaughter of millions are going to have to account for your unrepentent support of this evil. This, the battle of life and death, is the defining moment of our time, or our lives. Be on the right side of this one.

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Gerard: “Gingrich has been pro-life for as long as I’ve followed his career. Can you consider the possibility that perhaps the man is genuinely pro-life, that his conviction has led him to seek to work for change through the democratic system we have, and that all of this squares with the faith he has chosen to adopt?”
Actually, he has been pro-abortion. On other areas of the pro-life agenda (death penalty, healthcare, etc.) he has been staunchly against pro-life positions, many of which are advocated as part of the Catholic social justice teachings.
This portion of the 1994 GOP Contract with America outlines where Gingrich is out of step with pro-life philosophy on the death penalty.
“The Taking Back Our Streets Act:
An anti-crime package including stronger truth in sentencing, “good faith” exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer’s crime bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.”
This link is to Pope John Paul II statement on the death penalty:
“The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary. (Pope John Paul II, St. Louis, MO, January 1999) Punishment cannot be reduced to mere retribution, much less take the form of social retaliation or a sort of institutional vengeance. Punishment and imprisonment have meaning if they serve the rehabilitation of the individual by offering those who have made a mistake an opportunity to reflect and to change their lives in order to be fully reintegrated into society. (Pope John Paul II, Jubilee Homily to Prisoners, Rome, July 2002)”
It would seem to me that if the Catholic pro-life advocates were consistent, then NEITHER President Obama NOR Newt Gingrich would be suitable speakers at the commencement. Both engage in positions that contradict clear teachings of the Church, what Pope John Paul II called the “unconditionally pro-life” position.
Perhaps you can shed some light on this, Gerard, given your experience and understanding in the pro-life movement in your church.

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm

“How can someone who is been divorced multiple times, and is currently married, become a Catholic?”
If the marriage tribunal investigates his previous ‘marriages’ and rules that impediments priorly existed that effectively invalidate all three of them, then he, theoretically speaking, could then become a Catholic in good standing.
As someone who is anti-death penalty, this issue isn’t a deal-breaker to becoming a Catholic in good standing, as opposed to the intrinsically evil nature of abortion. Also factor in the 1.5 million abortions nationwide VS the two hundred some odd death row inmates executed each year; yet for some reason progressives continue to bring this up, even though it has been explained to them on numerous occasions.

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm

A Modest Proposal for all fellow Republicans,
Newt’s conversion makes perfect sense. Limbaugh should also join and so should you. It is a perfect fit for all true believers. Then we can go on to build the perfect Catholic Utopia here in the US. It will be spectacular, just like it was in the Papal States and is now in Malta, East Timor or the Philippines. After all democracy is not the answer, every good Catholic who has bothered to read even a single concordant understands this. It is the divine right of kings to rule over us (or occasionally a dictator or perhaps a few Republican oligarchs).
But seriously, can anyone look at Petain’s Vichy France, Dolfuss’ Austrofascist Austria, Peron’s Argentina, Franc’s Spain and say it wasn’t also a beautiful experiment in Catholic Government! Their uniforms looked so great on them all. I am heartened to see that Holy Father is also committed to effecting a similar stance with his stylish clerical vestments.
It is my fervent prayer, that as a real Catholic (not a CINO mind you), that we can completely end all abortions no matter how vicious the circumstances (unlike those apostates in Brazil.) I end with a wise statement from learned Irishman, Jonathan Swift, who like George Bush was not officially Catholic, but was indeed so in spirit… “A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.”

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 5:34 pm

eddiek: Hey Turmarion – name me ONE pro-choice Catholic republican
Rudy Giuliani; Arnold Schwartzenegger; former PA governor Tom Ridge; Maryland Representative Wayne Gilchrest; former NY governor George Pataki; to name a few. I might point out that Giuliani, Arnold, and Pataki actually spoke at the GOP convention in ’04. The stances of Giuliani and Arnold were, I thought, well-known; the others were easily Googled. Before you make snide remarks, you should be sure of your data. You might also check out this story.
You who call yourself Catholic and idly stand for the slaughter of millions are going to have to account for your unrepentent support of this evil.
If the “you” here is singular, i.e. referring to me, you speak whereof you do not know. I am pro-life, I belong to a pro-life organization, I donate to pro-life causes, and I write letters to local and national legislatures in support of pro-life legislation. Do I think a Catholic can vote for a pro-choice candidate for proportionate causes? Yes–and so does the current Pope, as he expressed several years ago (Google it, if you don’t believe me). I might point out that if anyone “stood by for the slaughter of millions”, it was the GOP, which after the last several years in control of all three brances of govenment has done nothing of any significance to affect abortion rates (also, remember that Bush allowed the use of certain fetal stem cell lines).
In any case, I think it is counterproductive for Catholics to call each other names and judge each other when we are explicitly told by Christ not to do so (Matthew 7:1) and to imply that the sins of the opposing side are so much worse than ours (see James 2:8-13, especially: “[I]f a man breaks just one commandment and keeps all the others, he is guilty of breaking all of them.”) We need to worry about our own sins, work for the good the best we can, make common cause with our political opponents when possible, and to work for conversion of hearts and minds (something not usually accomplished by invective).

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 7:57 pm

“Actually, he has been pro-abortion.”
Correction…I meant to say he has been anti-abortion. Sorry for the error.

report abuse


posted March 26, 2009 at 9:29 pm

So if I dare ask, who is Newt really married to? I must presume that the marriage tribunal has worked through all but his last marriage, did he have to pay $500 per marriage or $500 total to the annulment tribunal? Oh I shouldn’t quibble over this, I forgot, he really only married once, perhaps his current marriage will also turn out to be putative as well when he gets on to wife #4…
Suddenly a chorus of the pious retort will sound with the rhetoric of forgiveness. Instead I see “you reap what you sow” and “God is not mocked”. Newt is trying his best to mock God, shouldn’t zealots be trying to protect the Sacred Species from sacrilege? What are you waiting for, stop him!
I really think that Newt is too smart to believe in this Catholic stuff, you can pity those of us born into it, but smart people embracing it as adults?

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!  

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks...
So...my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from PoliticsDaily.com to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That means, in short, that I'll have to sign off from blogging h

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored the new look Calvin in an essay at PoliticsDaily, "Patr

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, hence the long absence. Apologies to those who have chec

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's contribution in developing countries" were key topics of discussio

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »

Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.