Fmr. Speaker Gingrich to become Catholic

I caught this in the very long profile piece the NYT did on Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich… to my mind one of the most interesting men working in politics and political commentary today.

At a moment when the role of religious fundamentalism in the party is a central question for reformers, Gingrich, rather than making any kind of case for a new enlightenment, has in fact gone to great lengths to placate Christian conservatives. The family-values crowd has never completely embraced Newt, probably because he has been married three times, most recently to a former Hill staff member, Callista Bisek. In 2006, though, Gingrich wrote a book called “Rediscovering God in America” — part of a new canon of work he has done reaffirming the role of religion in public life. The following year, he went on radio with the evangelical minister James Dobson to apologize for having been unfaithful to his second wife. (A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich said he will soon convert to Catholicism, his wife’s faith.)

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118 Responses to Fmr. Speaker Gingrich to become Catholic

  1. Allan says:

    I’m always intrigued by that word, “convert.” As one myself, I always thought it odd that people would say I “converted” to Catholicism. One can convert to Christianity, but not really to the Catholic Church.

    I prefer to think of myself as “becoming” a Christian and “joining” the Catholic Church. When people ask what my religion is, I always just say “Christian”. If they ask what church I attend, then I say “Catholic.”

  2. Jenny says:

    Allan,

    I think it depends on where you come from. An Anglican probably joins the Catholic Church. A Baptist definitely converts. :)

  3. Felicitas says:

    That is fantastic! I live in Newt’s former congressional district and I always felt the man was treated terribly bad while he was speaker. I noticed that in recent years he has seemed to become more religious and now it’s plain that he’s been surrounded by good and holy influences.

  4. Allan says:

    Jenny, I’ll take your word for it!

    For me, a “Christian” is defined simply as one who believes in the divinity of Christ. Or to put it another way, a Christian is anyone who believes that Jesus Christ told the truth: about who He was, everything He did, and in all He said.

  5. Alli says:

    Jenny,
    You could not be MORE right. I converted from the Baptist and Calvinist faiths, and it was QUITE a conversion! Four years later, I am still learning so much.

  6. TomG says:

    I’ve seen him at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. a few times. I believe his wife sings in the choir (which is excellent, as one might expect).

    However, the 800-lb gorilla in the room: In secular terms, one marriage mistake, I can forgive. But, come on folks! [So.. you are of the mind that people, once they make a mistake, are never able to change their ways or correct their lives, no matter how they may try. Gotchya. Have a good Lent!]

  7. Graham says:

    Welcome Home Newt Gingrich!

  8. Luigi says:

    The word “convert” seems to me to be appropo when one enters the Church no matter what they previously held. When an Orthodox individual accepts the authority of the pope, he really has converted to Christ, just as much as the Baptist who enters the Church has. The latter may have had to travel by air for 14 hours to get there, while the former drove his own car, but they both converted. : )

    The problem with framing Catholic identity as a mattter of “attending” is that it implies “Catholic” to be just one denomination among many, which it is not. It is the one Chruch that Jesus founded.

  9. 800 lb gorilla? Maybe. One would hope that was not a reference to his Catholic wife!

    It is said that behind every great man there is a woman. Maybe with some men it takes more than one false start to find the one. If he and she are reconciled within the Church, then who are any of us to cast stones? I am divorced myself, though not headed for any new marriage any time soon!

    Frankly, this country needs more outspoken conservative leaders – and it would be all the better if s/he had strong Catholic roots!

  10. Jerry says:

    To me a convert is an adult who becomes Catholic in contrast to a “life long Catholic” ( I so dislike the term cradle Catholic!).

    Four years ago at the tender age of 56 I was baptized after 40 years of sinning my way through the wilderness. I never left RCIA. I just moved to the other side as a catechist and sponsor coordinator in our year round program. The Pastor refers to me as that zealous convert.

    We see many come into the program some of whom are there to make a spouse happy. I suspect given the former Speaker’s intellect and character he is doing this primarily for himself. Hopefully he has discovered, as I did, that this is the true and ancient Church that Christ established.

  11. Vincenzo says:

    This is great news. I’ve always marveled at his intellect and debating skills and enjoyed his appearances on political talk shows, perhaps more than any other conservative leader. Could take any hardball question thrown his way and knock it out of the park (and with a smile.)

  12. Maureen says:

    Re: previous marriage problems

    If we start letting sinners into the Church, what next? Dying people? Babies?
    :;

    Re: Gingrich plans

    Proof that Buckley and Neuhaus are busily praying in the hereafter. :)

  13. Tommy Q. says:

    I’m curious, given Newt’s marital histories, can he really become a Catholic and remain with the current wife? I thought that people living in irregular marriages are prohibited from the sacraments. I’m not looking to pry into the Gingrich situation in particular, I’m just wondering how these things work themselves out generally. Can someone please clarify?

    In any case, this is great news! Welcome Home, Newt. :-)

  14. I am not Spartacus says:

    WOW. There is SO much that could be written about this, especially their scandalous public mutual adultery, but I just want to comment on the fraud, Gingrich.

    He is a champion of conservative values like Madonna is a champion of chastity.

    He is an political opportunist of the first order and the idea any conservative follow him is insanity on steroids.

    The very first thing he did as Speaker of the House was to tax us to bail out the International Bankers (who were violating Steagall-Glass)who had made ill-advised loans to Mexico.

    The champion of the “working man” dunned them to pay for the profligacy of Plutocrats.

    I am happy he converted though.

  15. Eric says:

    one marriage mistake, I can forgive

    Good thing for Newt, TomG isn’t the one deciding what is bound and what is loosed.

    If his marriage situation can be “regularized”, then I am happy for him.

  16. Angelo says:

    Christianity=Catholicism

    Christian=Catholic
    Catholic=Roman Catholic
    Roman Catholic=Church of Rome
    Church of Rome=See of Peter
    See of Peter=Attachment to Bishop of Rome
    Bishop of Rome=Our Only Link to Christ

  17. Felicitas says:

    TomG: “However, the 800-lb gorilla in the room: In secular terms, one marriage mistake, I can forgive. But, come on folks!”

    By all means, refuse to forgive him for past sinful behavior. Your way of thinking would exclude from the church such great men as St. Augustine and many others. Me, I’ll rejoice that this man has confronted and confessed his past sins, and is coming home.

  18. Tom says:

    Cardinal Newman would be proud of this fellow historian. “To be deep in history…”

    Now, the sticky issue. There are 2 “ex”-wives. One has died. I’d hate to think this all
    hinges on the determination of some marriage tribunal.

  19. Woody Jones says:

    I presume he will just go through one or more annulment processes and get things resolved. Given the prevailing attitude in this country about marriage, especially in many Prot circles (“oh well, if it does not work out, there’s always divorce”), I would think that it won’t be too hard. Not that I’m applauding the situation, but just recognizing the facts for what they are. You recall Cardinal George saying that even all of us American Catholics say we are Catholics but act like Calvinists. So bleh.

  20. KK says:

    This might make for some interesting exchanges with O’Reilly and Hannity,

  21. Sal says:

    Maureen, c’mon. You know it’s not that simple. No one is saying that Gingrich is the only “sinner.” But he does have to regularize his marriage. Pope Benedict XVI has addressed the status of those divorced and remarried (and who cannot receive the sacraments) at least twice. So don’t just put it out there as “what’s next: babies and dying people?”

  22. TomG says:

    Folks, I distinctly remember typing “in secular terms.”

    I’m not being judgmental, but the guy is a politican. We’re talking trustworthiness here.

    Yeah, he’s “interesting” all right (apologies to Fr. Z). Many serial marriers are.

    And I’ve always sort of classed him as the type of big shot who thought the rules really didn’t apply to him. Conservatives can be just as guilty of that as liberals (disclosure: I’m a conservative of 40 years’ standing).

    All of that being said, however, I pray that his conversion may bear much fruit for him and his family. [Even while you trash him in public. Good work.]

  23. Luigi says:

    All this talk about annulments is incredibly presumptuous.

    For all any of us know, his previous marriage may have already been annulled, and his current marriage validated. The enemies of the Church will play the hypocrit card, and when they do the answer is that it’s none of their business. We simply don’t know any more than we know.

  24. Byzshawn says:

    Dear Angelo,

    Not all Catholics are ROMAN. We Byzantine Catholics are just as attached to the See of Peter as you are. And our liturgy and customs are equal in dignity to those of the Latin Rite.
    While it is by far the largest, the Roman Catholic (more properly: Latin Rite) Church is only one of 23 Catholic Churches in full visible communion with the Vicar of Christ (long may he reign).
    Please see ORIENTALIUM ECCLESIARUM for more info.

    That being said, Welcome Home Mr. Gingrich.

  25. Tom says:

    We can now take seriously his comments that “he is not planning to seek elected office.”

  26. Regarding the regularization of his marriage, it would depend on whether he had a sacramental marriage at a Protestant. We don’t know enough of the facts to make any sort of judgment, and probably shouldn’t even if we did. And refraining from the use of the word convert to describe … converts has the effect of dampening their enthusiasm.

  27. Roland de Chanson says:

    Newt is an historian and undoubtedly recalls Constantine’s prudent policy of deferring baptism as long as possible (in his case, in extremis). Had Newt converted before divorcing Marianne while shtupping Callista, he’d be persona non grata at the communion rail (assuming his local Novus Ordo temple actually has a communion rail). Though I happen to know that annulments are no longer hard to obtain and cost not much more than a plenary indulgence would have cost Luther (adjusted for inflation, of course).

    At least that’s what Sir Teddy Kennedy claims.

  28. Henry Edwards says:

    He is a champion of conservative values like Madonna is a champion of chastity.

    If one credits public accounts of his personal affairs, then Newt (with whom I frequently agree politically), may seem more convincing as a champion of conservatism than of chastity.

  29. VexillaRegis says:

    I’ll attest to at the very least his faithfulness in attending mass. I believe his wife sings in the choir at the National Shrine. He’s been going to mass more frequently than a lot of Catholics for a while now.

  30. Neal says:

    I don’t think anyone is talking about holding his sins against him. His vows, on the other hand…

  31. Gregg the Obscure says:

    It’s always a good thing when a person draws closer to Christ through His holy Church, regardless of that person’s sins. May he be holier than me, provided I become as holy as I ought.

  32. Jake says:

    So it seems I wasn’t seeing things then when I spotted him at Mass at the Basilica a couple of years ago. Good to hear he’s on the path to conversion.

  33. TJM says:

    And he’s pro-life. I guess that’s why some of you Dems don’t like him. It reminds you of your own sins. Tom

  34. RBrown says:

    I’m always intrigued by that word, “convert.” As one myself, I always thought it odd that people would say I “converted” to Catholicism. One can convert to Christianity, but not really to the Catholic Church.

    Anyone who converts to Christianity (at least, in the West) becomes a Catholic. That is because everything that Christ wanted in His Church is founded in the Catholic Church (creed, Sacraments, hierarchy). Protestantism lacks many of these things, including the Eucharist (and thus the priesthood), which is the center of the Church.

    And so to equate becoming a Protestant with becoming a Catholic manifests a lack of understanding of the nature of Christ’s Church.

    I prefer to think of myself as “becoming” a Christian and “joining” the Catholic Church. When people ask what my religion is, I always just say “Christian”. If they ask what church I attend, then I say “Catholic.”
    Comment by Allan

    I suggest you read the section on the Church in the new catechism. You might also want to read the section on the Sacraments.

    For me, a “Christian” is defined simply as one who believes in the divinity of Christ. Or to put it another way, a Christian is anyone who believes that Jesus Christ told the truth: about who He was, everything He did, and in all He said.
    Comment by Allan

    Belief in the divinity of Christ means belief in the Church He founded because it is His Church, which historically is the Source of the news of the Incarnation.

  35. Roland de Chanson says:

    Byzshawn: our [Byzantine] liturgy and customs are equal in dignity to those of the Latin Rite …

    Excellent, Byzshawn! This is a very effective use of the literary trope known as meiosis. For the Byzantine liturgy so far surpasses the Novus Ordo service in reverence, beauty, dignity, and transcendence, that the truth of the words of Prince Vladimir’s envoys still echoes more than a thousand years later, “we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth.”

  36. RBrown says:

    NB: The Petrine Privilege re the Gingrich conversion and marriage.

  37. RBrown says:

    I wonder whether Gingrich has had any contact with Father John McCloskey.

    Interesting the political conservatives who have converted, among whom are Robt Novak, Robt Bork, Laura Ingraham, Sam Brownback, are Larry Kudlow.

  38. Templar says:

    Not even sure that Baptist wedding ceremonies count in the eyes of the Church as anything more than a secular wedding license. If I understand correctly, the Baptists recognize only two “sacraments”; baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and neither has any grace associated with it, and are just symbolic rituals.

    In which case, a Baptist wedding should be viewed by the Church as little more than a secular relationship with nothing to be annulled. How do you get an annulment under Canon Law for something that never existed under Canon Law?

    I would think confession, and a proper receipt of the Sacrament of Marriage should do the trick (after RCIA etc etc).

  39. A variety of points, kind of scatter-shot:

    > A marriage between two baptized persons, who are not Catholic, is presumed to be sacramental by the Roman Catholic Church, and it doesn’t matter very much how they were married–before a cleric, in church, before a judge, in a park, etc. If you want more on that, consult a canonist.

    > If Mr. Gingrich was baptized, and his first wife was baptized, then that marriage is presumed valid, and therefore he’d have to seek a decree of nullity from the Catholic Church, through the formal process, in order to enter into a valid, sacramental marriage with a subsequent woman–i.e., his current wife.

    > Presuming he did not seek a decree of nullity for his first marriage prior to entering into his second marriage, then the second marriage was null from the start.

    > If one understands the sacrament of baptism as the key moment of conversion, which is very Biblical, then one can properly apply the term “convert” only to those who are baptized; those already baptized who enter into full communion with the Church have–in their valid baptism–already converted to Christ, but they become one with his Church. Most of us don’t use the language that way.

    > All this is wonderful for Mr. Gingrich’s soul, and we wish him well.

    > His becoming a Catholic doesn’t wipe out my profound reservations about the man. He is far less the conservative hero he is made out to be. It’s relatively easy to be a conservative from a suburban congressional district in Georgia; what’s more noteworthy is his repeated deviations from his professed conservatism.

    > Examples: in 1964, in the race between Goldwater and Rockefeller, in Georgia, Gingrich was for…Rockefeller. In his first race for Congress, he eagerly solicited the support of the Sierra Club and the National Education union bosses.

    > In Congress, he was a great self-promoter. He made his bones, as it were, going after Speaker Jim Wright, and certainly picked a good target. But he was asked to force a vote, so that every member of Congress would have to go on record–and therefore, be accountable. Gingrich refused. Result? Wright left Congress, Gingrich was the giant-slayer, but because other Dems weren’t held accountable, other conservatives (who could have made hay on this in their races for Congress) were left out in the cold.

    > When he finally became Speaker, how well did he secure the conservative movement and conservative policy? Not so well. He chose to make it all about Clinton rather than about the issues that got his crowd elected, and before long, it was all about impeachment. How’d that pan out? Clinton was reeelected, Clinton was not removed from office, and he cleaned up in 1998 off-year elections, where the GOP, as the opposition party, should have done well as usually is the case. Why not keep on the issues that got Gingrich and the GOP control of Congress in 1994? Not sure, but those issues were left behind.

    > Gingrich and Armey and others in GOP leadership began down the big-government, big-spending path before Clinton left office. When Bush became president, it exploded.

    Again, I wish him well as a Catholic, and hope he excels spiritually. But for me, that doesn’t translate to politics.

  40. Templar says:

    Thank you Father Fox for the clarification on Marriage. It seems counter intuitive to accept as a sacrament, something that they themselves do not see as sacramental, but you are much better trained to speak on such matters than I.

    Respectfully.

  41. wjd says:

    Templar, I don’t know that that’s true. My understanding is that Christian marriage is a sacrament, not just Catholic marriage. If I’m wrong on this I have no doubt someone will correct me – but that’s my understanding: baptized christian man + baptized christian woman, doing all the things the Church considers to constitute marriage, = sacramental, indissoluble marriage in the eyes of the Church whether said man, said woman, or said man and woman’s baptist preacher thought it was a sacrament or not. But I agree with those above who say we don’t know enough of the facts to draw any conclusions in this case. Maybe he can get an annulment (or two?), maybe he already has.

  42. Aspen says:

    The previous marriage was annulled and the Gingrich’s were married in the Church a few years ago. I can offer Newt my own sinfulness as a welcome mat to the Church: glad you’re here, and may we all grow in holiness.

    “Bishop of Rome=Our Only Link to Christ” is patently heretical. There are true ways of expressing the importance of the Church and the Bishop of Rome, like saying that we cannot turn our back on either without turning our back on Christ. But to say the Bishop of Rome is our “only link” to Christ is really absurd. It implies that we are cut off from Jesus when the see is vacant–which makes the Mass of a pope’s burial an absurdity–and it denies that Christians in partial communion with the Catholic Church are actually Christians, which Catholic doctrine holds that they are.

  43. wjd says:

    OK, I guess I should have waited 30 seconds. Father Fox beat me to it and did a much better job. Thanks for the clarifications, Father.

  44. RANCHER says:

    And, I am serious about this, George W Bush may be the next ex-politician to convert.

  45. Garrett says:

    [I edited this out, as being gossip unworthy of this blog. And my finger hovered over the ban button.]

  46. Bonifacius says:

    Byzshawn:

    I hear all the time that “Roman Catholic” somehow offends Byzantine and other Eastern Rite Catholics. I hardly see why it should. You do not belong to the Latin Rite — no one said you did. You do belong to a Church centered in Rome and headed by the Bishop of Rome. The Catholic Church is often called the Roman Catholic Church — not because it is entirely of the Latin Rite, but because it is headed by the Roman Pontiff. Please do not find offense where none is either intended or implied.

  47. C.L. says:

    For the Byzantine liturgy so far surpasses the Novus Ordo service in reverence, beauty, dignity, and transcendence, that the truth of the words of Prince Vladimir’s envoys still echoes more than a thousand years later, “we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth.”

    Not in the Hagia Sophia it doesn’t.

  48. Timbot says:

    Now if we could just get Ron Paul to join. Really should not be very difficult. Tom Lew, Jeffery, Judge are you reading?

  49. Sid says:

    Not Sparticus, whom I once met in a Cyber Greek bar, now closed:

    Let’s assume in charity that this will do him some good.

  50. Bonifacius says:

    Simply because a marriage is between two (baptized) Protestants does not mean it is invalid as a sacramental bond. However, neither does the fact that they were baptized necessarily make the bond sacramental. Many Protestants, as do many Catholics, do not understand the nature of marriage. This can be an impediment. In the case of Protestants, the misunderstanding can be part and parcel of their sect’s “theology,” i.e. lack thereof. If your reading of “till death do us part” is completely ironic (as is your sect’s), I think you have a good case for saying there was an impediment. If your reading of “till death do us part” is sincere, then despite what your sect says your marriage was valid, or at least it was not invalid for some failing regarding intent. Protestants being what they are, I think it’s fair to say that the particularities vary by case.

  51. RBrown says:

    A marriage between two baptized persons, who are not Catholic, is presumed to be sacramental by the Roman Catholic Church, and it doesn’t matter very much how they were married—before a cleric, in church, before a judge, in a park, etc. If you want more on that, consult a canonist.
    Fr Martin Fox

    Two points:

    1. I mentioned above the Petrine Privilege above, which is considered referring to dissolution of marriage.

    2. Re the case of a divorced Baptized Protestant who becomes a Catholic and marries one. Although Protestant marriages are recognized as valid, the conversion to Catholicism after divorce can be taken as an indication of inadequate consent in the first marriage.

  52. TJM says:

    Look, we should always rejoice when someone finds the true Faith. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, we should assume that the person is acting
    in good faith. Tom

  53. Mary in CO says:

    Praying for Newt.

  54. RBrown says:

    I hope that Gingrich, is voracious reader, will now turn his attention to CS Lewis and GK Chesterton.

  55. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Fr.Fox,how can a person be judged by whom he supported for president 55 years ago? I was anti-Godwater and supported President Johnson ;Hilary Clinton was at that time a Goldwater Girl.People change.

  56. Merriweather says:

    Just because he gets converts, gets a McNullment and has his current marriage blessed by the Church, doesn’t mean he has any business being in the public eye.

    I wish he would just go away. (and take the other neo-cons with him)

  57. boredoftheworld says:

    Fr. Fox has some of the facts mixed up I think, in 1998 republicans only lost 5 seats in the House and Gingrich resigned after that election. Remember, the republicans had picked up 54 seats in 1994, lost 8 in 1996 still keeping a functioning majority. Impeachment happened after those losses in the second Clinton term so Clinton wasn’t re-elected after impeachment.

  58. Mark W says:

    Great news. It seems to continue a trend among prominent conservatives that I’m not sure exists among the ordinary folks — certainly not in my part of the country.

    Now, a poll I would really be interested in: How many of us are cradle Catholics/converts from …/reverts/non-Catholics etc.?

  59. Steve K. says:

    Merriweather, allow me to introduce you to TJM’s comment, which is four before yours. It’s a good lesson in Christian charity, which you are in need of.

  60. Merriweather says:

    @Steve K.

    Nothing in my post implies that his conversion is not authentic.

  61. Steve K. says:

    “McNullment?” Honestly.

  62. Merriweather says:

    @Fr. Fox “Again, I wish him well as a Catholic, and hope he excels spiritually. But for me, that doesn’t translate to politics.”

    Well said.

  63. wsxyz says:

    I used to live in Newt’s old district and was somewhat active in the Republican Party. I have heard Newt speak many times. He is an excellent public speaker and can really fascinate an audience.

    I was a big fan of his. However, his immoral antics really turned me off. For me, this is great news. I am really hopeful that Newt has turned the corner and has put his old ways behind him. I will pray for him.

    I still think he should stay out of politics. TV talking head is much more appropriate for him now.

  64. Merriweather says:

    @Steve K.

    It’s no secret that it is easy to get an annulment in the US. Nearly 60,000 served per year.

  65. Luigi says:

    Fr. Fox: If one understands the sacrament of baptism as the key moment of conversion, which is very Biblical, then one can properly apply the term “convert” only to those who are baptized; those already baptized who enter into full communion with the Church have—in their valid baptism—already converted to Christ, but they become one with his Church. Most of us don’t use the language that way.

    True, Father, but as you said we do not use the word that way. In fact, if one was to think of their Baptism as that once in a lifetime event that constitutes their “conversion” it would be problematic. All believers are continually called to conversion, (metanoia) i.e. to give more of themselves over to the will of Christ. Sacramental pennance helps facilitate that sort of conversion every time we partake of it. Right?

    That being the case, it seems perfectly reasonable to consider a sincere Protestant who enters the Church a convert, this being a profound moment of “metanoia” and a pretty major step toward living the will of Christ.

    *For the record, I am not assuming any of this talk of being called to conversion is news to you! Just batting the topic around. : )

  66. Tom says:

    converto, convertere: to change or turn. When one changes or turns away from whatever non-Catholic religious beliefs he held, he is properly said to have “converted.”

    I too have some reservations about Newt’s tangled matrimonial history, but as suspect as are the “McNullments” handed out like haloween candy by many chanceries, the bottom line is that if the appropriate tribunal rules on his marriages, the decision must be afforded a presumption of correctness and certainly Newt’s good will cannot be questioned.

    Best to simply rejoice, and hope that he’s genuinely converting. If the Church chooses to sanate his marriage, it’s not my place or yours to deny the legitimacy of such a process, since the tribunal will possess all the facts and we will not.

  67. ALL: If you want to be banned from reading this blog, just post nasty comments today. 

    I don’t mean what you might think is nasty, but what you suspect I might think is nasty.

  68. Patrick says:

    I work with RCIA candidates. I am always interested in how the non Catholic spouse of a Catholic decides when and if it i is time to join Holy Mother Church.
    One thing that is constant, is that the Catholic partner in the marriage is strong in the faith, and continues to pray and practice as a Catholic, sort of a beacon of strength and welcome to the partner.
    That being said, I must imagine that Mrs. Gingrich is a strong woman, and strong in her faith, since Newt is such a strong personality it must have taken a strong woman to help him frame and accept the logical arguments and steps that led him to accept that the Catholic Church is the way.

    I hope Newt is one of the many thousands we will welcome to full communion on this coming Easter.
    Praised be Jesus Christ!
    Now and Forever!

  69. Fr. McAfee:

    Gingrich’s activities in 1964 are relevant insofar as they confirm the rest of the picture. I suppose I could have given the list of particulars in reverse chronological order.

    Boredoftheworld:

    I didn’t mean to suggest Clinton was reelected after impeachment, sorry. My point was that the GOP gained a stunning victory in 1994, they had mixed results in 1996 (I’d forgotten they lost seats in the House; but they gained seats in the Senate–where, interestingly, there was more of an emphasis on issues), and they lost ground in 1998, as you point out.

    The 1998 election should be set against history: most often, the “out” party tends to do well in the sixth year of a presidential term, going all the way back at least to the 30s; more recently, recall the Democrats took the Senate from the GOP in 1986, and the GOP lost control of both houses of Congress in 2006. The GOP was poised to do well in 1998; but the results were quite opposite. I cited that as the result of Gingrich’s focus on Clinton instead of the issues that elected his majority.

    While the actual impeachment occurred after the 1998 election, it was in the wind before. In my opinion, the entire thing was a fiasco, and Gingrich was Speaker at the time.

  70. Byzshawn says:

    Dear Bonifacius,

    One of the things that are so attractive about this blog is its absolute clarity in matters of theology, doctrine, ecclesiology, etc. Let me add my own little bit of clarity.
    I take no offense at being called Roman Catholic: I am very fond of the Latin Rite (in its legitimate expressions). And I have a great love and respect for “Our Holy Ecumenical Pontiff,” the Bishop of Rome.

    However, the Church Universal is properly referred to as simply the Catholic Church. In fact, if one is to really split hairs, the only real Roman Catholics are those who reside within the territorial boundaries of the Diocese of Rome. As I mentioned “Latin Rite” is a better way to describe what are commonly referred to as Roman Catholics.

    Also, since we are a Church sui iruris, we are not “centered” in Rome, but rather Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Our hierarchs have a great deal of independence when it comes to governance. Although, happily, Rome is there to resolve any difficulties that may arise.

    We Byzantines have had an often uneasy relationship with our Latin Rite brothers and sisters. For us, the Second Vatican Council was a real blessing, because it very clearly reaffirmed the dignity of our traditions and set us on a path to rediscovering much that had been lost over the years to “Latinizations” (which were not always voluntary).

    A proper understanding of who we are and our place in the Church Universal is all we want, that’s all.

    Peace to you.

    (Prayers for Newt.)

  71. Joanne says:

    “it is easy to get an annulment in the US. Nearly 60,000 served per year.”

    I guess I’m terrible, but I LOL’d at this and “McNullment.” Not to be critical of any individual (like most people, I know several faithful Catholics who have been or are in the annulment process), just sort of as a general statement, I found it funny…and perhaps sort of apt?

    The political person I’ve always hoped would come into the Catholic Church is Chuck Colson.

  72. Memphis Aggie says:

    Welcome home Newt! I’d be interested in his reasoning, what convinced him? The love of a good woman perhaps, that’s what worked for me.

  73. Merriweather says:

    @Joanne.

    Thank you. I claim credit for coining the term a few years ago—I’ve even had several priests laugh and nod at agreement at the term as they expressed anger at the scandal of the situation of famous cases like “the Kennedys”.

    The term itself does not imply disbelief in the *validity* of an annulment once granted, but it does serve to heap scorn on the obvious way that the process has been abused to the point of becoming “Catholic Divorce”.

    Not to get off on a tangent, but it is Interesting to note that Sheila Rauch Kennedy appealed hers to *Rome* and had it over-turned.

    Re: Chuck Colson. I feel the same way about Chuck Baldwin.

  74. another tangent…sad to read that Sen.Brownback is backing Gov.Sebelius as HHS secretary.
    Have mercy on us O Lord.

  75. Mike Morrow says:

    This is off on a tangent, but I had never considered some of the issues raised by Fr. Fox when
    he wrote:

    “A marriage between two baptized persons, who are not Catholic, is presumed to be sacramental
    by the Roman Catholic Church, and it doesn’t matter very much how they were married—before a
    cleric, in church, before a judge, in a park, etc.”

    My questions: The Catholic Church recognizes the baptisms of most (all?) Protestant denominations,
    but does *not* do likewise for other sects like the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses.
    (1) Does this mean that marriage of individuals of these sects are not recognized by the Church?
    (2) Does the same lack of recognition apply to Jewish, Moslem, Buddist, etc. marriages?
    (3) If such individuals convert to Catholicism, do their marriage vows have to be reperformed?
    (4) If such individuals divorce, and one subsequently converts to Catholicism, is any subsequent
    marriage impeded by the earlier unrecognized marriage and divorce?

  76. Bonifacius says:

    Byzshawn writes:

    “However, the Church Universal is properly referred to as simply the Catholic Church. In fact, if one is to really split hairs, the only real Roman Catholics are those who reside within the territorial boundaries of the Diocese of Rome. As I mentioned “Latin Rite” is a better way to describe what are commonly referred to as Roman Catholics.”

    I do not think that we should split hairs. “Roman Catholic” is commonly accepted today and generally is not meant in a polemical sense (i.e. “Roman Catholic” vs. “truly Catholic”). “Roman Catholic” is used generally of all people in communion with the Pope of Rome. “Roman” means “in communion with Rome,” not “of the Roman Rite.” That is why “Latin Rite” is *not* a better way to describe “what are commonly refered to as Roman Catholics,” as the “Roman” part of “Roman Catholic” generally speaking does not refer to liturgical rite but rather to communion with Rome. In those countries where “Roman Catholic” is used, it is synonymous with Catholic. Hence, the equation “Roman Catholic=Catholic” is not used in a manner prejudicial to Eastern Catholic. It is only in relation to the Eastern Catholics that “Roman Catholic” takes on a different sense. The term “Roman Catholic” thus means two different things in two different contexts. As no one who knows of the Eastern Catholics would say “Roman Catholic=Catholic” to the prejudice of the Eastern Catholics, clearly “Roman Catholic” in this discussion means “Catholics i.e. folks in communion with Rome, of all rites.” The problem is not so much confusion as to whether only Latin Rite Catholics are Catholic but as to whether “Roman Catholic” only ever means “Catholics of the Latin Rite,” which it does not.

    “Also, since we are a Church sui iruris, we are not “centered” in Rome, but rather Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Our hierarchs have a great deal of independence when it comes to governance. Although, happily, Rome is there to resolve any difficulties that may arise.”

    Ah, but I was not referring to your sui generis church. I was referring to the Universal Church. You belong to the Universal Church, whose visible head on earth is the Bishop of Rome and which is centered in Rome. Your communion with Rome distinguishes you from the Eastern Orthodox. Eastern Catholics are still Roman to the extent that they are in communion with Rome and have the Roman Pontiff as their supreme hierarch on earth.

  77. Marcin says:

    The Catholic Church is often called the Roman Catholic Church—not because it is entirely of the Latin Rite, but because it is headed by the Roman Pontiff. Please do not find offense where none is either intended or implied.

    That’s a double edged sword. The Orthodox usually (unless in an irenic mood) refer to the Greek-Catholics as ‘Roman-Catholics’ because the latter follow Rome-centered ecclesiology. For the Orthodox the Byzantine tradition these Catholics hold to is only ‘Byzantine’ one, that is a facade, behind which they find Romans pure and simple. The more Eastern Catholics try to be Eastern the more fake they seem to the Orthodox. Sad.

  78. Bill says:

    Two cents’ worth from a political independent: I disagree with quite a bit that Gingrich did in the past, the way he did it, and with quite a few of his current views (I could say the same thing about nearly all politicians, I’m not picking on Newt).

    That said, I think his becoming a Roman Catholic is pretty exciting, and I hope for the best for Mr. Gingrich.

  79. RBrown says:

    My questions: The Catholic Church recognizes the baptisms of most (all?) Protestant denominations,
    but does not do likewise for other sects like the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses.
    (1) Does this mean that marriage of individuals of these sects are not recognized by the Church?
    (2) Does the same lack of recognition apply to Jewish, Moslem, Buddist, etc. marriages?
    (3) If such individuals convert to Catholicism, do their marriage vows have to be reperformed?
    (4) If such individuals divorce, and one subsequently converts to Catholicism, is any subsequent marriage impeded by the earlier unrecognized marriage and divorce?
    Comment by Mike Morrow

    Marriage is a natural institution. Unbaptised people (incl Mormons) are considered married but not sacramentally married.

    Sacramental marriage depends on the Baptism of both people.

    In the case of (4), I think the previous non Sacramental marriage is usually dissolved.

  80. ignatiangroupie says:

    Tom G;

    Were your sentiment true, about the 800lb gorilla, I fear I would not be in the church now. I have a few of my own that would probably make St. Augustine cringe.

  81. Nick says:

    The Church is sure attracting quite a motley gang of high profile public sinners these days: Natheson, Blair, Kudlow, Rice and now Newt. Sheesh! When will it stop?

    As for me, I prefer to do my sinning in private…!

  82. Patrick says:

    “Roman Catholic” is used generally of all people in communion with the Pope of Rome.

    Balderdash.

    Flies in the face of many peoples, (worldwide), daily reality. Don’t have time to go into it.

  83. If anyone converts to the True Faith with sincerity, and firm purpose of amending their lives to suit, the angels rejoice. They do this regardless of the prior circumstances — something to remember even if this were not the Year of Saint Paul.

    So… I’m happy about it.

  84. Gloria says:

    One of my daughters-in-law was married 3 times. She was protestant. Her first husband died in an accident. Her second was a Catholic and they were not married in the Church. Her third was Mormon and the marriage was not sacramentally recognized. The circumstances which led to her civil divorces were quite sad, but would have had no sway in the granting of her annulments. My son, long away from the Church,who also had had a marriage not recognized by the Church, made his confession and received Holy Communion as her interest in the Church grew. I had invited them to a High Mass at St. Stephen’s and his wife was overwhelmed. She had become more interested in the Church through a hospice patient she attended. She studied, was conditionally baptized, made her first Confession, Confirmation and First Holy Communion all together, my son receiving Holy Communion with her, a few days before Christmas, 2007. He made his Confirmation with two other adults and 52 young people in January, 2008. From the time that my son made his confession after so many years and received Holy Communion,they lived as brother and sister while the requests for annulments were being examined. Their marriage was then blessed a week before Easter, 2008. She is the most devout Catholic I’ve ever known and puts the rest of us to shame, with frequent Confession, private devotions, devouring books on spirituality and the Church. And I now have four more grown grandchildren and three more great-grandchildren. If Newt’s marital circumstances have been resolved, and we don’t know the specifics, I pray that he will be a true and faithful Catholic.

  85. Newt will not the first Congressperson to become Catholic. Clare Booth Luce from Connecticut was probably the most famous. During WW2 many Marines became Cathlolics because the priests visited the front lines to administer the Sacraments while Chaplains of other faiths remained back at HQ

  86. Rouxfus says:

    “A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.” [1 Timothy 1]

  87. Kaneohe says:

    Byzshawn

    Could you please recommend books to read on the Byzantine Rite Church? I’d really enjoy learning more but have no idea where to start. Many thanks for your help.
    Grace and peace.

  88. Bonifacius says:

    “Balderdash.

    Flies in the face of many peoples, (worldwide), daily reality. Don’t have time to go into it.”

    Patrick,

    You have time to dismiss what I say as “balderdash,” but not to defend your claims. That is rude.

    In case this is your problem, I was not claiming that “Roman Catholic” is a term used throughout the world. I meant that in those places where it is used, it is used generally, of the entire Church, not of the Roman Rite in particular. When the press talks about the “Roman Catholic Church,” they do not mean specifically the Roman Rite, nor do they mean to exclude Eastern Catholics. They mean the Church Universal, which is centered in Rome. Eastern Catholics are not generally called Roman Catholics, I concede, but nonetheless “Roman Catholic,” when it is used, generally is not used with prejudice toward the Eastern Catholics.

  89. Joanne says:

    “Sen.Brownback is backing Gov.Sebelius as HHS secretary.”

    PLEASE tell me this isn’t true.

  90. Larry says:

    Well if Newt has seen the Truth then lets pray up a storm. Our President needs our help to see the Truth!

  91. Byzshawn says:

    Bonifacius,

    I give up. Your last two comments just leave me sad and tired. I think that I shall add my name to the list of those who are giving this blog up for Lent.

    Peace.

    Kaneohe,

    Books:

    The Eastern Christian Churches – A Brief Survey (7th edition)by Ronald Roberson

    Light for Life: 3 volumes (small, inexpensive volumes) God With Us Publications, 1994

    Also, check out http://www.byzcath.org

    (More prayers for Newt)

  92. Welcome home, Newt! What wonderful news. Dick Morris also converted last year or so, I believe. Catholicism is truly the last great bastion of sensibility.

    Fr. Deacon Daniel
    Orthodox Christian in Union with Rome

  93. Joe says:

    Good for Newt to be converting to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    No, for the term “Roman” Catholic – this phrase was originally coined as an insult in post Elizabethan England. While the term “Roman Catholic” no longer has the negative connotation it once did – except for anti-Catholics – the term “Roman Catholic” is unique to the English speaking world and is not used outside of it.

    My wife is from Colombia, a nation that is nominally 85%+ Catholic. She never heard of the term “Roman Catholic” before living in the USA.

    The Byzantine Catholics, the Maronite Catholics, (of which I have attended liturgies in both several times) as well as the Melkites (Paul Weyrich was a Melkite) the Syro-Malabars, the Syro-Malankars and the Chaldeans – are all Catholic and most definitely not “Roman”.

    They use their own liturgies, their own theologies, their own customs and laws – unique to their Particular Churches. They express the Catholic faith in their own way which is not contradictory in any way to the Latin Church – but rather, complimentary. We all compliment each other. None is superior.

    Orientale Lumen was written by Pope John Paul II of eternal memory. It calls on the Catholics of their Particular Churches to reclaim their traditions and customs unique to their Churches and not to be “Novus Ordo Lite”. It calls upon the Latin Church to grow in knowledge, understanding, appreciation and love for the Catholic Churches of the East.

    It was largely a dead letter in the Latin Church. Shameful.

  94. Of course, I have been told that the Greek Orthodox in Greece sometimes refer to themselves as Roman Orthodox.

    The Roman Empire was more than just the West, of course! There was East Rome…

    Anyhoo, go Newt!

  95. Bonifacius says:

    Joe,

    Nothing you said contradicts anything I have said. I said that where the term “Roman Catholic Church” is used (as you point out, in English-speaking countries), it is generally not used with any prejudice to Catholics of other rites, as when the term is used it is generally used as a synonym for the Universal Church and marks not so much the Roman Rite in particular, but rather the Church Universal, which in fact is based in Rome. Additionally, in the English-speaking world, almost no one has ever heard of the Eastern Rite, so the term is generally not used with any animus against the Eastern Rite. I grant that Eastern Rite Catholics generally are not referred to as Roman Catholics, but for that matter it would be an odd person who immediately thought that “Roman Catholic” means specifically Catholics of the Roman Rite. Such people have already heard of the Eastern Rites and know that the Eastern Rites are in communion with Rome. So there are two contexts in which “Roman Catholic” is used and two distinct meanings. When someone equates “Roman Catholic” and “Catholic,” chances are “Roman Catholic” in that context does not refer to the Roman Rite but rather to Catholics as distinguished from others by their allegiance to Rome.

  96. Victor says:

    @Bonifacius: The term “roman catholic” may be used widely, still it is false. There is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church under the Holy Father (being the Pope). This Catholic Church consists of several churches, amongst them (being the biggest) the Roman Catholic Church. Inside the Roman Catholic Church, there are several rites, the most widespread of them the Latin Rite (but there are others, e.g. the Ambrosian Rite, the Mozarabic Rite, even some eparchies in southern Italy that have the Byzantine Rite).
    So, the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, is part of the Roman Catholic Church, but not of the Latin Rite Church. There are even three catholic Archdioceses in Lviv/Ukraine: “of the Latins, of the Greek, and of the Armenians”, as they are officially called. And there are some dioceses which, while being of the Latin Rite, are not Roman Catholic (or Catholic): think of the Old Catholic Church, for example.
    If everybody is using terms wrongly, we can still insist on the correct use; in this case: the way the Holy Father and Holy Churche uses these terms.

  97. Victor says:

    @Joe: In Germany, the Catholic Church is called “römisch-katholische Kirche”, so this term is used not only in English. It has the same roots though: the early protestants called us “romish” to describe that we were not really catholic (as opposed to them). Of course it describes another thing nowadays, as I have described above.
    I think the widespread misuse of the term “roman catholic”, at least in Germany, is due to the fact that, for most of the time since the Reformation, there were only Roman catholics in Germany (and, I presume, in America, too).

  98. Bonifacius says:

    First, I will recall why I am sticking to this. Earlier, someone said that “Catholic=Roman Catholic.” That writer clearly did not mean the Roman Rite when he said “Roman Catholic.” It was clear from his diagram that “Catholic” is “Roman” because the head of the Catholic Church is the Roman Pontiff. Someone objected that his use of “Roman Catholic” implied something negative about the status of Eastern Catholics. It should be obvious that the usage implied by the writer above — a quite common usage, by the way — has nothing to do with the Roman Rite vs. the Eastern Rites.

    Now, several people have said that “in fact” “Roman Catholic” means “Catholic of the Roman Rite” and that “Roman Catholic Church” means specifically that part of the Church which uses the Roman Rite. Yet no one cites any official document to prove this. If “Roman Catholic” *really* means “Catholic of the Roman Rite” or “Latin Rite,” please cite some document saying so. I have never heard “Roman Catholic Church” used exclusively as a term for that part of the Church that uses the Roman Rite.

    It has been pointed out several times that “Roman Catholic” originated as a slur. (So did “Jesuit,” by the way.) At the same time, almost no one now uses the term as a polemical insult. It has entered common parlance. Now, it is agreed that the origin of the term has to do with Protestants alleging that Catholics were not “really” Catholic but only “Roman.” In other words, “Roman” here did not mean “Roman Rite,” it meant in communion with the Pope vs. being Protestant. “Roman” in “Roman Catholic” had to do with submission to the Papacy, not with being Roman Rite vs. being Byzantine. Now, calling Eastern Catholics “Roman Catholic” can get confusing because generally “Catholic” in their case is prefaced with the name of their rite. That does not change the fact that most of the time “Roman Catholic” does not at all refer to the Roman Rite but rather to the Church Universal, ruled by the Roman Church. People using this term are not “erring” or “leaving out the Eastern Catholics.”

    The last I have to say (I’m sure that’s a relief to some, maybe Fr. Z. among them): “Roman Catholic” is almost never used to specify Catholics of the Roman Rite. “Roman Catholic Church” I’ve never seen used to refer to the Roman Rite except in disputes where someone objects to “Roman Catholic” as exclusive of Easterners. The “Roman” part has to do with union with the Pope. Granted, Eastern Catholics have their own traditions that are not Roman, and the Pope is not their Patriarch (he isn’t even a Patriarch anymore . . .). But the synonymous use of Catholic and Roman Catholic is pretty far removed from the question of Rits — “Roman Catholic” in 99% of instances doesn’t mean “Roman Rite Catholic.” When people want to specify the Roman Rite, they say “Latin Rite Catholic” not “Roman Catholic” because, I’ve said ad nauseam, “Roman Catholic” where it has entered common parlance and as when used according to common parlance does not refer to rite.

  99. Joe says:

    Bonifacus,

    Eastern Catholics are not Roman Catholics. They do not refer to themselves as Roman Catholics.

    Try telling the kind folks at byzcath.org or at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help pilgrammage in Uniontown, Pennsylvania each Labor Day weekend that they are Roman Catholics.

    You will be corrected.

    Pax tecum,
    Joe

  100. And I believe that Joe’s point is the one that trumps all others.

    Latin Catholics have adopted this nomenclature to describe the Catholic Church. Apart from a period of heavy Latinization now thankfully behind us, Eastern Catholics have not nor do they now use such terminology to describe themselves or their communion of the Catholic Church to which we belong.

    We understand the importance of unity with Rome. We bear the cross of our catholicity on a regular basis, being hated by many Orthodox (not all) and misunderstood by many Latins (not all). Many of us have also paid the price in blood for our union with Rome, so for us it is an authentic treasure sanctified by the martyrs.

    But we do not need to refer to ourselves as Roman Catholics nor as members of the Roman Catholic Church to be members of the communion of Catholic churches in union with Rome. Latins are free to adopt whatever nomenclature they desire and you may argue your points “ad nauseum” (as you say) about what is intended, but it is not something that we adopt at either a popular or a pastoral level. We use the language of the Creed of Nicea-Constantinople and our anaphoras, and “Roman” is never mentioned there.

    Also, we are not “ruled” by the Roman Church. Such terminology is offensive, and not at all reflective of the more recent and more balanced teachings of Rome regarding how Catholics are to regard the Eastern Catholic churches. Communion with Rome for our Churches cannot simply be reduced to an anemic juridical framework, especially using terminology loaded with imperial implications. I prefer the language of Lumen Gentium: with and under. Rome, like Peter, presides in charity in the midst of the communion of particular Churches.

    Hooray for Newt!

    God bless!

  101. Liz F. says:

    I love this news! Woohoo. I always admired “Mr. Newt” and I was crushed with the whole deal with his second wife. I could barely listen to him on talkshows even though I thought he was still so brilliant. Isn’t this what we always pray? “For the conversion of sinners.” On the other hand, we are all sinners so I guess this pray is about all of us!

  102. Rouxfus says:

    The Catholic Church is the only organization in the world where its self declared name is not recognized by others in the media, press, etc. We Catholics have lost the battle by allowing the Universal Church, the Catholic Church, which Christ founded, to be diminished by declension of others into the Roman Catholic Church. It is a name which becomes an oxymoron. It can’t be universal if its scope is Roman. There is only One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Within that greater umbrella we may serve and celebrate the liturgy in different approved ways but we are all, at bottom, simply Catholic.

    We need to reclaim our identity as The Catholic Church. What is the title of the Catechism? “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”. We, collectively, are Catholic, not Roman Catholic. We need to strive for unity under that brand identity as a Church. If we celebrate different rites, we should say, for example, “I am a member of the Catholic Church and we celebrate the Marian rite.” or “I am a Catholic and we celebrate the Extraordinary form of the Latin rite”.

    One place to start would be Wikipedia. Some editors there insist on calling the Church the Roman Catholic Church. We need foot soldiers to engage on that battlefield and assert the Church’s right to be called by the name of its own choosing, not one assigned by others interested in undermining its claim to universality.

  103. That’s fantastic news!

  104. Flabellum says:

    Rouxfus, certainly in England the Catholic Church has sold the pass by adopting Roman Catholic as part of the legal name for many dioceses in the registration of their charitable trusts. I agree with you, but there’s a lot of rowing back to do.

  105. mark says:

    Why are there so many annullments granted in the US?

    1) US Catholic priests marry scads of people who should not be married in the Catholic church. Specifically, they marry cohabitators – at least half, probably more of Catholic engaged couples are cohabitating and contracepting.

    Given that reality…just think. Peter Vere, a canonist, has written about how he was quite critical of \”mcnullments\” until he actually started working in a tribunal and going over cases himself.

    2) In much of the rest of the world people just…do not get married, even if they are together and have children.

  106. Michael J says:

    Mark,

    I understand the reality that you mention, but there is another facet to the annullment process that truly bothers me.

    Granted, the ministers of the Sacrament are the couple getting married, but the staggering number of decrees of nullity really can mean only one thing:

    The Curch, in her official capacity presides over hundreds of thousands of invalid Sacraments.

  107. Rouxfus says:

    “I’m curious, given Newt’s marital histories, can he really become a Catholic and remain with the current wife? I thought that people living in irregular marriages are prohibited from the sacraments. I’m not looking to pry into the Gingrich situation in particular, I’m just wondering how these things work themselves out generally. Can someone please clarify?”

    There is a way for those in invalid marriages to be in communion and receive the sacraments. Pope Benedict wrote, in an Apostolic Exhortation, SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS, in February 2007:

    … Finally, where the nullity of the marriage bond is not declared and objective circumstances make it impossible to cease cohabitation, the Church encourages these members of the faithful to commit themselves to living their relationship in fidelity to the demands of God’s law, as friends, as brother and sister; in this way they will be able to return to the table of the Eucharist, taking care to observe the Church’s established and approved practice in this regard. This path, if it is to be possible and fruitful, must be supported by pastors and by adequate ecclesial initiatives, nor can it ever involve the blessing of these relations, lest confusion arise among the faithful concerning the value of marriage (97). …

    [ SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html ]

  108. RBrown says:

    Latin Catholics have adopted this nomenclature to describe the Catholic Church.
    Comment by Fr. Deacon Daniel

    Disagree. As someone pointed out above, the phrase Roman Catholic originated in England by Anglicans, who called themselves English (or Anglo) Catholic.

  109. I am not Spartacus says:

    Fr. Deacon Daniel. I mean no disrespect and I am not trying to start an argument, however…

    Lumen Gentium # 18…This teaching concerning the institution, the permanence, the nature and import of the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff….

    # \”If any one shall say that it is not by the institution of Christ our Lord Himself or by divinely established right that Blessed Peter has perpetual successors in his primacy over the universal Church, or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of Blessed Peter in this same primacy. — let him be anathema\” (Denzinger-Bannwart, \”Enchiridion\”, nn. 1823, 1825).

    Fr. John Hardon\’s Catholic Dictionary; Roman Catholicism The Faith, worship, and practice of all Christians in communion with the Bishop of Rome, whom they acknowledge as the Vicar of Christ and the visible head of the Church founded by Christ. The term “Roman Church” and “Roman Catholic Church ” date from at least the early Middle Ages…

    I dunno. This Roman Catholic has no problem with the name, Roman Catholic.

  110. Bonifacius says:

    I return to respond to a new point that has been made (though I will note that I repeatedly acknowledged that Eastern Catholics do not call themselves Roman Catholics).

    Fr. Deacon Daniel said: “Also, we are not “ruled” by the Roman Church. Such terminology is offensive, and not at all reflective of the more recent and more balanced teachings of Rome regarding how Catholics are to regard the Eastern Catholic churches. Communion with Rome for our Churches cannot simply be reduced to an anemic juridical framework, especially using terminology loaded with imperial implications. I prefer the language of Lumen Gentium: with and under. Rome, like Peter, presides in charity in the midst of the communion of particular Churches.”

    I object to this not on a terminological point but a theological one. The office of the Pope is not merely one of “presidence in charity” but one of rule. I did not say that the Eastern Catholic Churches in particular are ruled by the Pope but that the Church Universal, of all rites, is ruled by the Pope. His office is one of both doctrinal and juridical authority. To call his authority “rule” is to state a fact, not to “reduce” anything to “an anemicc juridical framework, especially using terminology loaded with imperial implications.” As I never denied any other aspect of the Pope’s office, I do not see how I am guilty of reduction. To be guilty of reduction I would have to say, “The Pope’s office is primarily one of juridical rule” or “only one of juridical rule.” But whatever else he may be, he certainly does exercise rule, not his own personal rule for his own gain, but vicarious rule as Vicar of Christ, the invisible head of the Church. This goes directly to ecclesiology. As that rule includes the entire Church, it includes Eastern Catholics as well. The Pope has the juridical right to depose patriarchs, for instance, not in his capacity as Bishop of Rome or his (former?) capacity as Patriarch of the West, but in his universal capacity as supreme and sovereign pontiff of the whole Church. The whole Church is the barque of Peter as St. Peter holds the rudder of the ship; he is the “kubernetes” and the guardian of the keys of the kingdom. It is no more “offensive” to say that he rules the Catholic Church than to say that a bishop rules his diocese or Christ the Church. Thank you, Fr. Deacon Daniel, for responding to me and writing, but I must disagree.

    Additionally, yet another “new point” — Roman Catholic, when Roman designates communion with Rome, can be perfectly well understood in a non-oxymoronic sense. Communion with Rome ensures Catholicity, it does not limit it. Just because Protestants treat “Romanism” as an antithesis to Catholicity does not mean that we should concede the point. I am perfectly proud to be called Romanist, Romish, Roman, and Papist; these words may be insults to the fools who use them, but they are not insults to me.

  111. yeoldeacolyte says:

    “Welcome home, Newt! What wonderful news. Dick Morris also converted last year or so, I believe. Catholicism is truly the last great bastion of sensibility.”

    but the question is, which Catholic church is Newt converting to? There are so many we make the Anglicans look
    incredibly united in faith and liturgy.

  112. Bonifacius says:

    Thou who art not Spartacus,

    Thanks for the quotation from Fr. Hardon!

  113. RBrown says:

    Michael J,

    You must remember that the Sacrament of Matrimony is not like that of Holy Orders. No one has a natural right to the priesthood, and so someone must demonstrate (through formation) that he is worthy to be ordained. As an aside, obviously the hierarchy and those in charge of formation are extraordinarily culpable for the ordination of men who are for Orders.

    On the other hand, people have a natural right to marriage. And so the Church is limited in its ability to deny the Sacrament to a couple wanting to marry.

  114. Bonifacius says:

    I wish to clarify something: When I said “the Roman Church” rules, I did *not* mean that the Roman Rite ruled the Church. I meant that the Pope, as Roman Pontiff, rules the Universal Church. I used “Roman Church” by way of metonymy for the Roman Pontiff. The Church of Rome is often identified with its head. If the Pope rules, Rome rules, and vice versa. I did not mean, nor strictly speaking did I imply, that the Roman Rite takes precedence over any other rite.

  115. Karl says:

    As one of the main \”issues\” in the understanding of marriage these days, in the
    aftermath of Vatican II is married personalism, how does \”living as brother and
    sister\”, even if that is done to the letter of the law, not violate what is owed
    to one\’s spouse as THEIR partner in marriage? How can the Catholic Church
    encourage these relationships, that ARE CLEARLY NOT MARRIAGES while a spouse
    lives? As a young man I was taught of the folly of \”profiting\” from one\’s own
    schemes of injustice and I recall such was taught to be sinful. Now it is the
    M.O. of a whole movement to justify adultery through divorce and annulment. Times
    have changed, indeed!

    The application of married personalism is at the heart of the majority of
    non-form nullities yet its denial, completely, is OK for the Church, as long as
    their is no sex. Thus married personalism if REQUIRED for a valid marriage yet
    not REQUIRED to justify marital abandonment being OK\’d officially. This seems to
    be double-talk, or open falsehood.

    Living in the aftermath of a \”forced, no-fault\” divorce and attempted annulment,
    which was carried out in order to \”justify\” adultery and a remarriage to the
    lover, I have seen every parish community accept these criminals with open arms.
    The lover was encouraged through RCIA as the priests and bishop both knew of the
    unrepentent adultery and the crimes needed to sutain it. Communion was given
    openly to these adulterers with full knowledge of the unrepentent adultery and
    complete lack of desire to address ANY the crimes that continue by both lovers.
    Currently, the lover claims to be a \”Cantor\” in a Byzantine Catholic Parish. I
    raised the isse with the Pastor in a letter, which he would not respond to.

    The claim, as best I can tell, is that the lovers, live as \”brother and sister\”
    yet where is the support that the spouses are to give to each other? What have
    the promises made in marriage been reduced to? Sex? What about the divorce that
    was forced? Marriage is a joke to the Catholic Church in practice. It says one
    thing but does another. Even if this is so on a case by case basis, there remains
    no way for these issues to be addressed and such were readily \”predictable\” even
    early on when annulments were simply beginning to be merely, a euphemism for
    \”Catholic Divorce\”.

    This \”brother and sister\” arrangement is a fraud. It is a destructive \”construct\”
    which Rome has accepted rather than excommunicating those who unjustly divorce.

    Although the sorry state of marriage cannot be laid completely at the doorstep
    of the Catholic Church, much of it can but our clergy refuse to accept this.

    I read, recently, the Papal Encyclical by Leo XII called Arcanum. which is on
    the Vatican website. It seems, to me, to be in conflict with the Code of Canon
    Law regarding a separation of the \”civil\” and \”sacramental\” aspects of marriage.

    Everything is in confusion or worse regarding marriage in the Catholic Church
    today.

  116. Mickey says:

    I feel compelled to offer two comments, both, I think, preaching to the choir…but nonetheless offered “for the record”:

    1. Praise God, another of our separated brothers has returned home!

    2. The Church is not a “denomination”, that is a Protestant term they had to invent to describe the mess of a multitude of sects, movements, churches, and “churches” created by the rebellion of Luther, Calvin, et al. The Church is The Church.