Fr. Z about, and to, Mr. Gingrich. Implantation? Not conception?

How many times have we heard that presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is smart? I would pay money to watch a debate between Mr. Gingrich and Pres. Obama.

People can convert, grow, change, mature, etc. We should not be Donatists when it comes to other people’s mistakes in life, as if they are perpetually and irremediably damned to hell forever in the court of public opinion.  We pray, after all, that people will sincerely convert.  We should be pleased when they do.

I have followed Mr. Gingrich over the years and read some of his books with interest. This new development, however, leaves me puzzled.

The former Speaker is fully capable of saying a really dumb thing in the midst of a hundred really smart things.  But this leaves me severely puzzled.

Mr. Gingrich is a fairly recent convert to Holy Church.  He is a huge fan of Pope John Paul…. I hope not merely for the late Pontiff’s geopolitical achievements.

There is no way that Newt Gingrich does not know that the Catholic Church teaches – what John Paul II made crystal clear – that human life begins at conception, not implantation.

Before I add anything else, let me add one of my major points of consideration for my vote in November 2012: judges.

The overriding point about judges is not “Whom would Mr. Gingrich appoint to the bench?”.  The overriding point is “Pres. Obama must be defeated so that he cannot appoint another judge.”  If the President’s opponent is, as Mark Levin puts it, a frozen orange juice can, the judges the can would appoint would be better.

I’m just sayin’…

His scriptis

Catholic Vote has a transcript.  However… are they talking across each other?

In a story published this morning, Gingrich told ABC News that life begins at implantation. Which not only puts him at odds with the pro-life community, but also [At odds with…] the Catholic Church which Gingrich joined as an adult just two years ago[Did he mispeak?  Will he clarify himself?  Is this what he really thinks?  If so, is that a dealbreaker for smart Catholic voters?]

APPER: Abortion is a big issue here in Iowa among conservative Republican voters and [Catholic] Rick Santorum has said you are inconsistent. The big argument here is that you have supported in the past embryonic stem cell research and you made a comment about how these fertilized eggs, these embryos are not yet “pre-human” because they have not been implanted. This has upset conservatives in this state who worry you don’t see these fertilized eggs as human life. [Quaeritur…] When do you think human life begins?

GINGRICH: Well, I think the question of being implanted is a very big question.  My friends who have ideological positions that sound good don’t then follow through the logic of: ‘So how many additional potential lives are they talking about? What are they going to do as a practical matter to make this real?’

I think that if you take a position when a woman has fertilized egg and that’s been successfully implanted that now you’re dealing with life. because otherwise you’re going to open up an extraordinary range of very difficult questions. [Soooo… therefore?]

TAPPER: So implantation is the moment for you.

GINGRICH: Implantation and successful implantation. [Not conception?] In addition I would say that I’ve never been for embryonic stem cell research per se. I have been for, there are a lot of different ways to get embryonic stem cells. I think if you can get embryonic stem cells for example from placental blood if you can get it in ways that do not involve the loss of a life that’s a perfectly legitimate avenue of approach.  [When does life begin?]

What I reject is the idea that we’re going to take one life for the purpose of doing research for other purposes and I think that crosses a threshold of de-humanizing us that’s very very dangerous.

This is a pretty slippery slope, Mr. Speaker.  I might not have the million Twitter followers you have and the vast soap box you stand on, and the extensive media attention, but I have what I have, which isn’t nothing.

I will be listening carefully, Mr. Speaker, for your additional explanations of your thoughts about the beginning of life and implantation, and I want to know more about your thoughts on judges in the context of this issue.

One might expect a recent adult convert – and that is what you are, Mr. Speaker – to be informed about and zealous for the whole of Catholic doctrine, not just certain bits and pieces.  A presidential candidate who is a recent convert to Catholicism doesn’t have to run as a Catholic, but isn’t it reasonable to assume that his positions will be consistent with the Catholic Faith he recently and solemnly embraced?

Mr. Speaker, you are obviously a great fan of Pope John Paul II.  In a conversation with him, how do you think the late Pope would respond to your statement about implantation?   Would you need to clarify what you really meant to say?

Fr. Z about, and to, Mr. Gingrich. Implantation? Not conception?
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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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52 Responses to Fr. Z about, and to, Mr. Gingrich. Implantation? Not conception?

  1. Titus says:

    Hmmm.

    It may be that Newt is attempting to play the fence-straddling game, and he’s identifying implantation as a point at which he would support substantially more rigorous protections for embryonic humans. One might hold the position, for instance, that human life begins at conception but that at this time, for presumably prudential reasons, it is not feasible to afford the same protections to pre-implantation embryonic persons as post-implantation persons.

    I don’t say that this is a correct or an entirely consistent position, just that it’s a possible position that is more coherent than saying that implantation is actually the beginning of human life. It will be interesting to see where Newt goes with this, because he might throw away a really good thing on an issue that has decreased dramatically in importance over the last few election cycles (as improvements in adult stem-cell technologies have made the frothing push for embryonic research less convincing).

  2. avecrux says:

    Ugh. Yes, please clarify… I too would pay money to watch Newt debate Pres. Obama. Gotta be honest – I think he’s our only chance to beat Obama – and if he is wrong on this, he’s going to lose a ton of support.

  3. Gail F says:

    It also puts him at odds with science and even common sense. If it wasn’t already alive, it couldn’t implant — so life has to begin before implantation. Without life, no implantation. It’s not difficult.

  4. thickmick says:

    no good…he should clarify. This is what worries me about Newt.

  5. eulogos says:

    I am understanding him to be saying that this is about what he can possibly support politically, not about when human life actually begins. We have all supported laws to limit late term abortions, even though early term abortions are also wrong.

    This isn’t just an issue of embryonic stem cell research. Popular birth control methods such as the IUD, and possibly some forms of hormonal contraception, work by preventing implantation. The morning after pill certainly works that way if a woman has already ovulated when she takes it. The only form of in-vitro fertilization which might possibly be legal is that in which every fertilized ovum created is implanted. The practical difficulties with doing that are not small, and the already high cost of the procedure would increase. Not to mention that there are those who do in vitro in the first place so they can screen for genetic diseases. Now we know all of these things are wrong….but do you really think America is going to agree to do without them? There are few enough Catholics who follow the Church on all these issues. These are issues on which most conservative Protestants are not with us. A few are, but not the majority.

    It isn’t wrong to support, or even to propose, a law which might be passable, and which moves in the correct direction, even if it isn’t perfect. I think Mr. Gingritch’s statement is setting the stage for doing that, and might mean that he is really more willing actually to work for pro-life laws than other politicians who said the right things.

    Susan Peterson

  6. wmeyer says:

    On the one hand, I believe Gingrich is head and shoulders above most of the others who have tossed their hats in the ring. On the other hand, I remain troubled by his little commercial with Hillary a few years ago, and now with his gaffe about “implantation.”

    However, I dread the thought of Romney being the last man standing, as he seems far too much a pol. And Cain seems either to have a moral problem, or has simply been targeted very heavily by the Dems. And it may be the latter — what would the campaign be like, with race a non-issue, between two black candidates?

    Finally, I must overlook some of the lesser foibles, since clearly, any of the Republicans is less objectionable than the incumbent. And I continue to pray for the conversion of those bishops who last time rationalized their (unconscionable) votes for Obama.

  7. Let’s not forget about his comments to Piers Morgan about abortion that also contradict Church teaching. Watch this interview starting at 13:00: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG3JlO8EDrM

    He condemns Roe v. Wade and calls it “intellectually incomprehensible.” He says we are endowed by our Creator with the “right to life.” However, a few seconds later in the interview, he “believes that there are exceptions for rape, incest, and health of the mother” (at 13:34). How he can claim to be pro-life and make these exceptions is what is truly “intellectually incomprehensible.”

  8. Tom says:

    There is little that CAN be a general election deal-breaker against the current occupant of the office. But this could be one in the primaries, for sure. I could scarcely vote for anyone who is not pro-life, but a CATHOLIC who isn’t? And a “warmist” to boot? Ron Paul, as whacky as some of his views are, is looking better by the day. I truly hope the Speaker can speak some truth about this and clarify that this was nothing but a mis-statement. Let’s hope the “smartest person in the room” doesn’t out-smart himself.

  9. kittenchan says:

    “I think if you can get embryonic stem cells for example from placental blood…”

    Those aren’t embryonic stem cells, those are ADULT stem cells. Come on, at least know the major facts of the issue you’re talking about.

  10. jfm says:

    Kittenchan is right.
    Embryonic stem cells come from embryos (up through the morula stage and then from the inner cell mass), not from cord blood or placental blood.
    That’s not to say that the stem cells from cord blood or placental blood are not useful, but they are not totipotent, like embryonic stem cells.

  11. Cathy says:

    This reminds me of Bill Clinton’s determination of only unfertilized embryos being subject to embryonic research. The unfortunate result of serpentine semantics is that they are outright lies which people tend to buy because they are much more comfortable than what they have to deal with in proclaiming the truth. The truth is, once the egg and sperm join, you are left with neither egg nor sperm, but nascent human life. If you train back a cell to an embryonic state, and, if it goes forward to become a man, it is, in the reverted state, already a man. If, in the early stages of division, the embryonic being divides itself, you have two embryos – bonus – two men. If a cloned cell, going forward, becomes a man, it is a man. Yes, there are an extraordinary range of questions that demand answers once you accept when life begins, they will include policies on birth control, IVF, cloning, embryonic stem cell research and abortion. Welcome to the Pandora’s box opened by the culture of death and welcome to the Catholic Church where truth is truth regardless of convenience!

  12. GordonB says:

    I see, from Father Z’s comments, I’m not the only one with SOME skepticism about Gingrich’s conversion— I think the same was said about Constantine though — both are politicians, neither were/are stupid. Gingrich surely knew that being Catholic HELPS your chances of winning the Catholic vote in November… which as far as I know, is one of the KEY voting blocks – if not THE KEY voting block. No pun intended. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote for him by the way… I remain largely undecided.

  13. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I have also noticed that Newt will state a number of very sensical, practical, consistent things and then occasionally something like this pops out of his mouth from nowhere.

  14. DisturbedMary says:

    Newt has got a biiiiiiiiiiiiig mouth and puts his foot into it big time. Not long after he came into the Church, Newt endorsed Dede Scozzafava in a special election in New York. She was a prochoice and pro-same sex marriage Republican chosen by the NY establishment. At first he blew off objections to her saying that you can’t be rigid about the cultural issues — changed his mind later when he was bitterly criticized by conservatives and pro-lifers. Sorta like what he did with his criticisms of Ryan and social engineering. He came into the Church under Wuerl in Washington. I don’t know who catechized him but I fear it was someone from the Tony Blair school of Catholicism.

  15. DisturbedMary says:

    Also the implantation talk is straight out of the pro-choice pro-abort medical dictionary.

  16. rodin says:

    Would you need to clarify what you really meant to say?

    Mr. Gingrich is a politician. Politicians and bureaucrats are fully explained in one of the stories , entitled “The Bookworm,” by P’u Sungling-1630-1715, contained in “Famous Chinese Short Stories” retold by Lin Yutang. A beautiful ghost proceeds to educate the “hero” by giving him a book entitled “True Path to Success” from which she “…taught him many things: not to say what was on his mind, and to say what was not on his mind; and, most important of all, to say what was on the mind of the person to whom he was talking. After he acquired this polish, the last stage was learning to say half of what was on his mind, so that he would never be caught affirming or denying anything, and when things turned out not to be what he had thought at first, he could always conveniently deny what he had affirmed, and affirm what he had denied….She assured him that to say what was not on his mind would gain him a position of at least fourth or fifth rank, whereas not to say what was on his mind would gain him only a post of sixth rank, like a district magistrate. She avowed that in all history, officials of the first and second ranks, such as governors and ministers and prime ministers, had all perfected the art of saying half of what was on their minds so as not to be caught affirming or denying any thing. ….Actually, it was very simple, consisting only of always remembering to say, ‘You are right,’….”

    Trying to pin down a politician as practiced as Mr. Gingrich is probably an exercise in futility.

  17. The overriding point about judges is not “Whom would Mr. Gingrich appoint to the bench?”. The overriding point is “Pres. Obama must be defeated so that he cannot appoint another judge.” If the President’s opponent is, as Mark Levin puts it, a frozen orange juice can, the judges the can would appoint would be better.

    I strongly agree. On the one hand Newt has an obviously flawed pro-life position. On the other we have Obama with a radically pro-abortion position. This is an enormous gap. By all means, efforts should be made to convert Newt to the truth, but we should take care not to weaken him because he very well may be the alternative to Obama. If pro-life forces and the republican base do not turn out, Obama may easily be the beneficiary of our attacks on Newt.

  18. Martial Artist says:

    Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    You write:

    The former Speaker is fully capable of saying a really dumb thing in the midst of a hundred really smart things.

    And therein lies the nub of a potential problem in voting for the former Speaker. Mr. Gingrich has long impressed me as the sort of person who, as one TV pundit very recently phrased it, has five new ideas every week, two of them good, two of them awful, and one of them of indeterminate quality, and he seems incapable of determining which ideas belong to which category. Which means that, even if he has a “good idea” there is at least an even chance that he will pursue one of the deficient ideas, instead.

    That assessment, if accurate (and I strongly believe, based on his past performance in office, that it is), leaves open the question of just how good a job Mr. Gingrich would do in selecting justices to appoint. Based on the length of time I have been observing him, and the not infrequent twists and turns his positions have taken, I have no confidence in his ability to choose the correct course and stay that course on any issue that might confront him as President. I know of one, and only one, announced candidate for the GOP nomination who has demonstrated two characteristics which are required given the number of ways in which this country and its citizens (most especially its most vulnerable ones) are threatened by government. I am doing everything legal and within my power to ensure that candidate gains the GOP nomination.

    If that fails, I see little reason to hope that this nation will pass through the next few years successfully, by which I mean survive as a nation characterized by liberty, the Rule of Law, sufficient material necessities (food, medicine, shelter, etc.) for the great majority to keep body and soul together for a reasonable lifespan.

    Mr. Gingrich is not that candidate. Neither is Mr. Romney, Mr. Cain, Mr. Perry, Mrs. Bachmann, nor Mr. Santorum. I don’t know enough about Mr. Huntsman or Mr. Johnson (who, if he runs, is likely to do so as a Libertarian) to venture an opinion.

    Given the above, I am uncertain that I could bring myself to vote for Mr. Gingrich—life is too short to choose a candidate who has a demonstrated lack of unambiguous and dearly held principles, and the demonstrated rigor to hew to them. And, for the record, my position on that was clear to me prior to Mr. Gingrich’s statement about “implantation” vs. “conception.” All he succeeded in doing with that was to raise further doubts as to his suitability for the office.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  19. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    I read the full story and can’t help but think that the journalist is giving us just half the story. When I took a journalism class many years ago, I was taught that readers need to know the “who, what, when, where, why and how” in order to make informed decisions. Maybe it’s just me but it seems that we seem to get only the half-truth. That reminds me of a recent Survivor episode during which one of the contestants was trying to convince others (and himself) that a half-truth was the same as the truth.

  20. darcy-wi says:

    Apparently Townhall got a response:

    UPDATE: The Gingrich campaign has contacted me and has said the candidate is in fact pro-life, citing his statement at the Family Leader Thanksgiving Family Forum in later November as evidence:
    “I’m intrigued with something that Robbie George at Princeton has come up with; an interpretation of the 14th Amendment in which it says that Congress shall define personhood. That’s very clearly in the 14th Amendment. And part of what I would like to explore is whether or not you could get that congress to pass a law which simply says: Personhood begins at conception, and therefore, you could, in the same law, block the court and just say this will not be subject to review, which we have precedent for.”

  21. heway says:

    Wow, interesting comments. Mr. Gingrich has been around too long for my vote. He has always been the ‘smartest’ guy around but not the most trustworthy. Rick Santorum is probably the Catholic candidate who has the best background on pro-life issues. That said, I was very interested in comments by Mr. Huntsman. Pro-life, good family background, backed voucher system in Utah (which as a Mom trying to send kids to Catholic schools, I can appreciate .) He has lots of experience in international trade and he seems to be non or at least a-political.
    I want someone who will sit down and work with others regardless of their political affiliation.
    I”m afraid that Mr Obama has already damaged Scotus.

  22. Banjo pickin girl says:

    It’s possible that he is confused because I remember reading about former teachings that life began at implantation, probably because the fertilization process was unknown until fairly recently. Just read all the wacky genetics in the Old Testament for example. Looking at spotted things makes spotted animals to be born, etc. It is possible that Gingrich’s background has caused him to miss the modern teaching.

  23. boko fittleworth says:

    I do know who catechized Speaker Gingrich, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that Gingrich is a teacher and not a student. We all should be both.

  24. randomcatholic says:

    It is rare that I agree with 100% of anything one person writes. But I find myself agreeing with Fr. Z more often than with other writers and bloggers…

    He is dead right on this. We must defeat Obama in 2012… even if it means a less than perfect candidate (like Gingrich). I am a pro-union economic “liberal” on many many issues…. and I say this loudly. We MUST defeat Obama in 2012. Religious freedom and the rights of the unborn demand it and take precedence over our worldly concerns.

    I would prefer Santorum by the way….

    And thank you Fr. for speaking out about Gingrich’s strange statement. Life begins at CONCEPTION!

  25. Dennis Martin says:

    For Banjo Pickin Girl,

    He’s not confused, though, if he used that as an excuse to walk this back, I’d accept it, if he was convincingly sincere about walking it back.

    You may have in mind the idea that ensoulment came at the point of quickening. Implantation was not known to the ancients. They didn’t even understand the existence of the female ovum. Quickening was, well, palpable, observable.

    But no, the “implantation” meme was launched by “Catholic” and other ethicsts who wanted to create a bit of space in the first few days of development to do with the little tykes as we wish. They claimed that no embryo exists until implanation, before that it’s a “pre-embryo.” Which would, of course, be very true if the embryo first came into existence at implantation. Whatever preceded it would be pre-embryo. D’oh.

    But Jerome Lejune points out the embryological fallacy of this in his testimony at the Marysville, Tennessee trial over embryos contested between divorcing spouses. You’ll find it in The Concentration Can, a book published out of his courtroom testimony.

  26. Banjo pickin girl says:

    That’s right. You are right of course. Hence the ancients writing as a woman as a garden into which a seed is sown and it was the male who was wholly responsible for everything. I still think Gingrich is confused but not in an innocent way, confused through his involvement for too long in worldly things and not having sufficient solitude to really think things through.

    I am lonely but am now learning the value of solitude. We should make our politicians lonely before allowing them to make decisions!

  27. chcrix says:

    I would suggest that Mr. Gingrich has no more chance of defeating Mr. Obama than Senator McCain did in 2008.

    I suggest further that those concerned about abortion should realize that no establishment Republican has any intention of doing anything on that topic. It is simply too good a tool for energizing the bedrock voting blocs. Like Charlie Brown, when are you folks going to realize that Lucy will always snatch away the football?

    Judges? Think Souter, Kennedy, and others.

    To be sure, the former speaker could probably best the current presidential incumbent in a debate conducted without teleprompters.

    But, there is another candidate that could trounce both of them without breaking a sweat. I speak of the only candidate who doesn’t need to remember what lies he told last week.

  28. Amerikaner says:

    In the rare, off chance, that a campaign person from the Gingrich group is reading through this:

    I have been, and still am, a huge Gingrich supporter. It is my great hope that he wins the nomination.

    HOWEVER…

    If the comments made by Mr. Gingrich are as he truly believes, I am done with my support.

    I VOTE PRO-LIFE FIRST! Everything flows from there. And my pro-life position is formed by the Roman Catholic Church.

    I truly hope he misspoke. I, like Fr. Z, will be listening carefully for further clarification on this matter.

  29. vmanning says:

    This is not difficult.”Human life must be respected and protected absolutlely from. the moment of conception.” CCC2270. Newt is wrong, plain and simple. Whether he was poorly catechized(doubtful),has politicized his faith(possible))or just isn’t as smart as he thinks he is(probable),is not the point. The politica destruction of the Obama regime and its “Catholic”collaborators(think Robert Gibbs,Kathy Sebelius,Doug Kmiec,for example) is the goal. We can send Newt and Callista back to CCD after the election.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    He just lost the conservative Catholic vote, as well as contradicting the teaching of the Church. Just be obedient, Newt, instead of trying to be clever.

  31. sdfink says:

    Newt may be in error but he is closer to the desired position than others. Add with Newt we know he has and is really thinking about what he says.

  32. Elizabeth D says:

    I am very troubled. A Catholic cannot in good conscience proceed on that basis, we know that life does begin with conception, that God Himself gives life, gives a soul, at that time. This truth opens difficult questions politically and should lead many individuals to ask difficult questions within their own lives, for instance if they are using contraception.

    I bet he feels he is trying to do his best to be faithful, while staying politically viable, but what he says here just is just not faithful, it’s really not being honest, and not authentically pro life.

  33. BenedictXVIFan says:

    “He was implanted by the power of the Holy Spirit”?

    Ludicrous. Gingrich ought to know better, having recently converted. Give me Alan Keyes any day over ANY of the current crop of contenders.

  34. rcg says:

    Speaker Newt is betrayed by his own intelligence by trying to explain something he may not understand all that well. He is almost certainly capable of understanding, but since he does not have enough mastery of either biology or theology to expound on it, he looks foolish.

    He is the product of his journey and environment, so he is going to naturally lean toward explaining how we should understand and do things. This is the exact cause of the crisis we have nationally and culturally. If he desires to be a successful president he will need to seek people who can help him control this urge.

  35. AnAmericanMother says:

    Gingrich was my representative for years so I’ve seen him up close.
    He’s bright, but he’s a typical politician in that he swings whichever way the wind blows (hence the Scozzafava debacle). You cannot count on him to support a pro-life position no matter how good a game he talks.
    With that said, that’s not the deal-killer for me. What IS the deal-killer is that this man has no guts. He has no courage of his convictions and he would not be a strong leader. Clinton was able to get him to back down repeatedly as Speaker. At the first threat from pro-abortion forces he would fold.
    Let Gingrich be an “idea man” in somebody else’s administration.
    wmeyer, I also have a strong suspicion that Cain has been targeted. And he will not be the last, especially if the tactic works. ANY candidate will be subjected to shady accusers with he-said/she-said stories.

  36. Shonkin says:

    I suspect that Newt is not 100% reliable and is apt to fold when the pressure comes on. On the other hand, I have never seen a politician who is as much in love with abortion as Barack Hussein Obama.
    We seldom have a clear choice between good and bad in politics, and this time is no exception. With Gingrich vs. Obama, be would have a choice between extremely evil and less bad. I’m afraid I would have to vote for Gingrich under those circumstances.

  37. Susie says:

    I can’t see how Newt Gingrich can be given a pass for not understanding the issue. I am no genius and I can comprehend just fine that life begins at conception. “Life begins at implantation” is a position that has no basis in biology. Implantation occurs 7 to 10 days after conception anyhow, so what is he saying? That abortion should be legal, but only in the first week of pregnancy? What a laughable position to take!

    And there’s another thing. Philip Gerard Johnson quotes Gingrich above as saying he “believes that there are exceptions for rape, incest, and health of the mother” (at 13:34). Well, I’ve got news for Newt. Guess who else wants exceptions in the case of incest? Incestuous adults who impregnate their daughters. So great, he can get their votes. (Such adults are properly rapists, but the story is the same either way – they are rapists who want abortion to be available for their victims.) And health of the mother? That is the pro-abortion catch all! He might as well say he is pro-life except for those cases that are allowed by Roe vs. Wade. Who needs him?

    “Life begins at implantation” is a weasel position, and I think An American Mother is right. Newt does not have the guts to be a great leader. If he’s willing to weasel on life he will weasel on other things, too, just he has in the examples An American Mother has given.

    The sad thing is, I’m afraid we might face another McCain election. It looks like we will have a candidate that knows he can’t win without our votes, so he’ll allow us to believe that he just might be faithful to our expectations as President. But he won’t be, and we have no reason to believe he will be, because there is already too much evidence otherwise. So we will vote for him, but without any real enthusiasm, just because letting Obama win would be worse. Or we’ll vote for a third-party candidate, someone we actually want to vote for, yet knowing that our vote will only make an Obama win more likely.

  38. muckemdanno says:

    Yeah, Newt is very intelligent. Someone should explain to him and his fans that persistent use of the word “profound” does not make the speaker profound.

    And if he is such a great fan of John Paul II, then how come he constantly advocates for increased use of torture and starting wars against Iran, Syria, and Lebanon? His evil, culture of death mentality does not end with his rejection of the Church teaching on abortion. He’ s constantly claiming how “deeply” and “profoundly” he “studies” all these “issues”… Maybe he should read John Paul II’s Catechism of the Catholic Church!

  39. ShihanRob says:

    Mr. Gingrich has posted his National Right To Life Survey on his website http://www.newt.org/news/gingrich-fills-out-national-right-life-committee-candidate-questionnaire It would seem that he still has some learning and maturing to do in his Catholic faith. Saint Gianna Molla, pray for us!

  40. StellaMaris says:

    Mr. Gingrich is smart, yes. As such, he is trying to appeal to the Protestants and secularists who use birth control. Birth control is label birth control because it doesn’t affect an unborn baby once it has IMPLANTED IN THE UTERUS. Once he starts talking about life beginning at CONCEPTION, you open a whole nother can of worms, and he knows it. It’s political posturing. A LOT of people convert to Catholicism for lots of different reasons, and many of them DO NOT believe all that the Catholic Church teaches, nor or they required to anymore at their conversion. Newt believes in birth control, as do 98% of Catholics.

  41. bobbyva2001 says:

    I think Newt is a better alternative to Romney, but I have started to seriously question his conversion. In an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN he said there should be exceptions with rape and incest cases. Let’s hope he only said this for political reasons.

  42. Tantum Ergo says:

    I too would like to see Mr. Gingrich “clarify” his position. I know he’s a newbee Catholic, so hopefully someone with Catholic creds will “splain” the matter to him. Hopefully, he’s just being careful not to rock the boat too much, while actually embracing to correct doctrine. D’ya think?

  43. Mdepie says:

    Unfortunately we are not likely going to have a truly pro life candidate. ( Otherwise my personal favorite Rick Santorum, who is the most outspoken on this issue, not to mention a pretty effective Senator back in the day) would be the nominee. I think Fr. Z is absolutely correct, that stopping the reelection of Obama is paramount. Keep in mind not even Bill Clinton tried to make Catholic employers pay for contraception and abortifacients or close. Obama is another order of pro-abortion politician. Either Romney or Gingrich is preferable. They are both flawed in differnent ways. Neither will be a pro-life leader. Romney did do some things we would favor while Gov of a very blue state ( Mass) in that he did not support expanded Embryonic stem cell research, for example. He has not signed the SBA prolife pledge, however he has agreed to elements of it ( originalist judges, no pro-abortion funding) He does not carry the extensive baggage Newt carries ( ties to Fannie and Freddie, messy personal life, ethics violation while speaker…. I can not say I am a big Romney fan ( Nice guy but not a conservative) Still our mission is to stop the out and out culture of death candidate, (Obama) . We have a relaistic choice of two less than fully prolife candidates ( unless there is a really big suprise in Iowa) if ti comes down to Gingrich or Romney I think that since they roughl yequal in how “pro-life” they would be, that evaluating who is most likely to defeat Obama becomes the next most important issue and is what serious Catholics need to weigh. As Charles Kruthammer said Obama wil ltake the country to a place from which it will not return if he is reelected. I would keep this in mind. I would pray one of them appoints Santorum as his attorney general if elected.

  44. Elizabeth D says:

    “Newt believes in birth control, as do 98% of Catholics.”

    I agree Newt probably believes in birth control, given the life begins at implantation position he has stated. But I would like to know what the 98% really signifies. That might be something like the percentage of adult Catholics who have used birth control at some time, but I suspect there is a steadily increasing (though still small) portion who may have used birth control in the past but have repented and now consider it immoral. The real number may still be pretty sad, but I bet it is not 98%.

  45. Father,

    I might vote for a non-Catholic who wanted to make this differentiation. As a Catholic pontificating in this way, Mr. Gingrich sets himself up as knowing better than his Church. This is the best definition of “cafeteria Catholic” that I know.

    Additionally, last week Gingrich – trying to minimize his pecadillos – explained how the only perfect human ever was Christ. To which my daughter immediately chimed in “what about our Lady”? Yeah, Mr. smartest man in the room! How can Gingrich so blithely hold forth on this subject while being ignorant of a Catholic dogma of which even most school children – both Catholic and Protestant – are well aware!

    k.c.

  46. Philippus says:

    I hope I will not be excoriated by being plain and honest spoken. When I heard about former Speaker Gingrich’s conversion, I was hopeful. Having done some homework, I am almost certain he is not who he claims to be to the conservatives. I say he is duplicitous. he still holds very questionable progressive positions while espousing conservatism. Being that Speaker Gingrich is known for his sophistication and his in-depth thinking, I say everything he does and says is calculated. I have culled the following from thenewamerican.com:

    On Global Warming:
    In 2008, Gingrich joined with Nancy Pelosi in ad for government “leadership” vis-à-vis “climate change.” This dynamic duo “demanded” of the country’s “leaders” that they do something immediately to address this crisis. The ad, it is worth noting, was sponsored by the Alliance for Climate Protection — an organization founded by none other than Al Gore. Pelosi exploited this appearance with Gingrich to push for “Cap and Trade.” Conveniently, Gingrich now refers to this as among the biggest mistakes of his career.

    On Health Insurance Mandate:
    On May 15 of this year, during an interview on Meet the Press, Gingrich unabashedly reiterated his long held belief that “all of us have a responsibility to pay — to help pay for health care.” We could fulfill this collective “responsibility,” he said, by way of either an individual mandate to purchase health insurance — precisely that feature of “ObamaCare” that renders it anathema to the vast majority of Americans — or a requirement to post a bond that would insure health coverage — which doesn’t differ from the mandate in any morally meaningful way.

    Endorsing a pro-abort over tea party candidate:
    Another decision over which Gingrich now admits to having regrets was his decision to endorse left-leaning Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava over her Conservative Party rival, Doug Hoffman, in New York’s “special” 23rd Congressional District race of 2009.

    On Education:
    He joined forces with, of all people, Al Sharpton to promote “educational reform.” If Sharpton found Gingrich a worthy ally in his cause, it is clear that this cause in essence amounted to the promotion of ever bigger government. Even if Gingrich, not unlike most Republicans, advanced school vouchers and charter schools, contrary to appearances, these do nothing to liberate education from the dominance of the federal government. The language of “choice” appeals to Americans. But the truth of the matter is that until the Department of Education is abolished and the federal government recognizes that education lies well beyond its constitutionally defined jurisdiction, our educational system will remain subject to its power.

  47. Zavodny Margarett RBC says:

    Mr. Gingrich, get your Catechism of the Catholic Church back out and STUDY–there WILL be a test!

  48. Innocentius says:

    There is not one person but Newt who can face Obama in a debate and make him eat crow. I would like to know who else can take the task.
    This “implantation” issue can be rectified and resolve by writing to Newt and telling him what the Catholic Church teaches on when human life begins. I am sure he will acquiesce and accept that teaching and position and change his position.
    So why Bachmann, and the other candidates hitting on Newt on this, as none of them are Catholic except for Santorum. These folks have no chance of ever being nominated, so shut up already.

  49. Grateful Catholic says:

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  50. AvantiBev says:

    My fellow Catholic women voters: ask not what a male politician is going to do about abortion, ask what WE WOMEN are going to do about it. One more time, abortion is an enforcement tool of the Sexual Revolution. Men did not win the sexual revolution, stupid women surrendered. Stop looking to Washington DC or your state pols to end this blood bath. Teach your daughters, nieces, granddaughters, sisters, etc not to behave as sluts and tramps. We have had slutty, skank behavior from America’s “wymyn” for 45+ years and all it has gotten us is divorce, disease, death and distrust. Men are not going to overthrow abortion because the Sexual Revolution looks like a win/win for them (it isn’t but that’s another rant). It is up to US WOMEN to make abortion as obsolete and unprofitable a “service” spinning wheel repair.

  51. This issue of “evil vs. less bad” has been recurring for at least 30 or 40 years now. Without addressing the moral question of whether a Catholic can vote for an imperfect candidate, particularly one who is not clearly opposed to abortion in all cases, I must address the issue of whether this strategy is actually practical. Voting for the less evil candidate is a proven failure. Pro-life Catholics have been having this choice forced on them for all of my adult life, because they accept the choice. The situation will not improve until Catholics simply refuse to vote for any and all candidates who are not 100% pro-life in any and all circumstances. It is time for Catholics to reject the evil choice. For those who persist in saying that voting for the less evil candidate is a viable strategy, I ask simply: when does it end? The proof is in the pudding. Every four years, we have this same discussion, and every four years later we have the same discussion, because the strategy is a proven failure. If no 100% pro-life candidate is on the ballot, that’s the purpose of the write-in line. If Newt Gingrich (or anyone else) wants my vote, he has to earn it. He will not get my vote because his opponent is worse. In this case, he had better issue a clarification fast, because anyone who believes that life begins after conception is making up weird science. The only way Republicans will ever have to deliver on their pro-life promises is if they know full well that Catholics will not vote for lip service or “less evil” candidates. And if Catholics voted their consciences, Democrats would quickly become pro-life too, which is something I have come to believe is essential for this nasty recurring question to end. As long as the Democratic Party is a lost cause, the Republicans never have to deliver, or as was succinctly put earlier, Lucy will always be able to pull the ball away from the Charlie Browns in the voting booth.

  52. Philippus says:

    My good friends, we have been led by the establishment to think that the real fight is just getting Obama out of office. Like the Arab Springs popping up, was it enough to defeat Ghadaffi? Was it enough to remove Mubarak? Now we have the Taliban running these countries. And looking at our politics war, after doing away with President Obama, are we going to welcome the neo-conservatives?

    If we separate politicians by the two party system, we will always end up with worse than what we bargained for. For instance, Speaker Gingrich is a poor choice and probably worse than Obama, but because we want a Republican in the White House so badly, we are selling ourselves short.

    I can argue that Newt Gingrich is pro-choice and that he is against the sovereignty of America –and would love to implement a government mandated health care insurance on the people. Is he still attractive?

    If he becomes the nominee, my family and I are not voting for him. It is that simple. And, there are a large number of Catholics who see Newt as a threat to freedom in America. It is because of this that I feel confident in my approach. I could argue that because there is no such thing as the lesser evil between Obama and Gingrich, I reserve the right not to vote for either of them.

    Seriously, we got fooled by George Bush twice…and then we think Gingrich is going to be better? We deserve then to be in the bondage we often find ourselves in.

    When a candidate has to clarify his stance on the life issues, that is a bad sign. It simply means he was talking too quickly and not pacing himself to give his normal political pandering answer.