The Newt temptation

Newt Gingrich might just be the new flavor of the month, says political pundit David Freddoso.

This Republican presidential cycle has featured many candidates that have vied for the role of Not Mitt Romney. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain have all dominated the field at some point over the last three months. Freddoso suggests Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism in 2009, might be next.

Should Catholics promote a Gingrich candidacy? Or should his three marriages be a deal breaker?

For decades, Democrats claimed that Newt Gingrich handed divorce papers to his wife on her death bed. Turns out, that’s a lie. In fact, she was the one who wanted the divorce and it ended amicably. Oh, and she didn’t die in 1981, when they got divorced. In fact, Jackie Gingrich is still alive.

Like voting for Reagan in 1980 or McCain in 2008, I might be disappointed in the divorce, I would not consider it a deal breaker. But Newt’s second marriage to Marianne didn’t last until death do us part either. In fact, he cheated on her. And the “other woman” became Newt’s third wife.

But wait! Didn’t Newt convert to Catholicism? Doesn’t that mean that he’s performed an Act of Contrition and has been absolved of his sins? Yes, that’s very true. And Americans are a very forgiving people.

But does that mean we should promote him to be the leader of our country?

Right now we are in the middle of a national debate on what the nature of marriage is. The Republican Party’s platform calls for keeping marriage solely as a union of one man and one woman. President Obama, by stark contrast, has refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and he has strongly opposed state marriage amendments.

Imagine what supporters of same-sex marriage will say if Newt Gingrich becomes the GOP nominee? “Newt Gingrich has been married three times, but he won’t let gays get married once.”

Is that fair? Maybe not. Does it matter if it’s fair? No.

Just so everyone is clear. I think there’s no doubt that Newt Gingrich is a brilliant man, with considerable talents. I think he would make a great Special Adviser to the President. I just have deep reservations of him becoming the standard bearer of the Republican Party.

Am I being too harsh? What do you think of Newt Gingrich? Should Catholics give him a shot?



  • Matthew Woodbury

    I have often prayed for a Catholic President because he would have our particular brand of conservatism. On matters financial he would have an intelligent financial deficit plan like Newt’s. Hey, at least he would participate not like AWOL Obama on this topic.

    On matters of immigration he would stand for not breaking up the 12 million families because he says the republican party is the party of the family.

    We Catholics have a balance that is not heard or seen elsewhere in the world.

    I like Newt so far.

  • Fr. Peter

    It is true we have to look at the electability factor and they will come after Gingrich on the marriage issue. That said the MSM, as they did with Gingrich already, is not above making things up if they have to in order to tear a conservative to shreds. Therefore I would not worry about what the media has to say they are going to distort and lie regardless of who is the candidate.
    The same logic regarding SSM. The rhetorical battle will not be won or lost on Newt’s three marriages but on Catholic leaders in the Democratic Party buying into the equal protection/rights logic that now pervades the discussion. In my opinion Gingrich and Santorum are the only ones that ably defend our position but both of them seem to be out of the running as potential candidates but will remain strong conservative voices.
    Instead I would support Newt or not support Newt simply on your own convictions about his record. If the three marriages bother you as a a character problem I understand that. As an independent voter, at least for now, I will get to sit this one out until the Party decides.

  • Opinionmine

    I have said this elsewhere, but I will repeat myself here. Just becasue someone has been forgiven of their sins does not mean they can’t be held accountable for their actions. Look at all the Biblical leaders who repented and were forgiven of their sins but still had to face the consequences of their actions. Moses never got to see the promised land. David’s family fell apart and he was never allowed to build the Temple he had designed because of the blood on his hands. The fact is that the man was married twice and had affairs twice, marrying his mistress in both occassions.(his first wife was his high school geometry teacher, whom he married when he was 19). While his second affair was going on he was publically ridiculing Bill Clinton for having an affair. Gingrich is now on his third marriage.
    According to the Chicago Tribune this year, this is what he says led to his affairs. “There’s no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”
    Does it sound like he is willing to take responsibility for at least a part of two fractured marriages? Should we put him back into office, back into hard work and back into the line of temptation?
    Many say we should forgive and forget. for me it is not a matter of forgiveness. Other than being a great part of the political standoff in the 1980’s which led to the shut down of governmentm he has done nothing to impact my life directly. To me it is a matter of whether or not he has done anything to prove he is worthy of leadership and trust. The way I see it is that if you cannot be faithful to those who are closest to you in your private life then you are not likely to be trustworthy with the concerns of those you contact in public life.

  • Giovanni A. Cattaneo

    If we were to apply to the Saints the same rules that the author of this article wants to apply to Newt Gingrich, heaven would loose 2/3 of its population.

    By the same standards St. Augustine should have never been made Bishop. St. Ignatius should of never been allowed to erect his society and his works should have been burned. St. Francis would of died in anonymity just another poor crazy beggar mumbling something about building his Church and talking to animals.

  • Steve

    Why would be difficult to see Newt as the “standard bearer of the Republican party?” You say he’s “brilliant.” You say he has sinned, like us all, and hopefully has been forgiven (like us all, hopefully) … yet you hold back on your endoresement. Your post doesn’t really say. He’s pro-life, opposes gay “marriage,” opposes big government, supports less spending. He certainly has the credentials. Why are folks so hesitant to pull the lever for Newt? My only reservation, can he beat the Big O?



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