There has been some distress in leftie circles over the news that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will be received into the Catholic Church this weekend at St. Joseph’s Church. Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl will preside at the ceremony. I say, "Welcome Newt!" It is, as I never tire of saying, a big Church with plenty of room for everybody and no special admission tickets required beyond believing what the Church believes is necessary for salvation.
Mind you, I found it ironic that Mr. Gingrich has already pronounced himself on the propriety of Notre Dame inviting President Obama. He said, "It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti-Catholic values." To be clear, a not-yet Catholic is counselling the priest-President of a Catholic University on what is and is not sad about the application of Catholic values. The next thing you know, we will have recently converted evangelicals telling us who are bishops should be. Oops. I guess that has already happened this week with Randall Terry, who was a Methodist five minutes ago, going to Rome to ask them to remove two outstanding prelates, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington. (Terry was received into the Church in 2005.) I welcome both converts, but their embrace of "Catholic values" should extend to a measure of humility when pronouncing on the authenticty and fideltiy of those who have been Catholics for many years. Otherwise, we will need to introduce a new baptismal garment, a muzzle.
Back to the main story. Of all the leading Republican politicians, I think it is fair to say that Gingrich has the most interesting mind. He and I could not agree on whether to serve sweet potatoes or white potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner, I am sure. But, he is a serious thinker and a devoted public servant. No Catholics should be taking pot shots at him or questioning the authenticity of his conversion. We should say, "Welcome."