National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Newt Too Political? Who Knew

"Morning BriefingThere is an interesting item in the "Morning Briefing" about an Iowa church deciding to cancel an appearance by Newt Gingrich at an event where a screening of his documentary about Pope John Paul II is being shown. The event organizers said they were worried the event would become "too political."
I wonder why anyone would think such a thing? Just because Newt was not screening his movie in Alabama or Oregon, but Iowa? Maybe starting a series of screenings there, then onto New Hampshire and thence to South Carolina? What's political about that?
There is also the matter of Mr. Gingrich's qualifications as a church historian - or any other kind of historian for that matter. This man of ideas, which he undoubtedly is, has some very wrong-headed ideas about history, American and otherwise.
I am not one of those who think Gingrich converted to Catholicism for political reasons. I suspect he converted for the same kinds of reasons most people do: His wife is Catholic, he attended Church with her and liked it, etc. I do not see any political benefit to running in a GOP primary as a Catholic convert. Evangelical voters respect cradle Catholics for their religious commitment, but the idea of converting to Catholicism is a different animal. So, I think Newt's conversion was sincere, but like everything he does, it takes on a political context even if it was not motivated by politics to begin with. So, welcome him to the altar rail, to be sure, but I wouldn't let him use a screening of his movie as a vehicle for reaching voters in the state that has the first votes in the GOP nominating process.

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