Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Catholics old and new

I may have expressed hesitation at the news of Newt Gingrich's conversion to Catholicism. But what I have read here is encouraging. According to recent comments made by Newt about his conversion, it seems that the ancient origins of the Church and the rich liturgical tradition were what attracted him to the Faith. But they attractted Dan Brown too, and made a fascinating backdrop to his anti-Catholic novels. What makes Newt different? He was impressed by a modern example of our ancient faith. Pope Benedict XVI.
"The moment that finally convinced me [to convert] was when Benedict XVI came here [to the United States] and Callista in the church choir sang for him at the vespers service and all the bishops in the country were there. As a spouse, I got to sit in the upper church and I very briefly saw [Benedict] and I was just struck with how happy he was and how fundamentally different he was from the news media's portrait of him. This guy's not a Rottweiler. He's a very loving, engaged, happy person."
Contrast this with the shallow faith of Chris Matthews, a lifelong Catholic, who compares himself with St Francis of Assisi because he likes to watch deer. "I'm one of those people who just stands there, like St. Francis. I just want to stand there and look at the animals "
," he says, referring to the patron saint of animals. "I love them."
Every time there is a papal visit to America, Matthews injects his opinion into the discussion about how the Holy Father show lower the moral standards of the Church, accepting abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc. He can't get it through his head that his opinion may influence national elections, but the Church has a higher authority to answer to than some pundit on a dying cable news outlet. Just be quiet and enjoy the wisdom of an ancient Faith founded by Christ himself.
Newt could teach him a thing or two about the Faith.

Read more at US News and World Report.

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