Newt Gingrich, Catholic

The sand sculpture is by two Ukrainian brothers, and can be found here. It seems to sum up America and Rome, frankly.

The stories that reach me about the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, are even by Washington standards usually quite vicious. Yet I welcome him as a fellow Catholic; we are a church for sinners, after all. There were rumours, stronger than those about his possible neurological disorder, about George W. Bush converting soon flying around a while ago too. A closet intellectual, or at least a voracious reader, he seems to have admired the church, and all those Catholic voters too, though of course the flirting wasn't mutual.

Already, most of the Supreme Court, the Republican party, the Vice President, the present Speaker (an Aquinas and Augustine 'critic', mirabile dictu), and a huge number of disenchanted Democrats, alongside a fair number of those who should be indicted for their role in the Iraq War, are Catholic.

Hopefully, this will mean that they all discover social justice and comes to terms with themselves, and depart from the pride, egoism, and contingent anger of the Sixties and Seventies, though on some of the American evidence, I doubt that.

Sometimes, I wonder how virtually the entire American church got back in after the Americanist heresy was declared anathema just over a century ago, and also whether it should have done. There is still, and I mean no offence to any reading Marine should one happen on this blog, a mismatch between global and American catholicism, and it is no surprise to me that President Obama is finding it difficult to appoint a representative to the Holy See from Catholic America.

After all, relations were only briefly normalised under Ronald Reagan. On the one hand we have a sort of Empire of Liberty, full of barons and aristocrats and rich Senators but yet possessed of a more than residual enlightenment republicanism; on the other, an organisation and follows the logic of its organisation and platonic certainty with clear and limpid grace, but that thinks in centuries and some of whose members think it far too near perfection for its own good.

America has always lived in the practical moment for all its idealism, and even though some of its buildings are over twenty five years old; it is Nova Roma. How is it ever going to be comfortable with the Holy See?

Gott in Himmel help us.

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