Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Newt Gingrich to be confirmed

a Catholic according to the NYTimes Magazine who had an extensive interview with him,

A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich said he will soon convert to Catholicism, his wife’s faith.

No one has come forward to answer my question on Gingrich and his future relationship with the church over his three prior marriages. As I said before if he hasn't been baptised it's one thing, but if he previously has... this is a huge stumbling block.

Speaking of politicians flirting with Catholicism... Governor Sanford who's wife and kids are purportedly Catholic attended mass with his family in Columbia this past Sunday at St. Peter's Parish in downtown Columbia.

The Governor who is Episcopalian did something unusual and, theologically though not politically, scandalous - he communicated.

Is Sanford a crypto-Catholic? Is he in the process of conversion? (for cynicisms sake that would be politically opportune) Or, more likely, is this a case of oops the Governor doesn't know better?

From Catholic.com,
The guidelines for receiving Communion, which are issued by the U.S. bishops and published in many missalettes, explain, "We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17:21).

"Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law. . . . "

Scripture is clear that partaking of the Eucharist is among the highest signs of Christian unity: "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Cor. 10:17). For this reason, it is normally impossible for non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion, for to do so would be to proclaim a unity to exist that, regrettably, does not.

Another reason that many non-Catholics may not ordinarily receive Communion is for their own protection, since many reject the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Scripture warns that it is very dangerous for one not believing in the Real Presence to receive Communion: "For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died" (1 Cor. 11:29–30).

There are exceptions but only in the gravest of instances.

This of course isn't meant as the normal chidding we direct towards Governor Sanford. In fact we think it's great that he respects the faith of his wife and children and in a show of support and devotion to them attends the liturgy of their tradition. That is wonderful, should be commended and encouraged. In fact though we disapprove of his communicating we pray and encourage him with the hopes that he does join the Catholic fold.

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5 comments:

Earl Capps said...

Show up for Mass ... and you can find him at Seacoast, the big post-modern cult down in Mount Pleasant.

As with his politics, I don't know if he knows which way is up or down.

Mattheus Mei said...

OH lawd, Seacost, really??? Then he definitely shouldn't have been communicating - shame on him.

Daniel J. Cassidy said...

I referred your question to a priest, a pastor of a parish, and received the following response:

"Since he is a non-Catholic and not bound to the laws of the Church re marriage, his first marriage was valid. It would have to be declared null by the Church. That being the case, I believe that would make his 2nd marriage valid and so on. However, I think that the Pauline Pivilege(or Petrine Pivilege -- I get the 2 confused since I have rarely dealt with situations needing them) will be used. A non-Catholic in a valid marriage becomes a Catholic and for the sake of peace and protection of the Faith, the marriage to the non-Catholic is dissolved. Both privileges are from the Bible."

Hope this helps.

Mattheus Mei said...

Thanks Daniel it does, but it does raise other questions specifically about the previous marriages which would still require questions regarding if not his interest in them the state of the other party.

Earl Capps said...

Daniel, I'm not sure if that was right.

I went through an anullment after I came into the Church.

My first wife died after I'd remarried, therefore the ruling was the second marriage was never valid. Any marriage I had entered into while she was still alive would have been considered invalid. I was considered a widower who had left an invalid second marriage.

I came into the Church via Chrismation (the Eastern version of Confirmation) after the legal divorce, so I'm guessing the same would apply to Gingrich's successive marriages, as he was Baptist.