Monday, February 28, 2011
Newt Gingrich is apparently on the verge of launching his presidential bid, and he is making an effort to connect with religious conservatives. A recent convert to Catholicism, Gingrich is outspoken about the need to make space for religion in public life, even comparing the U.S. today to 1979 Poland, with a "cultural elite" trying to create a secularized country. Gingrich also has a checkered past on the marital front, of course. As such, there is some skepticism that religious conservatives will embrace him. (There also is quite a bit of glee, I'm sure, among reporters who will get lots of opportunities to skewer a "family values" candidate for hypocrisy.) My question is this: to what extent should Catholics consider Gingrich's history of divorce and infidelity in evaluating his candidacy? Is it enough that he expresses regret for his actions, or is even that unnecessary without a nexus between the misconduct and his ability to govern? Any Thomists want to chime in?