Friday, April 10, 2009

Gingrich swims the Tiber

[] 10 Apr 2009--Newt Gingrich and Tony Blair sit on opposite sides of politics. They also live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, but they have both recently swam to the same side of the River Tiber.

They have both become Roman Catholics.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the former Speaker of the House had recently converted. He was previously a Baptist.

Before I moved to New York City, I had met only a handful of Protestants who were interested in becoming Roman Catholic. But the appeal appears greater in the US.

It’s got me thinking. Becoming a Roman Catholic is a very serious business. It ought not to be done lightly. I think that the Catholics themselves would agree. (Why else would the verb ‘to convert’ be used?).

I can’t imagine swimming the Tiber, and I’m troubled by it. There is too much to swallow in Roman Catholicism: theologically, ecclesiologically, pastorally, and politically. But I won’t write about these matters now. The errors in Roman Catholicism are well documented.

Instead, I have been trying to work out the appeal. Gingrich and Blair both appear to have been influenced by their wives. But there must be many reasons.

1 comment:

TLF+ said...

Sorry to see this post so late, but I'll have a go at answering the question.

On rare occassions when I think, "Rome, perhaps?" it is because the Roman church moves like a glacier when it comes to major change.

So any attraction I might have is a "reaction formation" against the insane change-for-change's sake, no-core-values way of The Episcopal Church.

Answers with which I passed all seven areas of the General Ordination Exams 20 years ago would now prevent my ordination.

The current BCP hasn't even served two generations, and there's already talk of its replacement.

That isn't prophecy, or inspiration, or keeping up with the times. It is just unfaithful spirituality and neurotic behavior.

So, in some moments, the stolidity of Rome is attractive.