[WARNING: Gut-reaction post to follow.  I have not sorted this through yet.]

In case you missed it, word is out that Newt Gingrich is to be accepted into HMC at Easter.

Well, now.

On the one hand, far be it from me to start throwing rocks at other people or to pretend that I know what is really going on in their heads.  If Gingrich is sincere about what he’s doing, then welcome and God bless him.

On the other hand, I would be lying if I denied that this news gives me the same feeling of vague uneasiness as did Tony Blair’s much-celebrated swim a few years ago.

One thing in this case:  Gingrich states that he is converting in order to be closer to his wife, who is described as a “devout” Catholic.  Well, if memory serves, this is Mrs. Gingrich #3, whose prior extra-curricular escapades with the Newt-ster led to the throwing overboard of Mrs. Gingrich #2.  And then, of course, there was a Mrs. Gingrich #1 back in the mists of time somewhere.

I mention this because it seems to me that Newt must have done some pretty serious tap-dancing around the rules governing divorce and annulment in order to go through both with wedding #3 and his planned conversion, and that this tap-dancing must have been pretty seriously aided and abetted by forces within HMC herself.

Now I know nothing of the particulars, so I will say nothing specific about, ah, the Gingrich trail.  But in general, I find this sort of thing appalling.  Both the Bible and Church doctrine itself are pretty durn clear-cut on the subject of Marriage: Sanctity Of.   Of course there are always exceptions and provisos, but it seems to me that they have often been stretched to the point where they make a mockery of the sacriment.  Not only is this violative of the purity of the Faith, it also makes the Church look ridiculous in the eyes of those bent on finding ways to discredit her.

A glass of wine with Mrs. P for the original tip-off.