Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is Newt Gingrich Living in Sin?

He is currently divorced from his second wife, who is still alive, and married to his third. He also a Catholic convert. The Catholic church, as I understand its doctrine, does not accept divorce. Unless he somehow obtained an annulment, doesn't that make his current marriage adultery?

It's one thing to have committed a sin, repented, and reformed. But it looks as though he continues to commit mortal sin on a regular basis. Am I missing something?

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The answer is that he is not living in sin. A commenter points me at an Esquire story on him which mentions that he got an annulment. The story is largely based on an interview with his second wife, who sounds like an interesting lady.

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11 Comments:

At 5:29 PM, January 22, 2012, Blogger Least Obvious Answer said...

i think the marriages that weren't performed by the catholic church don't count as marriages to the catholic church.

 
At 6:19 PM, January 22, 2012, Blogger Max said...

I'm not Catholic, and I'll be the first to admit that my knowledge on the subject is spotty. However, I do know somebody in full Communion with the Catholic Church who had a few children out of wedlock, married and divorced without an annulment. She never went into any details, but mentioned that she had to do some penance to return to full Communion.

It's my understanding that the Catholic Church has a number of doctrines that members would ideally follow, but the Church also has teachings about how to later correct failures to live those doctrines when the Church member repents of the underlying sin.

That's about the boundary of my understanding of the issue, so I won't speculate on what Gingrich would have had to do to be in full Communion, assuming that he is.

 
At 6:25 PM, January 22, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as my information goes, the only person who never lived in sin was Jesus (which is why he was able to conquer death). I believe that most Catholic or evangelical pastors would testify to this. Everyone lives in some kind of sin, be it visible or not.

 
At 6:31 PM, January 22, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like he did obtain an annulment.

http://www.esquire.com/features/newt-gingrich-0910

 
At 6:33 PM, January 22, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A primer on annulments for the curious:

http://www.canonlaw.info/a_catecheticalissues.htm

 
At 8:29 PM, January 22, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So both prior marriages were annulled?

 
At 4:59 AM, January 23, 2012, Anonymous TJIC said...

@Least_Obvious_Answer:

>i think the marriages that weren't performed by the catholic church don't count as marriages to the catholic church.

This is incorrect. The Catholic Church has an assumption of validity of all marriages.

@max:
> It's my understanding that the Catholic Church has a number of doctrines that members would ideally follow, but the Church also has teachings about how to later correct failures to live those doctrines when the Church member repents of the underlying sin.

100% correct.

I don't have a cite at hand, but I have read that even in cases where a Catholic divorces and remarries, the Church does not suggest that the best path for reconcilliation is to leave the second marriage. (It would, though, say that someone who has divorced should either (a) remarry the partner, (b) live in celibacy, (c) get an annulment ** if it's warranted **.

I note in passing that annulments require a fair bit of paperwork (so that they don't LOOK like a joke), but the issuance rate is something well over 90%, so in practice they are sort of a joke: the slander that they're nothing more than "Catholic divorce" is apparently somewhat fair. "What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder"...unless they get a notary public to agree that they weren't ** REALLY ** in love..

 
At 7:23 AM, January 23, 2012, Blogger SheetWise said...

I would like to believe that we have evolved intellectually beyond these issues. In questions on Man and God, we really don't need to know much more about God than God is not Man. That's critical. Past that, it's trivial.

 
At 10:17 AM, January 23, 2012, Blogger Max said...

TJIC, it's good to get your seal of approval. It's also good to see you around again.

 
At 8:14 AM, January 25, 2012, Blogger Quentin Langley said...

He would only have needed to annul his first marriage, as his second was not valid in the first place unless his first had previously been annulled.

Annulments can usually be obtained on grounds of sufficiently large donation to Vatican funds or sufficiently great political pull with the Vatican. This route was not available to Henry VIII because his wife's nephew - Charles V of Spain - was conquering Italy at the time and, consequently, had greater worldly clout.

 
At 10:38 PM, January 31, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to be "that guy," but we're all living in sin.

 

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