WASHINGTON -- Tilting toward a run at the presidency, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traced his spiritual journey from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic at a Catholic prayer breakfast here on Wednesday.
“People ask me when I decided to become Catholic,” said Gingrich, who formally converted in 2009. “It would be more accurate to say that I gradually became Catholic and then realized that I should accept the faith that surrounded me.”
The twice-divorced former Georgia congressman has labored to assure conservative Christians of his fidelity to traditional values. Just 11 percent of white evangelicals, and 16 percent of white Catholics, favor Gingrich as the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, according to a March Pew Research Center poll.
Gingrich also explained his religious conversion on Tuesday to National Catholic Register, a publication owned by EWTN, a multimedia Catholic network.
“The depth of faith and history contained in the life of the Catholic Church were increasingly apparent to me,” Gingrich said Wednesday. “Slowly, over a decade, the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic Mass became more and more obvious to me.”