Welcome to the loving embrace of the Church, an upgrade, wouldn’t you say, from Lutheran and Southern Baptist (notice the capital C). The Church has a soft spot for sinners who reform, and lately, not to put too fine a point on it, conversions, especially high profile ones like yours, are somewhat infrequent, even in Africa. Truthfully any attention that is not about child abuse is a plus, as I’m sure you wish people would stop talking about serial adultery. A bonus: your story has a satisfying trajectory, 3 religions, 3 wives, redemption.
Your religious instruction befitted a person of your stature: weekly for 7 months at the hands of the good monsignor of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, then baptism by a prince of the Church, cardinal of Washington. You and the eminence share the belief: godless secularism, endemic in Europe, has polluted our shores, like Communism used to.
“I think it was a genuine conversion,” Robert L. Livingston, lobbyist and former Republican legislator opined, and I can’t name anybody who would disagree. Sinners (you know history) often become real saints (see Augustine), though lately the requirements of canonization have shifted from personal redemption and good works toward anti-communists and those who hold the line on abortions, gay marriage and women priests. I imagine you’ve already taken note of that. Did you talk to the monsignor about women priests?
I confess, I won’t be there to greet you on Sunday morning. I lapsed, as we say, quite some time ago, but my 2 sisters, Newt, are Catholics; nuns, if fact, going on 50 years. Not much story there. One lives in Denver, and among other things, delivers food to the poor, protests against the School of the Americas, works for just immigration laws, and the other sister lives in Nigeria where she runs a NGO that builds schools, digs wells, provides health care and other services too numerous to mention without boring you. The gospel they hear has a somewhat different tune. I must tell you (I hope I’m not blowing anyone’s cover—the curia is curious) but they and a vast majority of the nuns in this country have nothing against the idea of women priests or gay marriage but will find it hard to vote for you even if you gather some angels and dance on the head of a pin.