The New Catholic Newt

As former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's star continues to rise ahead of GOP Republican primaries, he has had less time for what in recent years has become a calming, soothing Sunday tradition: sitting in the pews at the cavernous National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, praying to Jesus and the Virgin Mary during noon Mass while listening to his wife sing in the choir.

The ritual, he has said in interviews, makes "the week go better." His faith and connection to God has made him "the most relaxed" that he's ever been. And through the church, he says, he has come to realize that "you cannot explain this country if you erase God from the picture."

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