But what about the adultery?

We ought to forgive, of course. God’s infinite grace, being infinite, certainly covers adultery, and any mortal man who ever has experienced a moment’s introspection must pray that he comes to know His mercy rather than His justice. Mea most maxima culpa and all that. Forgive, yes.

Forget?

For private citizens, surely. There remains within the Catholic tradition the issue of scandal, which means something different in the theology texts than it does in the New York Post. “Scandal” in the Catholic sense means setting a bad example, something that might lead to the spiritual ruin of another — “normalizing,” to take a word of the moment. King Henry II walked barefoot through the snow to pray at the tomb of St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury as an act of public penance. I have a hard time imagining the Gingriches flying coach.

In the service of realpolitik, exceptions are made. But Callista Gingrich is not Henry Kissinger. She is not an irreplaceable diplomat with unique gifts specially suited to her moment in history. She’s a former ag-committee clerk married to a retired politician turned Fox News pundit. We do not need to fit her for a scarlet letter, but there is no particular reason to dispatch her to the Holy See, either.