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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks onstage during Vox Media's 2022 Code Conference on September 7, 2022, in Beverly Hills, CaliforniaPhoto by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media

Editor’s note: This article, first published in May, is being republished by LifeSiteNews in light of the fact that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s upcoming debate with Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading many to speculate that Newsom is gearing up to replace Biden.

(LifeSiteNews) — Gavin Newsom really wants to live in the White House. His second and final term as California’s governor ends in January 2027, making him almost certain to run for president in 2028. Yet he’s fully prepared to move up that timeline.

U.S. President Joe Biden, rallying YouTube viewers to “a battle for the soul of America,” officially announced his reelection bid last month. “The question we are facing is whether, in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer.”

READ: DeSantis and Newsom agree to debate in November

The ominous messaging echoed the warnings of Republican Party oppression pushed by Governor Newsom’s Campaign for Democracy, a political action committee launched a few weeks before Biden’s video dropped. The matching talking points were no coincidence.

Polls indicate most Democratic voters don’t want Biden to be their party’s presidential nominee in November 2024. The octogenarian leader rarely holds press conferences and has struggled with media interviews, even when reporters submit their questions in advance. Simply reading from a teleprompter has proved tricky.

Steeper cognitive decline over the next 17 months, or some other health issue, could force Biden to drop out of the race. Democratic Party script already in hand, the 55-year-old Newsom would be salivating to jump in.

Faithful Catholics beware: A Newsom presidency would be even more disastrous than Biden’s has been.

“Will Gavin Newsom Renounce His Catholicism?” asked a headline in The American Spectator earlier this year, part of the conservative magazine’s Golden Boy Gavin series. Read the article’s subhead: “The governor claims allegiance to the Church, but his true religion appears to be leftism.”

Newsom has not publicly discussed his religious beliefs in years, possibly in anticipation of a future run for national office, and so may actually deserve half a point for integrity. Biden and former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, by contrast, loudly identify as devout Roman Catholics but — like Newsom — aggressively push policies that directly oppose the Church’s positions on abortion, euthanasia, same-sex “marriage,” and transgenderism.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, Newsom’s hometown, last year barred Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion due her vigorous promotion of abortion. Newsom has avoided a similar fate in the Diocese of Sacramento, where he currently resides, mainly because he does not attend Mass or present himself for Communion.

Newsom was raised Catholic, attending Notre Dame des Victoires near Chinatown during elementary school and later the Jesuit-run Santa Clara University. “Relax. I’m a practicing Irish Catholic,” said the then-divorced mayor of San Francisco in 2006, responding to reports of his romance with an actress who was a prominent member of the Church of Scientology.

He elaborated on his religion in a 2008 interview with The Santa Clara, his alma mater’s student newspaper. Newsom called himself an “Irish-Catholic rebel … that still has tremendous admiration for the Church and very strong faith. It’s manifested for me in a less indoctrinated way, but the core principles still apply.”

“You know, I don’t go to church that often,” the mayor continued. “But I have an incredibly strong sense of faith that is perennial: day in and day out, every day of my life. And so I don’t feel the need to exercise that formally in a symbolic setting, a Church.”

Today, Newsom appears to be a lapsed Catholic in an invalid marriage, with no desire to seek an annulment or return to the sacraments. He married Kimberly Guilfoyle during a wedding Mass at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in 2001 while still a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors. They filed for divorce three years later, with Guilfoyle going on to become a conservative media commentator and the current fiancé of Donald Trump Jr.

As mayor in 2008, Newsom married his current wife, filmmaker and actress Jennifer Siebel, in a ceremony including horses at her parents’ ranch in Montana. This time, the celebrant was Simone, a Bay Area clairvoyant and spiritual coach with a special devotion to Quan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion. (Newsom himself has officiated at same-sex “weddings” as an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church.)

Newsom’s personal life became tabloid fodder during the interlude between marriages. The 38-year-old mayor dated a 19-year-old restaurant hostess in 2006, escorting her to events such as the symphony, where she reportedly engaged in underage drinking.

More serious moral issues came to light in 2007, when Newsom admitted at a news conference to having had a sexual affair with his appointments secretary. The subordinate was also the wife of the mayor’s close friend and campaign manager. Newsom issued a written statement days later saying he would seek treatment for “problems with alcohol,” adding he “will be a better person without alcohol in my life.”

His announcement was widely interpreted to mean he would enter some type of rehab program, and media accounts over the following years assumed he did. It became clear only a decade later that Newsom never went to rehab, and he resumed drinking occasionally after two years of abstinence. “There was no treatment, no nothing related to any of that stuff,” Newsom, then California’s lieutenant governor, told The Sacramento Bee in 2018. “I just stopped.”

Lack of candor has long dogged Newsom. “I’ve been living through Zoom school and all of the challenge related to it,” he told CNN in March 2021, at a time when California’s public schools were still shut down due to the COVID pandemic. “It’s brutal,” he said, neglecting to mention that his own four children were then attending private schools with in-person learning.

Newsom’s reputation for hypocrisy and double standards was cemented at the French Laundry in November 2020, near the pandemic’s peak. He and his wife attended a birthday party for his longtime lobbyist friend at the exclusive Napa Valley restaurant where meals cost around $350, well within the affluent family’s budget.

Unfortunately for the governor, he was photographed sans face mask, and in close proximity to multiple other households. That violated his administration’s hardline masking rules and contradicted warnings from state health officials that Californians should avoid gathering even with their own families on Thanksgiving.

Newsom went dark during last year’s Fourth of July holiday, taking an unannounced family vacation to Montana. The unusual secrecy stemmed from the fact that California prohibits state-funded travel to Montana and 22 other conservative states with laws that allegedly discriminate against LGBTQ people.

The Newsoms paid their own way, but California taxpayers footed the bill for the family’s security detail. While Newsom deflected criticism of his furtive trip to a red state, the ineffective travel ban will be repealed soon – partly because ultra-woke California is running out of other states to boycott.

Committed to ensuring California remains the most pro-abortion state in the nation, Newsom has sought to hijack the meaning of basic terms. “California is a pro-life state,” he declared during a budget hearing in May 2022. “I think there’s a lot of folks out there that are pro-conception to birth, but they fall wholly short of being pro-life,” he said. True pro-lifers, in his view, must support gun control and work to combat global warming.

For Newsom, facilitating abortion is doing the Lord’s work. Last fall, he used funds from his reelection campaign to rent billboards in seven states with laws protecting unborn babies. “Need an abortion? California is ready to help,” read a typical message, alongside the abortion.ca.gov website address. Some billboards included Jesus Christ’s words in the Gospel of Mark: “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.”

Newsom has signed into law virtually every bill promoting abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and transgenderism that has reached his desk since he assumed office in 2019. Church teaching has rarely, if ever, factored into his signing deliberations.

There was a personal connection to the 2021 law that greatly expanded assisted suicide. Newsom told The New Yorker in 2018 that he had helped kill his mother in 2002. Fifty-five and dying of breast cancer, Mrs. Newsom had resolved to die by assisted suicide. Newsom stated that he and his sister “gave her the drugs,” a fatal act that could have been prosecuted as murder under California law at the time.

“Newsom has done more than anyone in this century to cause American law to contradict the moral precepts of the Church,” according to The American Spectator. “In addition, he has routinely wielded the power of the state to attempt to force Catholics to violate their faith.”

If Gavin Newsom’s dream of the American presidency ever comes true, the rampant anti-Catholicism of the Biden era will seem like the good old days.

 William Underwood, Ph.D., is a writer living in California.