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Santorum Attends Church on Ash Wednesday; Gingrich Skips It Santorum Attends Church on Ash Wednesday; Gingrich Skips It

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Campaign 2012

Santorum Attends Church on Ash Wednesday; Gingrich Skips It

One Catholic candidate will give up desserts for Lent, while the other will forgo Italian food.

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Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign rally at the Sabbar Shrine Center on Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz.(Eric Gay/AP)

The two Catholic candidates still in the Republican presidential race split on what they did on Ash Wednesday. Rick Santorum went to Mass in Mesa, Ariz., and emerged with ashes on his forehead.

Newt Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism in 2009 and has made a film about Pope John Paul II's historic 1979 pilgrimage to Poland, said he missed an early service and didn't have time to go later. Speaking in Scottsdale, Ariz., he told CNN and NBC that Ash Wednesday is not “a Holy Day of obligation.”

 

Both men said they would be giving up some types of food for Lent.

“I’m a very proud Italian-American. I love my culture. I love my food – although it’s Lent and I’m giving up a lot of that,” Santorum said. He didn’t specify which types of Italian food he was giving up.

Gingrich told reporters that he would forgo “all desserts.” His wife, Callista, said jokingly that “I am giving up my opinion.”

 

Rebecca Kaplan and Sarah Huisenga contributed contributed to this article.

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