03/12/2012 02:45 pm ET

Newt Gingrich Talks Sins, Forgiveness

Ahead of key primaries in the Deep South, Newt Gingrich is reminding voters that he sought God's forgiveness for his marital infidelities. The former House Speaker addressed a Baptist congregation in Mississippi on Sunday, and MSNBC has excerpts from his remarks:

There were things in my life that I have been very public about saying were, in fact, well short of the glory of God and I had to go to God to seek forgiveness. I never went to God to seek understanding. And I was never confused. That is, there are periods of my life where I have sinned.

I have been very, very fortunate that I have a very, very close relationship with Callista. We are very close to my two daughters who have been campaigning with us. We are extremely close to my two grandchildren who are 10 and 12. But I had to earn being a 68 year-old grandfather by living through things that I would never want my grandchildren to repeat.

One person who has not forgiven Newt is his second wife, Marianne, who just before the South Carolina primary went public with allegations that Newt requested an open marriage so he could continue his affair with Callista. When CNN's John King asked Newt about the story during a debate, the two got into a heated exchange.

Newt converted to Catholicism in 2009 after nearly a decade with Callista, a lifelong Catholic, and he has been telling his story of sin and redemption for a while.

"There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate," he told CBN's David Brody last year. "And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them. I found that I felt compelled to seek God's forgiveness. Not God's understanding, but God's forgiveness."