George Weigel is distinguished senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

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Pastors Are Not Interchangeable Parts

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A few weeks ago I came upon the odd fact that, before and during World War II, the Royal Navy built battleships with fourteen-inch main battery guns, whereas Britain’s principal naval rivals, Germany and Japan, were building ships with fifteen- and eighteen-inch main batteries; moreover, the RN’s chief ally, the United States, had been building battleships mounting sixteen-inch guns for decades… . Continue Reading »

The Last Counter-Reformation Pope

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When he was elected as Paul VI just fifty years ago, Giovanni Battista Montini seemed the perfectly prepared pope. He was the son of a middle-class family of Italian professionals with good Vatican ties. A competent linguist who had enjoyed a distinguished career in the Holy See’s diplomatic service, he was also a man of pastoral sensibilities … Continue Reading »

Pacem in Terris at 50

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In the course of preparing The End and the Beginning, the second volume of my biography of John Paul II, I was struck by a historical coincidence that isn’t much remarked these days: The opening of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 coincided almost precisely with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Pope John XXIII solemnly opened the council on October 11 … Continue Reading »

The Last Laugh of Alfredo Ottaviani

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Despite his humble origins as a baker’s son from Trastevere, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, longtime curial head of the Holy Office (“successor to the Inquisition,” in journalese) and scourge of the nouvelle théologie of the 1950s, was a formidable figure in pre-conciliar Catholicism. Ottaviani’s approach to theology was neatly summarized in the Latin motto of his cardinalatial coat of arms, Semper Idem [Always the Same] … Continue Reading »

U.S. Catholics: Overly Assimilated?

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With his new book, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America, mild-mannered Russell Shaw has become the bull in the china shop of U.S. Catholic history, knocking heroes off pedestals and overturning conventional story-lines”all in aid of trying to understand why the Church in America is in a precarious position today … Continue Reading »

Tribulation Compounded by Blasphemy

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As the Revised Standard Version renders the fourteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas remind the proto-Christians of Antioch that it is only “through many tribulations” that we enter the Kingdom of God. The New American Bible translation drives the point home even more sharply: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” … Continue Reading »

Remembering Max Kampelman

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Some twenty-three years ago, Ambassador Max Kampelman”former nuclear arms reduction negotiator with the Soviet Union and Counselor to the Department of State”decided that I needed a bit of diplomatic experience and invited me to be a public member of the U.S. delegation he would lead to the Copenhagen meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, in the summer of 1990… . Continue Reading »

42 and Us

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Baseball and movies don’t often play well together. William Bendix as a Marine who dies happy in Guadalcanal Diary because he’s just heard that the Dodgers have won is an icon of 1940s Americana; the same William Bendix as the Bambino in The Babe Ruth Story is a sad business, to be consigned to the (bad) memory bank. … Continue Reading »