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

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Fortnight for Freedom-U.S. Catholics and Religious Liberty: The Origins

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Several months ago, I came across a two-volume history of the Church in the United States I’d never read before: Theodore Maynard’s The Story of American Catholicism, first published in 1941. Maynard was not a professional historian and his telling of the American Catholic story has a bit more of the apologetic edginess of early-20th century Catholicism than a 21st-century audience might find congenial… . Continue Reading »

Light From the South

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Prior to an April visit to Argentina, I read the “Aparecida Document,” the final report of the Fifth General Assembly of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), which was held in Brazil in 2007. This master plan for the New Evangelization in Latin America is rather long”20-times longer than the Gospel of Mark, I’d guess. But in virtually every other respect it’s an entirely admirable piece of work that should be known throughout the world Church… . Continue Reading »

The Cristeros and Us

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Most Americans haven’t the foggiest idea that a quasi-Stalinist, violently anti-Catholic regime once existed on our southern borders. But those who don’t know how bad Mexico was in the late 1920s are about to learn, at least those who see For Greater Glory, a recently-released movie about the Cristero War, a passionate (and bloody) defense of Catholicism that’s remembered today, if at all, because of Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory… . Continue Reading »

The Sisters: Two Views

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After the April announcement that the Vatican was taking the Leadership Conference of Women Religious into a form of ecclesiastical receivership, appointing Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to oversee the LCWR until its statutes and program are reformed, Tom Fox, a major figure at the National Catholic Reporter for decades, had this to say … Continue Reading »

Critter Prayers and Transhumanism

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Poised as ever on the cutting edge of the politically correct and theologically dubious, the Episcopal Church“U.S.A. will soon consider adopting a Burial Service for Beloved Animals, in which the following two Collects appear: At the burial of a farm animal ” Most gracious, good Lord, we are the people of your pasture and the sheep of your hand … Continue Reading »

Charles W. Colson, R.I.P.

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Back in the days when Chuck Colson was willing to run over his grandmother for Richard Nixon, I would have happily done the same to Mr. Colson. Well, that was then, and this is now. And over the past 20 years, I never met a more thoroughly converted Christian, a more ecumenically serious Christian, or a more tenacious Christian than Chuck Colson, who died on April 21. He was a man whom I came, not just to respect, but to love… . Continue Reading »

Biblical Illiteracy and Bible Babel

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One of the disappointments of the post-Vatican II period has been the glacial pace of the growth in Catholic biblical literacy the Council hoped to inspire. Why the slowdown? Several reasons suggest themselves. The hegemony of the historical-critical method of biblical study has taught two generations of Catholics that the Bible is too complicated for ordinary people to understand: So why read what only savants can grasp … Continue Reading »

Pugin at 200

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The prospect of “redecorating,” or any other form of “home improvement,” generally gets me thinking, quickly, about a lengthy research trip abroad. Yet I can, and recently did, spend several pleasant hours contemplating ceramics, furniture, and”would you believe it?”wallpaper. But not at Home Depot, I quickly add; rather, in a book”Pugin: A Gothic Passion, published in 1994 by Yale University Press in association with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. … Continue Reading »

Rosa DeLauro, CNS, and the Disoriented Catholic Left

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One does wonder, sometimes, just what goes on at Catholic News Service (CNS), an agency that wouldn’t exist were it not for the U.S. bishops and the bishops’ conference. This past April 16, CNS distributed a lengthy interview with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., giving her a platform to blast the 2013 federal budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and to badger Cardinal Timothy Dolan to pay as much attention to “the poor, the hungry, the middle class, the people who are going to be eviscerated by the Ryan budget” as Dolan and the bishops he leads are paying to the defense of religious freedom… . Continue Reading »

Philip II, China, and the Great Catholic What-If

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History being linear, “What if….?” is an unanswerable question”but always a fascinating one. What if George Washington had failed in New York in the early days of the American revolution and the rebellion had been crushed? What if Lee had heeded Longstreet, won Gettysburg, and then taken Washington, thus ending the Civil War and achieving Confederate independence? What if Charles Lindbergh had been the Republican candidate in 1940 and had defeated FDR? What if Bush vs. Gore had been decided differently in 2000? … Continue Reading »