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

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Issues Beneath Issues at Synod 2015

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Written from Rome: Since Pope Francis announced that two Synods would examine the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family and work to devise more evangelically dynamic responses to that crisis, a lot of attention has focused on issues of Catholic discipline: How does the Church determine . . . . Continue Reading »

Synod 2015 Hopes

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The XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family begins with Mass in St. Peter’s on October 4. No synod in modern Catholic history has drawn such worldwide press attention or generated such controversy within the Church (with the possible exception of the special synod . . . . Continue Reading »

Popes in These United States

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The history of popes in these United States is full of surprises. And one of them, to begin at the beginning, includes the little-known fact that Blessed Paul VI was not the first pontiff to set foot on American territory, when he landed at newly-renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on . . . . Continue Reading »

Remembering “The Few”

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Seventy-five years ago, on Sunday, September 15, 1940, Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine were driven from the prime minister’s country house, Chequers, to the nearby village of Uxbridge: a Royal Air Force station and the headquarters from which Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park was directing . . . . Continue Reading »

An Epistolary Romp through Catholicism

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In 2003, Elizabeth Maguire, publisher of Basic Books, made a proposal: I should write Letters to a Young Catholic as part of a series she was doing that included volumes like Letters to a Young Contrarian, Letters to a Young Chef, Letters to a Young Golfer, Letters to a Young Lawyer, and so forth. . . . . Continue Reading »

Catacomb Time?

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At Christmas 1969, Professor Joseph Ratzinger gave a radio talk with the provocative title, “What Will the Future Church Look Like?” (You can find it in Faith and the Future, published by Ignatius Press). One of the concluding paragraphs was destined to become perhaps the most quoted . . . . Continue Reading »

The Deeper Issue at the Synod

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Looking back on the controversy that preceded Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, I get the impression that there was an even deeper issue in play than the question of the morally appropriate means to regulate human fertility. Underneath that debate, another issue was being contested: How should Catholics do moral theology? Continue Reading »

The Perils of “Preferred Peers”

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On Catholic campuses that aspire to Top Ten or Top Twenty status in publicity sweepstakes like the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, one sometimes hears the phrase “preferred peers.” Translated into plain English from faux-sociologese, that means the schools to which we’d like to be compared (and be ranked with). At a major Catholic institution like the University of Notre Dame, for example, administrators use the term “preferred peers” to refer to universities like Duke, Stanford, and Princeton, suggesting that these are the benchmarks by which Notre Dame measures its own aspirations to excellence. Continue Reading »

Taking the “Long View” on Russia

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Queried about the Holy See’s less-than-vigorous response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, senior Vatican officials are given to saying (often with a dismissive tone, as if the question came from a dim-wit), “We take the long view.”