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

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World Christianity by the Numbers

From Web Exclusives

The annual “Status of Global Christianity” survey published by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research is a cornucopia of numbers: Some are encouraging; others are discouraging; many of them are important for grasping the nature of this particular moment in Christian history. Continue Reading »

Lent, Day by Day

From Web Exclusives

The phrase “Lenten journey” has become ubiquitous in contemporary Catholicism, but for once, AmChurchSpeak makes an important point: Lent is a journey—a journey to Calvary with the Lord and an opportunity to reflect on how well we’ve each picked up the cross daily (as instructed in Luke 9: 23) and followed him. Continue Reading »

Evangelical Challenges for Vatican Diplomacy

From Web Exclusives

The bilateral diplomacy of the Holy See is unique in world affairs, in that it has little or nothing to do with the things with which diplomats typically occupy their time: trade issues, security matters, visas. Rather, the reason why the Vatican engages in bilateral diplomacy is to secure the freedom of the Catholic Church to be itself in the countries with which the Holy See has, or wishes to have, diplomatic relations. To be sure, in crisis situations, the Holy See’s representative in a crumbling or violence-ridden state can also serve as an honest broker amidst contending local parties, or a voice for persecuted Catholic communities, or a channel for humanitarian assistance. But whatever the situation, the first task of the pope’s representative to another sovereignty is to help maintain free space for the Church’s evangelical, sacramental, educational and charitable missions, all of which are essential to what it means to be “the Catholic Church” in any human situation. Continue Reading »

To See Things as They Are

From the February 2015 Print Edition

For some time now, the cultural crisis besetting the United States has been taking ominous political and legal forms that threaten the exercise of religious freedom and that otherwise call into question the character of American democracy, as that character is expressed in law and public policy. These are dangers that I, among others, have been warning about for more than twenty years, not least in explicating John Paul II’s social magisterium from Centesimus Annus (1991) through Ecclesia in Europa (2003). If word of that critique of contemporary American society and culture has not reached some quarters, well, given the gravity of our situation and Michael Hanby’s welcome admonition to keep our eye on the ball rather than conducting food fights in the bleachers, I suggest, with Hanby, that it’s time to move on.The question is, how? Continue Reading »

Nonsense on “Sixty Minutes”

From Web Exclusives

Sixty Minutes,” the CBS News “magazine” that helped redefine television journalism, prides itself on challenging conventional wisdom, discomfiting the comfortable, kicking shibboleths in the shins, and opening new arguments. No such challenge, alas, was evident in the program’s recent segment on Pope Francis, which aired last Dec. 28. Continue Reading »

Owning Our Baptism

From Web Exclusives

The transfer of the celebration of the Epiphany to a Sunday from January 6 (the solemnity’s traditional date), and the elimination of Sundays-after-Epiphany in favor of the ill-named Sundays of “Ordinary Time,” has made a hash of the Christmas liturgical season, as I suggested in “Evangelical Catholicism.” Still, the liturgical calendar of Blessed Paul VI does us a service by highlighting the formerly insignificant Feast of the Baptism of the Lord as the terminus of the Christmas season. Continue Reading »

Africa’s Catholic Moment

From Web Exclusives

According to an old Vatican aphorism, “We think in centuries here.” Viewed through that long-distance lens, the most important Catholic event of 2014 was the dramatic moment when Africa’s bishops emerged as effective, powerful proponents of dynamic orthodoxy in the world Church. Continue Reading »

Between Two Synods

From the January 2015 Print Edition

On November 19, 1964, the draft text of Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom was abruptly pulled from the floor of the council and a vote on it deferred for a year. The announcement of this unexpected decision, prompted by a request from Italian and Spanish bishops thought to be . . . . Continue Reading »