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

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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.”

The amazing, and now Venerable, Father Al

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At an inch or so over five feet and weighing, I would guess, something on the underside of 100 pounds, Sister Winnie, a soft spoken Filipina, is not your typical dinner speaker. Yet a few weeks ago she held a room full of Washingtonians spellbound with her story – which is also the story of a largely unknown American of whom the Church in the United States should be very proud. Continue Reading »

Flannery O'Connor and Catholic Realism

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From this vale of tears, one can never be sure about the boundaries of acceptable behavior at the Throne of Grace. Is laughter at earthly foibles permitted? Encouraged? I like to think so. Which inclines me to believe that, this past June 3, Miss Mary Flannery O’Connor of Milledgeville, Georgia, was having herself a good cackle. Continue Reading »

Progressive Catholic Authoritarianism

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Back in the day (the late 1960s or thereabouts), Fr. Andrew Greeley—the model of an old-fashioned liberal Catholic—accused Fr. Daniel Berrigan (the beau ideal of post-conciliar Catholic radicalism) of harboring an authoritarian streak in his politics. By which Greeley meant that, were Berrigan . . . . Continue Reading »

Cuban Hopes for the Papal Visit

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In early June, the distinguished Catholic editor Dagoberto Valdés Hernández, a leader of the Cuban democratic opposition, gave a lecture at Georgetown and reprised its main points later that day at the National Endowment for Democracy (on whose bipartisan board I serve). Mr. Valdés has thought . . . . Continue Reading »

The Church and the “New Normal”

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 In the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision, these sober thoughts occur: (1) The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has rendered a decision that puts the Court at odds with the Constitution, with reason, and with biblical religion. (2) SCOTUS has gotten it wrong before. It . . . . Continue Reading »

The Summer Reading List

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Fifty years ago, prior to my freshman year at Baltimore’s St. Paul Latin High School, the late Fr. W. Vincent Bechtel introduced me to The Summer Reading List, upper-case. Fr. Bechtel didn’t fool around: He tossed his teenage charges into the deep end of the English and American literature pool . . . . Continue Reading »