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

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Christmas and the Humbling of the Wise Men

From Web Exclusives

It might seem that everything that could be said, has been said, about the shepherds, the wise men and the Christ Child. But that’s one of the marvels of Scripture: The unfolding history of the Church draws out of the inspired Word of God allegories and images previously unrecognized. Thus the familiar Christmas story and its well-known cast of characters shed light on a year in which the Church has been roiled by contention between today’s shepherds and today’s Magi: between those who, today, hear angels singing, and those whose experience of the faith has been thoroughly “demythologized” and intellectualized. Continue Reading »

Francis, Filtered

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About a year ago, I suggested to one of the top editors of a major American newspaper that his journal’s coverage of things papal left something to be desired, as it seemed based on the assumption that Pope Francis was some kind of radical wild-man, eager to toss into the garbage bin of history all those aspects of Catholic faith and practice that mainstream western culture finds distasteful. My friend replied, in so many words, look, you know how these media narratives are: they’re like bamboo. Once they get started, there’s no stopping them. They just keep growing. Continue Reading »

Kowtowing to Moscow = Bad Ecumenism

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In his tireless work for Christian unity, St. John Paul II often expressed the hope that Christianity in its third millennium might “breathe again” with its “two lungs”: West and East, Latin and Byzantine. It was a noble aspiration. And when he first visited Orthodoxy’s ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople in 1979, perhaps the successor of Peter imagined that his heartfelt desire to concelebrate the Eucharist with the successor of Andrew would be realized in his lifetime. Continue Reading »

Books for Christmas

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That “there is no end to the making of books” is attested by both revelation (see Ecclesiastes 12:12) and a browse through your local bookstore—which, if well-stocked, will help you get the following to deserving readers on your Christmas list. Continue Reading »

Cardinal Francis George

From the December 2014 Print Edition

In the spring of 1997, a routine meeting of the finance council of a venerable archdiocese (best left unnamed) was interrupted by the startling news that Pope John Paul II had just appointed Francis George, archbishop of Portland, Oregon, for less than a year, as archbishop of Chicago. “Oh, no,” . . . . Continue Reading »

Lessons From Dietrich von Hildebrand

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Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889–1977) was a German Catholic philosopher, part of a circle of thinkers that first formed around Edmund Husserl, founder of the philosophical method known as “phenomenology.” Others in that circle included Max Scheler, on whom Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II) wrote his second doctoral thesis, and Edith Stein, now St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. The phenomenologists thought philosophy had gotten detached from reality, drifting into the quicksand of thinking-about-thinking-about-thinking. Their motto was “to the things themselves,” and their project was to reconnect thought to reality by a precise observation and analysis of Things As They Are. Continue Reading »

Vatican II and the Berlin Wall

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History sometimes displays the happy capacity to arrange anniversaries so that one sheds light on another. On Nov. 21, 1964, Pope Paul VI solemnly promulgated the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, which began by proclaiming Christ the “light of the nations” and is thus known as Lumen Gentium. Continue Reading »

Ecumenism and Russian State Power

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Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s department of external relations and a frequent visitor to the West, is a young man of parts: a widely-published author, a composer, a gifted linguist. He can be charming and witty, as I discovered during two hours of conversation at the Library of Congress in 2011; and in the intervening years he’s positioned himself and his Church as defenders of traditional Christian values in a world threatened by Western decadence. Continue Reading »

Exploded into Being by Divine Love

From Web Exclusives

I’ve long been fascinated by cosmology, although my deficiencies as a mathematician preclude my really following the arguments of astrophysicists, high-energy particle physicists, and others exploring the origins of the universe. Yet the fascination remains and it was kindled anew by a May 12 article in the Boston Globe Magazine about Alan Guth, a key figure in current explorations of what happened in the Big Bang, the orthodox explanation for How Things Started. Continue Reading »