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

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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 »

To Defend the Disposable

From Web Exclusives

Dr. Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is best known these days for an imprudent lecture in which he suggested that the Obamacare bill (of which he was an intellectual architect) was deliberately crafted to be so complex that the stupid American people couldn’t possibly understand it. Gruber’s lecture opened a window into the arrogance of the secular clerisy: those enlightened members of the professoriate who know best and who, as a matter of duty, are going to give the dimwitted people what’s best for them—and give it to us good and hard. Yet many who found Dr. Gruber’s condescension akin to fingernails scraping down a blackboard were even more appalled by a paper Gruber wrote in 1997, which came under scrutiny during a recent congressional hearing at which the MIT professor was a witness. Continue Reading »

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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 »