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

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A Millennial Column

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I’ve been writing op-ed columns for the Catholic press since 1979. In its present form, “The Catholic Difference,” I began this column in 1993 at the invitation of the late Kay Lagreid, then-editor of the now-deceased Catholic Northwest Progress in Seattle; the column went into national syndication shortly thereafter, with the Denver Catholic Register eventually succeeding the Progress as syndicator. This is the one-thousandth column in that series, which prompts some thoughts of a confessional nature. Continue Reading »

Ronald Reagan: Cold Warrior and Nuclear Abolitionist

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In recent years, as scholars have explored Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy with greater access to primary-source documents, something utterly baffling to the conventional wisdom of his time (and ours) has come into focus: Reagan, determined to win the Cold War, was also eager to rid the world of nuclear weapons. And while many, in his time and ours, imagine those to have been incompatible goals, the fortieth president of the United States was capable of holding both ideas in his head at once, and acting toward both ends. Continue Reading »

Shipwreck and Mission

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The post-Vatican II Lectionary for Mass has many fine features, one of which is the continuous reading of the Acts of the Apostles during weekday Masses in the Easter season. As the Church celebrates the Resurrection for fifty days, the Church also ponders the first evangelization: the primitive Christian community, in the power of the Spirit, brings the surrounding Mediterranean world the history-shattering news that Jesus of Nazareth, having been Continue Reading »

An Eminent Distortion of History

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As the world marked the silver anniversary of the Polish elections of June 1989, which eventually brought to power the first non-communist Polish prime minister since the Second World War, a conference met at the Vatican to consider “The Church in the Moment of Change in 1980-1989 in East Central Europe.” Continue Reading »

The Uses of Monarchy

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Hereditary monarchy is not exactly a growth industry in the 21stcentury. But those who imagine monarchy to be useless in a democratic age might consider the case of Spain (a stable democracy that has just gone through a royal transition, with King Juan Carlos abdicating in favor of his son and heir, Felipe). It’s an intriguing tale involving an unlikely cast of characters: President Richard M. Nixon; General Vernon Walters; and the Spanish Caudillo, Francisco Franco. Continue Reading »

Books for Summer Reading

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Real readers read books all year round. But the convention of the “summer reading list” has become so thoroughly engrained in our culture that it seems appropriate to suggest four books-for-summer that will deepen any thoughtful Catholic’s faith—and any thoughtful Catholic’s perception of the challenges Catholics face today. Continue Reading »

Mission Time

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The Office of Readings for the solemnity of the Ascension offers a lovely excerpt from one of St. Augustine’s sermons “de Ascensione Domini,” in which the learned Bishop of Hippo takes as his text Colossians 3:1-2: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated, at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Continue Reading »

An Open Letter to the Patriarch of Moscow

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Your Holiness: Grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. Remembering with pleasure our meeting in Washington some years ago, I am prompted to write by what I once hoped was a common concern for the unity of Christ’s Church and a shared commitment to bridging the chasm that opened between America and Russia during the Cold War. Continue Reading »

John Paul and Francis at Yad Vashem

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As that familiar parody of bad fiction has it, “it was a dark and stormy night”—March 21, 2000, to be precise—when I made my way from the Jerusalem Hilton to the Notre Dame Center, to meet a Senior Vatican Official who had promised me a diskette with the addresses John Paul II would deliver during his epic visit to the Holy Land. The diskette was duly handed over, and back in my hotel room I browsed through the upcoming speeches, paying particular attention to what the Polish pope would say when he came to the Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem—a meeting about which there had been considerable controversy, involving considerable yammering. Continue Reading »

#BeatAdolf?

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The first fifteen minutes of Saving Private Ryan and the jump sequence in the second episode of Band of Brothers are vivid reminders of the extraordinary courage displayed on D-Day, seventy years ago. When I was a boy, Hollywood taught America about June 6, 1944, in The Longest Day: a fine movie, but rather antiseptic in its portrayal of World War II combat. The stark realism of the more recent films brings home, in a gut-wrenching way, the test of moral fiber involved when a man is asked to jump out of a C-47 into a flak-filled night sky, or to run down the ramp of a Higgins boat onto the killing fields of Omaha Beach. Continue Reading »