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

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Remembering Max Kampelman

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Some twenty-three years ago, Ambassador Max Kampelman”former nuclear arms reduction negotiator with the Soviet Union and Counselor to the Department of State”decided that I needed a bit of diplomatic experience and invited me to be a public member of the U.S. delegation he would lead to the Copenhagen meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, in the summer of 1990… . Continue Reading »

42 and Us

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Baseball and movies don’t often play well together. William Bendix as a Marine who dies happy in Guadalcanal Diary because he’s just heard that the Dodgers have won is an icon of 1940s Americana; the same William Bendix as the Bambino in The Babe Ruth Story is a sad business, to be consigned to the (bad) memory bank. … Continue Reading »

Impoverished Spirits

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Certain ritual encounters have now become standard operating procedure for a new pope. In each of these meetings, Pope Francis has done something surprising, in his low-key, gentle way. In a Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel with the College of Cardinals on the day after his election, the Holy Father raised cautions about clerical ambition … Continue Reading »

Cleaning Up the Engine Room

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If the conclave of 2005 was about continuity”extending the legacy of John Paul II by electing his closest theological advisor as his successor”the conclave of 2013 was about governance. The College of Cardinals came to Rome convinced that the incapacities of the Roman Curia over the previous eight years had become a serious obstacle to the Church’s evangelical mission … Continue Reading »

Cross-Centered Catholic Renewal

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In a Sistine Chapel homily given to the cardinals who had elected him pope the evening before, the new bishop of Rome, reflecting on the dialogue between Jesus and Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-25), challenged those who had just laid a great cross on his shoulders to deepen their own commitment to Christ crucified … Continue Reading »

Meeting Pope Francis

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ROME”When Pope Francis stepped out onto the central loggia of St. Peter’s on the night of March 13, I thought of the man I had met in his Buenos Aires office ten months before: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., who was looking forward to laying down the burden of leadership and devoting himself to prayer, reflection and study. … Continue Reading »

The Dynamics of Conclave 2013

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ROME”Despite an enormous amount of media chaff throughout April 2005, it was clear to those with eyes to see that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the obvious, leading candidate to succeed John Paul II. There is no such clear frontrunner in 2013, although even more journalistic chaff is being vented into the atmosphere … Continue Reading »

The Unique Impossibility of the Papacy

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ROME”At the point at which John Paul II began his papacy in the first volume of my biography of him, Witness to Hope, I borrowed some thoughts from Hans Urs von Balthasar and tried to explain a bit of the uniqueness of the papal office: To be pope is to take on a task that is, by precise theological definition, impossible… . Continue Reading »