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

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Pacem in Terris at 50

From Web Exclusives

In the course of preparing The End and the Beginning, the second volume of my biography of John Paul II, I was struck by a historical coincidence that isn’t much remarked these days: The opening of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 coincided almost precisely with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Pope John XXIII solemnly opened the council on October 11 … Continue Reading »

The Last Laugh of Alfredo Ottaviani

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Despite his humble origins as a baker’s son from Trastevere, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, longtime curial head of the Holy Office (“successor to the Inquisition,” in journalese) and scourge of the nouvelle théologie of the 1950s, was a formidable figure in pre-conciliar Catholicism. Ottaviani’s approach to theology was neatly summarized in the Latin motto of his cardinalatial coat of arms, Semper Idem [Always the Same] … Continue Reading »

U.S. Catholics: Overly Assimilated?

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With his new book, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America, mild-mannered Russell Shaw has become the bull in the china shop of U.S. Catholic history, knocking heroes off pedestals and overturning conventional story-lines”all in aid of trying to understand why the Church in America is in a precarious position today … Continue Reading »

Tribulation Compounded by Blasphemy

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As the Revised Standard Version renders the fourteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas remind the proto-Christians of Antioch that it is only “through many tribulations” that we enter the Kingdom of God. The New American Bible translation drives the point home even more sharply: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” … Continue Reading »

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

From Web Exclusives

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 »