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

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JFK After 50 Years

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On Nov. 22, 1963, the seventh grade at Baltimore’s Cathedral School was in gym class when we got word that President Kennedy had been shot. A half-hour later, while we were climbing the stairs back to 7B’s classroom, Sister Dolorine’s voice came over the p.a., announcing that the president was dead. Walking into 7B, my classmates and I saw something that shocked us as much as the news we’d just heard: our tough-love homeroom teacher, a young School Sister of Notre Dame, was sobbing, her faced buried in her arms on her desk. . . . Continue Reading »

Georgian Delights

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The Rev. George William Rutler, S.T.D., a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a man of parts: graduate of Dartmouth, Oxford, and Rome’s Angelicum (“the Dominican faculty that flunked Galileo,” he informs me); linguist, painter, violinist, and boxer; preacher extraordinaire. One of Catholicism’s most successful pastors, he has been a magnet attracting converts and vocations for decades. Fr. Rutler is also that contemporary clerical rarity, an accomplished man of letters who writes as gracefully as he speaks (or throws a punch, or paints a watercolor, or pours you another glass of champagne). . . . Continue Reading »

Doing Rome at Home

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In the middle centuries of the first millennium, the Bishop of Rome celebrated the Eucharist with his people during Lent in a striking way. Each day, the pope would lead a procession of Roman clergy and laity from one church (the collecta, or gathering point) to another, the statio or “station” of that day. There, over the relics of one of the Roman Church’s martyrs, Mass was celebrated and a communal meal that broke the daylong Lenten fast followed. Over time, this annual tradition was formalized into the Roman station church pilgrimage . . . Continue Reading »

The Church Persecuted

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Each issue of the admirable ecumenical journal, Touchstone, includes a department called “The Suffering Church.” It’s a title that Catholics of a certain age associate with purgatory; in Touchstone’s vocabulary, however, “the Church suffering” is the Church being purified here and now by persecution. It’s a useful reminder of a hard fact… . Continue Reading »

Children as Commodities

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The Council of the District of Columbia is considering a bill, sponsored by its most aggressively activist gay member, to legalize surrogate child-bearing in your nation’s capital. Infertility is a heart-rending problem. But solving that problem is not what’s at issue here … Continue Reading »

Evangelical Catholicism: Response to Cavadini

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I am grateful to my friend John Cavadini for his searching review of Evangelical Catholicism. Despite employing a slightly jarring method (erect straw man; concede that straw man is, in fact, straw man; suggest that author should have “blocked” the possibility of anyone erecting straw man), Cavadini raises important questions about the relationship between Christology and ecclesiology that will help clarify the theological architecture and missionary imperative of the evangelical Catholic project, which has been embraced by Pope Francis in his first months as Bishop of Rome… . Continue Reading »

A Papal Canonization Doubleheader

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I doubt that Pope Francis has heard of Ernie Banks, the Hall of Fame shortstop. But like “Mr. Cub,” whose love for baseball led him to exclaim “Let’s play two!” before Sunday doubleheaders in the 1950s, the pope from the end of the world seems to think that papal canonizations are better in tandem: hence the Sept. 30 announcement that Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II will be canonized together on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, 2014… . Continue Reading »

Misreading Murray, Yet Again

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From his present location in the communion of saints, Father John Courtney Murray, S.J., who died in 1967, is probably indifferent to the various ways his work on Catholicism and American democracy is misconstrued in the 21st century. But those who think that Murray still has something to teach Catholics about the American experiment in ordered liberty must regret that Murray’s thinking continues to be misrepresented in some Catholic quarters and misapplied in others… . Continue Reading »

Middle East Reality Check

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The humanitarian and strategic disaster of Syria should focus Catholic minds on the hard fact that there is no easy or quick path to peace in the Middle East, a very dangerous part of the world where Christians of all persuasions are at daily risk of their lives. Two recently published books will help those eager to get beyond media sound-bites, wishful thinking, and vague pieties in order to think seriously about the realities that must be faced in a region with too little geography and too much history, where religiously-inspired passion too often leads to murder… . Continue Reading »

In the Land of Crosses

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SIAULIAI, LITHUANIA”No one knows when pious Lithuanians first erected crosses of all sizes on a hill about seven miles north of the city of Siauliai; it may have been after an abortive 1831 uprising against Russian rule over the small Baltic country. Oftentimes, the bodies of Lithuanian patriots killed during that rebellion, and a similar revolt in 1863, could not be found. … Continue Reading »