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

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Toward a Just Order

From the February 2013 Print Edition

A half century ago, John Courtney Murray’s response to Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris raised issues that, as Paul Miller’s essay makes plain, remain at the center of the foreign-policy debate. The pope’s “acute sense of the basic need of the new age is evident in the word . . . . Continue Reading »

The Marriage Debate III: The Nature of Things

From Web Exclusives

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago is, arguably, the most intellectually accomplished bishop in the history of the American episcopate. Earlier this year, when the Illinois legislature began to consider changing state law to “accommodate those of the same sex who wish to ‘marry’ one another” (as the cardinal put it), Professor George gave the readers of his column in the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper a lesson in metaphysics”and, I suspect, a high-voltage intellectual jolt … Continue Reading »

Pro-Life Rising, Forty Years after Roe v. Wade

From Web Exclusives

Forty years ago, on Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade, one of the two worst decisions in its history. The court’s first mega-error, the 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, declared an entire class of human beings beyond the protection of the laws; Roe v. Wade declared another class of human beings, the unborn, beyond legal protection… . Continue Reading »

The Marriage Debate II: What States Really Can’t Do

From Web Exclusives

In his acute analysis of the character and institutions of the United States, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, a nineteenth-century French liberal, stressed the importance of what we call “civil society.” American democracy, Tocqueville understood, wasn’t just a matter of the state, here, and the individual, there. Between the state (or government) and the people there were the many free, voluntary associations that formed the sinews and musculature of America. … Continue Reading »

The Marriage Debate I: Confusions about ‘Equality’ and ‘Discrimination’

From Web Exclusives

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments about the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 guarantees that the debate over marriage will be at the forefront of American public life for the foreseeable future. DOMA defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman for purposes of federal law (it says nothing about what states may or may not define as marriage)… . Continue Reading »

A Benedict XVI Epiphany

From Web Exclusives

The solemnity of the Epiphany typically gets short shrift in Latin-rite Catholicism, for while Eastern Christianity lifts up the Epiphany as the apex of the Christmas season, Epiphany in the Western Church tends to get overwhelmed by the tsunami of Christmas, both liturgically and (especially) culturally… . Continue Reading »

A Pastoral Opportunity Lost?

From Web Exclusives

At their annual November meeting, the U.S. bishops failed to approve a pastoral message on the economy. “The Hope of the Gospel in Difficult Economic Times” was approved by a clear majority of the bishops voting, but objections raised in large part by retired bishops were sufficient to deny the document the supermajority it needed. All of which strikes me as a lost opportunity… . Continue Reading »

Christmas: Cure for Cynicism and Irony

From Web Exclusives

In a sermon broadcast on the BBC on December 25, 1950, Monsignor Ronald Knox observed that “we make a holiday of Christmas only if we have the strength of mind to creep up the nursery stairs again, and pretend that we never came down them.” In my case, the stairs in question led, not to a nursery, but to the children’s bedroom I shared with my brother at 1 Regester Avenue in the Baltimore suburb of Rodgers Forge… . Continue Reading »

Books for Christmas: ‘12 Edition

From Web Exclusives

The most intellectually exciting book I read this past year was Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Eerdmans). Unfolding his research like a detective story and deploying the most contemporary scholarship on what actually counted as “history” in the ancient world, Professor Bauckham makes a powerful case that the gospels may in fact put us in touch with those who knew the Lord, and certainly put us in touch with those who knew those who knew the Lord. Give it to any priest or deacon you know who preaches out of the “that didn’t really happen”/historical-critical playbook; but get yourself a copy, too… . Continue Reading »

The Abuse Plague Is Universal

From Web Exclusives

A startling sexual abuse scandal recently broke out in Great Britain. The villain was the late Sir Jimmy Savile, a celebrated (if talent-free) BBC disc jockey and children’s TV-show host who, it turns out, serially abused young women for four decades”perhaps as many as a thousand girls, according to investigators from Scotland Yard, one of the fourteen police jurisdictions digging into his crimes. … Continue Reading »