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

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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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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

From Web Exclusives

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 »

Evangelical Catholicism

From the March 2013 Print Edition

The deep reform of the Catholic Church has been underway since the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903), which marked a decisive break with the essentially defensive strategy Pope Pius IX and his immediate predecessors had adopted toward cultural and political modernity. Outlined in vitro in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Evangelical Reform of the Church

From Web Exclusives

Hans Kung, out there on the far left fringes of Catholicism, has ideas about the reform of the Catholic Church; so does Bernard Fellay, the schismatic bishop and leader of the hard-right Lefebvrists. The National Catholic Reporter has its notions of Catholic reform; so does the National Catholic Register; neither is likely to agree with the other about the proper reform agenda… . Continue Reading »

The Legacy of Benedict XVI

From Web Exclusives

At his election in 2005, some thought of him as a papal place-keeper: a man who would keep the Chair of Peter warm for a few years until a younger papal candidate emerged. In many other ways, and most recently by his remarkably self-effacing decision to abdicate, Joseph Ratzinger proved himself a man of surprises. What did he accomplish, and what was left undone, over a pontificate of almost eight years? … Continue Reading »