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

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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

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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

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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 »

A New Take on Modern Catholic History

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When did modern Catholicism begin? The conventional wisdom says, “at Vatican II.” A sophisticated version of the conventional wisdom says, “with the mid-twentieth-century Catholic reform movements that shaped Vatican II.” In Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church, I suggest that even the sophisticated form of the conventional wisdom doesn’t open the lens widely enough… . Continue Reading »

The Rise of Evangelical Catholicism

From Web Exclusives

For more than thirty years it’s been my privilege to explore the Catholic Church in all its extraordinary variety and diversity. I’ve traveled from inner-city parishes to the corridors of the Vatican; from the barrios of Bogotá to the streets of Dublin; across the United States and throughout Europe, Latin America, Oceania, and the Holy Land… . Continue Reading »

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

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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

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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

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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 »