George Weigel

The Catholic Difference

George Weigel

Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His column is distributed by the Denver Catholic.

An epistolary romp through Catholicism

September 01, 2015

In 2003, Elizabeth Maguire, publisher of Basic Books, made a proposal: I should write Letters to a Young Catholic as part of a series she was doing that included volumes like Letters to a Young Contrarian, Letters to a Young Chef, Letters to a Young Golfer, Letters to a Young Lawyer, and so forth. Liz… Read more »

Catacomb time?

August 25, 2015

A procession in the Catacomb of Callixtus; painting by Alberto Pisa

At Christmas 1969, Professor Joseph Ratzinger gave a radio talk with the provocative title, “What Will the Future Church Look Like?” (You can find it in Faith and the Future, published by Ignatius Press). One of the concluding paragraphs was destined to become perhaps the most quoted excerpt from Ratzinger’s extensive bibliography, when Professor Ratzinger… Read more »

The deeper issue at the Synod

August 18, 2015

Looking back on the controversy that preceded Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, I get the impression that there was an even deeper issue in play than the question of the morally appropriate means to regulate human fertility. Underneath that debate, another issue was being contested: How should Catholics do moral theology? The forces… Read more »

The perils of “preferred peers”

August 11, 2015

  On Catholic campuses that aspire to Top Ten or Top Twenty status in publicity sweepstakes like the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, one sometimes hears the phrase “preferred peers.” Translated into plain English from faux-sociologese, that means the schools to which we’d like to be compared (and be ranked with). At a… Read more »

Taking the “long view” on Russia

August 04, 2015

Queried about the Holy See’s less-than-vigorous response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, senior Vatican officials are given to saying (often with a dismissive tone, as if the question came from a dim-wit), “We take the long view.” On the diplomatic side, that “long view” seems to be a reprise of the Ostpolitik of Agostino Casaroli,… Read more »

The amazing, and now Venerable, Father Al

August 03, 2015

  At an inch or so over five feet and weighing, I would guess, something on the underside of 100 pounds, Sister Winnie, a soft spoken Filipina, is not your typical dinner speaker. Yet a few weeks ago she held a room full of Washingtonians spellbound with her story – which is also the story… Read more »

Flannery O’Connor and Catholic realism

August 03, 2015

  From this vale of tears, one can never be sure about the boundaries of acceptable behavior at the Throne of Grace. Is laughter at earthly foibles permitted? Encouraged? I like to think so. Which inclines me to believe that, this past June 3, Miss Mary Flannery O’Connor of Milledgeville, Georgia, was having herself a… Read more »

Progressive Catholic authoritarianism: an enduring problem

July 14, 2015

Back in the day (the late 1960s or thereabouts), Father Andrew Greeley – the model of an old-fashioned liberal Catholic – accused Father Daniel Berrigan (the beau ideal of post-conciliar Catholic radicalism) of harboring an authoritarian streak in his politics. By which Greeley meant that, were Berrigan and his radical friends to achieve power, their… Read more »

Cuban hopes for the papal visit

July 07, 2015

In early June, the distinguished Catholic editor Dagoberto Valdés Hernández, a leader of the Cuban democratic opposition, gave a lecture at Georgetown and reprised its main points later that day at the National Endowment for Democracy (on whose bipartisan board I serve). Mr. Valdés has thought long and hard about the challenges of democratic transition… Read more »