Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

George Weigel


  • Books for Christmas

    It’s been a good year for publishing – at least in the sense of a lot of good books getting published – so here are some for the readers on your Christmas gift list (in addition, of course, to “Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II” [Basic Books], by your scribe):
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  • A meditation on ‘Maranatha’

    Happy (real) new year: the beginning of a new year of grace, which began December 3 with the First Sunday of Advent.
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  • As the Bard might say….

    Four centuries after his death, Shakespeare remains a peerless playwright because of his remarkable insight into the human condition.
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  • Murderers’ row, Soviet-style

    One hundred years ago, on Nov. 7, 1917, Lenin and his Bolshevik party expropriated the chaotic Russian people’s revolution that had begun eight months earlier, setting in motion modernity’s first experiment in totalitarianism.
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  • Whose bourgeois morality?

    In the latest round of debate over “Amoris Laetitia,” Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family, a fervent defender of the document sniffed at some of its critics that “the magisterium doesn’t bow to middle-class lobbies” and cited “Humanae Vitae” as an example of papal tough-mindedness in the face of bourgeois cultural pressures.
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  • Fencing with bigots

    … being an imaginary dialogue between a nominee to a federal appeals court and members of the Committee on the Judiciary of what once imagined itself “the world’s greatest deliberative body”…
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  • The transmigration of theological nonsense

    During the Long Lent of 2002, Sister Betsy Conway, who lived in the Bostonian epicenter of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, spoke for many self-identified progressive Catholics when she told syndicated columnist Michael Kelly, “This is our church, all of us, and we need to take it back.”
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  • Speaker Ryan invites a social doctrine conversation

    CNN is not the customary locale-of-choice for a catechesis on Catholic social doctrine. But that’s what Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, offered viewers of a CNN national town hall meeting on the evening of Aug. 21.
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  • Motown and the turbocharged church

    Detroit hasn’t gotten a lot of good press in recent decades as it’s struggled to cope with the myriad problems of rustbelt American cities in the age of globalization.
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  • Ecumenism, influence envy, etc.

    Defending the indefensible is never pretty. Or so we’re reminded by recent attempts from the portside of the Catholic commentariat to defend the madcap analysis of America’s alleged “ecumenism of hate” that appeared last month in the Italian Catholic journal, La Civiltà Cattolica (edited by the Jesuits of Rome and published after vetting by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See).
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  • Are jihadis ‘losers’?

    When I first visited Israel in 1988, my friend Professor Menahem Milson, a distinguished Arabist at Hebrew University who was Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s military aide during Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, told me that “you have to meet my friend, Colonel Yigal Carmon.”
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  • Way beyond the new atheist nonsense

    Given the intellectual flimsiness of their work, it’s best to look for cultural causes to explain the “new atheists” popularity. And surely one factor here is the now-canonical notion in Western high culture that biblical religion is incompatible with modern natural science: An idea rooted in the notion that the “scientific method” is the only way to get at the truth. (William Shakespeare, call your office.)
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  • Let’s not make a deal … at least this deal

    Helping those who have broken away from the Catholic Church come back into full communion is a noble endeavor. But such reconciliations cannot be conducted as if they were the ecclesiastical equivalent of labor negotiations: You give a bit here, we’ll give a bit there.
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  • The power of the cross

    Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) – a theologian who came to prominence in the Victorian age – can help us check the church’s spiritual pulse in the postmodern 21st century, thanks to his prescient sense of the deep cultural currents shaping (and warping) Western civilization. Thus on Aug. 26, 1832, Newman preached a sermon, “The Religion of the Day,” that bears reflection during Holy Week 2017:
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  • Waugh’s ‘Helena,’ Father General, and the reality of revelation

    Evelyn Waugh’s slim and critically unappreciated novel “Helena” was something of a literary experiment for a modern master of English literature.
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  • Persuasive disciples, not anarchic disrupters

    We are living through a dangerous moment in our national life, of an intensity and potential for destruction unseen since 1968.
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  • Theology isn’t math; but it is theology

    During the heyday of the solidarity movement, a famous Polish slogan had it that, “For Poland to be Poland, 2 + 2 Must Always = 4.”
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  • New Year’s wishes for some Catholic brethren

    2017 promises to be a challenging year for the Catholic Church. Thus some new year’s wishes:
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  • Books for Christmas

    It’s been a good reading year and I highly recommend the following to the readers on your Christmas (not “holiday”) shopping list:
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  • The grittiness of Christian faith

    JERUSALEM – Walking through the narrow, winding streets of Jerusalem’s Old City on my first visit here in 15 years, I was powerfully struck once again by the grittiness of Christianity, the palpable connection between the faith and the quotidian realities of life.
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