George Weigel

Stories by George Weigel

  • The War Against Jihadism

    Why can't we call the enemy by its name? We're going to have to in order to win.
  • Romney’s JFK Moment

    Whether or not Mitt Romney scores political points with his religion speech, he eloquently defended the notion that religiously informed morality has a role to play in civic discourse.
  • Book Excerpt: 'Jesus of Nazareth'

    Book Excerpt: John wonders why Jesus has come down to the river. The answer is in the Cross and the salvation of the world.
  • Lessons from an Archbishop’s Fall

    The dramatic resignation this past Sunday of the newly installed archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, who admitted to having agreed to collaborate with the Polish secret police after initially denying any such involvement, has brought into the full glare of international attention a debate that has roiled the Catholic Church in Poland for two years: how should the church respond to the secret police files that are now housed in Poland’s Institute of National Memory (IPN, in the Polish acronym)? Under Polish law, those files are available to both victims of communist-era persecution and legitimate historical researchers; historians had previously learned, and written, that several prominent Polish priests had collaborated, in different ways, with Poland’s communist authorities. The Wielgus affair, which exploded over a period of two brief weeks, is the first time allegations of collaboration have touched a man who subsequently became a member of the Polish hierarchy.The IPN...
  • A Question of Freedom

    Rome and Constantinople formally parted ways via mutual excommunications in 1054, after centuries of controversy in which geography and language played perhaps as large a role as controverted questions of theology and liturgical practice. However we understand the reasons for the split between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, those mutual excommunications opened up a religious and psychological fault line that would have profound historical consequences throughout the second millennium of Christian history. Ever since the historic 1964 meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, Catholic theologians and Orthodox scholars have worked to close the breach formalized almost a thousand years ago so that the church could once again "breathe with both lungs," as the late Pope John Paul II liked to put it. So when Pope Benedict XVI, successor of the apostle Peter, goes to Istanbul on Nov. 28 to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, successor of the...

    Judging from the hysteria in some quarters after his election, you might have thought Pope Benedict XVI was ordering boxes of freshly polished thumbscrews to be brought to the papal apartments from the bowels of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ("... formerly known as the Inquisition...")--while concurrently issuing orders for the rusty guillotine that served the 19th-century Papal States to be hauled out of storage and reassembled in the Cortile San Damaso of the Apostolic Palace. All of which, of course, fits the regnant caricature of Joseph Ratzinger as "God's Rottweiler." To which those who know him can only say, "Rot."I've had the privilege of being in conversation with the new pope for 17 years. He is one of only two men I know who, in answering a question, pauses, reflects--and then speaks in complete paragraphs (in his fourth language). Like his great papal predecessor, he has a searching curiosity about ideas, arguments, books and personalities. African, Asian...

    All lives run along a set of rails: family background, native abilities, education, interests and habits. Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, was a man whose life ran along a particularly broad-gauged rail bed. He was the most visible human being in history, having been seen live by more people than any man who ever lived; yet he had a deeply ingrained sense of privacy and an old-fashioned, even courtly, sense of manners. He inspired tens of millions of people by the intensity of his faith; yet he was a mystic who found it impossible to describe some of his own most profound religious experiences. He was arguably the most well-informed man of his time; yet he rarely read newspapers. He had a profound impact on the late 20th century; yet he was completely convinced that culture, not politics or economics, was the engine that drove history. He had a deep appreciation of untutored popular piety; yet he was a world-class intellectual insatiably curious about the latest trends in...