George Weigel

George Weigel (born 1951) is an American author, political analyst, and social activist. He currently serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation. He is the author of the best-selling biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope and Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace.

George Weigel
George weigel 8948
Born17 April 1951 (age 68)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Alma mater
GenreEssayist; public policy

Career and personal life

Weigel was born and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended St. Mary's Seminary and University. In 1975 he received a Master of Arts degree from the University of St. Michael's College with a thesis entitled Karl Rahner's Theology of the Incarnation in Light of his Philosophy of Transcendental Anthropology. He has received 18 honorary doctorate degrees, as well as the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal from the Polish Ministry of Culture.

Weigel lived in the Compton area, serving as Assistant Professor of Theology and Assistant Dean of Studies at the St. Thomas the Apostle Seminary School of Theology in Kenmore, Washington, and Scholar-in-Residence at the World Without War Council of Greater Seattle, before returning to Washington, DC, as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Weigel served as the founding president of the James Madison Foundation (not to be confused with the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation) from 1986 to 1989.[1] In 1994, he was a signer of the document Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

He currently serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow and Chair of Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC.

Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Kraków, in which they and an assortment of students from the United States, Poland, and several other emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe discuss Christianity within the context of liberal democracy and capitalism, with the papal encyclical Centesimus annus being the focal point.

Weigel and his spouse Joan live in north Bethseda, Maryland. They have three children.

He is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[2] Weigel writes and serves on the board for the Institute for Religion and Public Life, which publishes First Things, an ecumenical publication that focuses on encouraging a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.


The main body of Weigel's writings engage the issues of religion and culture.

Weigel advocates a US foreign policy guided not by utopian notions about how nations should behave, but by moral reasoning.[3][4]

From the Iliad to Tolstoy and beyond, that familiar trope, "the fog of war," has been used to evoke the millennia–old experience of the radical uncertainty of combat. Some analysts, however, take the trope of "the fog of war" a philosophical step further and suggest that warfare takes place beyond the reach of moral reason, in a realm of interest and necessity where moral argument is a pious diversion at best and, at worst, a lethal distraction from the deadly serious business at hand.[5]

In some cases, he adds, moral reasoning may require that the United States support authoritarian regimes to fend off the greater evils of moral decay and threats to the security of the United States. For Weigel, America's shortcomings do not excuse her from pursuing the greater moral good.

Weigel achieved much fame for writing Witness to Hope, a biography of the late Pope John Paul II, which was also made into a documentary film.[6]

In 2004 Weigel wrote an article in Commentary magazine entitled "The Cathedral and the Cube" in which he used the contrast between the modernist Grande Arche de la Défense, and the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, both located in Paris, France, to illustrate what he called a loss of "civilizational morale" in Western Europe, which he tied to the secular tyrannies of the 20th century, along with, more recently, plummeting birthrates and Europe's refusal to recognize the Christian roots of its culture. The article helped to popularize the word Christophobia,[7] a term coined by the Jewish legal scholar Joseph Weiler, in 2003.[8]

Weigel questions whether Europe can give an account of itself while denying the very moral tradition through which its culture arose: "Christians who share this conviction (that it is the will of God that Christians be tolerant of those who have a different view of God's will) – can give an account of their defense of the other's freedom even if the other, skeptical and relativist, finds it hard to give an account of the freedom of the Christian." This is a theme sounded clearly by Marcello Pera and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (from 2005 to 2013 Pope Benedict XVI), in their book Without Roots: the West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, for which Weigel authored the foreword.[9] In 2005, he expanded the article into a book, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God.

Following the controversial September 2006 lecture of Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg, Weigel defended the Pope's call for interreligious dialogue based on reason.[10][11]

In January 2009, Weigel expressed concern on the lifting of the excommunications of the bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X, essentially because the group has been critical of some aspects of the Second Vatican Council, especially its teaching on religious liberty, which Weigel strongly defends.[12][13][14][15]



  • The Fragility of Order: Catholic Reflections on Turbulent Times, Ignatius Press, 2018, ISBN 978-1621642374
  • Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II, Basic Books, 2017, ISBN 978-0-465-09429-5
  • City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II's Kraków, Crown Publishing Group, 2015, Co-Authors: Carrie Gress, Stephen Weigel ISBN 978-0553418903
  • Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches, Basic Books, 2013, Co-Authors: Elizabeth Lev, Stephen Weigel ISBN 978-0465027699
  • Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Catholic Church, Basic Books, 2013, ISBN 978-0-465-02768-2
  • The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II–The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, Doubleday, 2010, ISBN 978-0-385-52479-7
  • Against the Grain: Christianity and Democracy, War and Peace, Crossroad, 2008, ISBN 0-8245-2448-9.
  • Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action, Doubleday, 2007, ISBN 978-0-385-52378-3.
  • God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, Harper Collins, 2005, ISBN 0-06-621331-2.
  • The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God, Basic Books, 2005, ISBN 0-465-09266-7.
  • Letters to a Young Catholic, Basic Books, 2004, ISBN 0-465-09262-4.
  • The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church, Basic Books, 2002, ISBN 0-465-09260-8.
  • The Truth of Catholicism: Ten Controversies Explored, Harper Collins, 2001, ISBN 0-06-621330-4.
  • Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, Harper Collins, 1999, ISBN 0-06-018793-X.
  • Soul of the World: Notes on the Future of Public Catholicism, Eerdmans, 1996, ISBN 0802842070.
  • The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism, Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-19-507160-3.
  • Just War and the Gulf War, Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1991, ISBN 0-89633-166-0.
  • Freedom and Its Discontents: Catholicism Confronts Modernity, Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1991, ISBN 0-89633-158-X.
  • American Interests, American Purpose: Moral Reasoning and U.S. Foreign Policy, Praeger Publishers, 1989, ISBN 0-275-93335-0.
  • Catholicism and the Renewal of American Democracy, Paulist Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8091-3043-2.
  • Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace, Oxford University Press, 1987, ISBN 0-19-504193-3.


  1. ^ Weigel, George. Right Web, April 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "National Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  3. ^ George Weigel, American Interests, American Purpose: Moral Reasoning and U.S. Foreign Policy (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1989).
  4. ^ America and the World. By George Weigel. Ethics and Public Policy Center.
  5. ^ George Weigel, Moral Clarity in a Time of War, First Things, January 2003.
  6. ^ Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, HarperCollins, 1999. ISBN 0-06-018793-X.
  7. ^ The Cathedral and the Cube: Reflections on European Morale. To understand the continent's political incapacity, it helps to look beyond politics. By George Weigel. Commentary, June 1st, 2004.
  8. ^ (in Italian) Weiler, Joseph H. Un'Europa cristiana. Un saggio esplorativo. Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli, 2003
  9. ^ Weigel, George (2004-12-24). "Politics Without God?". Zenit News Agency. Innovative Media, Inc. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  10. ^ Weigel, George (2006-09-24). "The Pope and Islam". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
  11. ^ Weigel, George (2007-11-30). "Reading Regensburg Right". Archived from the original on 2008-10-26. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  12. ^ Weigel, George (2009-01-26). "Rome's Reconciliation". Newsweek. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  13. ^ Voice of Catholic Radio. Interview with John Salza about the Society of Saint Pius X (mp3)
  14. ^ Lets not make a deal... At least this deal, by George Weigel. First Things, April 4, 2017
  15. ^ George Weigel, The SSPX, and Catholic Dissent. By Thomas Storck. Ethika Politika, May 12, 2017]

External links

College of Bishops

College of Bishops is a term used in the Catholic Church to denote the collection of those bishops who are in communion with the Pope. Under Canon Law, a college is a collection (Latin collegium) of persons united together for a common object so as to form one body. The Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is the head of the college.

Cuba–Holy See relations

Cuba–Holy See relations are foreign relations between the Holy See and Cuba.

Three Popes have visited Cuba:

John Paul II

Benedict XVI


Dives in misericordia

Dives in misericordia (Latin: Rich in Mercy) is the name of the second encyclical written by Pope John Paul II. It is a modern examination of the role of mercy—both God's mercy, and also the need for human mercy—introducing the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son as a central theme. The original text was written in longhand in Polish. The encyclical was promulgated on 30 November 1980.

(Dives in misericordia is also the title of an apostolic letter of Pope Pius IX issued in November 1877 proclaiming St. Francis de Sales a Doctor of the Church.)

Don J. Briel

Don J. Briel (January 28, 1947 – February 15, 2018) was an American theologian who held the Blessed John Henry Newman Chair of Liberal Arts at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota from August 2014 until his death in 2018. He was the founder of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he held the Koch Chair of Catholic Studies and served as Director from 1993 to 2014.

Early life of Pope John Paul II

The early life of Pope John Paul II covers the period in his life from his birth in 1920 to his ordination to the priesthood in 1946.

Ethics and Public Policy Center

The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) is a conservative Washington, D.C.-based think tank and advocacy group. Founded in 1976, the group describes itself as "dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy", and advocacy of founding principles such as the rule of law. The EPPC is active in a number of ways, including hosting lectures and conferences, publishing written work from the group's scholars, and running programs intended to explore areas of public concern and interest.

The EPPC's current president is Edward Whelan, who previously worked as an official in the United States Department of Justice. Yuval Levin serves as vice president, replacing Michael Cromartie, former chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, while George Weigel, Catholic theologian and papal biographer, is distinguished senior fellow.

The EPPC is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization and currently employs 20 individuals. According to Hoover's, the EPPC's annual sales total $2.47 million while their annual income totals $283,900.

First Things

First Things is an ecumenical, conservative and, in some views, neoconservative religious journal aimed at "advanc[ing] a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society". The magazine, which focuses on theology, liturgy, church history, religious history, culture, education, society and politics, is inter-denominational and inter-religious, representing a broad intellectual tradition of Christian and Jewish critique of contemporary society.

Published by the New York-based Institute on Religion and Public Life (IRPL), First Things is published monthly, except for bi-monthly issues covering June/July and August/September. The journal's name is often abbreviated to FT.

First Things was founded in March 1990 by Richard John Neuhaus, a prominent clergyman, intellectual, writer and activist. He started the journal, along with some long-time friends and collaborators, after his connection with the Rockford Institute was severed.With a circulation of approximately 30,000 copies, FT is considered to be influential in its articulation of a broad Christian Ecumenism and erudite social and political conservatism. George Weigel, a long-time contributor and IRPL board member, wrote in Newsweek that, after its founding, the journal "quickly became, under [Neuhaus's] leadership and inspiration, the most important vehicle for exploring the tangled web of religion and society in the English-speaking world." Ross Douthat wrote that, through FT, Neuhaus demonstrated "that it was possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian".

Holy See–Soviet Union relations

Holy See–Soviet Union relations were marked by a long-standing persecution of the Catholic Church by the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, criticized throughout the Cold War. After a long period of resistance to atheistic propaganda beginning with Benedict XV and reaching a peak under Pius XII, intensified after 1945, the Holy See attempted to enter in a pragmatic dialogue with Soviet leaders during the papacies of John XXIII and Paul VI. In the 1990s, Pope John Paul II's diplomatic policies were cited as one of the principal factors that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

James Michael Moynihan

James Michael Moynihan (July 6, 1932 – March 6, 2017) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the ninth Bishop of Syracuse.

Kraków Uprising (1944)

The Kraków Uprising was a planned but never realized uprising of the Polish Resistance against the German occupation in the city of Kraków during World War II.

List of After Words interviews first aired in 2005

After Words is an American television series on the C-SPAN2 network’s weekend programming schedule known as Book TV. The program is an hour-long talk show, each week featuring an interview with the author of a new nonfiction book. The program has no regular host. Instead, each author is paired with a guest host who is familiar with the author or the subject matter of their book.

Opus Dei and Catholic Church leaders

Opus Dei and Catholic Church Leaders discusses the comments and observations of Popes, Cardinals and other leaders of the Catholic Church as regards the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.

Pope John Paul II bibliography

The Pope John Paul II bibliography contains a list of works by Pope John Paul II, and works about his life and theology. Pope John Paul II reigned as pope of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City for 26 years and six months (October 1978–April 2005). Works written and published prior to his election to the papacy are attributed to Karol Wojtyła. Additional resources can be found on the Vatican website.

Richard John Neuhaus

Richard John Neuhaus (May 14, 1936 – January 8, 2009) was a prominent Christian cleric (first in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, then ELCA pastor and later as a Roman Catholic priest) and writer. Born in Canada, Neuhaus moved to the United States where he became a naturalized United States citizen. He was the longtime editor of the Lutheran Forum magazine newsletter and later founder and editor of the monthly journal First Things and the author of numerous books. A staunch defender of the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on abortion and other life issues, he served as an unofficial adviser to 43rd President George W. Bush on bioethical issues.

Rise Up (conference)

Rise Up is an annual conference run by Catholic Christian Outreach. It is the second-largest Catholic conference for youth in Canada (behind Steubenville Toronto), and drew 850 participants to the 2013 conference in Ottawa.Rise Up takes place every year from December 27 to January 1. It includes presentations, workshops, live worship, adoration, reconciliation, and a New Year's banquet and dance. It is designed to deepen students' spiritual lives and to motivate them to share the faith with others.

Robert Royal (author)

Robert Royal is a Catholic author and the president of the Faith & Reason Institute based in Washington, D.C.

Royal received his BA and MA from Brown University and his PhD from The Catholic University of America. He has taught at Brown University, Rhode Island College, and The Catholic University of America. From 1980 to 1982 he was editor-in-chief of Prospect magazine in Princeton, New Jersey. From 1986 to 1999 he served as vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, along with president George Weigel from 1989 to 1996.He is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing (TCT), an online publication he launched with Michael Novak. He also serves as the Graduate Dean of Catholic Distance University and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.Royal is generally conservative and a critic of secularism.

Theology of the Body

Theology of the Body is the topic of a series of 129 lectures given by Pope John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in St. Peter's Square and the Paul VI Audience Hall between September 5, 1979 and November 28, 1984. It constitutes an analysis on human sexuality. The complete addresses were later compiled and expanded upon in many of John Paul's encyclicals, letters, and exhortations.

In Theology of the Body, John Paul II intends to establish an adequate anthropology in which the human body reveals God. He examines man and woman before the Fall, after it, and at the resurrection of the dead. He also contemplates the sexual complementarity of man and woman. He explores the nature of marriage, celibacy and virginity, and expands on the teachings in Humanae vitae on contraception. According to author Christopher West, the central thesis of John Paul's Theology of the Body is that "the body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus to be a sign of it."At present the Theology of the Body has been widely used and included in the curriculum of the Marriage Preparation Course in the Catholic dioceses of the United States.

Tranquillitas ordinis

Tranquillitas ordinis is a Latin phrase meaning the "tranquility of order" or "well-ordered concord". The term is associated with the Roman Catholic tradition of just war theory, and is found in the writings of Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas. Depending on the author and the context, the term is used to convey various meanings in theology and politics. These meanings include the divine order imposed on the universe and a theoretical framework for peace. Tranquillitas ordinis remains a cornerstone of Catholic teaching on peace. It is included in the framework laid out by Pope John XXIII in his 1963 encyclical, Pacem in terris, and is a featured topic at The Global Quest for Tranquillitas Ordinis, a conference organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.


Weigel is a German surname. Notable people with this name include:

Andreas Weigel, German politician and member of the Bundestag

Beverly Weigel (b. 1940), New Zealand Olympic athlete

Christian Ehrenfried Weigel, German scientist

Christoph Weigel the Elder (1654–1725), German engraver, art dealer and publisher

David Weigel, American journalist and political commentator

Detlef Weigel (b. 1961), German American scientist

Erhard Weigel, German scientist

George Weigel, American writer and religious commentator

Hans Weigel, Austrian writer

Helene Weigel, Austrian actress

Herman Weigel, film producer and playwright

Johanna Weigel "Madame Weigel" (1847–1940), designer and publisher of dressmaking patterns in Australia

Ronald Weigel (b. 1959), German athlete

Teri Weigel, American porn actress

Valentin Weigel (1533–1588), German theologian, philosopher and mystical writer

William Weigel (1863–1936), US Army general commanding 88th Division in World War I

Jannine Weigel (b. 2000), Thai−German singer, actress and model

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