Evangelical Catholicism

Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church

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By George Weigel

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The Catholic Church is on the threshold of a bold new era in its two-thousand year history. As the curtain comes down on the Church defined by the 16th-century Counter-Reformation, the curtain is rising on the Evangelical Catholicism of the third millennium: a way of being Catholic that comes from over a century of Catholic reform; a mission-centered renewal honed by the Second Vatican Council and given compelling expression by Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

The Gospel-centered Evangelical Catholicism of the future will send all the people of the Church into mission territory every day — a territory increasingly defined in the West by spiritual boredom and aggressive secularism. Confronting both these cultural challenges and the shadows cast by recent Catholic history, Evangelical Catholicism unapologetically proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the truth of the world. It also molds disciples who witness to faith, hope, and love by the quality of their lives and the nobility of their aspirations. Thus the Catholicism of the 21st century and beyond will be a culture-forming counterculture, offering all men and women of good will a deeply humane alternative to the soul-stifling self-absorption of postmodernity.

Drawing on thirty years of experience throughout the Catholic world, from its humblest parishes to its highest levels of authority, George Weigel proposes a deepening of faith-based and mission-driven Catholic reform that touches every facet of Catholic life — from the episcopate and the papacy to the priesthood and the consecrated life; from the renewal of the lay vocation in the world to the redefinition of the Church’s engagement with public life; from the liturgy to the Church’s intellectual life. Lay Catholics and clergy alike should welcome the challenge of this unique moment in the Church’s history, Weigel urges. Mediocrity is not an option, and all Catholics, no matter what their station in life, are called to live the evangelical vocation into which they were baptized: without compromise, but with the joy, courage, and confidence that comes from living this side of the Resurrection.

Excerpt

MORE ADVANCE PRAISE FOR

Evangelical Catholicism:

“This remarkable book offers nothing less than a map and compass for men and women determined to take up the challenge of living the Catholic faith in its fullness under 21st-century conditions. With its bold call for ‘deep reform’ in every single corner of the Church, Evangelical Catholicism is sure to provoke lively discussion. The book’s proposals for true renewal are presented with the clarity and verve that have made George Weigel a peerless advocate of the courage to be Catholic.”

—Mary Ann Glendon, author of The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt

“George Weigel has been the leading diarist of authentic Catholic renewal—its progress, detours, personalities, and hopes—for 30 years. In Evangelical Catholicism he turns his extraordinary skills to the needs of the Church in the coming decades, calling us back to the missionary vocation we received at baptism and offering us a road map to faithful, vigorous Church reform. Rich in its vision, engaging in style, on target in its counsel, and invaluable for anyone trying to understand the Church and her challenges in the 21st century, this book should not be missed.”

—Most. Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

“A challenging, no-nonsense book that summons the Catholic Church to propose the Gospel without compromise in an ardent, joyful embrace of the new springtime of faith preached by Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.”

—Mario Paredes, Presidential Liaison for Roman Catholic Ministries, American Bible Society

“Catholics, especially bishops and priests, who are looking for an insightful and dynamic profile of the Church of the New Evangelization need to read this book soon.”

—Most Rev. Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland

“A timely, accessible and unusually insightful work.”

—Don J. Briel, Koch Chair in Catholic Studies, University of Saint Thomas




For Scott Newman
and Russell Hittinger




Where are the tongues of fire talking of God and his love? When do men speak of the “commandments” of God, not as a duty to be painfully observed, but as the glorious liberation of man from the enslavement of mortal fear and frustrating egoism? Where in the Church do men not only pray but also experience prayer as the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit, as glorious grace? . . . We talk too little of God in the Church or we talk about him in a dry, pedantic fashion, without any real vitality. . . . Only when the message of the living God is preached in the churches with all the power of the Spirit, will the impression disappear that the Church is merely an odd relic from the age of a society doomed to die. . . . And in turn profession of faith in Jesus as Christ and Lord, the decisive and final word of God in history, might become more alive, more joyous and spontaneous.

—KARL RAHNER, S.J.
—1974—

. . . Today we seem to be witnessing the birth of a new Catholicism that, without loss of its institutional, sacramental, and social dimensions, is authentically evangelical . . . [Catholicism] at its best has always promoted a deep personal relationship with Christ. In evangelizing we are required to lift our eyes to him and transcend all ecclesiocentrism. The Church is of importance but is not self-enclosed. It is a means of drawing the whole world into union with God through Jesus Christ. . . . The first and highest priority for the Church is to proclaim the good news concerning Jesus Christ as a joyful message to all the world. Only if the Church is faithful to its evangelical mission can it hope to make its distinctive contribution in the social, political, and cultural spheres.

—AVERY CARDINAL DULLES, S.J.
—1991—

The Church is called to a deep and profound rethinking of its mission. . . . It cannot retreat in response to those who see only confusion, dangers, and threats. . . . What is required is confirming, renewing, and revitalizing the newness of the Gospel . . . out of a personal and community encounter with Jesus Christ that raises up disciples and missionaries. . . .

A Catholic faith reduced to mere baggage, to a collection of rules and prohibitions, to fragmented devotional practices, to selective and partial adherence to the truths of faith, to occasional participation in some sacraments, to the repetition of doctrinal principles, to bland or nervous moralizing, that does not convert the life of the baptized would not withstand the trials of time. . . . We must all start again from Christ, recognizing [with Pope Benedict XVI] that “being Christian is . . . the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

—FIFTH GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE BISHOPS
OF
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
—2007—




PART ONE

The Vision of Evangelical Catholicism




CHAPTER ONE

Ends and Beginnings

AFEW BRIEF YEARS INTO THE PONTIFICATE OF BENEDICT XVI, A SALIENT fact about his successor was already known: the next pope—whoever he might be, wherever he may have been born, or whatever positions he had previously held—would not be a man who had participated in the Second Vatican Council.

Unlike Blessed John Paul II, who, as a young Polish bishop, played a significant role in drafting several of the Council’s documents, and unlike Benedict XVI, who as Father Joseph Ratzinger was a key theological adviser at Vatican II, the next Bishop of Rome will not have been present at the most significant Catholic event since the sixteenth-century Council of Trent. Indeed, should Benedict XVI live as long and full a life as the founder of the modern papacy—Leo XIII, who died at age ninety-three in 1903—his successor may not even have been born, or may have been in elementary school, when the Second Vatican Council met from 1962 to 1965. The next pope’s entire ecclesiastical life will have been spent in the turbulence of the postconciliar Catholic Church. Unlike his two immediate predecessors, the 265th successor of St. Peter will not have shared in the experience of Vatican II, which was decisive for both John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

When Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, at the age of seventy-eight, it was sometimes said that he would be a “transitional” pope—which was precisely what was said of seventy-seven-year-old John XXIII at his election in 1958. In both cases, the prediction turned out to be true, if not precisely in the way the prognosticators meant. For neither of these popes became the placeholders that predictors of their “transitional” papacies imagined; they became “transitional” in entirely different ways.

By summoning the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII tried to create the ecclesiastical conditions for a new Pentecost, a new and enlivening experience of the Holy Spirit that would enable the Church to enter the third millennium with renewed evangelical energy, engaging the modern world in a dialogue about humanity’s future. In the event, however, his Council provoked a crisis in Catholic identity that made the pontificate of Pope John’s successor, Paul VI, a longsuffering Via Crucis, a papal walking of the way of the Cross. By the time of Pope Paul’s death on August 6, 1978, both the papacy and the Catholic Church seemed exhausted and dispirited.

Then, after the brief “September papacy” of John Paul I, came the pope from Poland, John Paul II, who, at his first public Mass as Bishop of Rome, put evangelical heart and courage back into the Catholic Church by his bold summons to a fearlessness that would “open the doors to Christ!” For twenty-six and a half years, with the able assistance of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as his principal theological counselor, John Paul II did what had seemed impossible in 1978: he gave the Council an authoritative interpretation; led the Church into the kind of new Pentecost that John XXIII had envisioned, through the experience of the Great Jubilee of 2000; and pointed the Church firmly and confidently into the future, declaring that a “New Evangelization” would be the Catholic Church’s grand strategy in the twenty-first century and the third millennium.1 That grand strategy has been followed by Benedict XVI, whose pontificate has been one of dynamic continuity with that of his predecessor, whose accomplishment may lead history to remember him as Pope St. John Paul the Great.

The turbulence of Catholic life since Vatican II is often thought to have been caused by an ongoing ecclesiastical civil war between “progressives” and “conservatives” (or “traditionalists”), a taxonomy that became fixed in the public (and Catholic) mind during Vatican II and that has proven difficult to dislodge ever since. But dislodged it must be. For the progressive/conservative filter for reading Catholic life since Vatican II obscures far more than it illuminates. And what it most obscures is the deep reform that has been underway in the Church since Cardinal Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci was elected Bishop of Rome on February 20, 1878, taking the name Leo XIII. Pecci’s election, not the opening of Vatican II on October 11, 1962, is the date to which we must trace the birth of the twenty-first-century Church. For Leo XIII set in motion a profound transformation of Catholicism in which the Church slowly moved beyond the catechetical-devotional model that had been dominant since the sixteenth-century Counter-Reformation to a new model—a model that is best described as Evangelical Catholicism.

More than one and a quarter centuries after Leo XIII initiated it, that transformation is not by any means complete. Indeed, its completion will involve the further, deeper reform of the Catholic Church. That reform will reflect a radically regrounded idea of both Christian discipleship and of the Church’s task—an idea of discipleship and mission that synthesizes the growth of Catholic self-understanding from Leo XIII through Benedict XVI; that recognizes that the challenges of this unique moment in the history of world culture require a new and dynamic way of being Catholic that is in continuity with the authentic heritage of the Catholic past; and that calls the Church out of the stagnant shallows of institutional maintenance and points Catholicism into what John Paul II called “the deep” of a new millennium.2

Benedict XVI is, then, a “transitional pope,” in that, with his pontificate, the Catholic Church is indeed at the end of an era. But the end that is at hand carries within itself the fertile seed of the future. In that future, a deeply Catholic reform—a reform built on the twin foundation stones of Word and Sacrament—will enable the Church to respond with renewed energy to its Master’s Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” [Matthew 28.19].

The End of the Counter-Reformation

When Pope Pius IX died in 1878, many European statesmen and intellectuals imagined the papacy—and, by extension, the Catholic Church—to be finished as a force in human affairs. Having lost the Papal States, the pope was the “prisoner of the Vatican.” The rapidly expanding working class of an industrializing Europe was leaving the Church in large numbers, and European high culture was becoming increasingly secularized—indeed, hostile to biblical religion.3 And, while many remembered Pius IX as an admirable man who had been badly abused by his contemporaries (in reaction to which Pius IX was the first pope to become a figure of mass popular adulation), the image of “Pio No-No” hung heavily over the Church; for this, after all, was the pope who had said a resounding “No” to his times with his 1864 Syllabus of Errors, which condemned the notion that “the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.” On Pius IX’s death, the general atmospherics did little to suggest that Catholicism could recover from the beating it had taken since the French Revolution, which, along with its cultural and political offspring, had overthrown the old European regimes, shattered traditional ideas of authority, and severed the bond between Church and state that had defined crucial aspects of Catholic life since the Roman emperor Constantine.

Given the anticlerical passions that had shaped the Risorgimento (the unification of Italy in the nineteenth century), the cardinals who met to elect Pius’s successor were not even certain that they could conduct their business safely in Rome. Cardinal Henry Edward Manning of England even suggested moving the conclave of 1878 to Malta, so that it could meet under the protective guns of the Royal Navy.4 The cardinals eventually decided to stay in Rome, but they likely thought they were electing a placeholder when they chose the sixty-eight-year-old Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci as pope. In fact, what they did was set in motion the end of Counter-Reformation Catholicism, a process that has continued into the twenty-first century.

Pope Leo XIII enjoyed the third longest pontificate in reliably recorded history. And during a reign that lasted over a quarter of a century, he quietly, steadily, and doggedly set about creating the conditions for a new Catholic engagement with modern cultural, political, economic, and social life. He reformed the Church’s philosophical and theological mind by mandating a close reading of Thomas Aquinas’s original texts, which were to become the foundation from which to build a distinctive Catholic intellectual engagement with modernity.5 He was the papal father of modern Catholic biblical studies, which he thought necessary to meet the deconstructive aspect of the challenge posed by the historical-critical method of reading ancient texts.6 He fostered serious historical scholarship in an effort to determine what was truly enduring and constitutive—and what was transient—in the life of the Church.7 He also drew on the thinking of men such as the German Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler and Britain’s Manning to forge a new Catholic encounter with modern political and economic life, launching modern Catholic social doctrine with the 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum; its very title suggested an engagement with the “new things” of modernity, and thus a striking move beyond the blanket, antimodern rejectionism of Pius IX (which Leo understood to be the product of Pius’s unique circumstances and personality).8 His tacit approval of the American constitutional arrangement on church and state began the process by which the Catholic Church would embrace religious freedom at Vatican II as a fundamental human right. That, in turn, created the platform from which John Paul II, the man who bested Leo’s papal longevity record, would change the history of the twentieth century.9

Leo’s tomb in the Roman basilica of St. John Lateran neatly captures his epic achievement. The marble image of the deceased pontiff is not recumbent. Rather, the statue of Leo XIII depicts the Pope standing upright, right arm extended and foot thrust forward, as if inviting the world into a serious conversation about the human prospect—as if leading the Church out of the past and into a new, confident, evangelical future.

Viewed through this Leonine lens, Catholic history since Vatican II comes into a clearer focus than is possible when the viewing is done through the “progressive/conservative” prism that got set in analytic concrete during the Council. It is certainly true that, in the fifty-nine years between Leo’s death in 1903 and the opening of Vatican II in 1962, various forces contended within the Church over the path into the future; some of those forces wanted to shore up the crumbling ramparts of Counter-Reformation Catholicism, while others were more sympathetic to the basic thrust of the Leonine renewal. But if one understands just how much of Vatican II’s teaching was made possible because of the ground broken by Leo XIII, then it becomes possible to “see” beneath the surface confusions and contentions of contemporary Catholic history. And at that deeper level of perception, it becomes clear that what happened at Vatican II, and in the Church’s efforts to implement its teaching faithfully, cannot be understood simplistically as a struggle for ecclesiastical power between a party of the Left and a party of the Right. More was happening and more was at stake—much more.

If Leo XIII, the last pope of the nineteenth century and the first of the twentieth, is the starting point for understanding the deeper currents at work in late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century Catholicism, then Vatican II and what has happened since can be properly understood, and in depth. The Second Vatican Council brought to a moment of high drama the dynamic process begun by Leo’s reforms: the process of moving Catholicism beyond the Counter-Reformation. The pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI put an authoritative interpretation on Vatican II by treating the Council as one of reform through retrieval, renewal, and development, in which lost elements of the Church’s life that had been forgotten or marginalized during the Counter-Reformation were recovered and made into instruments of evangelical renewal. The interpretive framework created by the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI has, in turn, effectively put an end to two inadequate readings of Vatican II: the idea of the Council-as-rupture-with-the-past (typically advanced by the progressive camp), and the idea of the Council-as-terribly-mistaken-concession-to-modernity (the preferred trope of traditionalists).

In all of this, to repeat, something of far greater consequence than can be perceived through the distortions of the progressive/conservative filter was afoot. That something was nothing less than the end of an era—the era of Counter-Reformation Catholicism—and the birth of a new moment in Catholic history: the era of Evangelical Catholicism.

The Counter-Reformation Church, which sought to preserve Catholicism through simple, straightforward catechetical instruction and devotional piety, may well have been a necessity in the centuries between the fracturing of Western Christianity in the mid-sixteenth century and the cultural triumph of modernity during the nineteenth century. Counter-Reformation Catholicism gave birth to innumerable saints as the priesthood and consecrated religious life were reformed. It was the form of Catholicism that evangelized the New World; that sent great missionaries like Francis Xavier to India, Japan, and China, and Peter Chanel to Oceania; and that inspired Charles Martial Lavigerie to found the White Fathers, the Missionaries of Africa. It was the form of Catholicism that restored some measure of Catholic life to Great Britain, that survived the French Revolution, that held firm against Bismarck’s anti-Catholic Kulturkampf, and that stood fast against anticlerical persecutors in Mexico. It was the form of Catholicism that, under unprecedented conditions of religious freedom, planted the Church firmly in the new United States against the opposition of both Protestant bigots and Deist skeptics. It was the Catholicism in which a rich, populist devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary accelerated. And it was, in the main, the Catholicism that resisted the communist persecution of the Church, the worst such persecution in history.

But it was not a form of Catholicism that could successfully meet the full challenge of modernity, the response to which required more of Catholics than (to take American reference points) memorizing the Baltimore Catechism and wearing the Miraculous Medal. John Henry Newman knew this in mid-nineteenth-century Great Britain—as he knew that the answer to the challenge of modernity was not to be found in what he dismissed as “liberalism” in religion: religion as mere sentiment.10 Leo XIII knew this from his days as a nuncio in Belgium and a diocesan bishop in Perugia. And as Bishop of Rome, he began the process by which Counter-Reformation Catholicism would be supplanted.

Counter-Reformation Catholicism created Catholic cultures (or microcultures) that transmitted the faith as if by osmosis. But when the acids of modernity hit those Catholic cultures with full force—especially in the turbulence of the 1960s—those Catholic microcultures crumbled: in the urban-ethnic Catholic centers of the United States, in Québec, in Ireland, in Spain, in Portugal, in the Netherlands, in Bavaria, in France, and indeed throughout the North Atlantic Catholic world. Some hint of what might be necessary as an alternative to the Counter-Reformation model was emerging at the same time—a deeply biblical and sacramental Catholicism that displayed enormous growth in Africa. But the evangelical alternative to Counter-Reformation Catholicism remains to be fully described for the Church in the West, where, for cultural reasons that have now become clear, the Counter-Reformation model ran aground and shattered.

In his 2011 intellectual memoir, Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist, Peter L. Berger distilled a lifetime of reflection on the relationship between religion and modernity in these terms: Modernity breaks down traditional cultures through a process of pluralization. Under the conditions of modernity (urbanization, markets, mass education, post–ancien régime politics, natural science as the dominant metaphor for knowledge), competing explanations of the world and the human prospect inevitably emerge. As Berger wrote, “modernity . . . relativizes all worldviews and value systems, including the religious ones. This relativization is intrinsic to modernity, just about impossible to avoid. It presents a deep challenge to all religious traditions and to their truth claims.”11 In these circumstances, religious certainty is not, and cannot be, transmitted through osmosis by the ambient culture (or microculture). Religious faith, commitment to a religious community, and a religiously informed morality can no longer be taken for granted.

Progressive Catholicism accepts this relativization of religious truth and sees Catholicism as one possible story—one possible truth—in a pluralistic world of truths and “narratives,” none of which can claim the mantle of certainty. Traditionalist Catholicism imagines that modernity can be rolled back and that the old, culturally transmitted certainties can be restored. But what Hegel called the “butcher’s board of history” has determined that the latter option is not in fact an option. At the same time, the infertility of progressive Catholicism—its inability to transmit the faith to successor generations, which has a lot to do with its watering down of Catholic truths claims, or doctrines—has now been amply demonstrated throughout the religious wasteland of Western Europe, the part of the world Church that adopted the progressive project most enthusiastically. History, not argument, has shown the implausibility of progressive Catholicism as a strategy to empower the Church for mission in the third millennium.

Catholic traditionalism is also an implausible, indeed impossible, model for living Catholicism. It denies the reality of the conditions under which the Gospel must be proclaimed in the twenty-first century—and thus renders itself evangelically sterile, sounding the retreat into bunkers and catacombs rather than issuing a call for witness and mission. The variant on liberal Protestantism that is progressive Catholicism has no demographic traction in the world Church (although it is sustained in academic life by the tenure system); neither does traditionalist Catholicism, especially that schismatic variant of traditionalism that was founded by the late French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Both of these options turn out, on closer examination, to be variants of the same Counter-Reformation, rule-based, catechetical-devotional Catholicism: the traditionalist camp wants to tighten up and ratchet down the rules, the catechism answers, and the devotions, while the progressives want to loosen the bolts in the name of openness or compassion. Like fossils in amber, both remain stuck within the Counter-Reformation model.

Both are dying, and in the first decades of the twenty-first century, their demise is another sign pointing toward the emergence of Evangelical Catholicism: a Catholicism born from a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of missionary energy for a new historical and cultural moment.

Pentecost, Again

Blessed John XXIII wanted the Second Vatican Council to be a new Pentecost. Blessed John Paul II wanted the Great Jubilee of 2000 to be a pentecostal experience of the Holy Spirit for the entire world Church, empowering Catholicism for a “New Evangelization” in the third millennium. To wish for a new Pentecost, however, is to wish for no easy thing. To wish for a new Pentecost is to play with fire.

As Joseph Ratzinger once wrote in a meditation on the Solemnity of Pentecost (the annual celebration of the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit that is often described as the birth of the Church), “the Holy Spirit is fire; whoever does not want to be burned should not come near him.” Ratzinger went on to recall a nonbiblical saying of Jesus transmitted by the third-century Alexandrian theologian Origen: “Whoever is near to me,” Jesus says in Origen’s account, “is near to the fire”—a dominical maxim that closely parallels Luke 12.49: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” This fire, Ratzinger continued, is an “inimitable” part of “the relationship between Christ, Holy Spirit, and Church.”

Genre:

  • "Evangelical Catholicism is a remarkable intellectual and spiritual achievement, even by George Weigel's dauntingly high standards. It is nothing less than a blueprint for the re-evangelization of the West and the re-invigoration of the rest of the world." —Mary Eberstadt, author of Adam and Eve After the Pill and The Loser Letters
  • "A learned and lucid commentator on Catholicism.... [Weigel] brings a keenly developed sense of the workings of the church to his analysis. But Evangelical Catholicism is a call to arms. Though written long before Benedict made his surprise announcement, the book is nonetheless a timely guide to the issues that the cardinals in conclave -- and the next pope -- must confront.... Evangelical Catholicism may provide a desperately needed vision of the future of the church, imbued with the extraordinary hope that has always been at the heart of the Catholic faith."—Wall Street Journal
  • "[Weigel is] our greatest observer of the global Catholic Church.... If I could gain entrance into the conclave, I would smuggle in enough copies of Evangelical Catholicism to place one on the chair of each elector, in hopes that they would adopt this masterpiece of Catholic history and thought as a possible guide for the Church's mission in the centuries ahead." —National Catholic Register
  • "This sparkling read puts all the old Church-labels -- liberal vs. conservative, progressive vs. traditionalist, pre- vs. post-Vatican II -- in the shredder. Now there is only one valid adjective for all of us: evangelical! Simply put, this means we take our baptismal promises with the utmost seriousness. Like the Samaritan woman, we've met a man -- Jesus -- who has changed our lives."—Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
  • "A laudable hunger to relight the Church's missionary fires is the core of Evangelical Catholicism, but good intentions need practical blueprints if they're going to work. George Weigel has gotten that conversation started in his typically lucid, provocative fashion, and we are all in his debt."—John L. Allen Jr., Senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and author of The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church
  • "A timely, accessible and unusually insightful work."—Don J. Briel, Koch Chair in Catholic Studies, University of Saint Thomas
  • "Weigel at his astringent and prophetic best."—George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
  • "Weigel at his best, situating our present moment within the context of the last century, and laying out an agenda for Catholic reform and mission in the future....This book deserves to be read by any serious thinking Christian."—The Weekly Standard
  • "A serious and acute work.... Weigel's ability to combine the spiritual insights of a believer with the dispassionate analysis of a historian makes Evangelical Catholicism valuable for Catholics and non-Catholics, of all political persuasions, who care about the Church's future."—National Review
  • "An elegantly written manifesto."—The Economist
  • "A call for pride, sincerity and depth in Catholic life and community.... The bulk of Weigel's book examines how this new Catholicism can be applied to the episcopate, priesthood, liturgy, laity, etc. The author makes many important points, and his call toward a deeper spirituality and sense of mission in Catholic life is laudable."—Kirkus
  • "A rare book that can transform culture and communities from the inside out, beginning with the humble premise of evangelization: to proclaim -- in word and deed -- the good news of Jesus Christ. No stone is unturned, no promise or issue within the Church and her members is ignored in this excellent, well-thought-out guide for reform-based evangelization."—Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus
  • "George Weigel has been the leading diarist of authentic Catholic renewal -- its progress, detours, personalities, and hopes -- for 30 years. In Evangelical Catholicism he turns his extraordinary skills to the needs of the Church in the coming decades, calling us back to the missionary vocation we received at baptism and offering us a road map to faithful, vigorous Church reform. Rich in its vision, engaging in style, on target in its counsel and invaluable for anyone trying to understand the Church and her challenges in the 21st Century, this book should not be missed."—Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

On Sale
Apr 22, 2014
Page Count
320 pages
Publisher
Basic Books
ISBN-13
9780465075676

George Weigel

About the Author

George Weigel is a distinguished senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center. The first volume of his biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope, was a New York Times bestseller, and his writing appears in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal. He lives in North Bethesda, Maryland.

Learn more about this author