Democracy is always an unfinished experiment, testing the capacity of each generation to live freedom nobly.

— George Weigel

The most controversy George Weigel quotes that are easy to memorize and remember

The job now is to institutionalize all of that [Vatican finances], and I wouldn't bet against Cardinal [George] Pell, who hasn't shied away from contact sports since his days as an Australian-rules football star.

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As a friend at a major American newspaper said to me when I complained about this tendency in his own paper, "You know how these media narratives are. They're like bamboo." Meaning, once they start growing, you can't kill them.

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History is driven, over the long haul, by culture - by what men and women honor, cherish, and worship; by what societies deem to be true and good, and by the expressions they give to those convictions in language, literature, and the arts; by what individuals and societies are willing to stake their lives on.

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Optimism and pessimism are mere matters of optics, of how you look at things, and that can change from day to day, or with a new prescription for your glasses - or with a new set of ideological filters.

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Be the Church - that is, be an evangelical movement that tells the world of God's passionate love for humanity. That, not institutional maintenance, is what the Church is for. When the Church is that, and does that, it flourishes.

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In the Church the transformative power of the Eucharist is experienced through the dignified celebration of Holy Mass, and people are empowered for mission because of that.

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The world needs a pastor, whether it knows it or not.

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Ideas have consequences and bad ideas can have lethal consequences.

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Then [Catholics] owe [pope] the loyalty that is expressed in speaking the truth to him - and that puts a premium on knowing whether what you're happy about, on unhappy about, has a basis in fact, or is merely a reflection of the "narrative.

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The pope [Francis] speaks with great passion about the shame we should all feel when, as he puts it, "a man does not have the dignity of earning bread for his family," but is turned into a peripheral person, a welfare client, a dependent.

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The Guardian,[is] one of the most consistently anti-Catholic newspapers in the world.

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No one who reads and reveres the New Testament should doubt for a second that the pious poor and marginalized have something to teach all of us - including German theologian-bishops - about the truth of the Gospel and the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

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About George Weigel

Quotes 58 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

One of the most important qualities in a pope is his judgment of people - can he get around him the people who can put into practice his vision of what the Church must be doing now to fulfill its mandate from the Lord.

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More pro-active Vatican communications might be able to do something about all this, but when the Holy See is constantly in the mode of, "No, what the pope really meant was . . . ," the game has already been largely forfeited.

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The pope [Francis] takes his vocabulary from his pastoral experience, not from the rhetorical tool kit of liberation theology, with its Marxist yammering about "center" and "periphery." The "peripheries," for Francis, are all those who have fallen through the cracks of late-modernity and post-modernity - in his native Argentina, because of colossal corruption, political and financial.

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The impact remains to be seen; I don't think we can measure the enduring impact of John Paul II, for example, for another hundred, perhaps two hundred, years.

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When climate change gets some attention in a 100-page document, the most important parts of which will have to do with the theology of stewardship and the theology of "human ecology," it's almost certainly going to be rapturously embraced, or bitterly opposed, as a "global-warming encyclical," despite the evidence that it's much more broadly gauged than that.

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[Pope Francis]sees a world in need of the Gospel, and of friendship with Jesus Christ, as an antidote to the self-absorption and loneliness that are eating away at the solidarity of the human community.

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There's an obvious investment in some media circles in the "narrative" of "the pope who's finally going to get with it."

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"You don't believe what you read in the papers about anything else;

why do you believe it about the pope?" That's where I'd start.

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Suddenly here was this somewhat roly-poly elderly, northern Italian peasant on the chair of Saint Peter and he was accessible - and he made himself accessible, he went to prisons, he went to hospitals, he went to the shrine of Loreto.

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When media "narratives" about [Pope] Francis get set in concrete, and act as filters bending or distorting (or ignoring) aspects of his vision and his teaching that don't fit the established story line, the Church has a problem.

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Freedom that lacks moral truth becomes its own worst enemy.

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The only future is intentional Catholicism, evangelical Catholicism.

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I'd also hope that my liberal friends, who find in this pope a critic of what they're pleased to call "culture-warrior" Catholics, will read carefully, and ponder even more carefully, what Pope Francis had to say about the "ideological colonization" implicit in Western decadence when he was giving robust pro-life, pro-family talks in the Philippines.

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The Germans now seem the primary example of this [institutional-maintenance type] - which is another reason to scratch the head at their seeming determination to force the whole Church to adopt the Catholic Lite approach that has, in a bizarre inversion, emptied German churches of congregants while vastly expanding the German Church's bureaucracies.

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The papacy is an impossible job. So the best thing Catholics can do for the pope is to pray for him.

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The people who are behind the curve of the Catholic future are the institutional-maintenance types.

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The real challenge the rich young man faced was not just giving up his possessions, but giving up himself. The last command Jesus says ("Come, follow me") is the one that we so often overlook and think that he must have left Jesus simply because he liked his green bills.

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But ripped out of context, ["Who am I to judge?" phrase] has become an all-purpose filter through which everything else - including the pope's multiple reaffirmations of Humanae Vitae, Paul VI's encyclical on the morally appropriate means of family planning - gets airbrushed out of the picture.

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[Pope] Francis ought to be taken at his word when he says, as he has often done, that he is a son of the Church who believes and teaches what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.

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The story wafts across the Atlantic, where it's picked up with glee by Catholic progressives and horror by some Catholic conservatives - and the battle of the blogs is on, full blast. No one bothers to ask whether there's any basis in fact for the assertion that this is going to be a "global-warming encyclical."

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We're used to institutional-maintenance Catholicism, in which the institution ticks along by its own inertia and people are "born" into the Church. Francis knows that is over and done with: "Kept" Catholicism, whether "kept" by legal establishment or by cultural habit, has no future.

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The dynamically orthodox orders of religious women will continue to grow, and the dying orders, which long ago opted for the lightest of Catholic Lite, will continue to die.

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[Pope Francis] has felt the mercy of God in his own life and wants to share that experience with others.

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The emphasis on the "peripheries" is also a distinctively "Franciscan" way of expressing the pope's respect for untutored popular piety - a respect, I might add, that was shared by St. John Paul II.

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By the same token, the new and stringent Ultramontanism on the Catholic Left - in which even the mildest questions about how things are working in this pontificate are denounced as treasonous disloyalty - is an affront to the open conversation for which the pope [FRANCIS] has called.

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The Church in the United States turned a corner about three decades ago, and the idea that we're going back to the incoherence of the late Sixties and Seventies is, frankly, silly. Let's have a little faith in what the Holy Spirit has done among us these past 35 years.

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[Jesus Christ to Pope Francis] is the Lord with whom he speaks for hours every day in prayer. The Risen One who reached out, touched his life, and called him into mission.

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In the Vatican, if you don't get something new done quickly you may not get it done at all.

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In the Catholic view of things, abortion is a justice issue, not an issue of sexual morality... it is a civil rights issue, arguably the greatest civil rights issue of our time.

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[Pope] Francis communicates the pastoral embrace of the Church, the breadth and inclusiveness of Catholicism symbolized by the Bernini colonnade around St. Peter's Square, in a powerful way.

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A theological time bomb, set to go off with dramatic consequences.

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What I hope my liberal friends (and I have more than a few) take from this pontificate is that mercy and truth are never separable in Catholic pastoral life.

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Younger theologians will continue to pursue and understand truth rather than deconstructing it, as a lot of their elders seemed to want to do.

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The colossal mess in Vatican finances that [Pope] Francis inherited has been cleaned up, and cleaned out. Real budgeting and accounting procedures are in place; so are real professionals, not somebody's nephew.

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[Pope Francis] comes to that conviction [of family crisis] as a pastor, not as Brad Wilcox or Charles Murray. So he wants to challenge the Church to find pastoral responses to that crisis that meet real human needs.

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The most enduring of the false narratives is that the signature phrase of the early pontificate - "Who am I to judge?" - was a matter of the pope jettisoning millennia of Catholic moral teaching. It was not. It was a specific response to the circumstances of a man who had repented and was trying to live an upright life.

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I hope ["reanimated the papacy"] means that the new interest in the pope evokes a new interest in the Church's teaching, of which the pope is the custodian.

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