Please welcome our newest Contributor, George Weigel!
George is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, New York Times bestselling author, and world-leading Catholic theologian. You can watch the full Praxis Circle interview by viewing the playlist above.
Since the summer of 2020, the attack on Western civilization, and even the concept of civilization itself, has become increasingly plain to most ordinary, common sensical Americans. It began a long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far away: in Europe during the 19th century.
It invaded America in a major way after World War I and the Russian Revolution. It accelerated in America in the 1960s, and a Death Star adapted for today with materialist and Marxist roots seems to threaten.
A best case scenario would be “the War Against the West” is reaching a climax now and that the majority of regular Americans who can clearly see the insanity can right the ship. With this fervent hope in mind, we visited George Weigel in his office at the Ethics and Public Policy Center on K Street in downtown Washington, D.C.
Our pitch in this post is that if it was not for America’s dedication to its founding principles undergirded by Judeo-Christian worldview and supported most clearly, consistently, and powerfully by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) since the late 1800s, Western civilization might already be toast.
While the RCC has its own issues—which we maintain are simply a function of that human condition called sin influencing all institutions—we submit that the Catholic Church is perhaps the key bulwark, other than fundamental American pragmatism, that’s holding Western civilization’s finger in the dyke, preventing a flood of immorality and dysfunction.
We know of no Roman Catholic layman more qualified to talk about the history, importance, and strength of Western civilization as undergirded by Christian orthodoxy and the RCC than George Weigel. In the 1990s George became well known for his work for and friendship with Pope, now Saint, John Paul II—clearly one of the greatest figures of the 20th century.
While the national situation is grave, we tried not to enter his office with a “civilizational catastrophe” in hand. Instead, we wanted the reflections of a noted and humble theologian who has seen immense history play out first hand, and who could offer the wisdom discernible from nearly two thousand years of A.D. Western history.
Let’s say it right up front: We have no reason to panic. The West has experienced much worse before.
Early in our interview, George shares the events leading up to his writing of Witness to Hope: A Biography of John Paul II, and the outstanding character of this extraordinary man. Additionally, he expands on the importance of John Paul II to modern, Western, and Christian history and explains why the nickname he gave John Paul, the “Freedom Pope,” stuck.
If we can understand this, we can understand why freedom is the centerpiece of Western civilization based on Judeo-Christian principles and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. John Paul II squarely addressed the modern crisis of materialism through his extensive articulation of Christian anthropology and its central truth, Imago Dei.
In the interview, George also explains Catholic Social Doctrine (which we maintain is a basis for “Christian Social Doctrine”—if there could be such a thing; see George’s succinct explanation in the last link), the importance of John Paul’s critical encyclical Centesimus Annus (written immediately after the Fall of the Berlin Wall), and the biggest challenges facing Christianity today. We also dip into controversial issues like nationalism, pluralism, humanism, universalism, and limited government—all within the context of Christian worldview.
It’s much easier to get your head around these difficult issues when they’re unpacked by a Yoda with a very strong Catholic upbringing. Conclusion? Matthew 28’s challenge To Sanctify the World (George’s 2022 book) remains unchanged early in the 21st century with even brighter prospects than on that first day.
In sum, George is one of the most respected and sought-after voices regarding the Catholic Church, by far the world’s largest religion, church, or “denomination.” Catholics and all Christians, as well as theists and naturalists in general, can draw great insight from this sage and this interview.
We are extremely honored to have George Weigel become a Praxis Circle Contributor. There are no more qualified experts on Christian orthodoxy and worldview—with more common sense—out there.
Very good news: The Rebel Alliance against “principalities and powers” is alive and well and most surprisingly—somehow— located inside the District of Columbia.
With faith, hope, and love, Western civilization and the world have nothing to fear; a shining future faces us ahead.
To receive updates on our latest content and events, make sure to join Praxis Circle for free and get updates directly to your inbox.