So, today it is our enormous privilege to have George Weigel on the line with us. You will know George Weigel for many of his books, different ones of you have read different of his books. He's perhaps best known for the 1993 biography of pope john paul the second witness to hope. And he's also the author of the text that we are going to be discussing as a group, the next Pope, the Office of Peter and a church admission available from Ignatius press in 2020. George Weigel currently serves as distinguished Senior Fellow of the ethics and Public Policy Center, and is also the founding president of the James Madison Foundation, and one of the original signatories of the evangelicals and Catholics together document in 1994. We are thrilled to be able to gather as a group. Today we are trying something new, and that is that we're trying live translation. Our hope is that we'll be able to also publish this video transcript of this conversation, also in Italian and Vietnamese. So let me also introduce those translators who are going to be working very hard during this hour and who are willing to do this for us. Jonathan Gilmore, JD is calling in from the island of Sicily. He's an English church worker, and he will be translating the conversation today into Italian. And then john tuff, currently a master's student at the Moody Bible, excuse me, the moody Theological Seminary in Detroit, he will be translating the conversation into Vietnamese. That means as you discuss with one another, if you could be mindful that we're trying to bring everything into translation, speak in a manner that that fits translation as you can. Let me offer a brief word of prayer if I may, and then we'll turn the program directly over to George Weigel. If you pray with me, or Heavenly Father, we rejoice that your kingdom is coming. And Lord, we are gathered here is your children, who are called out by your name and who align ourselves in our lives and our families and our work in our church interaction to your kingdom. So Lord, we do pray as a community, Let Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God, we ask that you would empower this conversation by your spirit. Thank you for the unspeakable riches of human experience that you've brought together, Lord, that we can live in a day and age where such conversations are possible, we rejoice and thank you. But Lord, let us rejoice most of all that our names are written in the book of life. And let us speak on behalf of you. We pray too, that the technology would hold together for us and that you would make a skilled users of the potentials for communication that you've given today. We pray these things in your name, amen. Without further ado, thank you so much, George wykel, for speaking to us today.
Well, thank you, and thanks to all who were on the call and who will be participating in this later. By links to the video and by the transcript. I think it's a an important thing to note about the state of the Christian church today that we have friends from all parts of the Christian world, speaking today about the papacy, that that would not have happened in anything other than a polemical context 50 or 60 years ago, and in a world that badly need some good news these days. I think the fact that we can have this kind of conversation today is is good news. Indeed. Let me say a word about this little book, The next Pope, the Office of Peter and a church in mission what is it what are some of the points that are of relevance for our conversation? I wrote this book last year for three reasons. First, it is a summing up in a brief, almost telegraphic form of my experiences of three popes over the past 30 some years. As was mentioned, I wrote a two volume bio of Pope St. john paul the second witness to hope published 1999. And the end in the beginning, which completed the story, and was published in 2010. I knew john paul the second for almost 15 years, met with him regularly. And a day does not go by since his death almost 16 years ago when I don't think I actually knew have known. Fortunately, that's not in the past tense. Joseph Ratzinger post Pope Emeritus Benedict the 16th for longer than I knew john paul the SEC. I first met them Cardinal Ratzinger in 1988. We last had a very robust conversation in October of 2019. And we're still in conversation by email. I first met the president Pope, Pope Francis in Buenos Aires and his native Argentina in May 20 1210, months before he was elected to the papacy. I've had three hour long meetings with him, since he's been Bishop of Rome. So it seemed to me a useful thing to do to sum up my experiences of these three distinctive men over the past 30 some years for a broader audience. The second purpose of the book is quite candidly to provide a template for the next conclave. Pope Francis is 84 years old, we all pray for his health and strength. But his papacy is no more infinite than anyone elses. And it's never too early to be thinking about what the Spirit is calling the church to in the future, and what that might mean for the papacy. So I will just mention by way of the side that in order to facilitate that conversation within the College of Cardinals, the next Pope has already been translated into and published in German, Polish, French and Spanish, and will be translated into and published in Italian in a few months.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, I hope this little book provides a framework for all Catholics to think about the future of the church, in this case, through the prism of that unique institution, called the papacy. In that sense, this book is The if you will permit me the Classics Illustrated, or Cliff's notes version of two other books of mine, ev angelical, Catholicism deep reform in the 21st century church, which was published in 2005. And the irony of modern Catholic history, how the church rediscovered itself and challenged the modern world to reform, which was published in 2013. So I hope the book is of interest to and of service to a far more far wider audience than those men who will have the grave responsibility of selecting the next let me highlight five of what I would consider the major claims. In this book, which are not original to the book, The next Pope, they reflect themes I've been writing about for the better part of the decade and a half now. Point number one, we are we Catholics are living in a new epoch in Catholic history, a moment of transition that is equal in its consequence. And therefore, its disturbance to the transition from the early church to the patristic church. The transition from the patristic church to medieval Christendom, the transition from medieval Christendom to the church of the counter reformation. We are now living in the fifth such transitional moment, which is the transition from the Church of post tritone teen Catholicism, the church of the counter reformation to the Church of what john paul the second called the New Evangelization. To put this in slightly simpler terms. The church, the Catholic Church is no longer living in Christendom times. It's living in APA systolic times, by Christendom times, I mean, times in which the surrounding public culture, the ambient cultural air we breathe, helps transmit the faith and strengthen the faith. That is manifestly not the case throughout the Western world today, cultural air we breathe is toxic to Christian truth claims. And therefore, the church cannot rely on the transmission of the faith, by ethnic or cultural us Moses. I gave a zoom talk in in Krakow in Poland late last year for the centenary of john paul two seconds birth. And I said quite bluntly, to this gathering of Polish intellectuals, most of them, Catholics, that 30 years from now, no poll is going to be able to answer the question, why are you a Catholic? By saying because my grandmother was Catholicism by us Moses, Catholicism by ethnic or national inheritance is over. The faith has to be proposed. A personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ has to be facilitated. And that's what the church is for. And until the church recognizes that, it is going to continue to go down the path, the sad path of of deconstruction that we see in such formerly intensely Catholic areas as kaback, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Bavaria and elsewhere.
The second point is closely related to the first and that is that this idea of a New Evangelization, a church in which every Catholic understands him or herself, to have been baptized into a missionary vocation. And every Catholic understands that everywhere, every place is mission territory. That is the Catholic Church's grand strategy for the 21st century. That is, in retrospect, why the Second Vatican Council was called by Pope St. JOHN the 23rd. That is the fundamental message of the Second Vatican Council. As authoritatively interpreted by john paul the second and Benedict the 16th. To Pope's, who were major figures at the Second Vatican Council. One is a bishop one is a theological advisor, the New Evangelization, the church of the New Evangelization is the Catholicism of the 21st century. And the third millennium. That is exactly what john paul the second said at the end of the great Jubilee of 2000. We have spent this year looking back in order to look for and the pilgrimage of the great Jubilee as he put it, on January 6 2001, should have stretched our legs for the journey. A third point in this book is that the living parts of Catholicism throughout the world are the parts of the world church that have understood this that are living the New Evangelization and that understand the Second Vatican Council. In terms of its authoritative interpretation, by john paul the second and Benedict the 16th. And the frankly dying parts of world Catholicism are those that continue in a false interpretation of Vatican two to try to make the failed project that I have been calling for almost 20 years now. Catholic light work, Catholic light does not work. And if the Coca Cola company will permit pay, I will extend the imagery here and say that Catholic life inevitably leads to Catholic zero. Catholic light has a built in tendency towards apostasy within. And we are seeing that, frankly right now in the Catholic Church in Germany. The fourth point, the fourth major claim in this book is that there cannot be a tension between doctrinal clarity, and a church of compassion and mercy, doctrinal clarity, and the Divine Mercy go together. Because doctrine is liberating. The creed is a liberating state. It liberates us into the truth about the human condition that liberates us, frees us into the truth about ourselves, the kraid and the gospel lead us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, in this case, bondage to the notion that human beings are self sufficient, indeed, self worshipping, and into the truth of our humanity and its nobility, which comes from recognizing that we come from God and are destined for God through the redemption, one by the Lord Jesus Christ. That is closely related to the fifth point. And that is that Christian humanism, Christ centered humanists is the church's answer to the crisis of humanism, that is at the center of the crisis of world civilization, particularly in the West today.
Western high culture today teaches us and in some states demands that we salute the notion that the human person is merely a bundle of morally commencer Ribble, indeed morally equivalent desires, and that the satisfaction of those desires no matter how irrational they may have seemed in the past, is the primary purpose of the state and the meaning of, of human rights. Against that the Catholic Church proclaims with the Second Vatican Council, in its pastoral constitution on the church in the modern world, paragraph 22. And I quote is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh, that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Christ the Lord and the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love. folly reveals man to himself and brings to light, his most high call. That's the christocentric proclamation of Christian humanism, that the Catholic Church must offer the world of the 21st century. What goes on to describe how the papacy can strengthen bishops of the church, the ordained leaders of the church, the lay apostolic, how the next Pope might advance the humanism and inter religious dialogue, get on with the reform of the Vatican, deal with World Affairs. Those are important but secondary concerns. The primary concern is this re centering of Catholicism on Christ and the gospel and the reclamation of the church's original identity, as taken from the Great Commission of Matthew 28. Go and make disciples of all nations. That's what the book is about. In what is it 141 deftly crafted pages. And I hope it's of some service to all Christians as we wrestle with the questions of how to be the body of Christ in an increasingly challenging world that has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the human person, and how we ought to relate to them. to each other, we're on a rescue mission. And at that center of that rescue mission is Christ the Lord. Thank you.
Thank you so much. We are applauding you. Applause does not work on zoom. But we're extremely grateful for your presence and for your comments. We have a panel of about eight members here assembled today calling from different places within the church and different places within the world. As you address your comments to George Weigel, if you'd simply state where you're calling from geographically and what church affiliation you are calling with, that would be great. This is a time of open discussion. And we'll let things go for up to an hour as long as things stay active and holding good momentum. Anyone may speak at this point.
I prepared your bio, it's a great pleasure to meet you, at least virtually. My name is Tim Berry. I am a minister in the Wesleyan Church. I was for a decade, priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. And I'm an adjunct member of the faculty of theology at St. Paul University in Ottawa. My question has to do with the shift of Christianity's center of gravity to the south. And I'm wondering, in particular, if you'd like to comment on how a pope committed to evangelism might look if that Pope is the next Pope is from the southern hemisphere. I can imagine all three of the Pope's you mentioned being great evangelists, but all three doing evangelism in a different way. And I'm wondering if you know, an African Pope what, what he might bring to, to evangelist global evangelism that would be different from another European or even a South American.
Good question. Thank you. We actually have a pope from the global south right now. Who very much reflects a Latin American view of the world and of the dynamics of history, politics, and economy. I would say speaking simply from a Catholic point of view that the Church of the global sales is as diverse as the church north of the equator. Latin America is an intensely Catholic continent historically. But as we all know, of angelical, Pentecostalism and fundamentalist Protestantism, has made great gains in Latin America in recent decades. That is something to ponder when I was meeting with them, Cardinal Bergoglio invited Cyrus in May 2012. I asked him about this. And he said, if we are losing congregants to Evan jellicle Protestantism that is our fault. I think he understood then, this problem that I described as the ethnic or national transmission of Catholicism, Catholicism by osmosis, that was not working in Latin America anymore. He was a key figure in 2007, in the drafting of something called the para Sita document, by the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, which was probably the most developed Catholic statement of the New Evangelization that any regional bishops conferences come up with. I have had some very positive experiences of the new local churches of Africa at the at the Senate in Rome of 2015 and 2018, where it was African bishops, who were challenging, frankly, the decadence of Northern European Catholicism and some of its representatives who were defending the church's understanding of marriage. Who in 2018, were defending the church's classic understanding of a rightly ordered sexuality. I think there's great hope in in the African church precisely because in those environments, as Philip Jenkins has written, and not simply that Catholicism and Sub Saharan Africa, the gospel comes to those parts of the world today as a liberating force. These are people living a New Testament experience of Catholicism. As for a pope from Africa, that's a wonderful idea. The obstacle to it is racism in Europe and Latin America. Were here in the United States. In Canada, I don't think anybody has any problem with the idea that African Pope, I assure you, there are lots of Europeans and Latin Americans who have big problems with with that idea. I think what the next Pope has to whoever he is, has to learn from Africa, is this idea that the truth of the gospel liberates and listen to the experience of the Latin American church.
Professor, we call this as Wes granberg Michaelson. I'm the General Secretary emeritus of the Reformed Church in America. That's the closest thing we have to a Pope Emeritus. I have been very involved in ecumenical activities. And I'm glad to again beyond aqueduct. Because my roots are also in Chicago in a strong evangelical community. We have a common friend, late friend in Jim Billington, Library of Congress, who was a great mentor of mine, who who often talked to me about you. So it's a pleasure to meet you. I've got three comments after carefully reading your book, The first deals with ecumenism that is not the major focus of your book, George. But I would ask you, or I simply raised this out of my ecumenical experience, I affirmed very deeply ecumenical engagement with a growing evangelical and Pentecostal communities globally. And I've been involved in initiatives to do that precisely, particularly the global Christian forum. However, that initiative is one that is aimed at encompassing the whole of the Christian family. And thus, when the global Christian forum meets, we have the typical council very strongly and powerfully represented, as well as the World Council of Churches, as well as the world evangelical fellowship, as well as the Pentecostal world fellowship and the Orthodox churches. It seems to me that instead of saying the next Pope should shift, ecumenical work of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christianity from mainline Protestant to evangelical, and a Pentecostal, it should be much more of a all encompassing commitment, one which the Vatican in fact is already making. Just as the World Council lacks the full participation of the Catholic Church, and the participation of evangelical Pentecostals, of forum, which encompasses all together, it seems to me is far more ecumenical than simply making alliances with one part of the Christian community, which is what I took from your brief comments on humanism in your fine book. My second question, George, is around your affirmation of the church in mission. This is this is an emphasis which you'll find why residents in parts many parts of Protestantism, there is in fact been a strong movement, the missional church movement that seeks to define the life of a congregation, specifically, by its identity and participation in God's mission in the world. In Protestant circles, this missional church movement gained inspiration from Leslie newbiggin and many others. And it affirms as you affirm so strongly, that we are no longer living in an age of Christendom, but an age when the church's relationship to the wider culture is defined Miss theologically. One of its phrases is that the congregation is the hermeneutic of the gospel. However, that raises the issue of what we mean by mission. You focus very strongly on the New Evangelization. And I know there's a whole history of that within Catholic teaching. But in Protestant circles, mission means more than just evangelism. evangelism is a central part of mission but participating in God's mission is far wider and broader.
The emphasis on Matthew 28 is one which I strongly welcome. But in a long discussion with an evangelical circles around the meaning of evangelism today, Matthew 28, would be would be wedded to Matthew 25. in the, in the scene of the Last Judgement, where we are judged by our solidarity with those who are in prison, orphaned and marginalized. So, I wonder how you would unpack the New Evangelization in that context, because I think to Protestant ears, it isn't full it can be misunderstood. And my final point is that I, I have found as a Protestant deeply engaged with the Catholic Church, both personally and in many times of dialogue. There are two points of real contact. One is Catholic social teaching, which has gained wide attention and resonance. I was curious that you don't mention Catholic social teaching in your book, except for one line in which you say the Orthodox are interested in it. It seems to me that this would be essential to the understanding of a new pope in the context of a New Evangelization. In the second is the tradition of Catholic spiritual formation. Many Protestants today, including myself, are turning to resources in the Catholic Church, that have focused on on spiritual formation, and traditions that were basically overthrown and disregarded by the Protestant Reformation. If, if I, if you permit me to the book that I just recently published is called without oars casting off into a life of pilgrimage. And it's a book all about pilgrimage, a practice of the Catholic Church, which was discarded by Protestants, which now is being rediscovered. So I wonder if, again from a Protestant angle, if those two dimensions shouldn't also be a part of how we think about the future of the Catholic Church. I'm sorry for the length of this, George. But I wanted to lay out my three points from my own Protestant, evangelical and ecumenical perspective, with deep appreciation for your contribution.
Well, thank you, thank you very much. It's great to remember Jim bellington. I, I've just published a small book of collection of really obituary essays on various people, Jim is is one of them. And and ended I remembered that his his children used to refer to him as the weapon of mass instruction. true Christian gentlemen, old fashioned, Anglican, and now buried actually in Washington Cathedral. Those are very fine points. Thank you. The obviously the section on ecumenism is way too short in this in this block, it's something I've been involved in virtually my entire adult life. I do think we're at something of a crisis point. And the Catholic mainline Protestant ecumenical dialogue, because the goalposts keep shifting if I can use that image, and the real question, I mean, the deep question that I think that part of the dialogue needs to focus on is, is actually one that is very much a question within the catholic church itself, was, certainly to my mind the central question at the settings of 2015 and 2018, and indeed at the Amazonian, Senate of 2019. And that is the question of the reality of divine revelation. is divine revelation real or not? If it is real, is it binding or not? Does revelation judge us and if so, how? Or in some crypto a galleon move, does history judge revelation such that we can say with some degree of confidence and we know more about marriage than the Lord Jesus or we know more about worthiness to receive Holy Communion. And St. Paul, when he was writing, writing the Corinthians, the the Catholic angelical dialogue is just beginning. We're really, I think, hundreds of years away from the kind of, of clarity that has been achieved in some parts of the Catholic mainline dialogue. And that is reflected in the work of Catholics and evangelicals together. throughout both parts of this mainline and evangelical, I would hope that there could also be what I would call co belligerency. In the culture wars, we've got a deeply wounded societies, which many of us are working, lifting up that Christ centered humanism that I mentioned in my opening remarks, seems to be something we ought to be doing together as an alternative to this dumbed down and frankly, death dealing view of the human person has merely a bundle of desires, you're Of course quite right. That mission is more than evangelization, that it includes the service. I don't I can't remember whether I brought this up in the book. But I've written many, many times following the lead of Raj Stark, who I'm sure many of many of you have read that it was the witness of the Christians of the first century's their witness to a nobler, more humane way of life. That led to the great success of the first great evangelization. It was Christian care for the sick, the poor. Everybody's sick, everybody's poor, the dignity of women reclaimed why the church, the witness of the martyrs. This is a hard thing for theologians to admit but it was witness more than argument that converted the Mediterranean world such that Constantine decided to join the winning team in the early fourth century. So I quite agree with you that Matthew 28 has to be read in the context of Matthew
25. As you know, I've spent over 30 years weren't telling in the fields of Catholic social doctrine, I certainly hope that the next Pope has understood Catholic social doctrine deeply and brings it to bear in his proclamation, and in his ecumenical activity, and even in his inter religious activity. The churches pass the Catholic Church's path to an affirmation of religious freedom in which the church came to understand out of its own resources. The truth of the fact that God wishes to be adored by people who freely choose to do is something that the Islamic world could benefit from. The notion that Islam is going to become less of a threat to religious freedom because a billion Muslims are going to become good Rosie of liberals is is just fatuous, that is not going to happen. Islam has to find from within itself way to affirm religious freedom, or at least religious tolerance. And the past the 200 year, often stony path the Catholic Church took to that might be of use to the Islamic world as well. Finally on in terms of Catholic spiritual formation, I think one of the things that I would hope we, we could all do, as great tradition Christians, is learn from the Fathers of the Church. The reclamation of the patristic heritage was one of the drivers of the renewal of Catholic theology in the 20th century. We benefit from that and the Liturgy of the hours every day. And I would hope that reading the father's together, would do for us in terms of spiritual renewal, what it did for nomen and cable and QC and the Oxford movement in the 19th century.
Professor beigel Thank you for such a well written book. It's my name is Chris Costello. I serve as Pastor of New Covenant church in Naperville, just outside of Chicago. And it's on page 22, where you write the Church of the 21st century. And the third millennium will be a Christ centered church, born of the gospel in full, or it will not be in the interest of doctrinal clarity. What is in view there when you use the word gospel?
The proclamation of Jesus Christ as the answer to the question that is every human life, as john paul the second used to put it, the proclamation of the kingdom not merely coming but present among us, as we meet the Lord Jesus Christ in as we would say, both word and sacrament. conversion to Christ, which I frequently speak of in this book is friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and understanding that that friendship conveys the responsibility to be an agent of bringing others to Christ, that would be the symbol
as you interact with F angelical Catholics, is it your sense that they embody and articulate that with clarity and I asked that from our experience here with a lot of Catholic friends, you know, we homeschool our children, this is a place where we, we interact, we have dinner together, and I'll sometimes ask, in that context for my friend to should share their story. And it's interesting, the sorts of things that they often point to, is an understanding of birth control, sanctity of life, the liturgical texture of the Catholic tradition, you know, the Via pulk rootedness is Bishop Robert Barron likes to say, all very important things. But what's often missing, you know, is a clear statement about what Jesus has done and what that means to the person. I'm just curious what your observation is.
Well, you got to give us some time on this thing. Catholics. This is particularly true of clergy, I might often speak much more easily of the church than of Christ, and of church teaching then of gospel recentering Catholicism on Christ and the gospel without ignoring the fact that we believe Christ left a constant constitution in the British sense of the term for his body in a constitutionally ordered, structured church. Getting up getting Catholics to talk more about that primary relationship to Christ, it's just going to take it's not it's not something that this generation of, of Catholics has been has been raised. Interestingly enough, an older generation talked much more readily about its personal relationship to Our Lady to Mary and the saints than it did about Christ. So this is something we're gonna have to learn a bit. It's certainly something I first learned or was woken up to, was awakened to when I first started working with angelical Protestants on religious freedom issues here in Washington, no religious freedom issues in Washington. 35 years ago, men crying fellow Christians out of the Gulag. It means something different today. It means keeping ourselves from being sent to Guantanamo by the US government. Because we hold the truths of the Bible. Anyway, I would discover that it meetings these Evan jellicle graduate would introduce themselves by saying i'm john smith and I was born again on such and such a date when this person was manifestly an adult, so this would go around and it would come around to me and I being slightly contrarian soul would say I'm George Weigel, and I was born again on April 29 1951, at which point I was 12 days old. That got some interesting conversations going about sacramental efficacy, etc. But that witness that was being born to me, in a sense brought me back to some of my earlier academic work which was in Christology and how necessary it was to put the person of Christ at the center of the church's life. Now, if you read the documents the Second Vatican Council as they should be read, which is through the prism of the primary documents, dogmatic constitution of the church and the dogmatic constitution and divine revelation, how does the dogmatic constitution on the church begin? Jesus Christ is the light of the nations. Okay? How does the kind of dogmatic constitution or divine revelation begins It begins with a summary of salvation history, leading to as I'm writing these days in a book in defense of the Second Vatican Council. It takes a long time for the theological and spiritual texture of a council to work itself into the texture of the churches. Council of Trent did not close in 1571, or whenever. And in 1572, we suddenly had this tridentate Catholic Church, it took at least 100 years for that. Maybe it's going to take at least 100 years for this Christos centricity of the church to work its way into the texture of Catholic life. And your conversations with your Catholic friends can help advance that. So thank you for doing.
Thank you. Professor wiygul Carl Truman, Grove City College Pennsylvania. Thanks very much for what was a super book very clear read, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing I read it at a single sitting, it was a real pleasure to look at one comment and then to two questions. So the comment is warmed my heart is a Protestant to see you, urging the church to to bring preaching in as more of a priority. That was a wonderful comment. And I hope that bears fruit. Two questions first is really just one a matter of curiosity. I was expecting more emphasis upon Marian dogma, the Virgin Mary, my conversations with Catholic friends when they asked me you know, why won't you become a Catholic? There are a number of things that that hold me back and and one of them would be the status of Mary in the Catholic Church. And I wondered if that was an omission on your part. Or if you see Marian dogmas being less significant as the church moves forward. The second question is perhaps more practical one and that's I, I thoroughly appreciated the vision for a more robust form of Catholicism, the Catholic friends I have what I appreciate about my Catholic friends is their conviction Catholics. They're not Catholic, like they know their their doctrine, and they're passionately committed to it. I wonder though, if the path from Catholic light to a robust Catholicism can be achieved without talking metaphorically here, significant bloodshed in the church. It's one thing to have a vision for what the catholic church should be. But to get there, it seems to me that an awful lot of purging has got to be done within the ranks of the church itself. And I remember, for some years watching Archbishop Charles Shapiro, who I know is a mutual friend of ours, achieving some significant reforms of Catholic schools in Philadelphia, but at great cost, his reputation even within the church itself, and the pressures that he came under, at points, I believe, even even from the Vatican on that. I wonder if you think that the vision you're setting forward can be achieved without a kind of civil war within the church itself and potentially a danger of on Catholic terms as a form of cism of some kind.
Thanks, Carl. Good to meet you. We were colleagues and in the first things enterprise but we've never met and I'm very grateful for For your work, thanks for lifting up the emphasis on preaching. I have, I think I've said this to Matthew levering, who's on this call. Before that, before I die, I am going to write a book called Lost sermons what I wish I had heard, which will be paid back decades of inadequate preaching. I think what has to be recovered in the church I may mention this in the book is is expository preaching, the kind of preaching the father's did, the kind of preaching that allows people to see the world through biblical lenses. I was very impressed as I suspect many of you were, by Kevin Rose book on the Acts of the Apostles world turned upside down or world upside down. It's a brilliant exposition of Acts. Which which is actually a model for preach. And how how expository biblically centered preaching of the sword we find in the father's helps cure the myopia and astigmatism of our secular vision of reality. So we're completely great on that. Part of the pedantry, have a look at page 105, to 107 of the book on on Mary, where I lift up, john paul, the second notion of Mary as the paradigm of all discipleship. This is a idea that I think john paul, the second borrowed from Honduras, fun bolts, Azhar and his book, The Office of Peter and the structure of the church, where Baltazar makes the argument, that of all of the forms of the church's life, the petrine form, the Paul line form, the jello nine form, and so forth and so on. The Marian form, embodied in the Marian fiyat Be it done unto me according to your word, is the paradigm of all discipleship, and therefore the fundamental form of the church, to which everything else makes sense. And, and I think one of his most notable dresses, john paul, the second in his 1987, Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia. I think an exclusively male body at that point, said, all this stuff we're doing here doesn't make any sense. Without the Marian form of the church, we are here to serve the fostering of discipleship and the first disciple was marry. So I think that's what needs to be lifted up there. And we can go on to discuss the Immaculate Conception and the assumption a bit later. Carl, Karl, the civil war is going on today. Within the Catholic Church, all you have to do is read the comment threads after my columns. I don't read them. And it's not just during Lent that I don't read them. They're bad for your health. This has been going on since within the council itself. And this is one of the points I tried to make in the irony of modern Catholic history. And it does devolve back, I think more and more on this question of the reality and binding force of Revelation. I know that will be regarded as many as a gross oversimplification. And yes, I can get into all of the arguments about revelation theology, but at the bottom of the bottom, either This is real, or it isn't any orange binding, or it's not. And that began, at least between the second and third sections of the Vatican Council, and it's continued ever since. So the Civil War is is underway. It is generally conducted non violently, except the first a lot of rhetorical violence, but not all together. Now, how's that going to resolve itself? My hopeful scenario
is is this and I think it's one I indicate in this trope that Catholic light and Catholic zero Catholic light throughout the world, whether we're talking about Montgomery County, Maryland where I'm living setting right now, or Germany, or Quebec, or Ireland, or a lot of Western Europe or parts of Latin America, Catholic light is dying of its own implausibility. Catholicism built around the questions how little to do I have to do? And how little Do I have to believe in order to remain a Catholic is just boring. It's done. It's not interesting. It's not engaging. And under the present cultural circumstances, it will simply die out. Now, it's there's going to be some continued rhetorical skirmishing at least in all this. I don't know whether the church in Germany next year or next year is going to go into formal system through this, so called German senate away. I doubt it. But it certainly is verging on apostasy. And there's a kind of psychological system going on in which people simply have checked out of an affective communion with the rest of the church and particularly with the teaching authority of the church. I suspect one could find similar patterns. Over 2000 years of history, people did have the courtesy to formally go into cism in the past that seems to have that courteous gesture seems to have been lost. But I think the answer to the resolution of this is pretty much what Joseph Ratzinger was envisioning 40 or 50 years ago, the church that may be smaller, although it's going to be much larger in Africa, but pure and more coherent, because more intentional, and more Christian centric. long answer but good questions. Thank you.
Professor Weigel, my name is Brett Sokolov. I'm arch diocesan theologian in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. You and I run in similar circles. I do Roman Catholic evangelical dialogue in the national dialogue in Canada. We rely on eects work, for instance, in my experience with that work, I found more and more Protestants. You commented at the beginning about the the good news that Protestants and evangelicals in particular might be talking about the papacy, I have found more and more interest in questions about Mary. And so I was struck by this line on page 107. to lead the church beyond clericalism. The next Pope must lead the church into a deeper Marian commitment and a more theologically enriched Marian piety. I'm interested to know how that sounds to Protestant tears. But I'm also I've thought about Mary quite a bit and never made the connection with Mary as antidote to clericalism. And so I wondered if you might say a word or two about that. And if your previous answer has covered a lot of that, a second question that you can decline if it's too cheeky. But as I was reading the book, I thought to myself, with this next Pope, we named john paul the third or Leo the 14th. And and as you know, the choice of a PayPal name is highly symbolic and Telegraph's a lot of information. And so if you've had any thoughts about a PayPal name that would accord with war, a book, that might be a fun comment as well.
I wouldn't, I wouldn't object to Leo the 14th. Because I'm a great fan of Leo the 13th. haven't helped anybody who takes the name john paul, the second, the third, and drive to meet the challenge of john paul the second my personal preference, for reasons that I will not go into on the public record, but you can look it up my personal preference would be Clement the 15th. And you can go figure out why I would say that the word clericalism is so often used, that it's terribly abused. What I mean by it is the notion that the ordained leaders of the church form a kind of caste system. They're a higher caste. And the rest of us are lower caste. That's a false indication of the theology of baptism, first of all, or at least a corruption of the theology of baptism. And it misses the essential point about ordained ministry, which is that it exists in order to foster the holiness of all of the people of the church. And the empowerment of all of the people in the church to live out that baptismal responsibility to be missionary disciples, if we reclaim that Marian profile, or Marian form of the church model of the church, the fundamental reality of the church is discipleship. Then, I think, this notion of a clerical caste system, you know, which has some practical effects. I mean, it's not just noxious, although it can be that it has practical effects. I mean, you know, one of which is the maybe this is different in vagina, but it's certainly true in a lot of other places. a pastor spend an awful lot of time on Administration and Finance, that there's no need for that. As recent events in the Vatican have illustrated, Holy Orders, even in the highest degree does not confer financial competence or financial probity, so that there is absolutely no reason why lay people cannot be doing far more of the administrative chores in the church under the supervision and ultimate authority of the ordained leadership in the Church says it's a way to get at the caste system problem via, I think, a rich theology of, of Our Lady, as the first of disciples, which by the way, is, is rather broadly hinted at, in the chapter on Mary and the dogmatic constitution on the church of Vatican two, which was quite determined to locate Mary and Marian piety within the church not standing outside the church and over against the church.
Super, we have hit the top of the hour, which means that we'll go for about another 15 minutes but no longer so if you have a question for Professor waggle, make sure you get that in in the next couple of moments. Thank you.
Hey, George, Dale Coulter from Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee. Thank you again for this book. It's what I would call quintessential George Weigel. And I have come to greatly appreciate your voice over the years through our time together and evangelicalism Catholics. And that kind of project in ecumenical exchanges and co belligerency. As you as you put it. I'm just curious how you think about the future, this book clearly spells out what you want the future to look at, look like, in light of internal Catholic debates between Catholic light, which if I were to discrete, a scribe, I would say, you know, part of me thinks you're saying, let's don't become like mainline Protestants, you see what's happened to them, and what's going to happen to them, and you people want to go in this direction, but this is really not where we need to go. Um, so that that kind of sounding and I've read some of the reviews of your book from the Catholic left, and it's, you know, George waggles book is not Francis, which I think is unfair myself, and doesn't really take seriously the first several chapters, we provide pretty robust, I think, explanation of what where things are going, where you want them to go, in terms of Catholic teaching as a whole. But I'm just curious as to how you think this is going to play out especially I'm thinking in North America with the break up and of mainline Protestantism, it's not just simply losing members, it's breaking apart the United method. Church is going to explode. I mean, they've already announced the global Methodist Church as a new entity, the western covenant Association. So it'll be the last of the main lines to break apart. And when you couple that with the fact that, you know, the global south is invading the global north, and there are over 30,000 churches in the church of Pentecost, which is a Ghanian, Pentecostal body, there's even more in the Nigerian redeem Church of God, which is going to cost the body you know, so that when you look at to head to 2015, it's I think, we're going to look at a very different future entirely, where you have a kind of global Pentecostal charismatic force, with a minimal kind of mainline Protestantism. So I'm just wondering, given this where you position yourself, which is to me, against the Catholic light on the one hand and a progressivism, when it comes to Catholic evangelization and anti clericalism, maybe that's too strong. But do you see this moving forward, the Catholic Church moving forward in a way that is more more like what we what we may see going forward more like a conservative robust theology coupled with a vibrant spirituality that maybe would link hands with Pentecostal charismatic Christianity as it continues to grow? That's just the question of Robin. Thank you.
Thanks, Dale, always, always good to be be talking with you. On the matter of book reviews, I ceased being surprised by snarky reviews from the Catholic left about 35 years ago, so I'm, I'm not wounded or hurt. I'm just sorry that, you know, we can't have a more intelligent conversation about these things. Or that, you know, the Catholic left has become ultra montanus. In a way that would make Pius the ninth blush. But you know, that's the human condition, I suppose. Where I see this vision of the Catholic future being instantiated is prime primarily, but not exclusively, generationally. Let's just talk about the American situation, North American situation, I see this vision of angelical Catholicism, if you will, in younger priests, who understand that they are not living in Christendom times. But epistatic times I gave a talk by zoom a couple of weeks ago to the college seminary here in Washington. And I said, if if any of you guys do not understand, that you are entering a missionary vocation, please leave the seminary now. You are not entering a stable easy profession, you are entering a missionary vocation. I see this in the growing religious communities, particularly women, the Dominican sisters of Nashville, Tennessee, religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan, any number of others who are living the consecrated life of the evangelical virtues in a radical way, who are not dressed by Lord and Taylor. And who are real countercultural witnesses in the world and they're attracting lots of vocations. I think we are living in something of a golden age of Catholic campus ministry in the United States. Now, that's not true across the board. But when you look for example, at the Catholic Campus Ministry at Texas a&m University, which I think is the gold standard for Catholic campus ministry in the United States. That Campus Ministry has produced more religious vocations to both the priesthood and the consecrated life in the past 20 years than that place in northern Indiana with the golden dome. And this is this is in College Station, Texas. on a campus that's maybe 25% Catholic. You look at something like focus the fellowship of Catholic University students. Which is perhaps at the university level, the best expression of this, Evan jellicle view of the Catholic future. Focus, for those of you who are not familiar with it is a kind of Catholic Vista or Peace Corps, in which recent college graduates Well, catechized devote the first year or two, sometimes three of their post college life, being missionaries on college campuses, from a standing start in the mid 1990s. There are now focus missionaries on over 125 campuses in the United States, and the program is beginning to expand. These are all young people. This is a very encouraging sign for the future. And it's I think, these examples I've given testify to the truth of the claim, which I think is true across the Christian world, that Christian Christian communities which take the great tradition seriously, which have a clear sense of their doctrinal and moral boundaries. We understand that we all fall frequently. But that don't reconfigure those boundaries, according to a least common denominator of belief or practice, cannot only survive
the tsunami of post modernism in which all of us in less live, they can thrive. And those of us who find ourselves in that position should be in an active conversation with each other. About one of the points that Wesley made that linking mission and and social service social fitness, we should be in conversation about deepening our spiritual lives through a common reclamation of the father's of an undivided Christianity in the first millennium. We might also well together is a point I don't take up at any great length in the next Pope. But we in the Western Christian orbit, have a lot to learn from the spirituality of Eastern Christianity. The more I dig around in his work, the more I think Vladimir Slavia for example, was one of the great, insightful profits into our current situation. It's one of the things I regret not talking about with john paul the second, asking him how deeply he had read in Slovenia, because I see a lot of, of parallels there. So there's a lot to learn together. On on that front, as well.
Thank you so much. We're just short of quarter past the hour, but that's what will draw the conversation to a close. And we all want to thank so much, George Weigel for joining us today speaking to us about his book. The next Pope, thank you so much for your willingness to join us. If I can offer two quick comments. This, the entirety of this program will be lightly video edited, and then released online. Sean Pierce, who's our producer will let you know by email when that's available. This is our first time trying out the translation, translating this dialogue in real time into Italian and Vietnamese. So we're newbies at this. But we do come to the to this idea with the conviction that this type of conversation where we're looking at doctrinally robust and clear books from across the spectrum of Christian traditions, these types of conversations ought to be happening 1000 fold and so we're trying to grow and develop in this area. If you know, translators who would be willing to work with us in this regard, we would like to expand into a lot of different languages. But our heartfelt thanks today to john TA and to JD for translating for us. I know a little bit of translation firsthand that that's an incredibly takes an incredible amount of intellectual energy to do that. So we're extremely thankful for our translators. And lastly, don't forget to pray for one another God is doing something new in the church today and one of the things That we can do in a very practical sense as remember one another in prayer, including George Weigel for the work that he's doing in many circles. Pastor Chris, if you would close us in prayer, please
be happy to. Father, we thank you for the work of George Weigel, pray your hand a blessing upon him and his family. Together, we confess that Jesus is the light of the world. And in this season of Lent is we recognize the sinful shadows that lurk in our own hearts, or do we repent, we ask for forgiveness. We thank you, that you are the God who comes to us. Your protocols and you embrace us, you call us your own. You surround us with your steadfast love and you call us into this world to proclaim the good news toward that and we pray, you will empower your church so that by the Holy Spirit dwells within me would make it clear that Jesus is Lord