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Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church Hardcover – February 5, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Wall Street Journal
“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.”

The Weekly Standard
“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.”

National Review
“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.”

The Economist
"An elegantly written manifesto."

National Catholic Register
“[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.”

“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.”

Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus
“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.”

Mary Eberstadt, author of Adam and Eve after the Pill and The Loser Letters
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.”

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 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.”

Don J. Briel, Koch Chair in Catholic Studies, University of Saint Thomas
“A timely, accessible and unusually insightful work.”

George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
“Weigel at his astringent and prophetic best.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“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.”

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia
“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.”

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

Most Rev. Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland
“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.”

About the Author

George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the Catholic Church. The author of more than twenty books, including the world-renowned, two-volume biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning, Weigel lives in North Bethesda, Maryland.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1.6.2013 edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465027687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465027682
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I converted to Catholicism 8 years ago and I've struggled to find my "place" in the Church since that Easter Vigil. I had too much faith to be any kind of progressive Catholic and I lacked those cradle bona fides to even remotely understand what compels Traditional Catholics. I was beginning to doubt that I could be a Catholic at all.

Thank you Mr. Weigel. I read your book and discovered that I've been right where I should be all along, in Christ, and in His Church. I am Catholic after all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great Book on 'Evangelical Catholicism' /'The New Evangelization'/ 'Vatican II Catholicism'

George Weigel is one of my favorite Catholic essayists, political and cultural commentators. In this book he doesnt disappoint and delivers a top notch book which for a great many Catholics will become a handbook or a guiding light. Al Kresta calls the book prophetic. Another reviewer(Archbishop) called it a 'blueprint for the re-evangelization of the West'. I couldnt agree more. I see in the author, and in this book, someone who has finally wrestled with and pinned down what the abstraction 'The New Evangelization' is all about. Although George Weigel rarely mentions the term 'The New Evangelization' in his book, it is implicit within the book and synonymous with 'Evangelical Catholic/Catholicism'. And, of course, all this starts with you and me.

George gives us a bit of a rundown of 'modernism' and 'post-modernism', its anti-religion posture and how as the predominant culture it has completely pummeled 'Counter Reformation Catholicism', also known as 'Council of Trent' Catholicism, and has left the Catholic Church in a shambles dominated by 'progressive' vs. 'traditional', 'liberal' vs. 'conservative' and 'pre vs. post Vatican II' fights and discussions which are not the essential fights, as the Church should be centered on neither but 'Evangelical Catholicism'. Although I am a conservative, surprisingly true to form this book delivers and enables one to focus on the future and perhaps finally unfurl some fingers on these fights and labels and move forward on a new transcendent realignment.
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Weigel is one of the few authors with the depth and experience to tackle such a vast topic and to do so credibly. For the last several years it seemed as if the choice for he future of the Church was between liberals and conservatives. Now, Weigel argues that neither of these are the likely future path for the Church. Liberals want us to join the liberal protestant camp which has already shown it is going nowhere and has a weak following. Conservatives who want us to return to the days of the counter-Reformation are living in a time warp which ignores present day circumstances. The third option of Evangelical Catholicism both returns the Church to its Gospel beginnings and prepares it to deal with contemporary issues in a neaningful way. A seriously good read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the immediate wake of the election of Pope Francis, George Weigel was asked what he would like readers to take from his book (which was completed less than a year ago). His reply, I think, is no different than what it would have been when the volume was published: "A sense of hope for a bright Catholic future, in which a purified and revivified Catholicism, meeting the Lord once again on the Emmaus roads of the 21st century, rediscovers the power that comes from a commitment to mission."

Weigel's vision of a properly executed "commitment to mission" is the thread that runs throughout the book. Part One lays out his vision for Evangelical Catholicism covering its roots (EC is not something that needs to begin but rather something that needs to continue to be implemented), what it means for the Church and the world, and what "deep reform" (note that the subtitle is not subtle) would look like.

Part Two looks at how these reforms would impact the episcopate, the priesthood, the liturgy, religious life, lay persons, Catholic intellectual life, the Church's public policy advocacy, and the papacy. Weigel is not hesitant to point out historical and current problems in each of these areas, the roots of these problems, and correctives needed. Every member of the Church is addressed and challenged here. When finished with it, lay persons may want to pass this along to a priest or religious, even if that person only has time to read the chapter dealing with his vocation, and then discuss it with him. This would be a great way to engage those with a special religious vocation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am currently reading this as an audiobook. Often I buy a hardcover like this so that I can refer back to the text, if I want to read something over a few times or dwell on it (hard to do when the music player is running). I am about one-third into the book by now (I'll update as necessary!). However, right from the very first paragraphs to which I listened, was I impressed by the quality of Weigel's scholarship, knowledge, and his ability to teach "Church" and what that is! He knows the history. He refers to the official teaching. He knows the obstacles, like the ongoing tension that exists between the conservatives and progressives that seemingly have set up what looks like permanent camps from which they operate and produce their monologues. Actually, he sees things like this more as distractions or insignificant because they do not identify with the Church as it sees Itself. He masterfully cuts between these camps and other obstacles and brings forth an image of the Church that has permeated the centuries and can be readily seen now. I think it would be hard for anyone to read this seriously and not come to a picture of the Church that is at once beautiful, life-saving, wholesome, and Divine. That is not something easy to do by oneself in this day and age. This book lays a foundation for it. This does not preclude the need to reform. In fact, Weigel insists on it. It's part of the subtitle. We know all too well there's great need of that. Yet, he gives us the schema that we can follow. It's based on some basic principles: if this is something Divinely revealed, then it is True. If it is True then it means becoming a part of the Church as Mission and living out the Gospel as Jesus gave it to us. There's no middle-ground.Read more ›
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