George Weigel Almost Had Me

I saw the headline of George Weigel's latest column at National Review Online - "Don't Know Much about Theology..." and, for a split second, entertained the idea that he might finally be copping to the fact that he does not, actually, know much theology. As I say, it was a split second, not a lingering one. Of course, Weigel hurls his usual invective scattershot at anyone who does not look on the 1950s as the Golden Age.

Mind you, I agree that the current state of academic theology is often silly, beset by the worst, most faddish, trends in the Academy. I suspect that being the first generations to enter the modern academy as an intellectual discipline standing alongside other intellectual disciplines, a certain amount of putting one's foot wrong was to be expected. I also recognize that the pre-conciliar theology approved by the Church's authorities was often so out-of-touch with currents in modern thought, that these same generations were unprepared for the encounter.

I also recognize that Weigel is part of the problem he is complaining about: We know his ideology trumps theology whenever it suits his purpose. Remember the red and gold pens with which he examined Pope Benedict's encyclical Caritas in Veritate? We know he has been unable to wrestle with the Communio theology that has grown out of the Council, producing an inadequate understanding of Pope John Paul II, which is an important lack in a biographer.

I share with Weigel a great hope in the rising generation of theologians, but I hope they stay far away from his version of the heresy of Americanism which is, to my mind, as distasteful as anything Sr. farley ever wrote.


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