LATROBE, PENNSYLVANIA – The biographer of Pope John Paul II, Mr. George Weigel, will be the speaker at Saint Vincent Seminary’s 154th annual commencement, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, in the Archabbey Basilica. He will receive an honorary doctorate in recognition of his monumental contribution to the understanding of the role of religion in public life.
Mr. Weigel is a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and a Roman Catholic theologian. He is one of America’s leading commentators on religion and public life.Witness to Hope, the biography of Pope John Paul II, has been called “the best book on the remarkable life of a truly historic figure” by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Witness to Hope is considered to be the most comprehensive biography of the Pope yet written.
Mr. Weigel is the author of thirteen other books. He has been writing about the Holy Father since the first days of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate. He was given unprecedented access to the Pope and the people who have known and worked with the Holy Father throughout his life. Mr. Weigel’s portrait presents a view of the Pope as a man, a thinker, and a leader whose religious convictions have defined a new approach to world politics — and changed the course of history. New information about the Pope’s role in world events is explored, including the fall of communism, the collapse of four dictatorships during the 1980s, and the epic pilgrimage to Cuba in 1998. The book also discusses the Pope’s efforts to build bridges to other Christian communities and other great world religions, and offers synopses of every major teaching document in the pontificate.
Mr. Weigel is the author of fourteen books, including The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism, Just War and the Gulf War (1991, with James Turner Johnson); Freedom and Its Discontents: Catholicism Confronts Modernity (1991), and Catholicism and The Renewal of American Democracy (1989). He has contributed several articles to The Thomist, The Christian Century, The National Catholic Register, The Washington Times and The Wall Street Journal.
His memberships include the Board of Directors of the Institute of Religion and Democracy, The Jerusalem Committee, and the Council of Foreign Relations.
Mr. Weigel received a master of arts degree in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. He resides in Bethesda, Maryland.
“We look forward to welcoming Mr. Weigel to Saint Vincent,” said Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., Chancellor of Saint Vincent Seminary. “He has just returned from Israel where he covered the historic visit of Pope John Paul II. Mr. Weigel is one of the nation’s leading commentator’s on the role of Pope John Paul II as a significant world statesman.
“Mr. Weigel’s documentation of of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II,” the Archabbot continued, “provides an in-depth understanding of some of the key events which have taken place in Eastern Europe during the last two decades culminating in the collapse of Communism.”