This month, in our Author 101 series, we’re featuring author George Weigel.
In 2010, George Weigel completed his epic biography of the pontiff who changed the course of history. The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy is the triumphant sequel to the New York Times bestseller Witness to Hope, and was praised the world over. The book is the result of fifteen years of conversations with John Paul II himself and previously unrevealed communist secret police files. Pulitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham had this to say: “[George Weigel] has now finished the story he began so brilliantly…[detailing] John Paul II’s battle against totalitarianism and chronicles the Holy Father’s humble acceptance of suffering at the end of earthly life. As ever, Weigel writes with confidence, clarity, and insight.” It is a book that reflects the brilliance of John Paul the Great, soon to be one of the Catholic Church’s newest saints.
George Weigel was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended St. Mary’s Seminary and University. He later received his masters degree from St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. He is the recipient of eighteen honorary doctorates in fields including divinity, philosophy, law, and social science, as well as the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal from the Polish Ministry of Culture. For a short time, he lived in Seattle, Washington, serving as Assistant Professor of Theology and Assistant Dean of Studies at the St. Thomas the Apostle Seminary School of Theology and Scholar-in-Residence at the World Without War Council of Greater Seattle. He eventually moved back to Washington, D.C. where he is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. Weigel is widely considered one of America’s leading public intellectuals.
From 1989 through June 1996, Weigel was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he led a wide-ranging, ecumenical and interreligious program of research and publication on foreign and domestic policy issues. From June 1996, as a Senior Fellow, he prepared a major study of the life, thought, and action of Pope John Paul II. Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II was published to international acclaim in the fall of 1999, and has since been translated into twelve languages, with a Chinese edition currently in progress.
Weigel is the author or editor of some twenty other books; the most recent of these include Practicing Catholic: Essays Historical, Literary, Sporting, and Elegiac (Crossroad, 2012); Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church (Basic, 2013) and Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches (Basic, 2013). His essays, op-ed columns, and reviews appear regularly in major opinion journals and newspapers across the United States. A frequent guest on television and radio, he is also Vatican analyst for NBC News. His weekly column, “The Catholic Difference,” is syndicated to sixty newspapers.
Weigel and his wife Joan live in North Bethesda, Maryland. They have three children.
Read a sample chapter of The End and the Beginning here.