January 27, 2023
Institute for Human Ecology Executive Director and Ordinary Professor of Moral Theology Joseph Capizzi (L) and bestselling author and public intellectual George Weigel.

 Catholic University’s Institute for Human Ecology (IHE) hosted New York Times best-selling author and commentator George Weigel to discuss his new book To Sanctify the World: the Vital Legacy of Vatican II. The lecture and book signing was held at Heritage Hall in Father O'Connell Hall on Jan. 26 and livestreamed on YouTube. 

University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick welcomed Weigel to the event, saying that To Sanctify the World was a joy to read and “one of the best” books he has read about the Council. Weigel is a New York Times bestselling biographer of Saint Pope John Paul II and has written more than 20 books. He is Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC.

IHE Executive Director and Ordinary Professor of Moral Theology Joseph Capizzi began the conversation by asking Weigel, who is a longtime friend of the Institute, about why he wrote the book. 

To Sanctify the World was published October 2022, which marked the 60th anniversary of the opening of The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The Council is credited with shaping the modern Catholic Church, but its intention, interpretation, and implementation remains hotly contested among many of the faithful. Weigel said he saw a need to explain the enduring significance of the Council’s true teachings and said that the “renewal of the Church by returning to the biblical and patristic roots of the Church was necessary.” 

“The Council addressed the burning question: ‘What is the human person?’ by putting Christocentricity back into the heart of Catholicism,” said Weigel, who said the book explores how the Council is in continuity with the history of the Church and noted that “every Council in the history of the church was preceded by controversy, conducted by controversy, and followed by controversy.”  

Weigel said the pontificates of Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both of whom contributed to Vatican II, are key to understanding the meaning of the Council. Weigel said that the recent passing of Benedict XVI marked an “end of an era.”