Practice Makes Perfect
The way to heaven.


LOPEZ: Why is Paul Horgan so important to know?

WEIGEL: Because he seems so totally forgotten these days, and in his prime, he was perhaps America’s most accomplished man of letters. His corpus — historical works, novels, essays, clerihews, you name it — is simply amazing. Things as They Are is perhaps the best book written about a boy growing up since Huckleberry Finn. And in a culture increasingly devoid of manliness, Horgan’s novel of the settlement of the Southwest, A Distant Trumpet, makes for a splendid Confirmation or Bar Mitzvah present.


LOPEZ: What was so special about Henry Hyde? And is it “too much to ask that we’ll ever see his like again”?

WEIGEL: Henry was a remarkable combination of intellect, wit, political deftness, and legislative savvy. Moreover, he was an old-fashioned patriot for whom politics wasn’t about power, it was about principles and purposes. He was the product of a distinctive time and place, but we may see his like again; at least I hope so. Paul Ryan strikes me as a man with similar qualities.

LOPEZ: Of the late French cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger you write: “Here was a man of God; here was a man. The first explained the second.” What does that mean, and what could it mean in a secular culture of men who don’t know what it means to be men?

WEIGEL: Lustiger’s luminous humanity was formed by his Christian discipleship, which taught him about courage, tolerance, decency, respect for ideas, and the capacity to suffer without being paralyzed by suffering. Those strike me as manly qualities that the radical secularism of the imperial autonomous Self finds it difficult to affirm, and thus difficult to teach.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online