Philip F. Lawler is editor of Catholic World News, which he founded in 1995, making it the first English-language Catholic news service operating on the internet.
Born and raised in the Boston area, Philip Lawler attended Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, MA, where he won the state’s debating championship. He graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1972, majoring in Government. He did graduate work in political philosophy at the University of Chicago before settling into a career in journalism.
Lawler’s first career stop was in New Jersey, where he edited Prospect, a monthly magazine published by a Princeton alumni group. In 1979 he moved to Washington, DC, to become managing editor of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published by the Heritage Foundation. He was soon promoted to become Director of Studies at the Heritage Foundation, supervising the foundation’s scholarly research.
In 1984 Lawler became editor of Crisis, a monthly journal of lay Catholic opinion. He returned to his native Boston in 1986 to become the first layman to edit The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston. From 1993 through 2005 he was editor of the international monthly magazine Catholic World Report.
Philip Lawler has been active in political campaigns, as a speechwriter and organizer, on the local, state, and national levels. He was appointed to the Inauguration Committees for President Ronald Reagan in 1984, and for President George Bush in 1988. In 2000 he himself was a candidate for the US Senate, running against Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Lawler is the author of seven books, of which the most recent is When Faith Goes Viral: 11 Success Stories of the New Evangelization from Alabama to Vladivostok. He also recently wrote A Call to Serve: Pope Francis and the Catholic Future. His other books include The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture; Operation Rescue: A Challenge to the Nation’s Conscience; The Ultimate Weapon (a study of the American Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter on nuclear weapons); and Coughing in Ink (a critique of American higher education). He is the editor of Justice and War in the Nuclear Age, and American Capitalism: The Catholic Challenge, and has produced several monographs on Catholic social teachings.
Lawler’s essays and book reviews have appeared in dozens of magazines, including National Review, Crisis, The Critic, 30 Days, Modern Age, Policy Review, and the American Spectator. His columns have appeared in over 100 newspapers around the United States and abroad, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal.
Since 1979, Phil Lawler has been happily married to Leila Marie Lawler, who is known to thousands of readers as “Auntie Leila,” the mainstay of the popular Like Mother, Like Daughter blog, which encourages women young and old to “preserve the collective memory” as they raise their own families. Leila and Phil have 7 children and 4 grandchildren — and counting.
Now living in rural Massachusetts, Phil Lawler is an amateur beekeeper, voracious reader, music lover, and passionate fan of the Boston Red Sox.