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Christian Democracy

In the early 1950s, the European Union as we know it did not exist, but a process of economic and political cooperation involving most Western European countries was already underway. And those countries came close to choosing a flag that featured the cross to represent their union. The idea for the . . . . Continue Reading »

Just Hospitality

Without quite meaning to, most ­Western countries have acquired large and growing numbers of Muslim minorities. The idea has slowly sunk in not only that Muslims are here to stay, but also that they remain committed to their faith. For many Muslims, this entails hostility to a Western culture still . . . . Continue Reading »

Prince of Diplomats

In the midst of a Haydn concert in London in June 1794, the young Clemens von Metternich spotted his one-time teacher, Andreas Hofmann, in the audience. Rather than renewing old acquaintance, the future Prince of Diplomats immediately denounced Hofmann to the authorities as a dangerous subversive. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Myth of Medieval Paganism

They don’t look very Christian—those strange faces made of leaves, and those women displaying cartoonishly enlarged genitals on the walls of medieval churches. Most people who have explored the medieval architecture of Western Europe have heard a tour guide explain that a particular carving . . . . Continue Reading »

Rooted Cosmopolitan

In 2011, I reviewed what was then Adam Zagajewski’s recent collection, Unseen Hand. In it, the poet, then in his mid-sixties, turned toward themes of life and death, loss and preservation. My review was laudatory. After its publication, a friend passed it along to Zagajewski, who on his . . . . Continue Reading »

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