Christianity and Europe
Henry, Martin (2007) Christianity and Europe. The Furrow . pp. 56-58.
At the present time, there are many voices, not least eminent clerical voices, being raised to remind us, as Europeans, of the danger of forgetting our Christian roots. This danger may have been less acute in a slightly earlier age. Forthright apologists for the Church, like Hilaire Belloc (1870â1953), would have no hesitation in identifying âThe Faithâ, by which they meant Catholic Christianity, unproblematically with âEuropeâ. And the expression âChristian Europeâ is indeed fairly standard in historical reference works: see, for instance, Hugh Trevor-Roperâs The Rise of Christian Europe (1966). In fact it is quite a constant theme in Western thought generally, since the German Romantics popularized it in such works as Novalisâs (1772â1801) âChristendom or Europeâ. Yet notwithstanding this strong evidence for the Christian âsoulâ of Europe â evidence powerfully supplemented by the virtually omnipresent, massive visibility of the influence of the Christian faith in the cities and landscapes of Europe, in cathedrals, monasteries, universities, churches, chapels and shrines â when one begins to look a little more closely at the history of âEuropeâ, some at least of the âroots of Europeâ may not appear as specifically Christian at all, at any rate not specifically Christian in any simplistic sense. And maybe more disquietingly, the specifically Christian ârootâ of Europe is not itself without its ambiguities.
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