The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God

In This Review

The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God

By George Weigel
Basic Books, 2005
202 pp. $23.00

A Roman Catholic theologian and biographer of Pope John Paul II, Weigel has written a rambling attack on contemporary European secularism, with a condescension exceeding that of Robert Kagan. His central complaint is about the luckless European constitution's failure to acknowledge explicitly the Christian roots of Europe. Such de-Christianization is, in Weigel's telling, responsible for a variety of Europe's ills, including depopulation and spiritual emptiness -- the kind of ills that have afflicted the continent ever since "the crisis of civilizational morality" that led to World War I. This sort of indictment tempts those at whom it is aimed to point out some of the indefensible positions of the Catholic Church in the last two centuries. (Maybe the church's failure to condemn the Holocaust in time -- or the refusal of some theologians to acknowledge the possibility of a lay philosophy of conscience, toleration, and goodwill -- explains European "Christophobia"?) This book will do little to advance the cause of a "politics with God." Those in Europe and elsewhere who believe in either a secular humanism or a Christ-centered humanism should celebrate what unites them rather than insulting one another.

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