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Adult -- The Cube and the Cathedral

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  • mwittlans@aol.com
    Check to see if this title is already in your library s catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2005
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      Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is,
      put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right
      away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

      Title: The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God
      Author: George Weigel
      Publisher: Basic Books
      Date Published: April 2005
      ISBN: 0465092667
      Price: $23.00 Hardcover
      Comments: One of America's foremost public intellectuals argues that Europe's
      abandonment of its spiritual and cultural roots raises urgent questions about
      democracy's future around the world - including the United States


      From Publishers Weekly
      Paris's modernist La Grande Arche de la Défense and the Gothic Cathedral of
      Notre-Dame serve as metaphors for papal biographer Weigel's (Witness to Hope)
      examination of what has happened to Europe in the last several decades and its
      significance to Americans. Weigel, an American Catholic theologian who has
      lived and worked on the continent, defines the "Europe problem" as the sharp
      divergence of European views on democracy, the world and politics from those held
      by Americans like himself. For him, La Grande Arche ("The Cube") symbolizes
      the new Europe, retreating from democracy, en route to depoliticization,
      enamored of international organizations and intellectually Christophobic. Notre-Dame,
      which guidebooks claim would fit inside the Cube, embodies Europe's Christian
      history, now strangely absent from the constitution of the European Union.
      Weigel traces the "Europe problem" to the 19th-century rise of "atheistic
      humanism" and "the related triumph of secularization, or de-Christianization, in
      western Europe." He urges Americans to pay attention to what has happened there
      because it has implications for the future of democracy in the United States
      and throughout the world. In developing his thesis, Weigel draws on diverse
      sources, including the Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who has been keenly
      interested in Europe's democracies. Readers given to pondering European affairs will
      find much to pique thoughtful discussion. (Apr.)
      Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All
      rights reserved.

      From Booklist
      Catholic neoconservative Weigel maintains that the weighty preamble to the
      European Union's proposed constitution demonstrates what is wrong with Europe.
      The document doesn't mention Christianity as a factor in the formation of
      Europe, instead touting the nonreligious influences of the pre-Christian ancients
      and the Enlightenment. The omission produced heated debate but little
      rewriting, indicating, Weigel says, elite Europeans' hostility to Christianity and
      reflecting the union's bureaucratic orientation against politics, especially the
      democracy that Christianity, with its concern for individual human dignity,
      fosters uniquely among the great world religions. Weigel raises many questions
      about contemporary European actions, attitudes, and developments--in particular,
      the precipitate decline of the overall nonimmigrant European birth rate--on
      the way to concluding that Europe's leadership is bored with life. Those
      questions and a host of incidental observations are very intriguing and provocative,
      but Weigel's championing of Catholicism, Poland, and especially the
      Christ-centered humanism of the present pope as restoratives for a sick Europe may
      strike many as banking on very long shots. Ray Olson
      Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

      Commentary
      "One of the most lively, learned, and articulate intellectuals on the
      American scene."

      National Catholic Reporter
      "Riveting."

      Wall Street Journal
      "Clearheaded and elegant."

      Mary Anne Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University
      "One of America's most insightful and articulate intellectuals."

      the late Eugene V. Rostow, former Dean, Yale Law School; former
      Undersecretary of State
      "In the tradition of John Courtney Murray and Reinhold Niebuhr...one of the
      outstanding social critics of our time."

      Book Description
      One of America's foremost public intellectuals argues that Europe's
      abandonment of its spiritual and cultural roots raises urgent questions about
      democracy's future around the world - including the United States
      Why do Europeans and Americans see the world so differently? Why do Europeans
      and Americans have such different understandings of democracy and its
      discontents in the twenty-first century? Contrasting the civilization that produced
      the starkly modernist "cube" of the Great Arch of La DŽfense in Paris with the
      civilization that produced the "cathedral" of Notre-Dame, George Weigel argues
      that Europe's embrace of a narrow secularism has led to a crisis of morale
      that is eroding Europe's soul and threatening its future-with dire lessons for
      the rest of the democratic world.
      Weigel traces the origins of "Europe's problem" to the atheistic humanism of
      the nineteenth-century European intellectual life, which set in motion a
      historical process that produced two world wars, three totalitarian systems, the
      Gulag, Auschwitz, the Cold War-and, most ominously, the Continent's
      de-population, which is worse today than during the Black Death. And yet, many Europeans
      still insist-most recently, during the debate over a new EU constitution-that
      only a public square shorn of religiously-informed moral argument is safe for
      human rights and democracy. Precisely the opposite, Weigel suggests, is true:
      the people of the "cathedral" can give a compelling account of their commitment
      to everyone's freedom; the people of the "cube" cannot. Can there be any true
      "politics"-any true deliberation about the common good, and any robust
      defense of freedom-without God? George Weigel makes a powerful case that the answer
      is "No," because, in the final analysis, societies are only as great as their
      spiritual aspirations.

      About the Author
      George Weigel, one of America's most distinguished public intellectuals, is
      the author of a dozen books, including the international bestseller, Witness to
      Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. Basic has been proud to publish his
      two most recent books, The Courage To Be Catholic and Letters to a Young
      Catholic. A Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington,
      Weigel is also a consultant on Vatican affairs for NBC News and a frequent
      contributor of op-eds, essays, and reviews to numerous periodicals. He lives with
      his wife and family in North Bethesda, Maryland.


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