Monday 11 February 2019

Barren Europe

Pope Francis has repeatedly criticised the European Union over the past five years for its perceived lack of vision, drawing the ire of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2014 when he described the Europe as an elderly woman who was "no longer fertile and vibrant".

Conflict between Germany and the papacy goes back a long way to Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV's walk to Canossa, where Pope Gregory VII was staying, in 1077 to seek absolution of his excommunication and to Bismarck's Kulturkampf. This time both the Christian Democrats and the Papacy are left-wing but pretending to be conservative.

In fact Europe is barren these days. The attack on Pearl Harbor marks the end of the long era of European supremacy and the continent, though never richer, more humane or more advanced, does not seem to lead the world in any thing or to have world changing ideas. How different to the days of Freud, Jung, or Keynes, not to mention Lenin.

An American historian I met on a train told from Bucharest to Belgrade told me that all European cities seemed like museums to him except London. 

(I'd say that London is not a European city, because an island is not part of a continent, but that is pedantry.)

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