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Talking about the Christian Occident in the Context of European Unification

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image of Journal of Religion in Europe

What does it mean when the concept of the "Christian Occident" is being used in debates on European identity today? The answer depends on what those who use the words understand by "Christian Occident"—which is not always clear. Far from being unambiguous, the concept "Christian Occident" is oscillating. Any simple definition circumvents its complexity and thereby prevents a differentiated perception of the concerns as well as of the dangers expressed by it. In the context of the project "Desecularization in Europe: The vision of the Occident (Abendland) as the return of the politicization of religion?", a critical re-reading of official documents of members of the Catholic hierarchy in Europe after 1945 allowed the author to identify a dialectic in the talk about the (Christian) Occident and to situate this in the framework of social-ethical reflections about Europe, submitting this to a theological critique which demonstrated both its dangers and its positive opportunities.


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