I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Michael Staunton

The Pope’s Divisions

By the early seventh century, the Roman church was the cultural mortar of western European society. It became the single institution that cut across political boundaries and ethnic divisions, collecting taxes, administering justice and enjoying the power of life and death over its members.