Pliny’s Problem with Christianity — and Ours

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The Christians who confounded Pliny, who faced death rather than bow to the idols of their age, embraced a profound imperative from their Teacher and Lord.

This essay series explores Italy’s unique contribution to the rich inheritance of Western civilization, offering a defense of the West’s political and cultural achievements.

Como, Italy — In the façade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, better known as the Como Cathedral, are statues depicting various saints, the Virgin Mary, and the Archangel Gabriel. Also displayed among them, though, is the figure of a Roman official famous for his role in establishing the empire’s policy of persecution against the Christian church.

Not long after being appointed governor over the province of Bithynia-Pontus, in modern-day Turkey, Pliny the Younger wrote to the

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Joseph Loconte is director of the Simon Center for American Studies at The Heritage Foundation and the author of God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West.

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