On a hot fall day in Rome not long ago, I crossed the vast expanse of St. Peter’s Square, paused momentarily in the shade beneath a curving flank of Bernini’s colonnade, and continued a little way beyond to a Swiss Guard standing impassively at a wrought-iron gate, the Porta Cavalleggeri. He examined my credentials, handed them back, and saluted smartly. I hadn’t expected the grand gesture, and almost returned the salute, but then realized it was intended for a cardinal waddling into the...
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Cullen Murphy is the editor-at-large of Vanity Fair and the author of several books, including The Word According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own (Houghton Mifflin, 1998) and Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). He lives in Massachusetts.