The Holy See, Public Spheres and Postsecular Transformations of International Relations: An Introduction
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Within IR thinking, secular nation states dominate the scene. Transformations that make the boundaries between international diplomacy and transnational publics fuzzy are usually presented as having emerged only recently. The role of religion in world affairs is thus often conceptualized as a surprising return. The continuity of papal involvement, however, shows that the interconnectedness of the Public and the International stood the test of time. Based on a postsecular perspective and illustrated by a walk with the popes through Paris, the introduction bridges the modern secular gap between a medieval past and a possible neomedieval future by showing that the popes were always part of the game, both on the international and on the public level. Their understanding of religion as a critical force, that binds the International back to the Public never ceased to have an impact on politics.