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The scene: it’s the mid-1980s, and a group of politics tutors and graduate students are hunched around a table in a grotty, dimly lit college bar. The conversation is about new ideas, books, professors-academic gossip. A tutor turns to a graduate student “So, Simone, what is this about you being a Catholic? Do you really believe that stuff?” Before the student has time to speak, I, a new boy, eager to make an impression, jump in. “What Simone means is that her parents are Catholic, and in calling herself a Catholic, she is laying claim to a tradition that is…

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