The always open-minded yet stubbornly liberal Slate Magazine did a pretty good feature on the life of Richard Neuhas who died last week. Despite obvious reservations with his pro-life writings, the author is quite complementary of conservative Catholicism’s modern ethical champion.
An interesting quote:
After his conversion to Catholicism in 1990, Neuhaus tried to forge an alliance with evangelicals to address shared areas of moral concern. The effort caught the attention of, among others, Karl Rove, and the GOP improved its share of the Catholic vote in both 2000 and 2004. That effort was misguided from the start, and Neuhaus should have known better. He once wrote, “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.” But to Catholics, evangelicals are not orthodox and vice-versa, and the differences are not small. Catholic social doctrine, including opposition to abortion, is rooted in a dogmatic belief in human dignity. Evangelical political theology is rooted in Calvin’s belief in human depravity. Both groups may oppose abortion, but their approaches to the role of religion in society are vastly different.
When religion is reduced to ethics, the church is permitted to enter the public square under the guise of a moral authority. But once you sever the link between the central animating dogmas of faith and the moral teachings that flow from there, you invite a cheap moralism, a religion of external conformity to prescribed norms rather than an internal assent of faith.
In case you’re worried the media is pretending to be an expert again in telling us all about ourselves, here’s the author’s bio.