Randy Boyagoda says that Richard John Neuhaus was the most important American Unknown-1clergyman of his time–and explains why both in his new biography, Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square, as well as in the latest edition of The Bookmonger.

We also discuss what personality traits accounted for the influence of Neuhaus and what attracted Boyagoda, an accomplished novelist, to tackle this subject.

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There are 12 comments.

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  1. Scott Wilmot Member

    Fr. Neuhaus had a great influence on my faith – I met him through First Things. I love his idea that today is the Catholic Moment – he preached Fidelity, Fidelity, Fidelity.

    His writing was always eloquentia perfecta – insightful analysis written beautifully. His essay. “We Shall Not Weary, We Shall Not Rest”, that is re-printed each January 22 on First Things, is a classic.

    Fidelity. The Catholic Moment. Religion in the Public Square. First Things. Fr. Richard nailed them all.

    I love and miss Fr. Neuhaus.

    • #1
    • February 23, 2015, at 4:43 PM PST
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  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I look forward to listening to this! Father Neuhaus was the strongest voice in America concerning the relationships between faith, culture, and politics. He was intelligent, studious, and charitable in his consideration of opposing views. First Things was an excellent journal under his care. (It might still be excellent, but I haven’t read it in a while.)

    I had the pleasure of meeting him at the University of St Thomas once. But for the life of me I can’t remember the brief conversation we had.

    • #2
    • February 23, 2015, at 5:51 PM PST
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  3. KC Mulville Inactive

    First Things is one of my must-reads. It’s comforting to know that despite the Oscars and cable news, America still has a roster of interesting and thoughtful people who are reflecting on our common experience.

    • #3
    • February 24, 2015, at 7:43 AM PST
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  4. Manny Member

    Father Neuhaus has been on my list of people to read more of. I’m currently reading his Death on a Friday Afternoon and I’m amazed at his insight. I’ll have to listen to the podcast.

    • #4
    • February 24, 2015, at 8:57 AM PST
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  5. Crabby Appleton Inactive

    I bought a copy of this bio just this morning and look forward to reading it very much.

    I first became acquainted of Fr Neuhaus when I bought a copy of First Things in, of all places, a Stars And Stripes book store in Korea. I read The Naked Public Square a while ago. Another book on the same topic and much better because it is more accessible is American Babylon. It’s brilliant and should be read by every “person of faith” interested in politics and participation in the marketplace of civic discourse. My favorite of his books is Death On A Friday Afternoon. It is the most profoundly moving, thought provoking and inspirational account of the passion and resurrection I’ve ever read. I read it every year during holy week and look forward to reading it again this year. Can’t recommend it strongly enough.

    • #5
    • February 24, 2015, at 9:41 AM PST
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  6. Devereaux Inactive

    A fascinating man. Started an Episcopalian I believe, but became Catholic, he was MOST a Christian. I enjoyed his stewardship of First Things, but since his death have dropped it as I was unhappy with the new management.

    Still, I thought that magazine once was a singular place to hear discourse on Christianity – not Catholic or Protestant but Christian.

    • #6
    • February 24, 2015, at 12:44 PM PST
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  7. Grendel Member
    GrendelJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Devereaux:A fascinating man. Started an Episcopalian I believe, but became Catholic, he was MOST a Christian.

    Started as a Lutheran pastor and a liberal–marched with MLK, hooray for the great society, anti-Vietnam war.

    • #7
    • February 24, 2015, at 8:59 PM PST
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  8. Ned Walton Inactive

    I started reading him back when he was NR’s religion correspondent and then followed him to First Things and his conversion to Catholicism. A brilliant writer and a very decent, generous, thoughtful and humorous man of God. I truly miss his voice.

    • #8
    • February 24, 2015, at 9:27 PM PST
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  9. Devereaux Inactive

    Grendel – thanks. I knew it was Protestant, but not which. Lutheran vs Episcopalian is a longer move to Catholic.

    • #9
    • February 25, 2015, at 4:51 PM PST
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  10. Giantkiller Member
    GiantkillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Devereaux:Grendel – thanks. I knew it was Protestant, but not which. Lutheran vs Episcopalian is a longer move to Catholic.

    A lot longer move – that’s the way I did it thirty years ago.

    Fr. Neuhaus was a great influence. Under his guidance, First Things was a brilliant magazine – always a wonderful read and often even inspirational in an intellectual way. I truly miss that magazine and the good Father.

    • #10
    • March 1, 2015, at 7:23 AM PST
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  11. Devereaux Inactive

    Giantkiller:

    Devereaux:Grendel – thanks. I knew it was Protestant, but not which. Lutheran vs Episcopalian is a longer move to Catholic.

    A lot longer move – that’s the way I did it thirty years ago.

    Fr. Neuhaus was a great influence. Under his guidance, First Things was a brilliant magazine – always a wonderful read and often even inspirational in an intellectual way. I truly miss that magazine and the good Father.

    Agreed.

    I’m orthodox, so there is no real movement as the two are almost identical except for the pope, a source of endless discourse among the orthodox. But then, in my mind Benedict 16 may be THE greatest pope because he reconciled the orthodox and catholic. Too bad the protestant didn’t want to go there – it would be nice to see all the Christians together, at least in some form. The endless bickering is unbecoming. Not what Jesus would have said/done.

    • #11
    • March 1, 2015, at 8:06 AM PST
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  12. Giantkiller Member
    GiantkillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Benedict was a great man and a great pope. His pontificate was all too short. And I could not agree more about reconciling Protestant and Catholic – and Eastern Orthodox – and Greek Orthodox and even the Coptic Church. And probably more of whom I am sadly ignorant.

    • #12
    • March 1, 2015, at 1:32 PM PST
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