Father Richard John Neuhaus, who died in January of this year at the age of 72 after long battle with cancer, was arguably “the most consequential public theologian in America since the days of Reinhold Niebuhr and John Courtney Murray, S.J.”
The Canadian-born Neuhaus was a Lutheran minister who in the 1960s marched with Martin Luther King and in the 1970s emerged as a fervent opponent of legalized abortion. He published in 1983 the enormously influential book The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America. Less than a decade later he converted to Catholicism and was ordained a Catholic priest. In 1990, Father Neuhaus founded First Things, the most important journal on religion and politics in America.
Throughout his life, Neuhaus pondered with courage and insight the role of faith in public life. Steadfastly defending the right and duty of people of faith to participate in “the public square,” he also maintained that all citizens, believers and nonbelievers alike, suffered when religious voices were excluded from “the public square.”
On Wednesday 18 February at 6:30 PM, the Christopher Dawson Society will meet at the headquarters of the AHI to discuss Father Neuhaus’s legacy. Attendants will read Father Neuhaus’s “Can Atheists Be Good Citizens” and a brief obituary, John Hylden’s “Richard John Neuhaus: Witness to Truth,” that provides some background on Neuhaus’s life and work.
Gatherings of the Christopher Dawson Society are open to the public. Refreshments will be served.