John Courtney Murray
Monday, October 9 Dear Damon, On your blog, which you've recently shut down, you posted links to two diametrically opposed reviews of your new book, The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege. One, by Adrian Wooldridge in The New York Times, calls your tone "admirably restrained, dispassionate and scholarly when it could so easily have been rank and recriminatory." The other, by Commonweal Editor Paul Baumann, accuses you of being "exaggerated and alarmist," not to mention "tendentious" and "frequently cartoonish" in your portrait of your former compatriots on the religious right.
CATHOLIC MATTERS: CONFUSION, CONTROVERSY, AND THE SPLENDOR OF TRUTH By Richard John Neuhaus (Basic Books, 272 pp., $25) Liberal modernity exasperates traditional religion. It fosters a pluralism that denies any one faith the power to organize the whole of social life. It teaches that public authorities must submit to the consent of those over whom they aspire to rule, thereby undermining the legitimacy of all forms of absolutism. It employs the systematic skepticism of the scientific method to settle important questions of public policy.