The life and thought of Richard John Neuhaus divides into two parts: born in Canada, he became a Lutheran pastor, and an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. Later, when based himself in New York, he converted to Catholicism, and became a champion of neo-conservativism -- earning him the moniker "Rasputin of the Right". Randy Boyagoda of Ryerson University has written an intellectual biography: Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square. He talks to host Paul Kennedy about it. They're later joined by Catholic thinker and Ideas contributor Michael W. Higgins and historian of religion, Molly Worthen from the University of North Carolina. **This episode originally aired May 5, 2015.
Participants in the program:
Writer, critic and scholar Randy Boyagoda
is the author of a scholarly monograph on immigration and American identity in the fiction of Salman Rushdie, Ralph Ellison, and William Faulkner. He also contributes reviews and commentary to a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Post, Globe and Mail, and Financial Times (UK). In addition to his 2008 monograph, he has written two novels. The first, Governor of the Northern Province
, was a 2006 nominee for the ScotiaBank Giller Prize. His second novel, Beggar's Feast
, was a 2012 nominee for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. He frequently appears on CBC Radio and other media to discuss literature, culture, and current affairs. His biography of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus was published in 2015. He is currently at work on a new novel. Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square
is published by Image.
Michael W. Higgins
, a native Torontonian, is an author, Vatican affairs specialist for the Globe and Mail and CTV Network, Catholic educator, CBC radio documentarian, scholar and administrator. Dr. Higgins is currently a Professor of Religious Studies and Vice-President for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He has edited and co-edited, authored and co-authored sixteen books including: The Jesuit Mystique, Power and Peril: The Catholic Church at the Crossroads, Heretic Blood: The Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton, The Muted Voice: Religion and the Media, Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-Making, Suffer the Children Unto Me: An Open Inquiry into the Clerical Sex Abuse Scandal, Genius Born of Anguish: the Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton: Faithful Visionary and The Unquiet Monk: Thomas Merton's Questing Faith.
He is a regular contributor to Commonweal and the Literary Review of Canada and a columnist for The Irish Catholic. He is the recipient of many awards, including two honorary doctorates, and won the 2013 Gold Medal for International Radio Documentaries awarded by the New York Festivals. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto.Molly Worthen
teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on North American religious and intellectual history, particularly the ideas and culture of conservative Christianity in the twentieth century. Her most recent book examines American evangelical intellectual life since 1945. Worthen teaches courses in global Christianity, North American religious and intellectual culture, and the history of politics and ideology. She also writes about religion and politics for The New York Times, Slate, Time, the Boston Globe, The New Republic, the Dallas Morning News, and the Toledo Blade.