The correspondence between George Higgins and Richard Neuhaus began long before the latter’s conversion, however. In 1977, Higgins wrote Neuhaus a letter (included here) addressing him with familiarity (addressing him as Dear Dick, the informal for Richard) in which he congratulated Neuhaus for his book Christian Faith and Public Policy and asking him to discuss the book with him. At the same time, Higgins clearly took issue with some points Neuhaus made about organized labor. By the time Neuhaus published his book The Catholic Moment in 1987, Higgins had become much more critical of Neuhaus’s views, and vice-versa.
Like Higgins, Neuhaus regularly published through journalistic venues, so their opinions on a range of topics were continuously made public. Higgins, through his syndicated column, The Yardstick, and Neuhaus, through multiple publications, but especially First Things, which he founded in 1990 to advance conservative views of public life from an ecumenical perspective. Both regularly published articles that often provoked strong reactions. Higgins’ Yardstick was a syndicated column he authored for 56 years, issued by the Catholic News Service, and reprinted in Catholic newspapers across the United States. Neuhaus was a far more prolific book writer, and published regularly in Worldview, then in First Things, among other journals and newspapers.
The documents here range from the years 1977 to just before Higgins’ death in 2002. They document a dialogue between two influential Catholic priests within the U.S. with varying views who nonetheless agreed to disagree amiably.