The Centesimus Annus Affair, 1991

Neuhaus, the Pope and the Free Market

Richard Neuhaus, "The Pope Affirms the New Capitalism," 5/20/1991

Higgins Pope and the Free Market, WSJ Letter to Editor 5-24-1991 (20)

George Higgins, "The Pope and the Free market," The Wall Street Journal, 5/24/1991

George Higgins to Richard Neuhaus, 6-15-1991 (21)

George Higgins to Richard Neuhaus, 6/15/1991

Richard Neuhaus to George Higgins 6-1991 (23)

Richard Neuhaus to George Higgins, 6/19/1991 

In 1991 Pope John Paul II issued the encyclical "Centesimus Annus," commemorating the centennial of the issuance of the first modern social encyclical in 1891, "Rerum Novarum". Neuhaus and Higgins had very different views of what the encyclical meant.  Here is Neuhuas' take, as published in the Wall Street Journal, "The Pope Affirms the 'New Capitalism."  

Also here is Higgins's response to the Neuhaus piece, published as a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, "The Pope and the Free Market," published shortly after the Neuhaus piece. 

Finally, the correspondence between the two men over the meaning of the encyclical and their public controversy over it is also offered here.  Consider the following:

1.  How do the titles of each piece, the first by Neuhaus, the second by Higgins, reflect each's interpretation of the encyclical?

2.  In his published piece, what does Neuhaus say about the Pope's view of capitalism as expressed in the encyclical?

3.  In his published piece, what does Higgins say about the Pope's view of capitalism as expressed in the encyclical?

4.  In Higgins's letter to Neuhaus of 6/15/1991, what does Higgins say about Neuhaus's view of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' 1986 pastoral, "Economic Justice for All"?  How does Neuhaus respond in his letter of 6/19/1991?

 

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