The 1985 Rome Synod: Correspondence
Higgins and Neuhaus corresponded before and after the 1985 Synod held to evaluate Vatican II reforms. Though they arranged to meet in Rome during the Synod, they soon came to disagree on the meanings of its proceedings. This correspondence reflects the initial cordiality, which soon turned into a conflict over the teaching authority of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference. Consider the following after reading the correspondence:
1. According to his letter, why was Neuhaus, a Lutheran minister, going to the Synod? How did Higgins respond to Neuhaus's note of 10/17/1985?
2. How does Neuhaus characterize Higgins's column on Neuhaus's report on the Synod? In his 5/8/1986 letter to Higgins, how does he characterize the teaching authority of the Bishops' Conference?
3. Why do you think Higgins emphasizes "open public dialogue" in his 5/15/1986 response to Neuhaus?
4. Why would the two men be arguing over the bishops' teaching authority?