I was sad to see that Father Richard Neuhaus passed away this morning. I’ve read a lot of his writings on First Things ever since I came back to the Church in earnest years ago. He was definitely one of the more influential voices in the “conservative” Catholic world, and will be missed.
As an aside, I never liked the term conservative/liberal for the doctrinal differences within the Catholic Church. It makes it sound like it’s a political thing, and an easy template for Republican vs. Democrat, which it certainly is not. I prefer the term “traditionalists” for the movement that Father Neuhaus helped represent. The words may be similar, but it underlines that they are not the same thing. Many traditionalists will have voted for Barack Obama, and proud life long Democrats. At the same time, they bow to the Church and the Magisterium in humility. They should not — and are not — in conflict with each other.