To the editor of the New York Times
On Sunday, October 18, the Times published Ross Douthat’s piece “The Plot to Change Catholicism.” Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has neither the theological nor the geometric qualifications to write on the subject, the problem with his article and other recent statements is that he does not seem to have studied the urtext for understanding our time, viz. The Consolation of Philosophy. His occasional citations of Graham Greene, a notorious Communist and philanderer, hardly suffice for the task of diagnosing our current malaise.
Many have praised a letter that objects to Douthat’s comments on religion. We fear it does not go far enough, for it fails to note that Douthat irresponsibly comments on politics without even holding a terminal degree in political science! In all our years of attendance at the meetings of Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Political Science Association, for which we co-chair the Joint Subcommittee of the Crusade for Moorish Dignity, neither of us have seen Mr. Douthat. We are further informed that he has let lapse his subscription to America and has deleted several unwatched episodes of the Colbert Report from his DVR.
Accusing other members of the Catholic church of heresy, sometimes subtly, sometimes openly, is serious business that can have serious consequences for those so accused. To claim that saying so smacks of “McCarthyism,” as one Rod Dreher (with whom, it seems, we have the misfortune of sharing a state) has done, is a slander on the blessed memory of that Catholic statesman. Already we have written a letter to the Holy Father urging him to open McCarthy’s cause along with that of Fr. Hugh Halton. In anticipation of their canonization, we ask that they beg God’s mercy for anyone who tolerates a dangerous man like Ross Douthat.
Such toleration is not—dare we say—what one expects of the New York Times.
October 26, 2015
Fr. Ignatius J. Reilly, SJ, professor of medieval culture, Louisiana State University
Sr. Myrna Minkoff, president, Leadership Conference of Women Religious