Doing Well; Done Better

"These monstrous views, . . .
these venemous teachings."

—Pope Leo XIII on socialism

According to the jacket copy of Doing Well and Doing Good, Richard John Neuhaus is "one of the most prominent religious intellectuals" of our time (which helps explain our time). Neuhaus argues that while "Christianity has had nothing to say" to businessmen, now "the spirit" is calling on them "to make a buck." That is why he—a Lutheran minister who became a Catholic priest—decided to write about the "spirituality of economic enterprise" in a book based on John Paul II's encyclical Centesimus Annus. The idea might have made an interesting work, but, despite the breezy blasphemy, this isn't it. Much of Doing Well and Doing Good consists of a truncated version of the widely available encyclical and a pedestrian, if largely unobjectionable, commentary on it. In the introductory and concluding chapters, however, Neuhaus proclaims the good news of the democratic welfare state and of its avatar, Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It was a grace of my life," says Neuhaus, "to work personally with Dr. King for several years as a liaison between his Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other social movements of the time." What social movements those were, Neuhaus haying...

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