Paul Ramsey's style.

Author:Hauerwas, Stanley
Position:Correspondence - Letter to the Editor

I write in defense of Paul Ramsey. In "Editorial Secrets Revealed," Richard John Neuhaus insists that Paul Ramsey was "a bad writer" (Public Square, April). Ramsey is not here to defend himself, so I must rise to the occasion.

In truth, I once shared Father Neuhaus' opinion. Indeed, once early in my time at Notre Dame I conspired to have Ramsey come to give a lecture. I was to introduce him. In my introduction I noted that some people thought Ramsey's style convoluted. In order, ironically, to combat this view, I then read the following sentence from War and the Christian Conscience:

If at this point the natural man in us exclaims, or the man insufficiently schooled by Christ, that it is humanly impossible to let go the blow and withhold the animosity, or to let go the bullet and withhold the intention in the manner Aquinas describes, and moreover that it is bad casuistry to suppose there is much difference anyway between an act which is good and right in its 'species' according to what is intended and one that is not, since both bring about the death of the attacker with equal certainty, if any Christian should say this, and should he also propose...

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