Letters to the Editor

Meet our letter writers: Robert Emmett Curran

Professor emeritus of history at Georgetown University. Moved to Richmond with wife, Eileen, upon retirement in 2004. Member, St. Clare Catholic Church, Berea. Author of several books, including "A History of Georgetown University," "John Dooley's Civil War," and "Shaping American Catholicism: Maryland and New York, 1805-1915."

What motivates you to write?

Political issues. As a liberal in a very conservative state, I continue to believe that intelligent discourse can change minds and attitudes, if only a few, and hope to provide some of that discourse through my letters.

What shaped your worldview?

I grew up a rabid, conservative Republican, in a day before the radical right had a stranglehold on the party. When Robert Taft lost out to Dwight Eisenhower at the 1952 Republican convention, I was devastated. Then two things happened that fundamentally changed my worldview. I became an historian and I discovered the social teachings of the Catholic Church (the National Review notwithstanding, for Catholics the church is both mater et magister). History revealed the terrible price any nation pays when unregulated capitalism is in the saddle, as well as the positive good that government can achieve in promoting the common good and building a just society. Catholic social ethics taught me the common good should always be the primary concern in forging policy, and that there is a particular responsibility to meet the needs of the poor and disadvantaged.