In at least one respect (and perhaps others) Ross Douthat and Paul Baumann agree: They are both among the laity and they can speak on Catholic matters.
Douthat in "Letter to Catholic Academics": ...we come to the third argument, which makes an appearance in your letter: You don’t understand, you’re not a theologian. As indeed I am not. But neither is Catholicism supposed to be an esoteric religion, its teachings accessible only to academic adepts...."
Anyway not esoteric after Vatican II. As Paul explains: Ross Douthat: Vatican II Catholic