Remembering Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus
Emails similar to this are coming from many sources today, as well as news items.
Dear Friend of CatholicVote.com,
Less than one month ago we celebrated the life of Cardinal Avery Dulles by marking his departure from our earthly world to the next. Today we again mourn the passing of one of America's great public intellectuals, Catholic priest, and friend of CatholicVote.com – Father Richard John Neuhaus – who died this morning.
Word spread quickly this week that Fr. Neuhaus was gravely ill. We had learned that he was recently diagnosed with cancer, and then heard after Christmas that he was suffering from a related infection from which he never recovered.
Joseph Bottum, Editor of First Things, the monthly journal of "Religion, Culture and Public Life" founded by Fr. Neuhaus sent word of his passing Thursday morning writing:
Our great, good friend is gone.
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January 8, shortly before 10 o'clock, at the age of seventy-two. He never recovered from the weakness that sent him to the hospital the day after Christmas, caused by a series of side effects from the cancer he was suffering. He lost consciousness Tuesday evening after a collapse in his heart rate, and the next day, in the company of friends, he died.
My tears are not for him—for he knew, all his life, that his Redeemer lives, and he has now been gathered by the Lord in whom he trusted.
I weep, rather for all the rest of us. As a priest, as a writer, as a public leader in so many struggles, and as a friend, no one can take his place. The fabric of life has been torn by his death, and it will not be repaired, for those of us who knew him, until that time when everything is mended and all our tears are wiped away.
In addition to being an inspiration and intellectual guide to the work of CatholicVote.com, Fr. Neuhaus also was consulted early on in the production of our Election 2008 film.
Like Cardinal Dulles (who contributed regularly to First Things), there is little that can be said to sum up his rich life and contributions to the role of faith in America. He will certainly be remembered for his compelling defense of the role of religious faith in public life and his fruitful efforts to enliven the theological dialogue between Catholics and Evangelicals. For many, his monthly column, "While We Are At It," will be sorely missed.
We join those Catholics, Christians, and all Americans today in praying for the repose of the soul of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.
Your Friends at CatholicVote.com
P.S. In mourning the passing of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, we encourage you to read an essay titled "Born Toward Dying" by Fr. Neuhaus appearing today on FirstThings.com.