Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rest in Peace, Dear Father Neuhaus

Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Father John Neuhaus died this morning. What a remarkable life he lived in the service of Our Lord, authetic religious freedom, and the "weakest and least". His leadership in the Evangelicals and Catholics Together ecumenical effort has changed the face of Christian unity in the United States.

From First Things Editor Joseph Bottum:

"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 soon after, 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.

"Funeral arrangements are still being planned; information about the funeral will be made public shortly. Please accept our thanks for all your prayers and good wishes."


4ddintx said...

JM, thanks for posting this. My dh and I have been praying for Fr. Neuhaus since Red's post last night. Fr. Neuhaus is in many ways responsible for my dh and my conversion to Catholicism. He will be sorely missed.

May light perpetual shine upon him.

Kat said...

Joseph Bottum said it so perfectly, I am very touched at this moment to learn of Father Neuhaus' death. I will never forget the talk that he gave at Princeton about 8 or 9 years ago. There was a young man at the talk who asked Fr. Neuhaus a very difficult question about homosexuality, and he gave such a beautiful, compassionate, and truthful answer. Everyone was touched by the way he spoke. His was a life well lived.

Here is a link to a piece that Fr. Neuhaus wrote a few years ago, reflecting on dying:

Kat said...
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Right Said Red said...

Thank you for this update. Many prayers for the repose of the soul of Fr. Neuhaus, and even more prayers for those of us he left behind. He was a wonderful man.

Alex said...

I, too, think so often of the moving speech that he gave at Princeton, Kat, and the way that he so beautifully responded to the currents on campus that night. I took notes during his talk that have since served as guideposts for me. His words and life message are a great blessing to us.

Thank you for keeping us informed of his passing, Builders.

Joelle said...

As a grad student at Columbia, I was blessed with hearing Fr. Neuhaus preach at our campus mass every Sunday of the Spring semester for a couple of years. I will never forget his wisdom, charisma and the unmistakable way in which he read the Gospel. It was like hearing it for the first time. I will also always remember how he sung "we shall overcome" from the pulpit and how it resonated in the church, and in us. I will never forget how he took the time to talk to everyone who wished to do so and wouldn't let go of my hand after shaking it. What a character he was! And what a holy man! New York will not be the same without him. Fr. Neuhaus, we miss you already! From above, keep taking care of the Church you loved so much while on this earth. We still need you.

Juris Mater said...

Kat and Alex, I remember the same talk well, and how moving his presence was on Princeton's campus, which was very hostile that night.

Joelle and 4ddintx, thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts.