From Jody Bottum:
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.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Father Richard John Neuhaus at the Church of the Immaculate Conception—414 E. 14th Street, New York City—on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at 10 a.m.
Bishops and priests who wish to attend are asked please to inform Nathaniel Peters (by email or phone 212-627-2288) by Sunday afternoon, January 11, at the latest.
A Christian wake service in the form of a Vigil for the Deceased will be celebrated at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Monday evening, January 12, at 7:30 p.m. Clergy who plan to attend are asked to sit with the congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested for Fr. Neuhaus’ work, the Institute on Religion and Public Life, online at this page or by mail to:
Institute on Religion and Public Life
156 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
- Statement of President George W. Bush
- Statement of House Republican Leader John Boehner
- Richard John Neuhaus dies of cancer, by Victor Morton and Julia Duin. Washington Times January 8, 2009.
- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus dead at age 72, by John Allen, Jr. National Catholic Reporter.
- Father Neuhaus, iconic U.S. theologian, is dead at 72, by Laurie Goodstein. International Herald Tribune
- Father Richard John Neuhaus Mourned, Celebrated by Cardinal Newman Society Catholic.org
- “Born Towards Dying” originally published in the February 2000 issue of First Things.
- “A Second Brother Dies”, by Michael Novak. National Catholic Reporter
- Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009: A gaping hole in the public square, by Joseph Bottum. The Weekly Standard
- “Death on a Thursday Morning” The Editors @ National Review (allusion to Neuhaus’ Death on a Friday Morning).
- Richard John Neuhaus, 1936 – 2009, by Rev. George W. Rutler. InsideCatholic.com.
- Remembering Father Richard John Neuhaus, by Fr. Robert Sirico. The Acton Institute.
- Richard John Neuhaus, RIP, by Ross Douhat. The Atlantic.
- Richard John Neuhaus, intellectual, provocateur, blogging pioneer, dead at 72, by Gary Stern. Blogging Religiously (LoHud.com)
- Alan Jacobs, The American Scene
- Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review
- A Priest in Full, by Brian C. Anderson. City Journal
- Peter Wehner, National Review
- Kevin Schmiesing, The Acton Institute
- Like The Star of Bethlehem, Dies After Leading So Many to Christ Top pro-life leaders pay tribute to memory of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus: remembrances by Fr. Tom Euteneuer, President of Human Life International; Rabbi Yehuda Levin, Spokesman for the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada; Judie Brown, President of American Life League; Joseph Scheidler, President of the Pro-Life Action League and Jim Hughes, President Campaign Life Coalition, VP International Right to Life.
- Father Richard John Neuhaus: A Man Animated by His Faith , by Raymond Arroyo. Wall Street Journal
- Father Richard John Neuhaus: Remembering the theologian, by Michael Sean Winters. Slate. January 9, 2009.
- Father Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009 Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register.
- In Memoriam: Our Friend, Richard John Neuhaus, by the writers of The Catholic Thing (Robert Royal, Ralph McInerny, Brad Miner, Michael Novak, Austin Ruse, Mary Eberstadt, William Saunders, James Schall, S.J., Michael Uhlmann and Hadley Arkes).
- In Defense of Death, by David Brooks. New York Times January 12, 2009.
- Richard John Neuhaus, 1936–2009: An Honorable Christian Soldier, by George Weigel. Newsweek January 19, 2009.
- EWTN’s “The World Over” tribute to Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus with Raymond Arroyo. George Weigel, Michael Novak, and Joseph Bottum spend the hour reminiscing about RJN’s life and legacy.
* * *
The story of the modern social conservative movement is all about activism and politics, petitions and court cases, but Father Neuhaus’s great testament was about something grander: through those he inspired, through his writings, through his organizing, and through something as simple as connecting people over lunch who may share nothing in terms of what they can eat on the table but share greatly in what is unseen, Father Neuhaus fundamentally changed religious life in America forever.
This is not an exaggeration. Nor by any means is it a dismissal of anyone else’s influence – but ultimately, the changes most other conservative thought leaders have helped achieve in the twentieth century were made at the hands of other men, elected to office. Father Neuhaus did not merely inspire the intellectual undergirding of change: with God’s help, he fashioned it himself, through hard work, a gift for eloquence, and always a wry smile at the end.
The world Father Neuhaus leaves is one where evangelicals and Catholics are more united than they are divided – where the old ethnic politics and arguments have faded, and where we worship and work together in harmony. My mother, never anything but a Protestant, upon learning of this Catholic convert priest’s passing, wrote to say she paused on learning the news to sing Faure’s Pie Jesu for him. I can think of nothing more fitting.
* * *
His conviction that abortion was the great crime of the age and his disgust with the American system’s failure to expunge the crime led to the most controversial act of his editorship, the publication of a symposium entitled “The End of Democracy?” in which he and other participants flirted with the notion that the United States had lost its legitimacy. COMMENTARY’s editors responded in part with a symposium entitled “On the Future of Conservatism,” in which various contributors argued heatedly against what they perceived to be an unacceptable radicalization of conservative discourse.
The breach was never fully healed, and yet, through it all, there was Richard, a man of great personal good cheer and bonhomie, always in possession of a terrific piece of gossip he always knew exactly when and how to drop in order to cause the biggest commotion, who somehow found the time to crank out thousands of words a month while jetting back and forth from Rome, engaging in plots and subplots and side bets. He was an exemplar of the truism that a righteous man need not be or conduct himself as though he were holier-than-thou. But in the end, his work was his life, and whether he was ministering to fatherless youths in Brooklyn or offering his considered and always highly informed opinion on the matter of stem-cell research, Richard John Neuhaus did what he did and said what he said for the betterment of humankind and for the greater glory of God.
For more tributes and articles on Fr. Neuhaus, see Richard John Neuhaus Online Archive.