Richard John Neuhaus, 1936 – 2009

First Things reports the passing of its founder and editor:

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.

Neuhaus wrote, among other things, The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America (1984), The Catholic Moment: The Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World (1987), and Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth (2006).

I’ll be posting more links to articles and tributes soon.

Ross Douthat

Month after month, issue after issue, Richard John Neuhaus – through his writing, and also through the writers he cultivated – demonstrated to my adolescent and early-twentysomething self that it was possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian.

And here are Neuhaus’s thoughts on death, published nine years ago.

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  • Thanks for posting something about this. I saw the news a couple days ago on the First Things blog and was saddened by it. Father Neuhaus writings have brought me much enjoyment, encouragement, and have, at times, helped me find my moral bearing and reminded me of what’s important.

  • Thank you for the tribute here Jeffrey , i caught the post at A&F and saw ur link to his article “Thoughts on Death” and rather than post them there n bury the link in a thread & perhaps shortchanging others – i thought best to convey my gratitude here. First thank u for ur finding and sharing this with all. Timely as my great-aunt died last week. So this was quite moving and offfering such sage advice.
    So moved, my thoughts half way into the article turned to that film, Wit (2001) that of the dying Pope scholar played in one of the bravest performances i have ever seen by an actress, Emma Thompson . That film was a life lesson then as is this article now… most likely even more so because his books are on my bookshelves. And yet I am struck so by the imagery of his sister reading to him out of Willa Cathers works, haunted by a similar scene there in the film, and by a few events i was blessed to witness as a volunteer at a Hospice years ago.

    he was a real talent and a holy man. I wanted to share this link on his book for anyone who wants to read further.

    As I Lay Dying: Meditations Upon Returning

    and another incredible book

    Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross

    All that aside I will miss his keen mind as he taught me so very much, that along with hope edged by the thought of he, Chesterton, Tolkien and Lewis getting together and chatt’n it up, all there together in a place “with the swift sunrise’ – I hope my Aunt can someday tell me about it and in the mean time thanks again for making this day brighter.