Thursday, January 08, 2009
Richard John Neuhaus is with the Lord
Nearly a month ago, we lost Cardinal Avery Dulles. Today, we lost Father Richard John Neuhaus, who was considered by Time magazine to be one of the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals."
From the National Catholic Reporter:
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, a leading voice of Catholic conservatism in America, and one of those rare theologians and spiritual leaders whose influence vastly exceeded the boundaries of their religious community, has died at 72.
Neuhaus slipped away Jan. 8, shortly before 10 o’clock Eastern time. 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. (continued here.)
Whereas Dulles was raised a Presbyterian, and converted to Catholicism in 1940, Neuhaus was raised as a Missouri Synod Lutheran, and converted to Catholicism in 1990. He tells his story here.
Like Dulles, Neuhaus was an articulate and formidable thinker. While I did not always fully agree with his economic theory, I had great respect for his ethical and theological positions. I am an avid reader of First Things and a strong supporter of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. I have often used articles from First Things in my philosophy classes, agreeing with his friend George Weigel's assessment that "he [Neuhaus] had the rare ability of letting his own high intellectual and literary energy level energize others."
Both Avery Dulles and Richard John Neuhaus were able to build bridges with Protestants and motivated them to understand and counter the "Culture of Death." Christ's kingdom was richer because of these men. Now, while they behold the Lord face to face, we are left to continue the work that they so faithfully performed, and to continue to pray the Lord's prayer of John 17:
17"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
18"As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
19"For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
20"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;
21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.