Thursday, January 08, 2009

Father Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus died this morning. He was great man, a good Catholic priest, loyal to the Pope and to the Magisterium, as all good Catholics are. He fought the mediocrities running the Catholic Church in America over the years with a style that I simply enjoyed reading and hearing. Beginning his public life as a Lutheran minister, he was a close advisor to Martin Luther King, converted to Catholicism in 1990, and was ordained a Catholic Priest in 1991. He founded First Things magazine, an ecumenical publication, one of my favorites and one which to which I have subscribed for the past few years. He wielded his "The Public Square" section each issue as a rapier and as a cudgel. The feckless among the USCCB were often ridiculed simply by exposure in Father Neuhaus' writing. He repeatedly called the NAB translation of The Bible for what it is: banal. (Isn't it amazing that the best Catholic Bible translation is the RSV, one that was originally produced by the Protestants?) Father Neuhaus was one of the good guys in the long, tough culture war ongoing in the Catholic Church. From Wikipedia,
He was active in liberal politics until Roe v. Wade was handed down. He is the originator of "Neuhaus' Law", which states that "Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed".

He expressed my own grief when Pope John Paul the Great died in 2005 so effectively as a commentator on EWTN that I still remember just sitting there in front of the television and letting his powerful and sorrowful words wash over me: "What HE said..." was what I thought. I sincerely hope that other, younger, orthodox Catholics rise to take his place. Rest in Peace.

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