First Things Editor John Bottum writes:
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.
Please accept our thanks for all your prayers and good wishes.
In Deepest Sorrow,
I will always regard the 24 hours he spent with us here in Melbourne at the invitation of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission in 2003 as a great privilege and honour. I remember two things with a bit of a chuckle. The first is that when he opened his suitcase, it had two things in it: a change of underclothes and a cigar (he had only flown down from Sydney for the night). The other was his disappointment that he could not smoke his cigar inside the Cathedral Presbytery.
May he rest from his labours. Surely his deeds will follow him.
For tributes, see:
Damon Linker (past editor of First Things)
Anthony Sacramone (past editor of First Things)
Ross Douthat in the Atlantic
National Review Online
New York Times / Herald Tribune Obituary
Pastor Paul McCain at Cyberbrethren