This message was posted on the First Things blog this morning by Joseph Bottum, editor of the magazine:
"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.
Funeral arrangements are still being planned; information about the funeral will be made public shortly. Please accept our thanks for all your prayers and good wishes."
Here at America, our editorial meeting opened today with a prayer for Father Neuhaus, arguably the leading voice in conservative Catholic circles in this country, as well as our colleague in the Catholic publishing world, longtime friend of several editors (and occasional critic of the magazine) and faithful Catholic.
May he enjoy new life with Christ, whose Gospel he preached faithfully for many years.
James Martin, SJ