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Father Richard John Neuhaus Mourned, Celebrated by Cardinal Newman Society

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January 08, 2009 - 11:36 PST


MANASSAS, VA (JANUARY 8, 2009) - The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) today joined with Catholics around the world in celebrating the life and mourning the death of the great intellectual Father Richard John Neuhaus, a key advisor and longtime financial contributor to what he called the "indomitable" CNS.

"Father Neuhaus was a gift to us all," said Patrick Reilly, President of CNS. "With his passage from this world The Cardinal Newman Society mourns not only the passing of an heroic defender of truth, especially in higher education, but also of a beloved advisor, generous supporter and dear friend. Those of us left behind will be blessed by Father Neuhaus' voluminous corpus of works and grand legacy--and now his prayers of intercession--for many years to come.

According to Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things, Father Richard John Neuhaus died just before 10 a.m. today, January 8, 2009. The rapid decline of his health was caused by a "series of side effects from the cancer he was suffering." He was re-hospitalized on December 26 and eventually lost consciousness after his heart rate collapsed. First Things reports that "the next day, in the company of friends, he died."

The Cardinal Newman Society encourages all to join in offering prayers for the repose of Father Neuhaus' soul, the consolation of his friends and family, and the continuation of his good works on Earth.


On Catholic college renewal: "'We are the avant-garde; we are the future,' proclaimed Father Richard John Neuhaus... A convert to the Catholic Church, Father Neuhaus is a proponent of the concept of the 'Catholic Moment,' a current widow of opportunity for the Catholic Church to renew its institutions and promote a great spiritual reawakening throughout the world. That 'Catholic Moment,' he explained, includes a renewal of Catholic higher education, especially with the help of a promising new generation of Catholics who yearn for a society that is built upon faith and values. 'This is not optimism, it is hope,' Father Neuhaus said. 'And hope is that which is positive in the face of everything that is contrary to hope.' He explained that 'hope' recognizes that God can heal the world even in its darkest hour: 'At the heart of the horror of the Cross is Christ.'" (Arlington Catholic Herald on Father Neuhaus' keynote address to The Cardinal Newman Society national conference, November 1996)

On The Vagina Monologues on college campuses: "The performance entails, as I understand it, women getting their kicks by talking as dirty as possible about their sexual fantasies. This year's list included Nazareth College and St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. Upon investigation, however, it was determined that the Diocese of Rochester no longer recognizes the two schools as Catholic. ...One wonders what, if anything, is taught about St. John Fisher at the college that bears his name. While hypocrisy may be the tribute that vice pays to virtue, one would like to think that somebody there might succumb to a twinge of decency and suggest a name change. And then there is Nazareth. I suppose it might be argued that the name is a purely geographic reference, although, admittedly, a rather odd one for upstate New York. Brighter students probably know that the school was named for somebody really famous who came from Nazareth, or visited Nazareth and, like, really liked it, or whatever." (First Things, May 2005)

On pro-abortion commencement speakers: "Who, me? It is exceedingly tiresome when college and university administrators protest that they don't do what they so obviously do do. While effusively affirming their devotion to their 'Catholic identity,' they deny it by the most egregious of actions. One university president assures me that it has been made perfectly clear that this year's commencement speaker will not be 'honored' in any way. What twaddle. Being chosen as commencement speaker is as great an honor as most institutions provide. Chatter about 'Catholic identity' or, even more tenuously, 'education in the Jesuit tradition' is, a Jewish friend observes, comparable to advertising 'kosher-like' hot dogs. Few things can constitute a more explicit, in-your-face, denial of Catholic seriousness than the choice of pro-abortion commencement speakers." (First Things, August/September 1999)

On Jesuit colleges: "Pornographer Larry Flynt spoke at Georgetown University recently. ...'Catholic and Jesuit' nicely nuances the distinction between an institution that is Catholic Jesuit and one that is Jesuit Catholic. The adjective is all important. I was told the other day that you can tell the kind of Jesuit you're dealing with by when he bows his head at the mention of the Society of Jesus. Some bow at 'Society' and others at 'Jesus.'" (First Things, August/September 1999)

On choosing a college: "Students and parents searching for the college that is just right have no easy task. The Newman Guide may not make it easy, but it will surely make more likely a choice for which both students and parents will give thanks for years to come." (The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, 2007)

On preserving the faith: "But the gist of [Pope] Benedict's argument at Regensburg and in many other forums is directed to Christian intellectuals who, in the name of 'de-Hellenizing' Christianity, pit biblical faith against the great synthesis of faith and reason achieved over the centuries of the Christian intellectual tradition. ...It is not reasonable, he argues with great intellectual sophistication, to hold that atheism or agnosticism is the default position of rationality. Nor, he insists, can the undoubted achievements of modernity be sustained without reference to transcendent truth. ...In Catholic history, the cry through the centuries is for libertas ecclesiae--the freedom of the Church to be the Church. For Catholics and others, that freedom now faces a time of severe testing. In the defense of that freedom there have been through the centuries martyrs beyond numbering. We do not know what will happen in the months and years ahead, except that now it may be our turn." (First Things blog at, 11/21/2008)


The Cardinal Newman Society
VA, 20110 US
Adam Wilson - Outreach Manager, 703 367-0333


Father Richard John Neuhaus


Catholic Church

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