Blog Template Theology of the Body: Another Tribute to Fr. Neuhaus

Friday, January 09, 2009

Another Tribute to Fr. Neuhaus

MM's October photo of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus at his final meeting of his Erasmus Lectures in New York, this fall.

George Weigel wrote to his friends yesterday:

Strengthened spiritually by the graces of the Sacrament of the Sick, and surrounded by the love and prayers of family and friends, Father Richard John Neuhaus was called home to the house of the Father. May God grant him the reward of his labors, and give consolation and peace to those who loved him and who will carry on his work.

As a young Catholic making her way through the contemporary academy and culture, I mourn the loss of Fr. Neuhaus with the sense of having lost a grandfather. To our culture, he stood for the older and finer institutions in which we preserve all that is robust and beautiful. To our conversations, he offered a stern and life-giving voice of sanity, which was infused with winsomness and real compassion; so often my friends and I have reeled away from another shocking announcement about the degradation of public life in America, only to steady ourselves with the assurance that if Fr. Neuhaus had not already spoken correctively on point, he would soon. Personally, he was the sort of courtly, cordial gentleman who could disarm the bolsters of feminism reigning in America today with a nod and a smile.

It is testimony to the integration of Fr. Neuhaus' total self-gift to the Church, for Christ and for Christ's world, that Fr. Neuhaus' memory will not only be cherished in prayer and recollection; his memory will be honored when we pay careful attention to our footnotes, when we decide to conduct ourselves like sons and daughters of the high King in our daily conversation and thereby redeem the time, as we step up to prevail as he taught us- with generosity, with devotion, with total allegiance to the truth. And we must do so, because Fr. Neuhaus is no longer here to do it for us.