Monday, January 12, 2009

Richard John Neuhaus - RIP

Between work, traveling to work, traveling from work, and taking care of my now 1 year old son, there isn't much time for posting. Which is a shame since a lot has changed over the last few months:

The biggest news, for me, of 2009 is the passing of Richard Neuhaus. Neuhaus is one of my most favourite polemicists, apologists, evangelists, and political commentators. During my long walk back to the Church from spiritual apathy and marxism, Neuhaus and his First Things were required reading. I gobbled up every edition I could get my hands on - although I never read it back to front, like some many others apparently did. Via him I was introduced into the realm of serious Catholic intellectual thought and spirituality (albeit of a very conservative bend) that I never knew existed in all my previous 23 years as a nominal Catholic. To say that Neuhaus was a major influence in my spiritual and intellectual life as a young adult is an understatement. May his soul rest in peace.

The reaction of his colleagues in the media and press has been interesting to say the least. There have been many moving tributes given by friends, bizarre recollections given by people who wish they were his friend, and even more bizarre comments from people who made styled themselves as his enemy. I speak there of one Damon Linker, a fellow who wrote a shallow, alarmist tale of Neuhaus' influence and political project after serving as an editor on First Things for five years. His remarks were selfish, banal and completely out of line. When you write an obituary that mentions that is completely self-referential and self-serving, it says a lot about you. It says you are a shithead.

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