Leaders pay tribute to Fr. Richard Neuhaus

.- Tributes to Fr. Richard John Neuhaus are pouring in from around the country, mourning the loss of a mentor, advisor, friend and spiritual father.

President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush issued a statement expressing their sadness and their gratitude for his life of service to "the Almighty." President Bush also related that Fr. Neuhaus was "a dear friend, and I have treasured his wise counsel and guidance."

Throughout his life, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus was involved in many intellectual and spiritual pursuits. In 1990, he founded the journal First Things, tackling both secular and sacred issues. His legacy led Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute to comment:

"God does not owe us a thing, but I wish he had given us at least ten more years of Neuhaus. Seventy-two is too young for him to have left us. There is no one quite like him. He leaves behind many spiritual sons and daughters, though; George Weigel, Jody Bottum and many others. Even so, he cannot be replaced and he will be sorely missed every single day for years to come."

Kevin "Seamus" Hasson, founder and president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, also paid tribute to the late priest, calling him "one of the great thinkers of his generation."

Hasson also highlighted Neuhaus’ contributions to ecumenism, which the Lutheran convert was continually involved in. "The Church lost a great warrior, the faith community at large lost a patient and insistent champion of ecumenism, and the world lost a magnificent human being." Hasson also revealed that the Becket Fund will soon announce a permanent memorial in his honor.

Fr. Neuhaus also left his mark on higher education, a fact to which Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society testified. "Father Neuhaus was a gift to us all," Reilly said. "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."

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Father Richard John Neuhaus at the Church of the Immaculate Conception--414 E. 14th Street, New York City--on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at 10 a.m.

For more funeral information please visit: http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6458

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