What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus died this morning just before 10 a.m.

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him.

And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

HT: Jeff Culbreath

Sitting on my shelf, ready for blogging, is the most recent issue of Human Life Review, which contains a reprint of his closing address at the 2008 convention of the National Right to Life Committee. Now he is at rest, but as he tells us, we on earth shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life.

That is the horizon of hope that, from generation to generation, sustains the great human rights cause of our time and all times—the cause of life. We contend, and we contend relentlessly, for the dignity of the human person, of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, destined from eternity for eternity—every human person, no matter how weak or how strong, no matter how young or how old, no matter how productive or how burdensome, no matter how welcome or how inconvenient. Nobody is a nobody; nobody is unwanted. All are wanted by God, and therefore to be respected, protected, and cherished by us.

We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life’s course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person.

Against the encroaching shadows of the culture of death, against forces commanding immense power and wealth, against the perverse doctrine that a woman’s dignity depends upon her right to destroy her child, against what St. Paul calls the principalities and powers of the present time, this convention renews our resolve that we shall not weary, we shall not rest, until the culture of life is reflected in the rule of law and lived in the law of love.

In the midst of the encroaching darkness of the culture of death, we have heard the voice of him who said, “In the world you will have trouble. But fear not, I have overcome the world.” Because he has overcome, we shall overcome. We do not know when; we do not know how. God knows, and that is enough. We know the justice of our cause, we trust in the faithfulness of his promise, and therefore we shall not weary, we shall not rest.

Whether, in this great contest between the culture of life and the culture of death, we were recruited many years ago or whether we were recruited only yesterday, we have been recruited for the duration. We go from this convention refreshed in our resolve to fight the good fight. We go from this convention trusting in the words of the prophet Isaiah that “they who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The journey has been long, and there are miles and miles to go. But from this convention the word is carried to every neighborhood, every house of worship, every congressional office, every state house, every precinct of this our beloved country—from this convention the word is carried that, until every human being created in the image and likeness of God—no matter how small or how weak, no matter how old or how burdensome—until every human being created in the image and likeness of God is protected in law and cared for in life, we shall not weary, we shall not rest. And, in this the great human rights struggle of our time and all times, we shall overcome.

Comments (12)

Thank you for posting this, Lydia. Father Neuhaus's work has changed, and continues to change, my life. I feel very much as though a near family member has just gone . . .

Yes, thanks for putting this up.

A great man, a true Christian patriot, and example for us all, is gone. My heart aches to know this, but I bless the Lord that he has blessed this country with men like Neuhaus. Requiescat in pace, Father.

I think it's quite striking that he should so recently have made this great speech (and it is, truly, a great speech) with the recurrent phrase "we shall not weary, we shall not rest" and should so shortly thereafter have passed away himself. It seems like a passing of the torch to me; the timing seems like more than mere coincidence.

Indeed it is a great speech. Worthy of a great man in the twilight of his life.

Great post. Neuhaus had a natural affinity for the poor parishioners he served throughout his priesthood. He could deliver an eloquent speech at the Union League Club one night and a powerful homily on the Lower East Side the next morning, equally at home with the affluent and influential as he was with the marginal and forgotten. Truly inspiring. I strongly recommend his As I Lay Dying, written during his first bout with cancer. As he would say; a bracing memento mori.

I'm really sad. I've been praying a Rosary every day for his recovery. Like Jody Bottum said my tears are not for him but for me.

He's started work for us in the company of the saints I'm sure. So I'd better double my efforts!

First Principles has provided the tribute:

In Memoriam: Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009)

SOURCE: http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/print.aspx?article=1187&loc=b&type=cbtp

First Things has been one of the greatest influences in my life.

May ten men of Father Neuhaus' caliber rise to take his place.

Fr. Neuhaus' memory is taking quite a beating over at Rod Dreher's "Crunchy Con" blog. Disheartening.

It should be noted that Fr. Edward P. Mahoney also passed away yesterday. Another significant blow to Catholics across the nation and a great loss for the field of Medieval philosophy.

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