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Prayers Requested for Father Richard John Neuhaus

Sunday, January 4, 2009 • 8:00 am

First Things is one of the best-written magazines published.  Period.  It is a treasure-trove of commentary and “religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.”

Recognizing that Father Neuhaus is seriously ill with a very serious cancer, it is at times like these that one recognizes that every word, and every month that a person can produce such words and thinking is of vital importance.  As those of you know with seriously ill family members, one more month, and one more year can be immensely precious opportunities for everyone around that person. 

May Father Neuhaus have many more years to produce his golden and fascinating commentary.

So many have asked after the health of our editor-in-chief, Richard John Neuhaus, that it seemed best to post this note on our website.

Fr. Neuhaus is in the hospital here in New York. Over Thanksgiving, he was diagnosed with a serious cancer. The long-term prognosis for this particular cancer is not good, but it is not hopeless, either, and there is a possibility that it will respond to the recommended out-patient chemotherapy treatment.

Unfortunately, over Christmas, he was taken dangerously ill with what seems to be a systemic infection that has left him very weak.

The rest of the post says more.

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I will say a prayer for him in my rosary and at the Eucharist this morning.

[1] Posted by Cennydd on 01-04-2009 at 10:18 AM • top

First Things is one magazine that I always read cover to cover.  Fr Nauhaus’ book
Death on a Friday Afternoon is a must read.  Will continue to pray.

[2] Posted by Old Soldier on 01-04-2009 at 10:33 AM • top

A few days ago I posted a link at T19 to one of Dr. Philip Turners essays on the theology of TEC that was published in First Things, about the working theology of TEC.  Quite a few said they hadn’t read it and profited a lot from it so I’ll put it here as well.
I had a subscription to FT in the 80’s (no longer), and have read bits of it when I could ever since.  Indeed, most worthy stuff.
In the 80’s I’d wonder when reading it, especially Fr. Neuhaus’s “Public Square” notices, why Anglicanism never seemed worthy of more than a sardonic chortle.

I do hope Fr. Neuhaus doesn’t leave us yet.

[3] Posted by j.m.c. on 01-04-2009 at 10:41 AM • top

In addition to Death on a Friday Afternoon, Father Neuhaus wrote about his last near death experience in “As I Lay Dying: Meditations Upon Returning.”  He points out that every night as we lay down to sleep we practice a form of death, which is why before going to bed he repeats the old Christian/Jewish children’s prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Father Neuhaus is well prepared for whatever happens next at the hospital.

I don’t know Father Neuhaus personally, but have benefited greatly those occasions when I have heard him speak, or have read his books or articles.  He was one of the two primary leaders in The Evangelicals and Catholics Together project, which produced the “The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium” (1994); the “The Gift of Salvation” (1997) and “Your Word is Truth” (2002). These are must reads for those interested in understanding areas of common ground, and differences, with Roman Catholicism.

[4] Posted by Going Home on 01-04-2009 at 12:10 PM • top

Here in St. Louis, we claim Father Neuhaus as one of our own since, in his Lutheran days, he attended Concordia Seminary here(we tend to do that with anyone with any sort of connection to this region).  So add my prayers to the many ascending as I type this.  Does anyone happen to know what type of cancer it is?

[5] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 01-04-2009 at 01:39 PM • top

#3 I think I can give some insight on Fr. Neuhaus’ frustration with Anglicans.

We (a student National Org. of Episcopalians for Life chapter) invited him to speak at the General Seminary in the mid-80s.  He was still a Lutheran Pastor then, and was working to bring together pro-life witness from the various mainline churches.

Obviously, he converted to Roman Catholocism - but before that he began to express frustration with Anglicans (especially the Anglo-Catholics he encountered).  Basically, he found too many eccentrics to take seriously when in came to Anglicans in the U.S.  He was especially frustrated at an event in which he tried to generate discussion about making the pro-life case in language accessible to the culture.  The ACs who were present pooh-poohed the whole endeavor and talked about how they had never embraced the Enlightenment and weren’t about to deal with modernist and post-modernist thought.
Anyway, his comments on this were in a Public Square pamphlet which I’ve long since lost.
Prayers for him today.

[6] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 01-04-2009 at 01:52 PM • top

[6] I know that Fr. Neuhaus is sympathetic to the alliance between conservative US “Anglicans” and the Global South Anglican leaders, and holds Orombi in very high esteem, even though First Things has certainly given space to those expousing the ACI view.

[7] Posted by Going Home on 01-04-2009 at 02:53 PM • top

May the Lord bring him to full health so that he may continue his work for the Lord’s sake.

[8] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 01-04-2009 at 06:03 PM • top

Thank you, Sarah, for this information. I’ve posted this and a request for prayer as well. I subscribed to First Things nine months after it was launched, and have been a loyal subscriber ever since. Father Neuhaus has had a tremendous impact on my thinking over the years, and I will certainly be praying for his rapid recovery.

[9] Posted by David Fischler on 01-04-2009 at 06:48 PM • top

Timothy, I believe I came across that same issue of FT at one point.  I think he’s right that Anglicans draw more eccentrics than other denominations.

Back to the article above, I see that Dr. Munday, Dean of Nashotah, has posted it and described it as

the best, most concise, and well-written explanation of the problem the Episcopal Church faces that I have seen.

This has been posted on SF before back in 2005 when the article came out in FT, but I was surprised that Dr. Munday hadn’t yet seen it, and the number on T19 that hadn’t seen it.  So if you haven’t read it yet ... do read the best TEC article I’ve ever read, theological observations of a participant-observer in the Episcopal Church at one of its highest levels.  This is especially good to bring up with TEC friends, as it’s by a former dean of the Berkely Episcopal Seminary at Yale.  Dr. Turner is now with ACI and most definitely does not advocate leaving TEC.  Read it twice, bookmark it, and then read it again in about a month.

This would also be a good piece to show people in other denominations to give them a better idea of what the Anglican disputes are about and to perhaps see if they can somehow lend a productive voice toward helping the Communion and TEC, or perhaps even evangelizing within TEC.

I figured making a tiny bit more noise about this article would be worthwhile for all the posters here who might have missed it.  This is truly a classic in succinct prose and well-formulated thought.  I missed it in 2005, I found myself thanks to one of David Handy’s comments here on SF.  Rev. Handy, thanks so much.

[10] Posted by j.m.c. on 01-04-2009 at 07:49 PM • top

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