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Richard John Neuhaus Passes

Thursday, 08 Jan 2009 06:22 PM

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Father Richard John Neuhaus, a leading voice of Catholic conservatism in the U.S., has passed away at age 72.

Neuhaus was hospitalized on the day after Christmas suffering from side effects of the cancer he was battling, and he died Thursday morning.

The respected theologian and author was included in Time magazine’s list of the 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005. A year earlier, President George W. Bush praised Neuhaus in a session with journalists from religious publications, saying he helped Bush “articulate” religious ideas, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Born in Canada, Neuhaus was ordained as a Lutheran minister in 1960 and became a leading figure in the clergy’s opposition to the Vietnam War. He broke with the left after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court and became an outspoken voice for pro-life causes.

Neuhaus converted to Catholicism in 1990 and was ordained a priest one year later.

Over the years he expounded his conservative views in First Things, the journal he founded in 1990.

His books include “Catholic Matters: “Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth,” and “Appointment in Rome: The Church in America Awakening.”

Following his death, the Catholic League said in a statement: “The Catholic League notes with great sadness the passing away of Father Richard John Neuhaus. He was a brilliant and devoted son of the Church who will be sorely missed. Indeed, he is irreplaceable.”

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