One of my heroes

Father Richard John Neuhaus was the subject of a brief profile on Canadian television this past Sunday night.

You can watch it here.

Note that the blogroll at this blog includes the journal that Neuhaus edits, First Things.

Father Neuhaus took inspiration from a friendship with Martin Luther King, was also a friend of Pope John Paul II, and is an unofficial advisor to George Bush.

The Church you see in the video, where Neuhaus is just one of the parish priests, is the one that I attended in New York City. Oddly, I didn’t know who Neuhaus was for many years. I first remember seeing him probably around 1992. I was out on a stroll with my late great hound Brutus and had just turned off of 14th Street north onto First Avenue. Coming toward me was this fast-walking alive looking preacher who clearly took note of the exceptional canine at my side and gave the two of us a big smile. I acknowledged it with a friendly nod of the head.

I said to myself, “He can’t be a Catholic priest. He’s too happy. He must be a protestant.”

In fact, that was around the time when Neuhaus left the Lutheran heresy (I write in the fullness of the ecumenical spirit, of course) and joined the Roman Catholic Church, as a priest, waived in by the late John Cardinal O’Connor of the Archdiocese of New York.

It was a number of years before I actually attended a Mass that was celebrated by Neuhaus (perhaps that shourld simply be “it was a number of years before I actually attended a mass” given that my principal activity at the church was to sit in it when it was empty) and he took a moment in the pulpit to plug a new book he had coming out.

“A writer? This priest is a writer?”

I woke up, found First Things on the internet, and spent weeks combing through the archives. It is a fantastically rich journal.

Right near the beginning of the video take note of what Neuhaus says about George Bush’s intelligence, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

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