I can hardly claim any credibility if I fail to note the death of one of the foremost, eloquent, biting, brilliant, and irritating persons to address the faith/world interface: Richard John Neuhaus. A quite decent obituary appeared in the Times here.
I have been reluctant to post the notice because of my feelings about Fr. Richard. I have followed him, read him, admired him, and torn hair out because of him for decades -- back to his days as a Lutheran and the sharp-tongued editor of the (Lutheran) Forum Newsletter (I think it was still called that in the old days). And I have been puzzled by his progression from parish pastor (well, never quite just that, I guess) to sycophant to the neo-conservative political-theological synthesis. I wish someone had ever called him publicly to account for many of his positions, but he was simply too powerful. But now it is too late, and I was enjoined by my mother decades ago from speaking ill (or even critically) of the dead.
I must give him credit as a faithful servant of God as his own lights guided him. Certainly, he was brilliant, sometimes eloquent (and usually readable), passionate, and influential -- a powerful example of simul justus et peccator. I understand he could be charming and witty: In the couple of occasions I met him, he was not so, but then the witness of others is likely more reliable in that regard. He was one of a kind, I think, and one wonders about the direction of First Things without its guiding principal.
Eternal rest, grant him, O Lord;
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
And if there be such a thing as purgatory (and I'm not sure about his position on this matter), may it work! (That's a joke for those of you who would model your wit and humor on RJN's.)
And may his memory be eternal.