13 Jan – Fr. Neuhaus’s funeral Mass

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Father Richard John Neuhaus at the Church of the Immaculate Conception—414 E. 14th Street, New York City—on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at 10 a.m.

Bishops and priests who wish to attend are asked please to inform Nathaniel Peters (by email or phone 212-627-2288) by Sunday afternoon, January 11, at the latest.

A Christian wake service in the form of a Vigil for the Deceased will be celebrated at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Monday evening, January 12, at 7:30 p.m. Clergy who plan to attend are asked to sit with the congregation.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested for Fr. Neuhaus’ work, the Institute on Religion and Public Life, online at this page or by mail to:

Institute on Religion and Public Life
156 Fifth Avenue
Suite 400
New York, NY 10010

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. RBrown says:

    Deacon Keith Fournier of Catholic.org has published an article on the occasion of the death of Fr Neuhaus written by, of all people, Doug Kmiec, who endorsed the pro abortion candidancy of Barack Obama.

    Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.

  2. RBrown says:

    Should be: candidacy.

  3. Anthony says:

    I’m assuming the Mass is in the Ordinary Form? If it was the EF I’d definetly head into the city to see it.

  4. fxavier says:

    What is a “Christian wake service in the form of a Vigil for the Deceased”? What is the traditional Catholic practice, and is it different?

    Requiescat in Pace.

  5. I’m assuming the Mass is in the Ordinary Form? If it was the EF I’d definetly head into the city to see it.

    It’s the thinly veiled sneer behind this kind of statement, especially when offered in the current circumstances, that keeps people away from the usus antiquior.

  6. Jacob says:

    I wonder if there’s any chance at all this will be televised… Probably no being such short notice, but it would be a fine thing to see and pay tribute to Father Neuhaus while praying for his soul.

  7. I. X. Nika says:

    Rich Leonardi: thinly veiled sneer

    You mean, a little bit like this?

    The Thursday Mass at Nationals Park introduced the Holy Father to aspects of the aesthetic suffering endured by the faithful in America. The background notes we have been supplied are not specific about who, for instance, is to blame for the choice of music… I offered an observation or two on this in the course of our EWTN coverage, provoking the response that the people in the stadium were obviously enjoying themselves and we mustn’t try to impose our elitist musical and liturgical criteria. Ouch. The point I was making is that Benedict has written very specifically over the years about the distortion of the dynamics of worship when attention is focused on “our wonderful selves” rather than on the glory of God. He has also stressed the importance of renewing commitment to and continuity in the tradition of sacred music, including Gregorian chant, a tradition almost entirely absent from the stadium Mass. So the point of the commentary on that Mass is that it is remarkable that, on matters about which Benedict has been so emphatic, his views were so egregiously ignored or defied.

    Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

    May Fr. Neuhaus be forgiven from his sins, and may he intercede for the restoration of Catholic liturgy!

  8. Hafsa says:

    It is a very sad day when you hear about a good man and priest such as Fr. Neuhaus passing away. Let us all pray for his soul. And let us remember his contributions to the Catholic faith icluding in the literary world with “First Things”

    The Peace of Christ be with him now and forever.

  9. Larry says:

    He will be greatly missed. And dear Anthony I do hope when you “actively participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” you do more than go to “see it”. There were lots of spectators there that Good Friday and then there was our Lady and the “beloved disciple”. Pray for Fr. John and don’t go to “watch”.

  10. Ioa says:

    “What is a “Christian wake service in the form of a Vigil for the Deceased”? What is the traditional Catholic practice, and is it different?”

    A wake is a traditional Catholic practice. A wake is usually held in the evenings before the funeral in the deceased person’s house. Typically when you go into the house you are greeted by that person’s family, you hug them and give them flowers, various household goods and a mass card and proceed to see the body where it exposed in a room (clothed often with often with their wedding clothes or, in the case of priests, their first vestments). Usually it goes on all night with men staying up guarding at the body and conversing with each other about that person’s life. At midnight the priest usually says the 12 decades of the rosary and prayers are held throughout the night commending that person’s soul to God.

    In Ireland it is an extremely common sight to see. Indeed it is not atypical for hundreds to attend. Even people who are only remotely acquainted with the deceased person or their relatives will attend. In my (rural) area unnecessary traffic is usually diverted because the road is often jammed up with cars and it helps prevent disturbance to the deceased person’s family.

  11. Anne Mansfield says:

    May he be refreshed in Heaven as he (en)lightened us on earth. RIP and rise in glory.

  12. Anne Mansfield says:

    May Father Neuhaus be refreshed in Heaven. Certainly, he (en)lightened us here on earth.

  13. Grovetucky Ann says:

    Rich, You hit the nail on the head. That is the reason I have been avoiding the TLM here. I don’t know what the local TLM “community” is like but I have had enough reports of attitudes similar to the one you note that I am reluctant to get involved.

    The quote given from Fr. Neuhaus didn’t address whether the EF is “superior” to the OF, it dealt with Fr. Neuhaus’s well-known interest in improving the OF liturgy. Of course he preferred the EF but he was also a realist. He was also obedient.

    I will miss Fr. Neuhaus very much. One of the “first things” I did when I converted was subscribe to First Things. I hope the First Things project can keep going.

  14. JGKester says:

    I would just like to remind all that this thread concerns the death of a man and a priest who represented a strong voice for the intellectual and rational approach to Christianity, and religion in general, (and perhaps the strongest voice in this country)in a world that cast off religion as a crutch for the sentimental, cowardly, and obtuse. It is not about whether his understanding of liturgy was significantly traditional as to merit attendance at his funeral. As a point of fact, I don’t think Fr. Neuhaus cared for the TLM that much all though he was very supportive of its liberation. With his death dies one of the most vocal proponents of traditional religion’s place in the public square, and the position of intellectuality in the Church’s own tradition; who could now stand up to replace him?

  15. TJM says:

    Grovetucky Ann,

    I have been in Church music for over 40 years and as a group, I’d take the EF folks any day of the week over certain contingents associated with the OF. Many liturgical “progressives” I have encountered over my lifetime have been downright nasty, intellectually dishonest, condescending, and could care less what the Church requires or wants in terms of liturgy or sacred music. It’s their way or the highway. I think the ethos that spawned these attitudes can be found in the very words of Father Neuhaus quoted above.


  16. TJM says:

    Grovetucky Ann,

    I too am a subscriber to First Things and will miss the pithy insights of this great priest. I watched the Papal Mass Father Neuhaus was the commentator
    for, and I had never heard such direct but accurate comments on the state of the liturgy in much of these United States. I chuckled much of the time.Tom

  17. Grovetucky Ann says:

    tjm, I am not part of a “certain contingent” but I have encountered real nastiness from conservatives, not just over liturgical matters but over personal ones as well. I am much better off with my orthodox parish which offer the new Mass by Dominican Friars. At least they show concern for the state of my soul and not what color my shoes are or some such nonsense.

  18. fxavier says:


    I am aware a wake is a Catholic practice. I was trying to figure out the odd phrase “Christian wake service in the form of a Vigil for the Deceased”. Are there other forms? What are the particulars, how have they changed, what’s different between forms, etc?

  19. TJM says:


    I didn’t suggest you were part of a “certain contingent.” What I was saying is that some (not all) liturgical progressives act in a very bad manner
    based upon my personal experiences in working with them over 40 years. That’s in stark contrast to your assumption that ALL folks who support the TLM
    are nasties. I guess your “orthodox” parish fosters a form of judgmentalism which does not appear very attractive to me.


  20. Grovetucky Ann says:

    I don’t play your game of “my bigots are better than your bigots.” From what I read of Fr. Neuhaus’s writings he would say I am better off where I am welcome to worship and don’t have to worry about people being mean to me about clothing or hair.

  21. Grovetucky Ann says:

    fxavier, in some places a wake is more like a gathering to remember the person and look at photographs and memorabilia. it is less like a religious service kind of thing as the description of the Irish wake seems to be. some wakes are more like what goes on before a Protestant funeral where you view the body and look at pictures and things and talk to the family.

  22. fxavier says:

    Grovetucky Ann,

    Perhaps the traditional community around you is an oddball? Compared as a whole, the traditional priests I have met and traditional communities I have seen have been more zealous for the propagation of the faith and care of souls than even good Novus Ordo communities.

    As a recent intellectual “convert” from Conservative Catholicism to Traditional Catholicism”, I have thought about the “nastiness” you have encountered. I dare say that it is the result of ~40 years of unjust persecution, a persecution that often times has been brutal and denied people their faith.

    Lastly, to stay away from something good because of the defects of certain people is to deny yourself that good. It is akin to certain people staying away from the Church because of the sins of some past popes or some present day priests. Why deny yourself the Liturgy that is organically connected to the Apostles and our Eastern Brethren? Why deny yourself the benefit of the powerful and ancient prayers prayed by many of the Saints (particularly St. Dominic)?

  23. TJM says:

    Grovetucky, you don’t sound like someone who reads First Things. “My bigots are better than your bigots” is a fairly puerile observation. You are speaking past what I am trying to say. Please re-read Father Neuhaus’ comments from above. They don’t seem to be very supportive of the Novus Ordo Masses as they are typically celebrated in this country. By the way, I frequently attend St. John Cantius in Chicago, which celebrates the EF, and the OF in both Latin and the vernacular. I go to all three types of Masses and am comfortable with all three forms. Both the EF and OF are celebrated ad orientem, and whether it’s the EF or OF the music there is in complete accord with Church musical legislation on the subject. I don’t think you’ll find that in many Catholic parishes but the numbers are growing. Tom

  24. Doug says:

    First of all, the focus of this thread should be the passing of an extraordinary priest and prayers for the repose of his soul.

    If, however, we’re going to debate the TLM/NO/progressive/conservative thing, could we do it without the snarky comments? This particular thread just isn’t the place for it IMHO.

    Requiem aeternam Fr. Neuhaus.

  25. Grovetucky Ann says:

    fxavier, thank you for your support. you see, I have an odd appearance that most people find off-putting and I have found that I am better off with people who are more “liberal” in the sense of being able to see past the cover of the book. These people are faithful but are not as concerned with externals. The very traditional people I have known zero right in on my strangeness and make a big deal out of it.

    I suppose I could go in late to the TLM and sit way in the back and leave sort of early. I wouldn’t be comfortable taking Communion there though.

    But I think I am better off with my dear Dominican Friars. They even go out of their way to talk to people like me, which is great!

  26. Ioa says:

    “fxavier, thank you for your support. you see, I have an odd appearance that most people find off-putting and I have found that I am better off with people who are more “liberal” in the sense of being able to see past the cover of the book.”

    I have also found this to be the case. The liturgy may be horrendous but the nicest people I have ever met are the Neocatechumenal Way folk. Most of the people at the TLMs I have ever been to are quite boring, reserved and/or very old.

  27. TJM says:

    Ios, I’ve had an experience diametrically opposed to yours. If you go to places like ST. John Cantius in Chicago, you’ll find many of these people are hip, well-educated, refined, warm and very young. Tom

  28. Damien says:


    The Vigil for the Deceased is a specific prayer service as outlined in the liturgical book “The Order of Christian Funerals.” It consists of a greeting, opening prayer, scripture readings, perhaps a homily, prayer of intercession and a concluding prayer. I can only speak for Ireland but this liturgical form of prayer for the deceased person in their presence, during a wake for example, is rarely used. A public Rosary is usually recited instead.

  29. fxavier says:

    Thank you, Damien.

    It sounds like a Liturgy of the Word (without Mass), and I suppose a rather new thing. It reminds me of the new praxis (I used to assist a deacon at baptisms) of prefixing the Sacraments, such as baptism, with a Liturgy of the Word.

  30. Joan A says:

    YES, TV coverage on EWTN. Live, go to the channel, or get via streaming video from ewtn dot com.

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