Neuhaus' Times

Richard Neuhaus' Parents, Clem and Ella Neuhaus

Richard Neuhaus' parents, Clemens and Ella Neuhaus

"We have to see that the priest as priest is a public person, that he is a political person"                        

                                                                       Richard John Neuhaus, 1967

 

Like George Higgins, Richard Neuhaus loved good conversation.  Neither avoided people with whom they disagreed.  Beyond that, there were many dissimilarities. 

Born 20 years after Higgins, on May 14, 1936, Richard John Neuhaus had an upbringing quite different from his friend and erstwhile sparring partner.  His parents had migrated from the United States to Pembroke in Ontario, Canada three years before when Clemens Neuhaus, his father, accepted a position at St. John’s Lutheran Church in that lumber town along the Ottawa River.  Richard was the seventh of eight children, and was known to preach from a homemade pulpit to his sister and her doll when he was 5 years old.  In fact, one Saturday morning when Pastor Clem had been called elsewhere, he sent his ten year old son to teach Sunday school rather than calling on one of the older children to perform the duty.  One of Richard’s buddies from those years claimed that young Neuhaus “was a professor at that point,” and rated his teaching “three, four times better than Pastor Neuhaus” himself![1]    

[1] Randy Boyagoda, Richard John Neuhaus, A Life in the Public Square (New York: Image Books, 2015), Epigraph, 31.

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