The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, an eminent Catholic intellectual who tutored President Bush in Catholic social teaching and helped build the political coalition that made his election possible, died Thursday (Jan. 8) at age 72.
Neuhaus died soon after 10 a.m. of complications from cancer, according to a statement by First Things, the intellectual journal he founded in 1990.
Though he often portrayed himself as a simple priest, Neuhaus rose from a rabble-rousing leftist cleric in the 1960s to become a presidential mentor, helping Bush define his policies on gay marriage, abortion and stem-cell research, among other issues.
In 2005, Time magazine named the Catholic priest one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals. "Father Richard helps me articulate these(religious) things," Bush said at the time.
The two met nearly a decade ago as Bush was considering a run for the White House.
"Father Neuhaus was an inspirational leader, admired theologian, and accomplished author who devoted his life to the service of the Almighty and to the betterment of our world," Bush said in a statement Thursday. "He was also a dear friend, and I have treasured his wise counsel and guidance."
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