Pray for the soul of Christopher Hitchens

Polemical atheist journalist Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
Reuters Staff
16/12/2011 11:11 PM

British-born journalist and atheist intellectual Christopher Hitchens, who made the United States his home and backed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, died on Thursday at the age of 62. He died in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of cancer of the esophagus, Vanity Fair magazine said.

“Christopher Hitchens – the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant – died today at the age of 62,” Vanity Fair said.

A heavy smoker and drinker, Hitchens cut short a book tour for his memoir “Hitch 22? last year to undergo chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer.

As a journalist, war correspondent and literary critic, Hitchens carved out a reputation for barbed repartee, scathing critiques of public figures and a fierce intelligence.

In his 2007 book “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” Hitchens took on major religions with his trenchant atheism. He argued that religion was the source of all tyranny and that many of the world’s evils have been done in the name of religion.

Read the full story by Anthony Boadle here.

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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13 Responses to Pray for the soul of Christopher Hitchens

  1. Alexander says:

    I think your readers would enjoy this short obituary from the Catholic philosopher Edward Feser:

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/12/christopher-hitchens-1949-2011.html

    “He was almost always smart, funny, and interesting even when he was wrong.

    Except on religion, where he was a complete bore and an insufferable hack. There is no use sugar-coating that fact now that he is gone, and Hitchens was not in any event a fan of the polite obituary. Religion is the last subject about which to have a tin ear or a closed mind, and Hitchens had both.”

    • Alex Caughey says:

      I rather enjoyed reading, and listening to Christopher’s opinions knowing that they tested my beliefs, and encouraged me to question my faith beyond blind acceptance.

      I shall miss Christopher’s undoubted intellectual prowess that few of his journalist contemporaries could approach with a barge pole knowing that he possessed a gift that permitted even a few of his opponents to appreciate his entertaining style, especially his easy willingness to use humour to placate the ire of those whose arguments he could demolish in seconds.

      Thanks, for the learning lessons Christopher, and sleep in peace.

      • Schütz says:

        “and sleep in peace”….

        Well, yes, that is my hope for him too, but in the circs I rather think he will be in need of our prayers for such an happy outcome.

        Of course, I hope you will all do me the same favour when I die.

        • matthias says:

          I shall certainly pray for your soul if you predecease me Schutz.
          hearing the sad announcement of the death of christopher Hitchens,reminds me of Dave Allen talking about the irish atheist who died and at his wake was viewed in his coffin and dressed in a dinner suit. “Will you look at dat “said the priest “All dressed up and nowhere ta go”

    • Schütz says:

      Thanks, Alexander, for that link. I heard Fesser on Catholic Answers recently where they gave a lot of time to someone from the Richard Dawkins fan club. Hitchens was a different beast from Dawkins. As Fesser says, “Of the four horsemen of the New Atheism, Hitchens was the only one I found likable”. I read in another obituary, by one of his erstwhile debators, that Hitchens was always the perfect gentlemen, except on the stage during a debate!

  2. I appreciate Fesser’s frankness. There’s a rather more sympathetic obituary available here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/decemberweb-only/christopher-hitchens-obituary.html?
    It’s by Doug Wilson, Presbyterian author and minister, whose debates with Hitchens were the subject of the recent film ‘Collision’.

    • Schütz says:

      thanks, Pastor. When replying to Alexander above, it was this obituary I had in mind, but I read it this morning half asleep and couldn’t remember where I had found it. I was obviously through the post on your blog. The passage I was referring to was this:

      During the time we spent together, he never said an unkind thing to me—except on stage, up in front of everybody. After doing this, he didn’t wink at me, but he might as well have.

  3. Adam says:

    I know you have posted on this polemicist sometimes and I have written on the blog that the man was a vehement critic of Blessed M Teresa. He called her a fraud in the press so many times and attacked the saint so often. In England now and the USA media are playaing interviews with him and the BBC is replaying his interview of a year ago with Jeremy Paxman where he speaks of death – yes, we all face it, the rich the poor, the saints and sinners. But this man was a vehement and avant atheist who spent years attacking the great and good with anger at his pc in the press and magazines.
    I am no judge and make no judgments – but the man who with such fierceness and anger and directness layed into M Teresa does not deserve the time to be listended to. He was a writer, a man whom the Lord will judge like all of us. But he does not deserve our praise or thanks. That should not be given to him – a man who was so proud of his atheism – a scourge for the modern world – perhaps because we have failed to show the face of God to those who search for the truth of eternal life. M Teresa did that and should never have been so villified by someone whose attacks were personal and so disastrously wrong and malevolent.
    The hype that is now being played out in the media in the UK especially is just sickening..

    • Hannah says:

      Adam wherever you find goodness there will always be vilification because wickedness cannot stand the idea of goodness.
      I hope the Lord has mercy on his soul. I hope the Lord gave him an instant of clear vision so that he could see what he was rejecting and had rejected all his life and I hope that Mother Theresa has interceded for him. Hell just like heaven is a long time.

  4. Alex Caughey says:

    From my perspective Christopher Hitchens contributed much to my deepening faith in God by acquainting me with the fact that even a saintly person, such as Mother Teresa also evidences the flawed nature of human kind peculiar to each, and everyone of us encouraging me to believe that confronting our imperfections is a life time’s effort of self discovery revealing our inadequacies, and those human qualities familiar to all of us who know that for all our virtuous ways we also need saving from our self indulgent easiness to judge others unworthy.

    Also, I stand guilty.

    • Schütz says:

      Well, Father, if one is not to judge, it seems to me one has two choices: one can either assume that all the dead rest in peace or one can assume that all face judgement. I presume the latter and pray for the dead accordingly.

  5. Alex Caughey says:

    Ah! David

    I’ll not be the judge of that, nor for that matter judge.

  6. matthias says:

    I think Michael Brull’s article on the ABC website is very succinct

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