He had a huge presence, made forceful arguments and leaves an important body of work as his legacy. But he has taken leave.
Some kind tributes from intellectual opponents…
Elizabeth Scalia gathers thoughts here.
The dreadful day is upon us.
A while back, I wrote:
It will be a dreadful day when this singular voice can no longer reach us via any media but memory.
And now, Vanity Fair announced that Christopher Hitchens is dead.
I like the picture Pat Archbold used In his piece, and so I am stealing it, and I agree with much that Pat has written:
Christopher Hitchens now knows the truth of it. . . . Hitchens may have been most famous for his outspoken atheism. A year and a half ago when Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, I wrote that even if he thought it was stupid, I was praying for him. I still am.
I have no reason to think that Hitchens had a sudden religious awakening at the end, but I can hope. I can hope that at the end there was a small crack in the veneer large enough to let in the light. But I can never know, not in this life.
But there are things I do know. God loved Christopher Hitchens. Always has. He created him out of love. He died for him out of love. And I will pray for him out of love.
The only thing I disagree with, there — because I hope it is not true — is that he “may have been most famous for his outspoken atheism.”
He may have been. Perhaps. But there was more to the man than his atheism. He was fearless; he understood political arcana, especially as it applied to those mysterious Middle Eastern and Eastern European theaters, better than almost anyone. And he could write about it so even a dummy like me could understand.
By God, truly, the man could write! Even in this last year of difficult, as the Vanity Fair piece demonstrates, the man was still managing to write timely and topical pieces with a voice so fresh, so focused and detached that it was possible to forget that one might be reading his last or nearly last piece of work, and simple get caught up in his intelligent narrative and singular prose-style.
Go to that piece for all the links she posted.
Also go to Fr. Robert Barron’s site, an intellectual who challenged Hitchens honorably, always engaging reason.
And at the end of the day, I’ll echo Fr.’s request. Please pray for Hitch.