Official and unofficial Washington continues to mourn last Friday’s death of Tim Russert. For instance, here’s an op-ed piece from today’s Washington Post that does a good job of articulating why the city and the nation were stunned by the news. Even the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops joined in the mourning by issuing a press release quoting the chairman of the bishops’ Communications Committee. It’s hard to remember the last time the conference issued a release mourning the death of a lay Catholic, especially one not involved in a specific church movement or activity.
And if you saw the initial story we moved last Friday (less than two hours after the death was made public), we’ve updated it with even more warm remembrances of Russert’s life. Also, if you saw our blog post Friday, that too has been updated with a link to an interview Russert gave on the importance of his Catholic faith, part of the “One-on-One” series of interviews sponsored by the bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign.
UPDATE: We’ve just learned that NBC anchor Brian Williams will be the substitute speaker for Russert at the annual Philip J. Murnion Lecture of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative on June 27 at Catholic University here in Washington. Advertisements for Russert’s planned speech were already appearing in the Catholic press before his death. Organizers say Williams “will recall how Tim Russert’s life, and the political process he loved, can shed light on the common ground of the Catholic Church.”
PHOTO: Pope Benedict XVI meets Tim Russert, NBC News Washington bureau chief and moderator of “Meet the Press,” April 17 at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Father David M. O’Connell, center, president of the university, made the introduction during the pontiff’s U.S. visit. (CNS/Tony Fiorini, courtesy of The Catholic University of America)