Joe Feuerherd, the publisher of The National Catholic Reporter, died this morning after a battle with cancer.
I first met Joe after I talked about WFB and the role Catholicism played in his public life at a conference at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island. Joe was kind and generous, fond of Bill and NR, and a reader of where you are right now.
Joe, you have to understand though, was not publisher of one of those Catholic newspapers I tend to write for. The Reporter is the other one. But he could not have been warmer. Including at a conference he invited me to last year or so in Washington, where I even came up during a panel discussion.
It can all be so terribly complicated in our fallen world.
We disagreed on a lot. But if there will ever be peace on any of these issues the Left and Right battle over, there must be love. What else is the Cross about?
He was a career man at the Reporter. As an e-mail from his brother records, Joe remembered that “I made the coffee, sorted mail, answered phones, clipped newspapers — and grabbed whatever reporting assignments I could finagle” when he was a college intern in their Washington bureau, in the National Press Building. (He would later work in that building for the Reporter with our own publisher, Jack Fowler, who was writing about Washington politics from there for us at the time.)
The last time I e-mailed with Joe was a little before Christmas. He was optimistic and joked, “I’ve taken some medical leave, but hope to be back spreading heresy early in the new year.”
Joe, a fellow Catholic University of America alum, was 48 years old and married to his wife, Rebecca, for 27 years, with whom he had three children. My condolences.