A man of deep and abiding faith is mourned

Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, who has died aged 97, has been honoured in death by a host of American luminaries.

“His deep and abiding faith in a loving God, and in the power of our shared humanity, led him to join the first-ever United States Civil Rights Commission, and join hands with (the Rev. Martin Luther) King to sing ‘We Shall Overcome’,” said President Barack Obama, adding “His belief that what unites us is greater than what divides us made him a champion of academic freedom and open debate.”

A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and more than 100 honorary degrees, the late priest was president of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987 and a charter member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Vice President Joe Biden said, “Father Ted is one of the reasons I’m proud to be a Catholic. He inspired so many to stand up for civil rights.”