Robert Blair Kaiser (born 1930, died April 2, 2015) is an American author and journalist, best known for his writing on the Catholic Church.
As a correspondent for Time Magazine, he won the Overseas Press Club's Ed Cunningham Award in 1962 for the "best magazine reporting from abroad" for his reporting on the Second Vatican Council.
Four of his thirteen published books deal with Catholic Church reform. His latest books include A Church in Search of Itself: Benedict XVI and the Battle for the Future and "Cardinal Mahony: A Novel." A new version of his 1970 best seller, R.F.K. Must Die!" was published in 2008, with a new sub-title, "Chasing the Mystery of the Robert Kennedy Assassination.
Kaiser's speech in Ireland on August 19, 2010, at the Humbert Summer School, entitled "Catholic Church Reform: No More Thrones," called for Irish Catholics to boldly initiate an ecclesiastical revolution through which they would remove secretive hierarchy, take back their cathedrals, and elect their own bishops.
As we learn the sad news from Brendan, Rest in Peace Robert Blair Kaiser (born 1930, died April 2, 2015),
With great sympathy on your loss, Rene, and to all CCRI members on the loss of our co-founder.
While we mark your passing this Easter Bob, your rich legacy of writing and ideas will live on as a wise critique of the Church and the foundation of Catholic Church Reform.
It was a privilege to learn from you.
Scilla & Gerald Stack, Perth Western Australia
It with great sadness that I learned of Bob’s death . he will be a great loss to the catholic reform movement.
MAY HE REST IN PEACE.
He could not have picked a more prophetic season to die. He is with us still. Blessings to Bob, and to all of us good tidings for the work ahead.
I have been silent upon learning of Bob’s passing – almost a kind of speechlessness at the loss of my friend of 34 years. I first met Bob when I invited him to be a guest on my radio show in 1981. At that time, I learned that he had written an article about my husband, James Kavanaugh, shortly after writing the book: A Modern Priest Looks at his Outdated Church. If our Church was outdated in 1967, what must it be now? Not a word that Jim wrote has lost any significance over the 48 years since that book came out.
Bob, Jim, and I formed a close friendship bonded largely by our love for our Church and our frustration over its inability to move into modern times. We hoped for the time when the Church could become inclusive of all who believed in Jesus Christ, for the time when the Church could welcome those less perfect to the Eucharist, for the time when women could be treated as equals, and for the time when a man and women could express their love for each other without perpetually facing the possibility of pregnancy. Jim was a man who, as a priest, wanted to be married. But I can tell you with as much certainty that he was married to me and still wanted to be a priest. Why should he and millions of others be ostracized form the Church for that desire? We spoke of these things often and prayed that one day we would live to see these injustices rectified.
It was a precious moment when I called Bob in late May of 2013 and asked if he would help me establish Catholic Church Reform on the web. He didn’t hesitate for even a moment. He reached out to his hundred or so closest reform-minded friends and CCRI was established. Even though Bob has moved to a new place, I have no doubt that he will continue to be with us with even more zeal and influence that he had while on this earth. I hope you will join with me in celebrating Bob’s life on this earth and his continued support and exuberance for the reform of our church in his life now. I have no doubt that he will continue to be with us more than ever.
With gratitude for all who continue to believe and hope in the transformation of our church from an exclusive hierarchical church to one that in Bob Kaiser’s words becomes “autochthonous,” that is, grass-rooted.
With love and gratitude for all of you who continue to stand united with us for this cause,
From Mark Day, San Diego
Rene et al,
I have known Bob for many years and deeply regret his
passing. He fought the good fight and it is bearing fruit
with you group.
Regards, Mark Day
From Peter Johnstone, Australia
There can be no doubt that Bob made a seminal contribution of a high order to CCRI and to our Church. He generated and promoted strong debate always maintaining focus on the critical goal of reform. His book ‘Cardinal Mahony’ taught many of us that we need to be radical in seeking reform. He was an influence for a more Christ-like Church from John XXIII to Francis. I’m sure he’ll continue to assist the work of CCRI – he’ll still be there for you, Rene! Easter blessings to all. Peter
From Linda Rogers, Perth Australia
Prayers for Bob and thanks for his work and contribution to CCRI. I did not know him but am aware CCRI has greatly benefitted from his contributions. How amazing that he shared his remaining energy with all of us. His contribution will continue in its influence. Easter reminds us that regeneration, renewal, and growth are continuous gifts. Linda
From John Buggy, Australia
I have just woken up to find Brendan’s news of Bob’s death and then several tributes to his legacy. I was able to experience his passion for reform in the many conversations and e-mails we had together as we worked to get the CCRI position papers right. While we have sadness at his loss, although knowing that it was imminent, we can link his death with Good Friday and celebrate his contribution with the joy of Easter. John
From Carol Harris, Louisville, Kentucky
Wanted to send you my sympathy on losing your dear friend. I know somewhat how close you were, but have a feeling you were very close and he was very dear to you. The little I knew of him tells me he was very special and someone I wanted to know better.
With sadness for you and all of CCRI, yet blessings for a beautiful Easter,
Although I only knew Bob through emails and comments from others, he was a man I very much wanted to know. Although I am saddened by our loss, what a beautiful time to pass. He has laid the groundwork for CCRI and will be directing us from the other side! Have a wonderful Easter and let us rejoice in the risen Christ who continues to live among/with each of us, showing us the way! Carol
From Mary Beth Stein, Minnesota
May all of us who work toward Church reform continue the great legacy that Bob has begun. I trust that he will continue to work with us and guide us toward the highest good for our Church. Thank you Bob for your vision and hard work. May you now know eternal joy. Mary Beth Stein
From James Kottoor, India
Dear Bob, I am shocked, saddened and grieved beyond measure at your sudden good bye on this Good Friday, may be in response to His call: "You will be with me today in Paradise." May you rest in His eternal peace and inspire and guide us to continue the work you have been doing with greater vigor and enthusiasm. james kottoor
From Larry Carney, Canada
Although I didn’t know Bob and he was “new” to me, I can appreciate what everyone is saying; I can only add my frequent “Amen” ditto that! Larry Carney
From Janet Hauter, Chicago
It is a true Good Friday moment! Bob's loss is a painful moment in the reform communities history. His curmudgeon charm sometimes blocked the other's ability to grasp the fact that fundamentally Bob was all heart! His passion for change to save our church from itself was experienced by those of us in regular contact with him.
You will be missed, Bob! You have added so much to our thinking and action and your insider perspective to the church has accelerated our understanding of the obstacles we face. Your great desire was to wake the sleeping giant of the People of God to stand tall understanding and living both their rights and responsibilities of being Catholic!
I, for one, will keep that hope alive in the hearts and minds of those who currently watch passively the evolution of our faith to become people in a lived faith making change happen! I salute you, Bob, as your influence will NOT die but we will create a belated gift of change that will make you smile as the People of God are liberated to live as Resurrection Catholics. Janet
From David Timbs, Melbourne Australia
Bob’s reply to my Easter greetings to the strategic team members. He was alert and clearly understood but did not have the energy to write a word. Christos anesti! David Timbs
From: Robert Kaiser
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2015 12:41 AM
To: David Timbs
Subject: Re: Easter
From Ed Schreurs, Netherlands
Five days ago, on March 29 2015 I have sent you
Your name in the strategy team has a special meaning.
It is attachment to change with all the odds against success
A spirit to distribute to many or to all of us.
Pace e bene
Now would like to add: Thank you for the heritage. Ed Schreurs
From Barbara Dreher, Sister of St. Joseph of Corondolet
One of Bob's great gifts was to be a holy irritant… Mosquito like he crawled under issues that needed and continue to need to be scratched into Easter inclusiveness. Saint Bob, continue to guide us and give us contagious gumption to practice church into welcoming all — no exceptions! Barbara
From John Dayal, India
We in India knew him only as an email, a wise text, a warm signature.
We came to think we had known him a long time.
We will miss him. We know he is with the Saviour, gone at a time of His choosing.
God bless him. And as Clyde says, Good tidings for the work ahead
John Dayal, New Delhi
From Clyde Christofferson, Virginia
He could not have picked a more prophetic season to die. He is with us still. Blessings to Bob, and to all of us good tidings for the work ahead. Clyde
From Gerald and Scilla Stack, Perth Australia
As we learn the sad news from Brendan, Rest in Peace Robert Blair Kaiser (born 1930, died April 2, 2015). With great sympathy on your loss, Rene, and to all CCRI members on the loss of our co-founder. While we mark your passing this Easter Bob, your rich legacy of writing and ideas will live on as a wise critique of the Church and the foundation of Catholic Church Reform.
It was a privilege to learn from you.
Scilla & Gerald Stack
Perth Western Australia
From Bill Faulkner, Virginia
How appropriate, Rene, to receive the sad news of Bob's death in the early morning of this Good Friday. Bob was a true discipline of Jesus and apostle of Christ. I'm sad that I did not know him better, but especially sad for you, Rene, since you knew him very well as a long-time friend in Christ.
You have leaned on him for support and guidance after you completed your pilgrimage in Spain. The entire church reform movement has suffered a great loss. Now, we advisors to Catholic Church Reform International must carry on with the mission that began with Vatican II and give mutual support to you and each other in our various roles, lest our mission die without sustaining the vision and the character of Jesus, Saint Francis, Pope Francis, and Bob Kaiser.
I give thanks to God for Bob' life and witness to the ever emerging Kingdom (Kindom) of God, and I thank you, Rene, for giving me a place to serve in that same mission. Let us continue to seize this historic moment.
From Brendan Butler, Ireland
It with great sadness that I learned of Bob’s death . he will be a great loss to the catholic reform movement . MAY HE REST IN PEACE.