Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher and former prime minister Tony Abbott are among those offering tributes to influential Catholic and Labor Party stalwart John Richard (Johno) Johnson, who died yesterday aged 87, The Catholic Weekly reports.
In a statement yesterday, Archbishop Fisher said, "Johno was a remarkable man who had a profound influence on all those he encountered".
"Inspired by the great loves of his life: the Catholic Church, the Australian Labor Party, his beloved wife Pauline and their family and, finally, his love for Australia, he made an outstanding contribution both to public life and the Church.
"Johno was deeply inspired by his Catholic faith. He was and remains an exemplar of what a Catholic lay man or woman should seek to be: someone who brings the inspiration of their faith and the values which flow from it to bear for the common good of their community, especially in the public square."
The Catholic Weekly reported the Sydney Archdiocese's Vicar General Fr Gerald Gleeson issued letters to his brother priests, asking them to remember Johno in their Masses, and to staff of the chancery and other Church agencies, asking them to remember him in their prayers:
“Johno was the Chairman of the Board of The Catholic Weekly for ten years and was outstanding in his commitment to the Church; always taking a strong stand in his political life to support the Right to Life movement, being outspoken against euthanasia, and providing his leisure time to assist causes within his parish including the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society,” Fr Gleeson wrote.
The Leader of the NSW Opposition, Luke Foley, also issued a statement yesterday, which said Johno was "a mentor, counsellor and confidante to half a dozen generations of Labor Party activists".
“More than anyone I know, Johno personified the tradition within the Labor Party of fidelity to Catholic social teaching," Mr Foley said.
Tony Abbott, rose to speak in federal Parliament yesterday, speaking of his respect and affection for someone he described as “a fine Australian”.
A funeral Mass for Johno Johnson will be at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, on 18 August, but details are still being finalised.
Vale Johno Johnson: A servant of the people of God and a fine Australian (The Catholic Weekly)
The ‘Johno effect’: Sydney mourns a remarkable man (The Catholic Weekly)
Former Labor luminary Johno Johnson dies (Daily Telegraph)
Farewell to Labor ‘prince’ John ‘Johno’ Johnson (The Australian)
'Heart, soul' of NSW Labor dead at 87 (SBS News)