13

Resquiescat in Pace: Michael Novak

 

 

A giant of our Faith has passed:

Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher who helped carve a space for religion in modern politics, diplomacy and economics, arguing that capitalism is the economic system most likely to achieve the spiritual goods of defeating poverty and encouraging human creativity, died Feb. 17 at his home in Washington. He was 83.

The cause was complications from colon cancer, said his daughter Jana Novak.

Mr. Novak, who spent his formative years in the seminary, was widely recognized as one of the most influential Catholic theologians of his generation. He was the 1994 recipient of the Templeton Prize, which honors makers of an “exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension” and is accompanied by a monetary award exceeding that of the Nobel Prize.

In a measure of Mr. Novak’s influence within the Catholic Church, he was received and consulted by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He was at times a professor, a columnist, chief U.S. delegate to the U.N. Human Rights Commission and, for several decades, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank in Washington.

Mr. Novak was among several scholars who “brought serious religious thought to Washington in a way that it had not been present before,” George Weigel, a distinguished senior fellow at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, said in an interview.

 

He credited Mr. Novak with demonstrating to an “audience of insiders” a “way of thinking that was not merely statistical or ideological but was perhaps more deeply reflective of enduring human questions and problems.”

Mr. Novak wrote a shelf full of books on topics ranging from nuclear weapons to atheism to social justice to sports. But he was best known for his economic writings, particularly the book “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism” (1982).

“Democratic capitalism,” he wrote, is “neither the Kingdom of God nor without sin. Yet all other known systems of political economy are worse. Such hope as we have for alleviating poverty and for removing oppressive tyranny — perhaps our last, best hope — lies in this much despised system.”

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

2

The Return of Crisis Magazine

Crisis Magazine is making a triumphal return in the Catholic blogosphere.  InsideCatholic, the website that succeeded Crisis Magazine as an online version has reverted to the original namesake.  Their managing editor, Margaret Cabaniss, has provided a press release of this exciting news.

Here is their truncated version:

“The Morley Publishing Group (MPG)  board and staff are thrilled to resurrect a brand that, for 25 years, fought for faithful Catholicism, sound economics, and limited government,” said Laurance Alvarado, chairman of MPG.

Founded in 1982 by Ralph McInerny and Michael Novak to respond to the leftward drift of the U.S. bishops, the current staff moved Crisis online as InsideCatholic.com in September 2007. With the decline of the print industry, the transition was both necessary and opportune. Within two months, the website had doubled the magazine’s monthly readership.

“It was a win-win situation for us,” said Brian Saint-Paul, editor and new president of MPG. “However, with today’s technology — particularly the iPad, and other mobile devices — magazines can now thrive in digital form. All the readership trends suggest that at some point in the next 12 to 24 months, we’ll reach a tipping point where Americans choose mobile devices over computers for their news, articles, and other media.”

With the struggling economy, the dramatic expansion of the federal government, and the ongoing deterioration of our culture, the staff concluded that it was time for Crisis Magazine to return.

“When Ralph and Michael started Crisis, it was a sixteen-page pamphlet,” Alvarado noted. “Through their efforts, and the hard work of former and longtime publisher Deal W. Hudson, that pamphlet became the flagship publication for faithful Catholics. It’s no exaggeration to say that Crisis helped initiate a renaissance in Catholic political and economic thought.”

“That’s our inspiration and our goal,” Saint-Paul concluded.

The new site, www.crisismagazine.com, went live today at noon EST.

1

Karen Novak, 1938-2009

Joseph Bottum @ First Things, relays the sad news:

Karen Novak slipped away this morning—a great artist, a good friend, the beloved wife of Michael Novak, and convivial presence at so many of our events.

You can find some of her artwork described on her website. But even they don’t capture her fun, her spirit, or how much we will miss her.

Please keep Michael Novak and his family in your prayers.