In his thoughtful essay on Pius XII (“Humanity’s Conscience?” February 24), John Connelly writes that I belong to the group of historians who allege that Pacelli, through his silence, aided Hitler and the Nazis. In fact, my thesis, and the significance of my book’s title, Hitler’s Pope, has a different impetus. My main contention is that as secretary of state under Pius XI, Pacelli negotiated in 1933 a treaty known as the Reichskonkordat, which unintentionally aided Hitler’s project at an early stage before the Nazi police state was established.Read More
Any adequate account of the swirling currents in Catholic intellectual life during the decades following the Sixties and Vatican II—think names like Wills, Greeley, Berrigan, Ruether, Hesburgh, Buckley—would have to give a major place to Michael Novak, who died at age eighty-three on February 17.
Novak was a frequent contributor to Commonweal from the late 1950s to the middle ’70s. In these pages and in the National Catholic Reporter, Timemagazine, and elsewhere, he was a skillful exponent of the work of Vatican II and a passionate champion of the radicalism arising from campus opposition to the war in Vietnam.Read More
In the late 1970s I underwent two conversions: the first was reading myself out of the left wing politics in which I had been active. The second, not unrelated, was to return to the practice of the Catholic faith.
I say these transformations were related because I found that the more I saw the basis of a free society was predicated on free human action in the economy, the more I found myself thinking about the nature of the human person, his transcendence, and his dignity, and hence my return to the faith of my youth.Read More
The theologian, scholar, and writer Michael Novak died yesterday at the age of 83. Novak was one of the most influential Catholic thinkers of his generation, and an indefatigable champion of free enterprise, democracy, and liberty.
Here are five facts you should know about Novak:Read More