Letters | Pius XII, Michael Novak, trans issues, etc.

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.

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A Turn That Went a Long Way: Remembering Michael Novak

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 ReporterTimemagazine, 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.

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How Michael Novak changed my life, and yours

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.

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