American Christians may have more in common with Bernie Sanders supporters than you think. A slim majority of self-identifying Christians hold an unfavorable view of capitalism, according to a 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey. Pope Francis, the world’s most prominent Christian, consistently critiques free-market economics. Today millions of well-meaning Christians worry about capitalism’s compatibility with Christian values. What’s a committed Christian capitalist to do?Read More
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
Michael Novak, who died recently at age 83 from colon cancer, was a philosopher and theologian of the first rank. His writings on capitalism, democracy and religion had an enormous influence in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, they provided critical intellectual underpinnings that led to the demise of Soviet communism.Read More
Last month, America lost a great defender of freedom, Michael Novak.
Novak was committed to rightly ordered liberty and cared deeply about the principles and practices that produce it. His enormous body of work emphasized the cultural prerequisites for political and economic freedom, as he stressed that economic conservativism and social conservatism are indivisible.
In the words of Heritage Foundation founder Ed Feulner, “Michael forced those of us trained in the dismal science of economics to explain that we should be more than ‘free to choose’—rather we should be free to make good free choices.”Read More
The West faces a deep crisis of liberty. Full human flourishing is hindered by the dawning collapse of civil society and by crony capitalism and cultural cronyism. Natural law arguments, with their appreciation of rights and duties, provide a better framework than natural rights or utilitarian arguments for understanding economic liberty; a natural law conception of social justice recognizes the state’s role in economic justice but also requires respect for the proper authority of society.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
The news of Michael Novak’s death Feb. 17 saddened close friends and colleagues in the community of think tank scholars who drew so much from his writings and lectures.
Novak’s perspectives expanded our conceptual grasp of economic liberty beyond dry formulas to include a more complete picture of the creative, human, and virtuous nature of entrepreneurship.Read More
Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher, theologian and author who was highly regarded for his religious scholarship and intellectual independence, died Feb. 17 at home in Washington, D.C. He was 83.
His daughter Jana Novak told The Washington Post the cause of death was complications from colon cancer.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
Michael's friends, among them many Slovaks who influence during his visits, his struggle with cancer for several months, watched with concern. In November, he was diagnosed with a tumor on colon. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy. But the disease has apparently spread further than it seemed at the beginning. Last week, his daughter Jana published on fejsbuk devastating news: "We hope that we can get him out of the hospital soon, so that we can start at home with hospice care during the last days." On Friday, finally, came the news of his departure. He died in peace, surrounded by family.
Who was Michael Novak? And why would it be to know Slovakia?Read More