Michael Novak

Michael Novak (1933-2017) founded Crisis Magazine with Ralph McInerny in 1982. He held the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute and was a trustee and visiting professor at Ave Maria University. In 1994, he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He was also an emissary to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

recent articles

St. Thérèse: Doctor of the Church

He did it! For some months there had been a rumor that Pope John Paul II might declare St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) a doctor of the Church, and on Sunday, September 24, at the International Youth Congress in Paris, he did so. The pope thus completed the circle by which Thérèse Martin, despite her … Read more

Doubting Theologians

It would have been a truly startling headline in June 1997 if it had read: “Two Hundred Theologians Believe, With Whole Hearts and Minds, Leader Says.” Instead it was another stale repetition: “216 Theologians Endorse Doubts.” The story beneath the headline said that at the June meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), … Read more

Rowing Upstream

Many years ago I was attending my first faculty reception at my first formal faculty appointment, at Stanford, and was met at the receiving line by the sponsoring dean with a warm handshake and the baffling words, “I want to tell you that I have the greatest admiration for your Church.” The two of us … Read more

Bernardin’s Last Request

Many people have asked me why I joined my name to Cardinal Bernardin’s “Common Ground Initiative,” when they saw many problems in it. I, too, saw several difficulties, but three considerations compelled me: first, unity in the Church is a preeminent good, an imperative from Jesus himself; second, Cardinal Bernardin had been a friend for … Read more

In Memoriam: Remembering My Brother

My brother, James J. Novak, aged fifty-seven, an independent writer and champion of south Asia, died September 30 at the New York University Medical Center after a fierce six-week struggle against multiple cancers. Born April 19, 1939, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Jim authored the critically acclaimed Bangladesh: Reflections on the Water, a lyrical, yet keenly analytical … Read more

The Future of Civil Society

After the fall of the evil collectivist regime that insisted on “the scientific study of atheism,” and that so dominated world history in the twentieth century, what is to be said about the construction of a normal, decent, human society? This question is of vital importance for the young democracies of Eastern and Central Europe; … Read more

Public Arguments: Governing Passions

James Madison in Federalist #10 points out how the experiment in the American republic is different from the utopian thinking encouraged in France. He refers to the “theoretic politicians” and calls the passion for equality “wicked.” He notes that some think that pure democracy rests on equality in property. He disagrees. He holds that factions … Read more

Public Arguments: Questioning Inequality

On December 4, 1995, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich had a letter in the Washington Times. He wrote, “Except for those who revere ideological preconceptions over the evidence of their own eyes, the growth in inequality and the precariousness of the middle class are stunningly obvious features of the contemporary American landscape.” Although the secretary’s … Read more

Public Arguments: Changing Times

Today, Gaudium et spes must be read in the light of Centesimus annus and other writings of Pope John Paul II. These are, by far, the most concrete, sophisticated, and accurate descriptions of the contemporary world. They are rooted in a thoroughly contemporary grasp of the philosophy and theology of the human person, community, and … Read more

The Love That Moves the Sun

In one of the two greatest lines of world poetry, Dante bows gently toward “The Love that moves the sun and all the stars.” Many moralists speak of love as the one fundamental and universal moral principle, the golden rule honored in all traditions. But what do we mean by love? In English we are … Read more

Nine Perversions of Multiculturalism

The fraudulence of much that currently masquerades under the name “multiculturalism” results from gross perversions of what, in 1972, I called the new ethnicity. Multiculturalism is a profound betrayal of the fundamental principles of the new ethnicity. In the current culture wars on campus, however, an explicit indictment of the perversions of multiculturalism may be … Read more

Public Arguments: Nine Perversions of Multiculturalism

The fraudulence of much that currently masquerades under the name “multiculturalism” results from gross perversions of what, in 1972, in called the new ethnicity. Multiculturalism is a profound betrayal to the fundamental principles of the new ethnicity.  In the current culture wars on campus, however, an explicit indictment of the perversions of multiculturalism may be … Read more

Public Arguments: How Christianity Changed Political Economy

What did Jesus Christ add to Athens and Rome that altered the human conception of political economy? The question is a little odd to the ear. It is not a question usually asked. Yet it turns out to suggest, for all its novelty, a fresh way of looking at political history. Permit me to propose … Read more

Capitalism for the Poor Capitalism for Democracy

Democracy, Winston Churchill once said, is a bad system of government, except when compared to all the others. Much same might be said of capitalism. It is not a system much celebrated by poets, philosophers, or priests, from time to time it has seemed romantic to the young but not very often. Capitalism is a … Read more

Public Arguments: The Gospel of Life

Observers have been marvelling at the uncommonly warm reception given to Pope John Paul II’s latest encyclical, The Gospel of Life. The Newsweek cover story was especially welcome. Contrary to some opinion leaders, the Bishop of Rome does not simply “make up” Catholic teaching; he is more bound to it than any one. So there … Read more

Public Arguments

Once again, this March, the USCC Administrative Board injected itself into the national political debate, just before Congress voted on welfare reform, and once again, “objectively,” it came down on the side of the Democratic Party. Nonetheless, this statement was better than average, if only rhetorically. (The good parts, I suspect, come from Bishop John … Read more

From the Editor: The Civilization of Love, Yes, but Not a Utopia

Over the years, I have learned a good many things from my friend, David Schindler, who has been going public with some strong opinions concerning how I could improve my work. Often I find them helpful. In particular, Schindler has recently ventured — in Catholic World Report — some very strong opinions about: (1) fatal … Read more

Public Arguments: The Rediscovery of Our American Catholic Heritage

On October 22, 1994, the Catholic Campaign for America held its first National Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on the theme of “Public Catholicism versus Private Catholicism” [see box below]. A series of distinguished speakers presented talks that were unusually well received; among them were Thomas P. Melady, Thomas V. Wykes, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, … Read more

Public Arguments: October 7, 1571 — The Battle of Lepanto

Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far, 
 Don John of Austria is going to the war, 
Stiff flags straining in the night blasts cold 
 In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold, 
 Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums, 
 Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon and he comes. … Read more

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Signup to receive new Crisis articles daily

Email subscribe stack
Share to...