Robert Novak, RIP

The long-time political commentator and journalist Robert Novak has died at 78 year of age from a malignant tumor. 

Mr. Novak was brought up as a Jew, lived for years as an agnostic, but he made a conversion with his wife to Catholicism late in life, in 1998, a conversion he called "his most important change of heart".


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Girgadis says:

    May he rest in peace. I’m surprised to learn that he was born Jewish. I’m glad God kept him around long enough to enable him to discover the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church.

  2. Jakub says:

    May his memory be eternal, may he rest in peace…

  3. Thomas S says:

    His conversion story is an interesting one, especially the final push he received. I’m sure you could google it if interested.

    May he rest in peace.

  4. gloriainexcelsis says:

    A tough, honest journalist and commentator – they are so rare. Requiescat in pace.

  5. Jack Hughes says:

    Now he’s Probebly quizing Caleb and Joshua on the finer arts of spying :)


  6. TJM says:

    Mr. Novak was also a lover of the TLM. Apparently he wasn’t offended by the prayers praying for the conversion of the Jews like the left-wing loons. He was a brilliant and insightful journalist. Unfortunately, we will not see the likes of Mr. Novak again. Tom

  7. Rachel says:

    I found this about his conversion, from

    Novak was born Jewish and attended Christian services sporadically until the mid-1960s, after which he stopped going to religious services for nearly 30 years. But Novak said the Holy Spirit began to intervene in his life.

    A friend gave Novak Catholic literature after he came close to dying from spinal meningitis in the early 1980s. About a decade later, the columnist’s wife, Geraldine, also not a Catholic, persuaded him to join her at Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington. The celebrant was a former source of Novak’s.

    Father Peter Vaghi, now Msgr. Vaghi and pastor of the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Md., was a former Republican lawyer and adviser to Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. He had been a source for the Evans and Novak column that Novak wrote with Rowland Evans.

    Novak started to go to Mass regularly, but it wasn’t until a few years later that he decided to convert to Catholicism. The turning point, as he recounts in his book, happened when he went to Syracuse University in New York to give a lecture. Before he spoke, he was seated at a dinner table near a young woman who was wearing a necklace with a cross. Novak asked her if she was Catholic, and she posed the same question to him.

    Novak replied that he had been going to Mass each Sunday for the last four years, but that he had not converted.

    Her response – “Mr. Novak, life is short, but eternity is forever” – motivated him to start the process of becoming a Catholic through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. He was baptized at St. Patrick’s Church in 1998. His wife was also baptized a Catholic.

    Novak said he believed the Holy Spirit led him to Catholicism. He told an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington Aug. 2 that when he was interviewed by The New York Times about his book the interviewer scoffed at his story about his source turned priest.

    But Novak said he told her he believed the Holy Spirit was behind the coincidences.

    “I consider this the only one true faith, so I believe the Holy Spirit led me to it,” Novak said. “Then the next day Pope Benedict (XVI) said the same thing.”

    Novak, referring to a Vatican document released in July reaffirming that the Catholic Church is the one true church, quipped that he must have been right.

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