While introducing readers to a new Patheos Catholic blogger, particularly one who has great writing chops but may have flown under the radars, biographical information can sometimes be a little thin; sometimes research is required.
This is not the case with Michael Novak, whose new blog, Coming Down to Earth debuts today with a reminiscence of Lithuania and the Divine Mercy. In Michael’s case, the biographical material is so plentiful it needs its own editor, or I’ll get nothing else done today!
For those unfamiliar with Novak — or who, more likely, “know the name, but am not sure, is he the guy…” — yes, he’s the guy who:
- Acted as human rights ambassador under Ronald Reagan.
- Served for over a decade on the boards of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
- Wrote or edited more than 45 books, including novels and a book of verse. These have been translated into every major Western language, as well as Bengali, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.
- Covered the Second Vatican Council from Rome and wrote what is considered a landmark report on the second session, The Open Church.
- Has taught at Harvard, Stanford, SUNY Old Westbury, Syracuse, and Notre Dame, and currently lectures at Ave Maria University.
- Has worked with and for (or has been publicly credited for his thoughtful influence) by world leaders and movers-and-shakers as disparate as Bobby Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Sergeant Shriver, Saint Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lady Margaret Thatcher — name someone who has, over the past 6 decades, traveled through the rough halls of political thought, the marbled ones of the Vatican, or the hushed corridors of letters; the raucous sports arenas (or the much rougher ones involving broadcast debate) and you will find that Michael Novak has made a mark or changed a mind.
I’ve only scratched the surface of Michael Novak’s extraordinary life, and he is not slowing down! Embracing new media, Novak seems perfectly suited toward blogging at precisely this moment, when the Catholic web — charged by Pope Benedict XVI to “give the internet a soul” — is roiled and divided, with theologies commingling with ideologies (none for the better) and so-called “rad trads” are pulling the Cross of Christ in one direction while so-called “progressives” go at it from the other side. Having, on his own Catholic journey, traveled from “left” to “right”, Novak uniquely understands both points of view — and can hopefully share what he has learned about their values and their shortcomings — as we 21st Century Catholics strive to balance ourselves with the Christ who remains at the center of all our hearts.
And I suspect when he is not schooling us, he will be writing about his granddaughter, too, which promises another kind of wisdom.
Patheos is extraordinarily pleased to host Michael Novak’s “Coming Down to Earth” blog. Don’t forget to subscribe to his feed, and yeah, he’s on Twitter and Facebook, because where people are talking and ideas are forming, that’s where you find him.
Welcome, to Patheos, Michael Novak; we’re looking forward to reading your thoughts!