This is the first of two lectures Michael Novak gave at the Pontifical University, Santiago, Chile, May 3-5, 1983. I.                 ON DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS Nowadays, when a nation calls itself a Popular Democratic Republic, we often understand that it is neither a Republic nor a democracy. We suspect that is not even popular. So [...]

This is the first of two lectures Michael Novak gave at the Pontifical University, Santiago, Chile, May 3-5, 1983. I.                 ON DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS Nowadays, when a nation calls itself a Popular Democratic Republic, we often understand that it is neither a Republic nor a democracy. We suspect that is not even popular. So [...]

Our Sunday Visitor is the largest national Catholic weekly newspaper in the country, with a circulation reported to be over 200,000. (This is said to be "soft" circulation, meaning that it includes free distribution along with paid circulation.) The paper is attractively produced, although I should have thought it could dispense with its magazine- within-a-paper [...]

On Thursday 11 August, the 4th nationwide protest against the Pinochet regime took place. At the end of the day 19 persons lay dead (others would die the next day) and close to 100 were wounded, almost all of them victims of the calculated and pre-meditated repression by the Armed Forces, under Pinochet's strict orders. [...]

In their distinguished comments on "Moral Clarity in the Nuclear Age," James M. Cameron (June) and Christopher Derrick (July) raised interesting points. Professor Cameron thought he detected a bit of "Manichaeism" in my views on the Soviet Union. I am certain that he is mistaken. If someone held that the regime of Adolf Hitler was [...]

In this day of proliferating litigation, whether due to an excess of lawyers or a general mood of contentiousness — everybody seems to be suing everybody — I have begun to wonder whether I have a cause of action against the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Christian Brothers and the Jesuits. You see, they all [...]

Of War and Peace

Any policy regarding nuclear weapons that claims a moral or theological status must rest its claim on its lessening the probabilities of nuclear war, and of the West's surrender to the Soviet Union. I regret that, after reading Joseph Cardinal Bernadin's defense of the nuclear policies contained in the American bishops pastoral letter, The Challenge [...]

If you wanted to influence the personal ideals of future Americans, would you rather have the power to name the next President, the Chairman of General Motors, or the producer of a prime-time TV program? It's not a particularly easy question to answer, I think, and one's response might well vary with the particular ideals [...]

I haven’t been keeping count, but in recent conferences and conversations I have several times heard people refer to the secular media as "the so-called secular media." I doubt very much that they mean the media pay more attention to religion than is commonly thought. No, the "so-called" is intended to say something not about [...]

FROM 1973 to 1982 I lived in Nicaragua, first as a Maryknoll Sister, then from 1974 on, as the wife of a Nicaraguan Social worker Edgard Macias. Previous to this, I had lived and worked as a Maryknoll Sister for nearly three years in Panama. In both countries I lived in marginated urban areas where [...]

Neurotic suffering indicates inner conflict…Each component asserts itself. claims priority. insists that something else yield. accommodate. The conflict therefore is fixed. stubborn. enduring. — Wheelis, How People Change. Harper & Row 1973 Nations, like people, play games. The most important ones are the neurotic ones, described with immortal clarity by Eric Berne in Games People [...]

It is an opportune moment for Catholic social theory to make a contribution to American public policy practice. As Campaign 84 begins, the argument about how to best structure our social policy so that real human needs are met will get louder. The liberal approach to human services relies on programs designed and administered through [...]

 The Catholic Church, and all of Christianity for that matter, is in crisis. It has been for at least two decades. But this is not to say that the present crisis is its first or, what is more significant, its last. Nor is it necessarily to impute some radical deficiency or failure somewhere along the [...]

Remarks and Poems

At the age of twenty-three, in December 1960. Armando Valladares who had supported the overthrow of Batista but criticized the emerging Communist character of the Castro regime, was arrested, swiftly tried and sentenced to thirty years in prison. For twenty-two years he remained Castro's prisoner. The injustice done him transformed him into a poet of [...]

I write these words as an individual Catholic Citizen, representing no other person or thing. They are words about the politics of opposing abortion. My anti-abortion principles can be simply stated. First, a commonsense look at human life yields, and no science contradicts, this perception: there is no true "viability" in the womb, at any [...]

“Catholics may, in cases of necessity, tolerate a compromise of fundamental principle. They may not, however, consent to, let alone work for such compromises, even in an attempt to reduce a greater evil, or achieve a greater good.” — Edward N. J. Peters, Catholicism in Crisis (July '83) Thus Edward Peters concluded "The Forbidden and the [...]

Who receives better care, an American in a hospital in the U.S. or a poor Indian in a mission clinic in the jungles or high Andes of Peru? Patients in American hospitals are exposed to the most advanced medical technology, modern analytical laboratories, computerization, all the comforts possible, a big impersonal administrative bureaucracy, of tubes, [...]

Peace and Aquarius

Given the plurality of political organizations throughout the U.S.A. many can be found that have ethical concerns or philosophies. One can find an institute for alcoholic studies in American Indian culture, immigration centers for Soviet Jews coming from Soviet Georgia, legal organizations which attempt to aid emigrant farm workers in Texas, and all manner of [...]

The advantage of writing from Purgatory is it keeps one's mind off the pain. The other advantage, it helps one laugh at bourgeois Christianity. It's quite a spectacle on earth, still. I like especially the invocation of "Vatican II theology." That usually means having your cake and eating it, too. How do you like this [...]

Shortly before midnight on Dec. 6 1982, convicted murderer Charles Brooks was strapped to a hospital cart in a room adjacent to the death chamber of the Huntsville, Texas, prison. At 12:09 a.m., Charles Brooks' right arm received the first lethal injection legally administered in the United States. Seven minutes after the lethal drugs were [...]

  “Years ago, in conclusion to a brief paper on the concept of work in a symposium entitled The Works of the Mind. I suggested that it was up to the manual worker to keep alive among us a certain spirit of honesty and perfection which ought to be carried from level to level up [...]

Michael Novak says of Walter Ong: "His work is among the most important being done, and I don't think he gets nearly the amount of attention he deserves" (personal correspondence dated June 8, 1983). My purpose here is to introduce those who are unfamiliar with him to Father Walter J. Ong of the Society of [...]