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Our neighbor Novak’s deft reply to New York Times’ attempt to pit Pope Francis against Pope Saint John Paul II

Queerly, the New York Times seems to be advocating that papal pronouncements ought to influence culture and public policy, and in that vein has posed this question and then published five responses:

Jesus drove money changers out of the Temple, calling them “a den of thieves.” Of the profit-centric world view, Pope Francis warned, “We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market,” to provide economic justice. Others call Christianity and capitalism inextricable. Is contemporary capitalism compatible with Christian values?

Novak presents shirt reading “Centisimus Annus” to Pope Saint John Paul II – click to see it and other photos at Novak’s website

Interestingly, that setup by the Times ignores how Pope Saint John Paul II described capitalism in the magisterial encyclical Centisumus Annus:

… an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector … circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality.

But Michael Novak did not let the Times get away with that omission (or the Times’ lame attempt to pit Pope Francis against his canonized predecessor John Paul); Novak’s is one of the five published responses, and it begins with the saint’s definition and discusses why capitalism is the most moral of the economic systems. It is worth reading.

Novak is one of our neighbors and friends here in Ave Maria – a Templeton laureate, philosopher, journalist, novelist, diplomat and faithful Catholic. He has written more than twenty-five books about philosophy, theology and culture. Among the people who have praised Novak’s work are Pope Saint John Paul, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Vaclav Havel. He also served as an ambassador during the administration of President Reagan. His recent (2013) book explains his intellectual journey: Writing from Left to Right: My Journey From Liberal to Conservative.  

Michael can often be seen on the Ave Maria University campus, at the Queen Mary Pub, or in the Oratory at Mass. He is very approachable and is always happy to discuss philosophy, theology, culture, and life with students and neighbors. His presence and friendship are one more reason why people like living in Ave Maria.

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1 Comment

  Tim Moore wrote @

Thank you again, Robb, for your superior work highlighting our neighbor, Michael Novak. What a pleasure it is to live amongst such men and women in our town.


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