Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
Legendary political columnist Robert Novak, who converted from Judaism to Catholicism in 1998, has died at the age of 78.
Novak retired from journalism last year, shortly after he was diagnosed with the brain cancer that resulted in his death this morning at his home.
Novak became strongly pro-life toward the end of his long journalism career. And among his many reporting coups was his breaking of the news that then Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the pro-abortion Catholic who is now serving in the Obama Cabinet as secretary of Health and Human Services, had held a fundraising party at the governor’s mansion for late-term abortionist George Tiller, as Lifenews recounts in this article.
Novak called the governor “the national pro-choice poster girl.”
But Novak wasn’t always a pro-life muckraker.
“When I started out, I didn’t have any agenda or tablet of principles at all. But in the course of writing about things and getting exclusive information, I might have helped certain causes,” he once said in an interview.
“When we started the column, Rowly and I were neutral on abortion, maybe leaning toward pro-choice. I began to read, think about it, and by the time I embraced Catholicism, I was adamantly against abortion. I’m happy that I moved in that direction,” he said.
Novak went on to say that he wish[ed] he had written more about the topic.
“I think I would have been better off to write about tax cuts and abortion and less about inside politics,” he said.
In a memorial editorial, pro-life columnist Cal Thomas said Novak [was] more firmly religio[us] recently.
“Novak was known for being well-connected in Washington, but not many may know that in recent years he was welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church. Novak was a descendant of Russian Jews and was famous for a tough exterior through which few could penetrate,” Thomas writes. “But apparently God got through!”