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Catholic Pro-Life Columnist Dies at 78

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer   Robert Novak, the Catholic convert and pro-life columnist who first revealed the news that Obama’s health secretary Kathleen Sebelius once held a secret party for the notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller, has died at the age of 78. Novak, a pro-life syndicated columnist and political television analyst died yesterday at his home in Washington, DC after a year-long battle with brain cancer. Although always a conservative, his closest friends say he became even more so as he aged. His position on abortion also evolved over the years. "When we started the column, Rowly and I were neutral on abortion, maybe leaning toward pro-choice,” he once explained in an interview. “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. However, a former employee says his late-life conversion to Catholicism was his “most important change of heart.” “Brought up a secular Jew, and having lived seven decades as an agnostic, Novak entered the church in his 60s,” Carney wrote at “When I went to work for him, I was considering entering the Catholic Church as well. Novak pointed me to the priests who helped answer my remaining questions and cement my faith.” In his 2007 book, The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington, Novak went into even greater detail about his conversion. The process actually started in the early 1980s when he nearly died from spinal meningitis and a friend gave him Catholic literature to read. Ten years later, his non-Catholic wife Geraldine persuaded him to join her at Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. The celebrant was Fr. Peter Vaghi, a former Republican lawyer and adviser to Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and a former source for the popular Evans and Novak column. Novak started to go to Mass regularly and decided to convert a few years later. The turning point came when he visited Syracuse University in New York to lecture. Before he spoke he was seated at a dinner table near a young woman who wore a cross necklace. Novak asked her if she was Catholic, and she asked him the same. He responded by telling her that he had been going to Mass each Sunday for the last four years, but hadn’t converted.  “Mr. Novak, life is short, but eternity is forever,” the woman responded. Her words moved him to begin studying for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. He was baptized at St. Patrick’s in 1998. His wife was also baptized a Catholic. Novak later recounted his conversion in an interview with a skeptical New York Times interviewer. He said he told her he believed the Holy Spirit was behind coincidences such as his former source becoming a priest. "I consider this the only one true faith, so I believe the Holy Spirit led me to it," Novak said. Last year, after announcing his cancer diagnosis in his final column for the Chicago Sun-Times, he said his health problems first became manifest after he hit a pedestrian with his car. Tests later confirmed that he had lost his left-side vision. A biopsy revealed a major tumor. He was given six months to a year to live. “Being read your death sentence is like being a character in one of the old Bette Davis movies,” Novak said. “I believe I was able to withstand this shock because of my Catholic faith . . .” he wrote. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®




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