Michael Novak


Is Michael Novak a respected, orthodox, and faithful Catholic theologian? I know very little about modern Catholic theologians, unfortunately.

Also does anyone know anything about his book Belief and Unbelief?


I’m by no means an expert on him, but I have attended one of his lectures.

For the most part he is a …relatively… orthodox theologian. All my liberal theology professors at my Catholic college couldn’t stand him, so that was a bonus for him.

He is considered by some to by the “Catholic champion of capitalism.” He’s done much writing on the concept that capitalism as a Christian institution is an ideal system, where the “haves” are socially placed into positions of service and charity by providing work and jobs to those in need of money and opportunity. In this way, all benefit, becaus the rich have the opportunity of charity and service, adn the poor are able to be served by offering their work.

His theories on this are greatly criticized, however, because although ideal, experience obviously shows it doesn’t turn out this way. Greed and sin overpower. But still as a theological concept, its an interesting contradiction to socialist utopia theory.

On the negative side of things, when Pope John Paul informed George Bush that invading Iraq would be unjustified, Bush hired Novak to go to the Vatican and debate the case. Novak accepted, and although was rebuked by the Vatican, as I understand, continues to promote the Iraq war as consistent with just war.

Again I’m by no means an expert, this is just what I’ve picked up from brief encounters with him, and tidbits I picked up here and there, so my “facts” could be wrong. A google search and probably wikipedia would yield better results.



This is my take on him as well. In most cases, he seems to be an extremely orthodox theologian. However, as a “neocon” champion of capitalism, he somewhat flagrantly ignores the bulk of Church social teaching as it pertains to capitalistic economic activity (he happily acknowledges the Church’s warnings about Communism/socialism, but not capitalism). So I find him lopsided.


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