For many years, Robert Novak was one of my favorite columnists. There are certain media figures you just know you’d like if you knew them. Lyn Nofziger was like that. Pat Buchanan is too. Robert Novak, who died August 18, always seemed that way to me, too, and this has been happily confirmed by the remembrances of those who knew him. He was principled and decent.
Novak’s autobiography, The Prince of Darkness, is a good read. The anecdote I most remember from it was his time as a Unitarian. However, several remembrances of him noted how he was about to speak one night at Syracuse University in the 1990s. A female student asked him if he had joined the Catholic Church. He said he had been going to mass for a few years, but he hadn’t joined. The young woman responded: “Life is short, but eternity is forever.” This moment hit like a stake in Novak’s heart. He could barely finish his speech that night. He was baptized soon afterward. We never know when God may use something we say in a life-changing way.
Although it doesn’t change my orthodox protestant view that Rome (sadly) pushes “another Gospel” (Gal. 1:8-9), what a statement for all to consider: “Life is short, but eternity is forever.”