Karl Keating, in his most recent e-letter, reflects on the conversion of political journalist/columnist Robert Novak, which is described by Novak in his recently-published autobiography, The Prince of Darkness. Keating writes:
A few years prior to this, Bell had introduced Novak to Fr. C. John McCloskey. He is described by Novak as "a politically and theologically conservative Opus Dei priest" and "a world-class proselytizer. He brought the abortion doctor Bernard Nathanson, New York gubernatorial candidate Lewis Lehrman, and the Wall Street economist Lawrence Kudlow into the Church, and now he was working on me."
"I was a tough nut to crack," says Novak. The cracking was finished not by Bell, not by McCloskey, and not even by Novak's wife, but by a young woman he had never met before. In 1996 Novak went to Syracuse University to give a lecture. "There was one woman on the College Republicans committee." At the pre-speech dinner, she was "seated across the table from me. She was striking looking, wearing a gold cross on her neck. ...
"Without mentioning the cross, I was impelled to ask the woman a question that normally I would not consider posing. Was she a Catholic? I thought she answered yes and then asked me whether I was one. 'No,' I replied, 'but my wife and I have been going to Mass every Sunday for about four years.' 'Do you plan to join the Church?' she asked. I answered: 'No, not at the present time. ...
"Then the young woman looked at me and said evenly: 'Mr. Novak, life is short, but eternity is forever.' I was so shaken by what she said that I could barely get through the rest of the dinner and my speech that night. ... I became convinced that the Holy Spirit was speaking through this Syracuse student."
A year and a half later Novak was received into the Church, at age 67.
Read the entire piece. Also see:
• We Are All Called To Be Evangelizers | Russell Shaw | Introduction to Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith, by Fr. C. John McCloskey, III, and Russell Shaw
• Can Catholics Be Evangelists? An interview with Russell Shaw, co-author, with Fr. C. John McCloskey, III, of Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith