I am pouring through Michael Novak’s autobiography, Writing Left to Right for an article on which I am working and came across a few gems in the section on Novak’s experience as a reporter at Vatican II. As is common knowledge, Novak was a liberal then, and it is no surprise that Novak still retained sympathy for the liberal cause. However, there are few interesting tidbits that Novak drops.
The first is that Novak tells us that a running joke during the council was that “the new rubrics called for referring to Beelzebub as ‘our separated brother.'”
The second is that Novak boasts that among the many visitors to his pensione was the notorious Joseph Bernardin, a clericalism who was accused of sexual abuse and satanism throughout his life and who protected abusers in the Church.
Novak’s comment about Beelzebub is obviously a joke (and, for the record, I assume Novak is not a Satanist), but with accusations of occult activity in the Vatican before, after and during the council–including a clerical consecration of the Church to Lucifer, it is an odd joke.
It also demonstrates how radical some of the ideas were at the Council.
Was Novak privy to some of the darker secrets of the revolutionaries at the Council?