Bob Novak

The late conservative columnist and TV host Bob Novak was a highly unlikely convert to Catholicism, but in 1998 the Jewish reporter who died of a brain tumor on Tuesday did just that at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Washington.

There his sponsor was Kate O’Beirne, his sidekick on many a television battle, and New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who declared afterwards, “Now we’ve made him a Catholic. The question is, can we make him a Christian?”

Novak’s journey to Catholicism was a remarkable one. A writer at the time of his baptism stated, “In its 200 years, it's safe to say that St. Patrick's Catholic Church had never seen a ceremony quite like it. The man bowing his head over the baptismal font, about to be received into the church, was Bob Novak, the man often called the Prince of Darkness."

Novak was born Jewish, flirted with the Episcopal Church and finally settled on Catholicism because he liked the solemn ritual and the “otherness” of the priests. He found rabbis and ministers too secular for his liking.

Novak went on to fiercely defend Catholicism and claimed that anti-Catholic bias was one of the last few remaining biases in America.

 He could hardly argue that now that there are six Catholics on the U.S. Supreme Court. Then again Novak, who died of a similar type of brain cancer to what Senator Kennedy has, could argue anything with anyone with aplomb and skill.