Memoirs of a shattered hope.
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He also had a very keen interest in the field of Islamics. In addition to his studies in Arabic at Harvard, and in Islamic History at Dacca University, he had done wide reading in the field. He frequently attended seminars sponsored by the Islamic Academy.
Fr. Novak is survived by both his parents, by three brothers and a sister.
The following pages cannot help being personal. A history of Dick is in some ways my history, as mine would be his. The meaning of brotherly love comes to be understood when one brother is torn away.
1. THE SHATTERING OF HOPE
The problem of evil is for me no longer academic. My nearest brother has been murdered.
The first news we heard was that Dick was missing and believed dead. It reached us exactly two months to the day after John F. Kennedy was assassinated; the taste of senseless death was still too familiar. I had loved John F. Kennedy, and with his death lost a certain hope. Now, with another, closer senselessness, I wanted to cease trying to live, to surrender from the struggle.
My wife and I had come into Idlewild International Airport from Madrid at almost 9 p.m. on January 22. The January air was cool but not cold; the runways and buildings were apparent in the moonlight.
We were happy. We had been very glad to head back to the States on the 19th, after more than four months abroad. We drove our little white Volkswagen up towards Nice, where we intended to ship it to the United States. We had been scheduled to depart for New York via Paris on the 20th, but when we showed up at the airport we found that storms over Paris had caused our flight to be canceled. Since we were already at the airport, my wife insisted on taking the morning TWA flight to Madrid, instead of waiting 24 hours and hoping that the storm over Paris might clear. We would spend the rest of the day in Madrid, take in El Greco and Goya at the Prado, and then catch the next day’s flight, through Lisbon, to New York. All the way to New York she worried that if we crashed in that plane, she would be to blame.
Only once, in Lisbon, where we landed briefly on our way from Madrid to New York, did I share her fear. Then, returning to the aircraft after a drink in the terminal, we looked up at the serene sky. Many miles above, thin sleeves of translucent cirrus floated in the cold wind. In a few moments, we would ascend again between them and the daytime moon. I hugged Karen playfully around the waist to shield us from the chill of the air.
When we reached our hotel in New York, the first thing I had to do was rush down to my editor’s office at Macmillan, to deliver the manuscript of The Open Church, which I was now bringing in a day late. Betty Bartelme, my editor, had a very tense brow and concerned manner, and told me that I must immediately telephone my father. He had been trying to reach me since the day before. Her furrowed brow and concerned manner made me worry, and I began going through scenarios of very bad news. Betty put me in a private office, and solemnly told me how to dial out.
WHEN I FINALLY GOT THROUGH to Johnstown, my father’s voice was so subdued and broken that I felt terror instantly.
“We have some very bad news,” he said slowly.
“Mother,” I thought with panic.
“Father DePrizio called on Monday. Richie is missing in Pakistan.” That line struck terror—and guilt—into my heart. Rich was my little brother, and I felt responsible for him.
Who said so? I wanted to know. Where had he been? When did he go missing? Under what circumstance? Was anybody with him? How is mother taking it? It took several minutes of quiet questioning to get the story clear. Dick had last been seen on January 16—almost a week before. Poignantly, I remembered rereading his last letter at noon on January 16, in Rome, while clearing off my desk and packing to leave. Dick had been a bit discouraged about the current state of the missions, but hopeful about the future. He always wrote to me with exceeding frankness, and I usually thought it only fair to destroy his letters. I tried to decide what to do with the letter, and then, according to my usual custom, tore it in two and dropped it into the wastebasket. As I was tearing his letter in two in Rome, he was meeting death, alone, in Pakistan.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online