The Corner


Kate O’Beirne: A Woman in Full Who Made the World Better

From our mutual friend Ann Corkery:

Kate’s own book was called “Women Who Make the World Worse.” Kate made the world far better. A happier place, a more joy-filled place, thanks in part to a stiletto-heeled sense of humor second to none. Kate was quick and full of sass. I was about to write “irreverent,” but the hallmark of her humor was really an irreverent reverence. Once, when we were touring Saint Peter’s in Rome and were at the balcony window where the newly elected pope steps out to greet the crowds, Kate peeked behind the sheer curtains to see St. Peter’s Square below. A monsignor pulled her back and she said, “Oh, I wanted the faithful to say, ‘Habemus Papam! We have our first blond pope!’” On another occasion, just after there was some concern about Pope Francis and the direction of the extraordinary synod, Kate immediately emailed me: “It’s finally official: I’m now more Catholic than the pope.”

Kate used her Catholic humor for more than laughter. She was instrumental in bringing many people into the church. To one brilliant adult potential convert she said, “You are just too smart not to be a Catholic.” She was the godmother of Robert Novak who converted later in life. At one awards dinner for him, she said, “I am Bob Novak’s godmother. Imagine how cute he was at his baptism.” Obviously, she delighted everyone who struggled to imagine the famed conservative scourge of journalism – the so-called “Prince of Darkness” — in baptismal white.

Another iconic conservative, legal scholar Robert Bork, was 76 years old — even older than Bob Novak was when he joined the church — when Kate helped him through the conversion. Glancing at his two Hibernian-named sponsors, Kate O’Beirne and John O’Sullivan, Judge Bork quipped that he was becoming not just Catholic, but an Irish Catholic.

“Beware the sin of pride, Bob,” Kate quipped right back.

In 1995, Bill Buckley wrote Kate to thank her, presumably, when she come on board National Review.  “Now,” he said, “I have NOTHING to fear.” One of the last things Kate said to a small group of girlfriends was this: “When you have faith, you have nothing to fear.”

More here.

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