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Kate O’Beirne remembered for her humble faith

Kate Walsh O’Beirne, a writer and editor for National Review and a regular guest on CNN’s “The Capital Gang,” was a woman of strong character and humble faith who joyfully needled, prodded and coaxed others to believe, said Father Paul D. Scalia at the April 28 funeral Mass at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

O’Beirne died April 23 at the age of 67.

In addition to her work with William F. Buckley Jr. at National Review, O’Beirne served in the Department of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan and was deputy director of domestic policy studies and vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation.

She appeared for 11 years on “The Capital Gang” and was a substitute host on CNN’s “Crossfire” and a commentator on “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS.

In 2005, after 10 years as National Review’s Washington editor, she became president of the National Review Institute, a research and advocacy organization, a post she held for six years.

Father Scalia was the celebrant and homilist for the funeral Mass. A dozen priests concelebrated the liturgy, including Father Robert J. Rippy, cathedral rector, and Father Jerome Fasano, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal.

EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and George Mason University Law Professor Helen Alvare were among the many dignitaries in attendance.

In his homily, Father Scalia focused on the passage from St. John’s Gospel in which Jesus arrives in Bethany after the death of his friend Lazarus. The subsequent exchange between Jesus and Martha, Lazarus’ sister, reveals that Martha was a woman of strong character and humble faith.

In response to a question from Jesus, Martha responds, “I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who is coming into the world.”

“Sound familiar?” Father Scalia asked the congregation. “Martha, meet Kate.”

Father Scalia said O’Beirne’s strength came from being grounded in the faith in humble docility to the Lord.

“We mourn today, but we are blessed by Kate’s example,” he said.

She was persistent, whether it was convenient or inconvenient, he added.

“Kate did not hesitate to be direct, even with priests,” Father Scalia said. Although she was not an advocate for married priests, she once quipped “that if priests had wives, they at least would be on time for dinner.

“If Kate was strong, it was at first because she believed,” Father Scalia said.

“What we do here today is pray that what the Lord has begun in her is brought to completion.”

He said Kate’s final act of faith began about a week ago, supported by her family and friends.

“May we all be so blessed to depart this world as peacefully as she did,” Father Scalia said.

Kate Monica Walsh was born in Brooklyn Sept. 23, 1949, to Matthew Walsh and the former Catharine Rice. She was raised in Manhasset and studied at Good Counsel College in White Plains, where she earned a degree in English and journalism. She worked in Washington for Senator James L. Buckley, who was elected from New York in 1970 on the Conservative Party line, then returned to New York to get a degree from St. John’s University School of Law.

In 1976, she married James O’Beirne, an Army officer who became a White House liaison with the Pentagon. In 1986, after traveling for a decade with her husband while he was in the Army, O’Beirne moved to Washington with her family and became deputy assistant secretary for legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services.

She was the author of Women Who Make the World Worse and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military and Sports (2005).

She is survived by her husband and their two sons, Phil and John; her sisters, Mary Ann, Virginia and Rosemary; and several grandchildren.








© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017