Last Things

New Oxford Review | 5/19/2019 | Staff
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David Mills, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is Editor of Hour of Our Death ( He writes for several Catholic and other publications, and his “Catholic Sense” column appears in The Pittsburgh Catholic and other diocesan newspapers.

These words of Hilaire Belloc’s have been popping up a lot on the Web, so in case you haven’t seen it: Arriving at a posh Anglican school after a Catholic gathering, he told its Anglican minister: “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

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The story appears in Robert Speaight’s The Life of Hilaire Belloc. It follows another story in which Belloc left a Catholic gathering saying, “I have been having my bellyful of clerics lately.” He told his listeners, “Caveant sacerdotes.”

When Kenyan schoolteacher Peter Tabichi won the Global Teacher Prize, news agencies buried well down in the story the fact that he is a Franciscan. Which is, you know, really important. It’s a key to his character, the kind of thing a good journalist would use to shape the story.

Journalists - ABC - News - Paragraph - Manner

But not these journalists. ABC News mentioned it in the ninth paragraph. And in a by-the-way manner, the way you’d mention that he collected old tools or kept chickens: “Tabichi, who is also a Franciscan friar, couldn’t believe his fortune in winning the award, he told the AP after the ceremony.”

All the stories include a picture of him, and he was of course in his habit. As author John Allen Gay tweeted, “Strange how many stories on prizewinning science teacher Peter Tabichi bury his membership in an order that makes a radical, sacrificial commitment to honor God by serving the...
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