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Image: Two Men Reading by Jan Lievens

By Peter Kwasniewski, Crisis Magazine, May 5, 2020

Dr. Peter A. Kwasniewski is an independent writer and speaker on traditional Catholicism. He has published eight books, the most recent being John Henry Newman on Worship, Reverence, and Ritual (Os Justi Press, 2019). Visit his website at

Peter KwasniewskiBoth Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas speak of the debts of gratitude we owe to others—to God, to our parents, to our city or nation—anyone from whom we receive benefits. We pay our debts by giving to each benefactor what is due to him, according to our abilities. Often, the best we can do is to offer praise. And since, within the category of benefactor, the highest candidate after one’s parents is surely the good teacher, we owe it to our good teachers to acknowledge what they have done and meant for us.

There are two kinds of good teachers. There are those who, whether they were believers or not, aided in a special way in the formation of our intellects. And there are those who gave striking examples of gentleness, charity, prudent counsel, prayerfulness, fidelity under duress, or some other Christian virtue. Here, I wish to talk about the former kind.  ….

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