CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMN: The Catholic witness of the Scalias



Perhaps nothing so far this year has shocked this country more than the unexpected passing of (Supreme Court) Justice Antonin Scalia on Feb. 16.

While the cause of his death remains a reason for great speculation, and his vacancy continues to be played as a political tug-of-war, there is still good to be found through the loss of this great man.

Scalia’s son, the Rev. Paul Scalia, gave a stirring homily at the funeral Mass held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In the world of political (correctness) and hesitance to mention religion even in technically religious places (such as churches), Scalia did not mince any words when it came to speaking of Christ.

“We are gathered here because of one man,” said Scalia. “A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.”

Scalia said that just because culture changes and beliefs change, the trueness of Christ remains constant.

He said, “Scripture says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. And that sets a good course for our thoughts and our prayers here today. In effect, we look in three directions. To yesterday, in thanksgiving. To today, in petition. And into eternity, with hope.”

Scalia gave thanks for “the atoning death and life-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our Lord died and rose not only for all of us, but also for each of us.”

Scalia said that even in death there is hope because death points to resurrection.

“And at this time we look to that yesterday of his death and resurrection, and we give thanks that he died and rose for Dad,” said Scalia.

While Scalia’s homily was somewhat heavy as it was a reflection of the final things, he did manage to include a few humorous memories that helped illustrate the jovial man that was Justice Scalia.

Scalia said, “One Saturday afternoon … he had found himself in my confessional line, and he quickly departed it. As he put it later, ‘Like heck if I’m confessing to you!’ The feeling was mutual.”

Perhaps this homily was so refreshing to many because it was candid and actually discussed the reality of death, heaven and hell. He also did not shy away from proclaiming the truth of the Catholic faith, undoubtedly making an impression on all of those in attendance from a vast amount of different backgrounds.

Scalia said, “Jesus himself becomes present here today under the form of bread and wine so that we can unite all our prayers of thanksgiving, sorrow and petition with Christ himself as an offering to the father. And all of this with a view to eternity, stretching towards heaven, where we hope one day to enjoy that perfect union with God himself and to see Dad again and, with him, rejoice in the communion of saints.”