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Scalia’s Son Points to God’s in Moving Tribute


“We cannot depart here unchanged.” How right Father Paul Scalia was. His homily at the funeral of his father, perhaps the greatest Supreme Court justice of a generation, may have been one of the most powerful events Washington has ever seen. From the first minute of the ceremony, it was obvious to everyone that something was different. Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s funeral was not like it. President Reagan’s, though large and presidential and “stately,” was not like it. This was the Gospel of Jesus Christ on display in a service so inspirational that even the liberal media stood in awe.

And it’s not difficult to understand why. Father Scalia defined the day almost immediately, saying, “We are gathered here because of one man, a man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to many more; a man loved by many, scorned by others; a man known for great controversy and for great compassion,” and then he turned: “That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.”

All of the cable channels were silent for two hours as if they were speechless, FRC’s Cathy Ruse observed. “It was as if the ‘hounds of hell’ were kept at bay. The nation and world were taught the central meaning of our faith and of Scalia’s — that Jesus died for his sins personally. And everyone watched quietly and learned. Tragic deaths often seem inexplicable and we long to learn God’s plan but usually we have to wait until the general judgment before all will be made clear. But perhaps we have been given a glimpse of the Divine plan in this tragedy.” Father Scalia made it clear from the beginning of the Mass for his father that, instead of honoring his dad, they were there to “reflect what God did for Dad. How he blessed him!”

It was a remarkable time of respecting Justice Scalia’s own wishes, which he wrote to an evangelical pastor years earlier: “Even when the deceased was an admirable person, indeed especially when the deceased was an admirable person, praise for his virtues can cause us to forget that we are praying for and giving thanks for God’s inexplicable mercy to a sinner.” Father Paul’s message more than accomplished that. It spoke encouragement and comfort to believers and pointed those outside faith in Christ to the source of hope. Which I am certain is exactly what Justice Scalia would have wanted. He lived his life loving God and his country. And in death, he brought America closer to both.


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