Scalia – A Model of Biblical Manhood

by Fr Richard Heilman | February 15, 2016 10:39 AM

I wish I knew Judge Scalia better. As reports of his life come in, I find myself in deep admiration of this man.

1) DEVOUT – “Devout” Catholic man. “We have always traveled long distances to go to a church that we thought had a really reverent Mass, the kind of church that when you go in, it is quiet — not that kind of church where it is like a community hall and everybody is talking.”

2) TRUTH – Defender of truth. Justice Scalia showed that the Catholic intellectual tradition provided a deep reservoir of insights into law, the role of judges, and even our own written Constitution. It’s no coincidence, for example, that Justice Scalia argued that originalism should accept some nonoriginalist precedent to protect the rule of law. The rule of law, fully articulated by the time of St. Thomas, is a central component of the common good, and originalism should protect it, where it can, for the sake of the common good.

3) JOY – Man of Christian joy – He certainly had a big personality; his quick wit and talent as a raconteur entertained many an audience. Some in the media liked to caricature the justice as an angry man who lashed out when he didn’t get his way, but that was far from reality. He was warm and joyful, and quick to laugh, including with those whose views were far from his own.

4) LIFE, BEAUTY, ENEMIES – He loved life, the arts (beauty) and loved his enemies – Scalia was a wonderful cook and one of his frequent house guests was his very liberal Supreme Court colleague (and neighbor) Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her husband. They both loved opera and had a kinship with each other — born out of so much more than being on the high Court. They were ethnic kids who triumphed in a nation that allowed that to happen.

Judge Scalia reflected the Transcendentals – Truth, Beauty and Goodness – because he sought the Transcendent God. His religion was no social club or activist organization. No, his was one of meeting God in silent and reverent worship.

“The world’s greatest need is great men, someone who will understand that there is no greater conquest than victory over oneself; someone who will realize that the real worth is achieved, not so much by activity, as by silence; someone who will seek the Kingdom of God and His justice, and put into actual practice the law that it is only by dying to the life of the body that we ever live to the life of the spirit; someone who will brave the taunts of a Good Friday to win the joy of Easter Sunday; who will, like a lightning-flash, burn away the bonds of feeble interests which tie down our energies to the world; who, with a fearless voice, like John the Baptist, will arouse our enfeebled nature out of the sleek dream of unheroic repose; who will gain victories, not by stepping down from the Cross and compromising with the world, but who will suffer in order to conquer the world. In a word, what we need are saints, for saints are the truly great men … I assume without further ado that the grace of God is the one thing necessary, and that God will give that grace to those who do His will.” -Venerable Fulton Sheen

Requiescat in pace, Iudex Scalia!

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