Since his death back in February, Americans have been honoring the life and legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia. He remains a symbol of justice and faith, especially to American Catholics.
On Wednesday, October 26, the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., honored the late justice with its John Paul II New Evangelization Award.
“Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Justice Scalia know him as an exemplar of moral courage, a man who strove to put things right.”
Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, gave the keynote address commemorating this giant of the justice system.
“Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Justice Scalia know him as an exemplar of moral courage, a man who strove to put things right, who wouldn’t be lured away or cowed from doing his duty,” said Whelan. “We have ample cause to be confident that in the Last Accounting that he has now given, he has earned high marks for moral courage. And we know that his courage intensified his many other virtues.”
Justice Scalia will always be remembered for his courageous work on the bench of the highest court of the land. Catholics salute and cherish his fortitude and commitment to faith.
“Antonin Scalia was a great Supreme Court justice, a brilliant expositor of the Constitution, and a scintillating writer. As Catholics, we have particular reason to be grateful for his deep fidelity to the Constitution,” said Whelan.
“Pope St. John Paul II called on Catholics, and on all men and women of goodwill, to build up an authentic culture of life. The actual American Constitution — the one that Justice Scalia propounded but that has been in critical respects overridden — gives American citizens the freedom to enact laws and implement policies that help build that culture of life,” Whelan continued. “Justice Scalia vigorously exposed the lie, first propagated in Roe v. Wade and then perpetuated in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that the Constitution somehow denies American citizens the authority to protect the lives of unborn human beings.”
An ardent defender of life, Justice Scalia took the time to encourage those around him in their faith.
“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?”
“As a jurist, Antonin Scalia was an apostle of textualism. As a man, he was a disciple of the Word. By his example and quiet counsel, he encouraged those of us who knew him to embrace our faith more deeply and to strive to live our own lives of moral courage and integrity,” said Whelan.
“I recall from my clerkship days one Holy Day of Obligation on which the Boss, as we called him, detected that I was buried in work and hadn’t yet gone to Mass. He gave a gentle nudge by quoting the Gospel passage: ‘What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?’” Whelan recounted.
When remembering Justice Scalia, Whelan also recalled another famous lawyer and statesman: Saint Thomas More.
“There’s obviously much that Thomas More and Antonin Scalia had in common. Both had great legal minds that carried them to the heights of governmental power. Both were noted for their wit and their capacity for friendship. Both were embroiled in controversies over the nature of marriage and religious liberty. Both were men of faith and of prayer.”