The funeral of Justice Antonin Scalia this coming Saturday will be in the grandest possible setting that America offers for a Catholic who spend spent decades on the U.S. Supreme Court -- the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
As noted in a Religion News Service update, Scalia preferred the Latin Mass, so journalists will want to probe into the details of the service as they emerge. Another key question: Will Scalia's son -- Father Paul Scalia of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington (Va.) -- play a major role in the rite?
Who will speak during the funeral Mass? Whoever it is will want to read a fascinating letter that Scalia wrote to the Rev. James C. Goodloe after the funeral of Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. The subject: Appropriate sermons at funerals. Reporters will want to note an interesting question about Catholic canon law. Here is that letter:
CHAMBERS OF JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA
September 1, 1998
Dr. James C. Goodloe
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
1627 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23220-2925
Dear Dr. Goodloe:
I looked for you unsuccessfully at the luncheon following the funeral yesterday. I wanted to tell you how reverent and inspiring I found the service that you conducted.
In my aging years, I have attended so many funerals of prominent people that I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre.