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home : from the bishop : from the bishop February 21, 2019

Bishop O'Connell reflects on passing of Justice Scalia

Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.

Born in Trenton and baptized in our Diocesan Cathedral, Antonin Scalia, currently the longest serving Justice on the United States Supreme Court, has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 79.  A devout Catholic and father of a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Justice Scalia was widely regarded as one of the brightest American legal minds in recent decades.  Having had the privilege of knowing him and enjoying his company on numerous occasions, I did not want to miss the opportunity to add my voice to the chorus of those who mourn the passing of this native son of the Diocese.  I first met him at St. John's University after a speech he gave there and our acquaintance continued throughout my years at Catholic University in Washington, DC.  He was the first commencement speaker I had selected and he often honored our Law School there with his presence, wit and wisdom.  What an intellect he possessed along with a diversity of interests!  I never passed up an invitation to Court proceedings or lunch with him afterwards in chambers.  He was a regular participant in Washington's Annual Red Mass as well as the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Dinner.  He even laughed at my stale Irish jokes when I was the guest speaker!  I could not hope to come close to his brilliant mind but always felt the better for being exposed to it and to him in so many wonderful settings.  May God, the loving and merciful Judge, welcome him home into his eternal court.

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