News Flash: Antonin Scalia Believing Catholic

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News Flash: Antonin Scalia Believing Catholic

Via Joe Miller & Twit­ter I found this long NY Mag­a­zine inter­view with Antonin Scalia. It’s worth read­ing in its entirety but there are sev­eral sec­tions on his faith I wish to highlight.

First Jus­tice Scalia’s exchange on & agree­ment with the Pope on being evan­ge­lis­tic is very much worth quoting:

Q: But he also wanted to steer its empha­sis away from homo­sex­u­al­ity and abortion.

Scalia:Yeah. But he hasn’t backed off the view of the church on those issues. He’s just say­ing, “Don’t spend all our time talk­ing about that stuff. Talk about Jesus Christ and evan­ge­lize.” I think there’s no indi­ca­tion what­ever that he’s chang­ing doctrinally.

I spent my junior year in Switzer­land. On the way back home, I spent some time in Eng­land, and I remem­ber going to Hyde Park Cor­ner. And there was a Roman Catholic priest in his col­lar, stand­ing on a soap­box, preach­ing the Catholic faith and being heck­led by a group. And I thought, My good­ness. I thought that was admirable. I have often bemoaned the fact that the Catholic church has sort of lost that evan­ge­lis­tic spirit. And if this pope brings it back, all the better.

Note how he didn’t allow the false nar­ra­tive con­cern­ing doc­tri­nal change. First rate, but If I had to pick some­thing for every Catholic to read it would be the sec­tion on Heaven & Hell.

Scalia notes he will be either very happy or very unhappy after death and when the Jen­nifer Senior jokes about their exis­tence he points out that belief in Hell is not a require­ment for get­ting there. But it’s when he states his belief in the Devil Ms. Senior is totally thrown off, par­tic­u­larly when he notes his tac­tics have changed as soci­ety has:

Q: Isn’t it ter­ri­bly fright­en­ing to believe in the Devil?

Scalia: You’re look­ing at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of Amer­ica, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in cir­cles that are so, so removed from main­stream Amer­ica that you are appalled that any­body would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of his­tory. Many more intel­li­gent peo­ple than you or me have believed in the Devil. (empha­sis mine)

Q: I hope you weren’t sens­ing con­tempt from me. It wasn’t your belief that sur­prised me so much as how boldly you expressed it.

Scalia: I was offended by that. I really was.

This is sig­nif­i­cant, there are plenty of peo­ple who hold Chris­tians in dis­dain and do their best to sug­gest that peo­ple who fol­low Chris­tian­ity in gen­eral or Catholi­cism in par­tic­u­lar are sim­ply igno­rant rubes, it’s ironic that many of the beau­ti­ful “enlight­ened” peo­ple who pooh-​pooh the Devil aren’t as enlight­ened as they think:

We cur­rently live in an age where peo­ple believe in psy­chics, witch­craft and var­i­ous unseen forces. I can drive down the street in Leomin­ster or Worces­ter and see the shin­gle for psy­chics adver­tis­ing their ser­vices. I have Wic­can friends one who is a Wic­can priest. You see all kinds of books on har­ness­ing var­i­ous forces. Sci­ence Fic­tion fans talk of all kinds of plan­ets that might be inhab­ited by all sorts of crea­tures; yet all these same peo­ple would look as if you had 4 heads if you sug­gest that the devil or hell exists.

Christ specif­i­cally states the exis­tence of Heaven & Hell and I find it very inter­est­ing that peo­ple so will­ing to invoke him when con­ve­nient ignore this. As C.S Lewis (whose Screw­tape let­ters Scalia approv­ingly cites) said

I am try­ing here to pre­vent any­one say­ing the really fool­ish thing that peo­ple often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a mad­man or some­thing worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patron­iz­ing non­sense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

I think this is why Scalia is really hated. He clearly embraces Christ and the Church and at the same time upsets the igno­rance equa­tion. No mat­ter what our friends on the left say of him, “igno­rant” is not a word that can be cred­i­bly used to describe him and he take offense at those who belit­tle those beliefs.

The left will be very happy when he is gone.

Via Joe Miller & Twitter I found this long NY Magazine interview with Antonin Scalia. It’s worth reading in its entirety but there are several sections on his faith I wish to highlight.

First Justice Scalia’s exchange on & agreement with the Pope on being evangelistic is very much worth quoting:

Q: But he also wanted to steer its emphasis away from homosexuality and abortion.

Scalia:Yeah. But he hasn’t backed off the view of the church on those issues. He’s just saying, “Don’t spend all our time talking about that stuff. Talk about Jesus Christ and evangelize.” I think there’s no indication whatever that he’s changing doctrinally.

I spent my junior year in Switzerland. On the way back home, I spent some time in England, and I remember going to Hyde Park Corner. And there was a Roman Catholic priest in his collar, standing on a soapbox, preaching the Catholic faith and being heckled by a group. And I thought, My goodness. I thought that was admirable. I have often bemoaned the fact that the Catholic church has sort of lost that evangelistic spirit. And if this pope brings it back, all the better.

Note how he didn’t allow the false narrative concerning doctrinal change. First rate, but If I had to pick something for every Catholic to read it would be the section on Heaven & Hell.

Scalia notes he will be either very happy or very unhappy after death and when the Jennifer Senior jokes about their existence he points out that belief in Hell is not a requirement for getting there. But it’s when he states his belief in the Devil Ms. Senior is totally thrown off, particularly when he notes his tactics have changed as society has:

Q: Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?

Scalia: You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil. (emphasis mine)

Q: I hope you weren’t sensing contempt from me. It wasn’t your belief that surprised me so much as how boldly you expressed it.

Scalia: I was offended by that. I really was.

This is significant, there are plenty of people who hold Christians in disdain and do their best to suggest that people who follow Christianity in general or Catholicism in particular are simply ignorant rubes, it’s ironic that many of the beautiful “enlightened” people who pooh-pooh the Devil aren’t as enlightened as they think:

We currently live in an age where people believe in psychics, witchcraft and various unseen forces. I can drive down the street in Leominster or Worcester and see the shingle for psychics advertising their services. I have Wiccan friends one who is a Wiccan priest. You see all kinds of books on harnessing various forces. Science Fiction fans talk of all kinds of planets that might be inhabited by all sorts of creatures; yet all these same people would look as if you had 4 heads if you suggest that the devil or hell exists.

Christ specifically states the existence of Heaven & Hell and I find it very interesting that people so willing to invoke him when convenient ignore this. As C.S Lewis (whose Screwtape letters Scalia approvingly cites) said

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

I think this is why Scalia is really hated. He clearly embraces Christ and the Church and at the same time upsets the ignorance equation. No matter what our friends on the left say of him, “ignorant” is not a word that can be credibly used to describe him and he take offense at those who belittle those beliefs.

The left will be very happy when he is gone.