Friday, February 19, 2016


Antonin Scalia's son will be the celebrant of funeral Mass

Antonin Scalia's son will be the celebrant -- the priest leading the mass -- for the late Supreme Court justice's funeral service on Saturday, according to a spokesman for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The Rev. Paul Scalia will also deliver the homily, the sermon that explores the themes of the Bible readings at Mass, Basilica spokesman Jackie Hayes said. 

At this point, my clairvoyance leads me to lean toward the OF Requiem with splendid EF chants. I see too, in my crystal ball, black vestments. 

As well, my crystal ball excludes the following hymns:

1. On Eagle's Wings
2. Be Not Afraid
3. Amazing Grace
4. Just a Closer Walk with Thee
5. How Great Thou Art
6. Leaping the Mountains, Bounding the Hills
7. I Will Raise Him Up
8. Hail Mary, Gentle Woman
9. Peace Is Flowing Like a River
10. And the Father Will Dance


Woody said...

I was privileged to offer condolences to Fr. Scalia last night at the funeral home and asked him if he was to celebrate the Requiem, and he said yes, his father would have said what use was having a priest son if he did not celebrate his requiem. I forgot to ask which form the Mass would be, but others with whom I spoke said they thought that it would have to be the OF.

Anonymous said...

Father Scalia is at this moment on the steps of the Supreme Court wearing Traditional Roman Stoles waiting for his father.

TJM said...

I am sure the forces of evil within the American hierarchy are pressuring Father Scalia to not celebrate the EF or an OF ad orientem. Now if Father Scalia wanted dancing girls, etc. there would be NO PROBLEM with that.

Anonymous said...

TJM, you are spot on! I think he may be under pressure not to offer the TLM, once again why does the Novus Ordo bishops despise the Mass of All Times? Most of the bishops in the U.S. were either ordained in the old rite or were altar boys before Vatican II, this is one thing that always puzzled me about the TLM, why are the OLD priests and bishops the most vile haters of the TLM, I asked a older priest years ago will his parish ever offer the TLM, he turned hard left stared at me and said we don't do that anymore the new Mass is in place now, very very angry man. From that moment on I knew that TLM was the TRUE MASS and the one for me. I have not looked back since, and you are correct TJM, if it had dancing girls, altar girls, drums, guitars, felt banners, kiss of peace, hand holding, communion in the hand, rock, folk, mariachi music, the ones in power would love it!!

Anonymous said...

You knew that the TLM was the "True Mass"? So all the other ones are false, including ones celebrated by the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church?

Anonymous said...

For the Latin Rite yes! I never mentioned the Eastern Rite Catholics which is also the True Mass for the Eastern Rite Catholics.

John Nolan said...

The mention of a 'homily' is a clear indication that this will be an Ordinary Form funeral Mass. It will no doubt incorporate traditional elements (the chants, by the way, are as much a part of the OF as they are of the EF - see the Graduale Romanum 1974 - the difference is that the OF offers a far greater choice).

It will also be mostly in English so as not to upset the vast majority of US Catholics who have an irrational aversion to the Church's sacred language. Non-Catholic attenders wouldn't care one way or the other.

It is only fitting that his son should celebrate. The only surprising thing is that anyone might have thought otherwise. And if Justice Scalia did indeed prefer the Old Rite, then a proper Requiem Mass can be celebrated on the third, seventh and thirtieth day after burial.

gob said...

Who are "the forces of evil"? Sounds like a video game.

James said...

"Force of Evil" is an excellent 1948 film with John Garfield. My father in law and I watched this the first time we met, and it saved us all the embarrassment of having to talk to each other. These days, watching soccer serves the same purpose.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Having an aversion to a language one does not understand is not irrational.

As to non-Catholic attenders who wouldn't care one way or the other, I would suggest that a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated in a language they can understand could be an opportunity to expose them to the Truth that the Church expresses in the funeral liturgies. Were the liturgy celebrated in Latin, these Truths would be inaccessible to them. (An exception might be the multitude of lawyers who, with their experience of Latin, might be able to understand a smidgen more than the true "philistines" in attendance. However, some, certainly not I, might be of the opinion that lawyers being lawyers are, ipso facto, beyond the reach of salvation...)

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,
I will certainly sleep better tonight knowing that you do not believe that I (and my good friend and colleague, Jody Peterman) am "beyond the reach of salvation"!

Incidentally, I've always noted that Catholic lawyers, as a group, appear to have a higher, per capita, interest in the EF Mass (Justice Scalia having been the most prominent example).

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Barrister, read the sentence again: " However, some, certainly not I, might be of the opinion that lawyers being lawyers are, ipso facto, beyond the reach of salvation...)"

See that phrase, "...certainly not I..."?

Gene said...

Heyu, Gob, there is a great video game in Ephesians 6.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,
I read the phrase the first time and I'm trying to give you credit for not being of the belief of "some" that lawyers are "beyond the reach of salvation." I am thankful that you are fair-minded to lawyers!

John Nolan said...

Fr K, aversion born out of ignorance is not rational. The Latin Propers of the Missa pro Defunctis were familiar to generations of Catholics, and replacing them with sentimental hymns hardly serves the cause of Truth. I have had the misfortune to attend modern funeral rites in both the Anglican and Catholic Churches and have found them to be mawkishly sentimental, lacking in theological content, and over-obsessed with the achievements of the deceased in this life rather than humbly offering the Holy Sacrifice for his or her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.

In the traditional Rite the liturgy is the same for everyone, prince or pauper, TV celebrity or nonentity. Elaborate processions, magnificent catafalques, exquisite music might emphasize the worldly importance of the deceased, but the words and intentions are the same for all.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I do not agree that, "...aversion born out of ignorance is not rational." If I see a snake in the grass and am ignorant of the type of snake, not knowing whether it is of a poisonous variety, I will be highly averse to going anywhere near the beast. Irrational? Hardly.

Communicating the Truth is better accomplished when the language of communication of understood by the people to whom the Truth is being communicated.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I am watching the Mass right now. I am sure some are disappointed in white vestments, but it occurred to me, with so many con celebrants, this was a practical choice. The basilica might or might not have had sufficient purple vestments, but surely not enough black. Also, it may well be Mrs. Scalia's preference, and how can Father Scalia refuse his mother such a request? And this may be the answer to questions about other choices.

That said, this is a textbook example of a Mass in the Ordinary Form, in the vernacular, offered toward the people. Very reverent, and the homily was a knockout. I've been in Father Scalia's shoes (I.e., offering ones father's funeral Mass), and I admire his poise and dignity.

Gene said...

So, Kavanaugh, you are comparing the TLM to a "snake in the grass..." Wow. Your analogy breaks down, however, for we know that some few snakes are venomous. What do we know about the TLM that is a threat...other than to modernist Priests like yourself.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Sorry, Gene, I made no comparison of the TLM to a snake in the grass. I made no comparison of anything to a snake in the grass.

No, the analogy doesn't break down - at all. I know very well that most snakes are not venomous, but, although I have lots of outdoor experience, my ignorance of precisely which snakes might kill me and which might not means that I will continue to be averse to getting anywhere near any of them.

Aversion born of ignorance is not irrational.

John Nolan said...

Gene, Fr Kavanaugh is something of a specialist when it comes to making inapt analogies and then denying that he is making comparisons. Remember the Sopwith Camel? We are talking about language here, and not just any language, but the language of the Church's liturgy for nearly 1,700 years. Vernacular versions are merely permitted translations, none of them perfect, but some better than others. English has gone from being the worst (although I'm told that the Portuguese version ran it a close second) to what is now probably the best.

I don't understand Polish but don't dislike it on that account. In fact, until the new translation came out in 2011 I would have rather attended a Polish Mass than an English one.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

No, John, I didn't compare the EF to a snake. For a person with such an appreciation of language, your joining in Gene's erroneous accusation is unfortunate.

You said, "...aversion born out of ignorance is not rational." I replied, "If I see a snake in the grass and am ignorant of the type of snake, not knowing whether it is of a poisonous variety, I will be highly averse to going anywhere near the beast. Irrational? Hardly."

There is no comparison being made between the EF and a snake, and you know it.

Now, if, like me you are as ignorant of which snakes are venomous and which are not, you will be adverse to getting close enough to be bitten. This is not irrational. In fact, handling snakes of unknown venomosity is the irrational choice.

It is not correct to say that "Aversion based on ignorance is irrational."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What is laughable and everyone knows it to be is the aversion comparison to Latin and snakes born of ignorance. No one has an aversion to Latin because they can't understand it. They seek a translation which most Catholic Churches provide in their worship aids, missalettes or hymnals.

Now if your aversion is because of complete and total ignorance to both snakes and Latin, and snakes causes an fear factor and I suspect for you Latin does too since you don't like, know or want to use it, and thus you paint everyone as the ignoramus you are, then of course, like so many in the Church who look down upon others and try to simplify the language, like English, to help the unwashed masses of the Catholic dummies to understand, like the aversion to consubstantial, and the exalted English of our new and glorious translation, yes, we can see your example as a shining one of the elitists.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - Perhaps you should re-read John Nolan's post. He does think that people have an aversion to Latin that is based on ignorance. He thinks that aversions based on ignorance are "irrational.". In this, he is mistaken.

I know as much, if not more, Latin than you. And I can read out loud a Latin text on a page better than you. When you can order a meal in a restaurant in Latin or discuss Donald Trump's South Carolina victory in Latin, then you can say you know it. Till then, you're just reading words on a page.

The only simplification I would be interested in at the moment is one for that one hundred and ten word sentence / paragraph you just wrote. With composition "skills" like that, I'm not surprised you find the new translation "glorious."

Anonymous said...

"Snakes Born of Ignorance"

Are you telling us something, Fr. Mac?

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, anyone in this country with "lots of outdoor experience" would know which snakes are venomous and which are not. Didn't you say you majored in biology? That is even more reason that you should know.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - Since you don't know, biology includes cytology, molecular biology, developmental biology, marine biology, physiology, genetics, zoology, botany, ecology, and microbiology. Now, a smart guy like you should be able to figure out that each of these 10 major subdivisions has its own subdivisions, sub-subdivisions, and sub-sub-subdivisions.

And since you don't know, snakes would fit into zoology. But.... zoology has a few subdivisions, too! They are:
1. Entomology= Study of insects. (my grad work was in fresh water entomology)
2. Ichthyology= Study of fishes
3. Helminthology= Study of helminthes worms.
4. Mammalogy= Study of mammals.
5. Orinthology= Study of birds.
6. Parasitology= Study of parasitic worms.
7. Virology= Study of virus.
8. Herpetology=Study of reptiles.
9. Anthropology= Study of human evolution and culture.
10. Cindology= Study of coelenterates.
11. Euthenics= Study of improvement of human race through laws of heredity.
12. Karyology= Study of nucleus.
13. Malacology= Study of molluscs.
14. Microbiology= Study of micro organisms.
15. Protozoology=Study of unicellular organisms.

Branches of Zoology related to the medical science

1. Bacteriology=study of bacteria.
2. Virology= Study of virus causing diseases.
3. Epidemiology=Study of epidemic diseases.
4. Immunology=Study of defense and resistance against any diseases.
5. Helminthology= Study of helminthes Parasites.
6. Parasitology= Study of parasites.
7. Enzymology= Study of enzymes.
8. Hematology=Study of blood.
9. Cardiology=Study of heart.
1o.Oesteology=Study of bones.
11. Endocrinology=study of endocrine glands and hormones.

Gee golly gosh! Why doesn't someone who majored in biology know . . . EVERYTHING?

So you see, although I did major in biology and do have lots of outdoor experience, I don't know for certain which snakes are venomous and which are not. I don't need to know - I just stay away from all of 'em!

By the way, with all my outdoor experience, I've gotten very good at identifying Equus africanus asinus.

Gene said...

"I don't need to know, I just stay away from all of them." Wow, that is a very scientific attitude. Besides, it was your claim to "lots of outdoor experience" that made me laugh. Oh, and I have had quite a few bio and physics courses myself, although I did not major. However, I'll bet my "outdoor experience" makes your's look like a day in the park.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Oh, you studied physics! That means you are an expert on the Higgs Boson, String Theory, and Dark Matter, right?

I didn't think so..

Gene said...

I'll bet I know more about those astro physics topics than you know about snakes...and I haven't even spent any time in a physics lab in decades. I think your statement "I don't need to know" is epigramatic of all your comments on the blog.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - You may well know more about astrophysics than I. Good for you! That and $1.25 will get you a cup of coffee....!

May I suggest the next subject you should tackle is the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. The Compendium is available at

John Nolan said...

Let's recapitulate, for the sake of clarity.

JN: ' irrational aversion to the Church's sacred language.' Aversion, meaning dislike; irrational because it's not based on reason. Can you imagine a Jew with an aversion to Hebrew or a Moslem with an aversion to Arabic?

MJK: 'Having an aversion to a language one does not understand is not irrational.' A dubious proposition at best. I don't understand Welsh, but don't dislike it - in fact I think it should be fostered, for a number of reasons. Ditto Irish, which my father could read and appreciate but which I never learned, being born and educated in England.

JN: 'Aversion born out of ignorance is not rational.' More or less a truism. Most prejudice is based on ignorance and most prejudice is irrational.

MJK: 'I do not agree that aversion born out of ignorance is not rational'. Fair enough, you are entitled to your opinion. However, aversion to snakes comes from the knowledge that many of them are venomous - it is not therefore based on ignorance. That is why the analogy is inapt.

JN: 'We are talking about languages here, and not just any language, but the language of the Church's liturgy for nearly 1,700 years.' I might have added that if you have an aversion to Latin you have to ignore nearly all liturgical music written before 1965, including Gregorian Chant which is above all proper to the Roman liturgy. Now that surely defies not just reason, but the whole sensus Ecclesiae (and Vatican II, for what it's worth).

MJK: 'No, John, I didn't compare the EF to a snake ... There is no comparison of the EF to a snake, and you know it.' I never suggested that you did, or that there is. Your analogy is inapt for the reasons given above.
'It is not correct to say that "Aversion based on ignorance is irrational." '
Based on what? A flawed analogy? If you can't come up with a better argument than that, you should refrain from making sweeping statements that seem not to distinguish between fact and (in your case tendentious) opinion.

I sense from what Fr McDonald has written on a number of occasions, and indeed from my own experience, that there is an aversion to Latin among otherwise well-educated and practising Catholics. I find it hard to explain in rational terms, and I suspect there are a number of reasons for it. Fr Kavanaugh attributes it to one cause, namely that people do not understand it, and that it is reasonable to dislike what one doesn't understand. I took issue with this on philosophical grounds, hence the argument. However, this isn't the whole story, since some senior clergy who dislike Latin in the liturgy are actually quite proficient in the language. It was Fr K, not I, who maintained that aversion to Latin was based on ignorance when he baldly stated: 'Having an aversion to a language one does not understand is not irrational.'

Moreover, one doesn't need a double first in Classics to be able to read, with reasonable facility, the Latin of the Missal and Breviary (which includes the Latin of the Vulgate). I know a restaurant (in Trier, Germany) which serves dishes based on ancient Rome and has a menu in Latin. I could easily have ordered a meal in Latin, although it would no doubt have flummoxed the waitress, but then I could do the same in Italian or Spanish, not having studied either beyond phrasebook level. But to suggest that unless one can discuss contemporary politics in Latin (I certainly can't) one cannot claim to 'know' it, and reciting a Latin prayer or psalm is merely reading words on a page without understanding, is arrant nonsense.

I can make arguments for liturgical Latin which don't discount or disparage the vernacular, and indeed vice-versa. There's room for both.