Monday, February 29, 2016

A Letter In the March 28, 2016 Issue of The New Yorker

Scalia’s Catholicism

I’ve wondered for years how a devout Catholic like the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could support or write decisions so clearly harmful to average Americans (Comment, February 29th). Like Scalia, I grew up in Queens and attended a Catholic high school and a Jesuit university, though a few generations after the Justice. In trying to understand Scalia, it’s useful to remember that he grew up before the Second Vatican Council, the ecumenical meeting held between 1962 and 1965, which made the Church far more inclusive of the modern world—for example, by allowing Mass to be conducted in languages other than Latin. When I started high school, in 1965, the liberating effects of Vatican II were clear: no catechism, no fire and brimstone. Religion class centered on social issues, more Dorothy Day than Torquemada. Scalia despised Vatican II and lamented the loss of the Latin Mass. He never wavered from his loyalty to a darker, unquestioning, archaic vision of Catholicism. If he had embraced the new Church, he would perhaps have been a far different jurist.
Vince Cosgrove
Berkeley, Calif.


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