WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The funeral Mass for Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia is scheduled to take place this Saturday at North America's largest Catholic church in Washington, D.C.
The associate justice, who died Sunday at a Texas ranch, will lie in repose at the Supreme Court Friday before the Requiem Mass is offered Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Details of Saturday's funeral have not been disclosed, although there are reports Scalia's son, Fr. Paul Scalia, will be the celebrant.
It is expected the funeral Mass will be very traditional, as Scalia notably attended the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Great Falls, Virginia. In a speech to Catholic lawyers and judges, Scalia noted that the Catholic faith gives "the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."
The associate justice, who was the longest-serving judge on the current Supreme Court, was known as a champion of Catholic morals. He was also known for his dissents, most notably for several abortion cases, including Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Scalia had most recently collaborated with J. Clarence Thomas on a dissent on Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the landmark June decision that declared same-sex "marriage" constitutional.
The White House has confirmed President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have chosen not to attend the funeral; they will instead pay their respects while Scalia's body lies in repose at the Supreme Court. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, both professed Catholics, will be present at the funeral Mass.
Following his nomination as vice president, abortion and gay "marriage" advocate Biden was heavily criticized by Bp. Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden's hometown, and stated he would refuse the politician Holy Communion should he attend Mass there; Biden, however, was not refused Communion in his own parish in Wilmington, Delaware.
In May it was reported the vice president was given Communion at a parish in Dallas, much to the shock of local parishioners. Biden was purportedly in town to act as keynote speaker for an LGBT event. Biden is generally allowed to receive the Eucharist while attending Mass in Washington, D.C., as D.C. cardinal Donald Wuerl has publicly objected to enforcing Canon 915 of the Catholic Church, which declares those "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."