About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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They were not ashamed to lay their hands on Sedulius, on Prudentius, on St. Ambrose himself. Only in one or two cases does some sense of shame seem to have stopped their nefarious work. They left “Ave maris stella,” “Jam lucis orto sidere,” and St. Thomas Aquinas’s hymns alone (they would have made pretty work of “Sacris solemniis”). In 1629 their mangled remnants were published.
— Rev’d Adrian Knottesford Fortescue (25 March 1916)

Funeral Mass • Justice Antonin Scalia
published 20 February 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

736 Fr Paul Scalia HE FUNERAL for Justice Antonin Scalia took place on 20 February 2016 in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass was said—and homily delivered—by Fr. Paul Scalia. One of the readings was by Justice Clarence Thomas, who attended two Catholic seminaries in his youth. For the record, I had tremendous admiration for Scalia and listened to his presentations over and over—to the point that I felt I knew him. He will be missed.

Fr. Paul Scalia, who resembles his father, did a beautiful job singing the Mass, and the entire Mass was certainly dignified. Some of the musical selections were quite beautiful. The Responsorial Psalm by Richard Rice actually came from the Chabanel Psalm website. Other choices struck me as a bit uninspired.

It’s difficult to understand why the Mass was Ordinary Form since Justice Scalia was known to attend the Extraordinary Form exclusively. Moreover, while the musical selections were (generally speaking) fine, they were nothing compared to Requiem settings by Victoria, Guerrero, Morales, and so forth. 1 Perhaps the problem is me; I find the traditional Requiem so powerful & consoling, nothing else comes close.

You can view the full video of the Funeral Mass:

    * *  VIDEO • Funeral Mass for Justice Antonin Scalia

You can download the entire Funeral Program:

    * *  PDF Download • PROGRAM (Justice Scalia’s Funeral)

738 Justice Scalia Funeral Mass

Random Observations :

— White vestments. (Allowed for the Ordinary Form)

— The Basilica is filled with people, all the way back to the doors.

— Mass is offered facing the people, although the current edition of the Roman Missal (Ordinary Form) seems to indicate otherwise.

Here’s a summary, provided by the CMAA forum:

The Knell is tolled.

Organ music.

A men’s schola chants the Introit “Requiem aeternam” according to the Graduale Romanum.

Organ music.

Hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past.”

Welcoming Remarks by Donald Cardinal Wuerl.

Collect is sung by Father Scalia.

1st reading: Wisdom, read by Leonard Leo (a friend of Justice Scalia).

Psalm 23:1-6: sung by the National Shrine choir.

2nd reading: Romans 5 — read by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Verse: sung by the National Shrine choir.

Gospel: Deacon Colin Davis (a seminarian for the diocese of Arlington).

Homily: Fr. Scalia.

Offertory motet: Beati quorum via (Stanford).

Preface dialogue: chanted.

Sanctus: XVIII (chanted, with organ).

The Roman Canon (EP I).

Memorial Acclamation: When… (chanted, with organ).

Amen (chanted, with organ).

Our Father (chanted sonorously by all present).

Peace Dialogue (chanted).

Sign of Peace (omitted).

Agnus Dei — Victoria, Missa Quarti Toni (National Shrine choir).

A treble schola chants the Communion verse “Lux Aeterna” according to the Graduale Romanum

Communion Hymn: Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All (Faber)

Communion motets: Franck’s Panis Angelicus and Mozart’s Ave Verum.

Post-communion dialogue: chanted.

In Paradisum: English, sung by the National Shrine choir.

Recessional: O God Beyond All Praising (Holst).

The casket is asperged by Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop Vigano, Bishop Loverde and Bishop Higgins, and draped in the American flag and—as the knell tolls again—is carried out of the basilica, past a long line of concelebrating priests chanting the Salve Regina. The casket is saluted by Supreme Court Police and placed in the hearse.


1   I’m not trying to be a curmudgeon. I’m simply pointing out that there’s no comparison between truly great settings of the “Missa Pro Defunctis” and several of the utilitarian musical choices for this Funeral. Singing Victoria’s Requiem, for example, would seem the least that should have been done to honor Justice Scalia. Obviously, this is just my opinion, and I could be wrong. I’m not infallible.