Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion

by Fr. Paul Scalia – published by Ignatius Press, 2017

A Book Review by Father John McCloskey


Among the many achievements of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia must be counted his son, Father Paul Scalia. Many Catholics in America were introduced to him through his father’s televised funeral Mass in 2016. His homily on that occasion was a model for how to successfully interweave Catholic teaching on the “Four Last Things” with well-chosen details of the deceased’s life, rather than offering a eulogy. That homily appears as an appendix in Father Scalia’s new book, That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion
“We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more; a man loved by many, scorned by others; a man known for great controversy, and great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.”

“It is He whom we proclaim: Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified, buried, risen, seated at the right hand of the Father. It is because of Him, Because of His life, death, and Resurrection, that we do not mourn as those who have no hope, but in confidence commend Antonin Scalia to the mercy of God.”

Scalia’s book is a collection of brief articles, many originally published in the Arlington Catholic Herald, that are related to aspects of Catholic teaching, living, liturgy, feast days and seasons. They are gathered into nine groups whose titles convey the richness and attractiveness of Catholicism: “The Lord: Knowing and Loving Jesus of Nazareth”; “The Church: Knowing and Loving the Body of Christ”; “Paradoxes of Faith: The Tension and Balance of Catholic Teaching”; “The Sacraments: Christ’s Life Placed Within Us”; “The Virgin Mary: The Beauty and the Power of the Mother of God”; “The Saints: The Mortal Masterpieces of God’s Grace”; “Prayer: In Conversation With God”; “The Life of Grace: Christ Within Us”; and “Feasts: The Pattern and Rhythm of the Christian Life.” In each, Father Scalia clearly expresses what Catholics of our time most need to know or remember to adhere to and celebrate their faith in our common journey to the Father.

A bonus for readers is the array of “names” that introduce the various sections of the book. Among these are Scott Hahn, Helen Alvaré, Mary Ellen Bork and Raymond Arroyo. In addition, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia contributes the foreword.

In reviewing a collection that covers aspects of almost every area of Church life, it is difficult to single out specifics without seeming to suggest that that is what the book is about. The introduction identifies the common thread in this way:

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With prayers and affection,

Fr. John Mccloskey