Justice and Peace—Eternal Themes

The beautiful words of Psalm 85 verse 10 and following convey great sentiment and profound meaning for today’s world stunned as it is with headlines of sadness and speculation for the future. The simplicity of the psalm reads: “Kindness and truth have met; justice and peace have kissed.” From a spiritual vantage point there is little irony wasted on supreme courts and Supreme Justice.

I don’t know if it matters or not, but up until just a few days ago, the Supreme Court Justices numbered nine: the count was six Catholics and three Jews. Amazingly enough that is a rather significant grouping of people of faith!

On Saturday, that count changed significantly, not only from the numeric vantage point of men or women or religious denomination—Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a prominent Justice, a man and a Catholic, has died. His death, at this time, is historic and, as we shall see, it is an event that will have great significance for our country.

The fact that we are embroiled, once again, in a campaign that will result in the election of a new President for our beloved country, the vacancy of a seat on the Supreme Court will create a new sense of urgency for civic awareness and Constitutional correctness. Scalia’s death will demand an awakening on the part of many Americans who are only now trying to come to a conscious and genuine decision about whom, in fact, should assume the highest position in the Executive Branch of our government. Presidential appointments to the Supreme Court are one of the most important and basic components of our system of government.

Our Constitutional form of government continues to liberate minds and hearts to pursue the common good for all men and women who look to the United States of America as the light of liberty and justice. The Supreme Court, in spite of some of its more flamboyant decisions in recent months, has struggled to remain unaffected by politics. This is a profound element of our freedom and our way of life as Americans.

Justice Scalia has been one of the more outspoken defenders of the Constitution—its meaning and its historic point of view. Major cases now await the decision of the Supreme Court. Many of those decisions deeply affect issues having serious consequences for Americans who are also people of faith. Decisions regarding abortion, the HHS mandate and the decision regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor, immigration, to name a few, are easily points of law where the voice of Justice Scalia will be seriously missed. His death is a major loss of a measured and reasonable voice in a time when such voices are desperately needed to speak truth to power in our age of secular relativism.

People of faith are always urged by conscience and by the moral order, to pray for our leaders and to be mindful of the challenge to liberty and justice. It behooves us, certainly to pray for the repose of the soul of Justice Scalia by virtue of our common faith and support of one another in the light of our faith. It behooves us further, in this time of faithful citizenship, to be aware of the election of a new President who has the awesome responsibility of providing those who will serve in the leadership of those who will guarantee equal justice under the law.

We can recall the psalmist’s sentiments leading us to ponder the meeting of epic concerns as a reality of kindness and truth meeting and justice and peace kissing lead us to pray: eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on him. May his soul and the soul of all the faithful departed rest in peace.