Justice Scalia loved the "clarity" and "coherence" of Church teaching, Fr. Scalia noted.
"He loved us and sought to show us that love," the priest added of his father, saying that he shared the "blessing of the faith that he treasured" with his family.
Members of the family saw a more lighthearted side of the justice as well, the priest noted.
Once Justice Scalia, realizing he was in the confession line for his son, deliberately sought another line. "Like heck if I'm confessing to you," he told Fr. Scalia later. "The feeling was mutual," Fr. Scalia remarked with a smile.
"God blessed dad with a love for our country," he said, noting how his father saw the American founding as a "blessing" but one that could be lost if faith was driven from the public square. Antonin Scalia understood that the "deeper" one grew in faith, the "better citizen" he became.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum agreed that Justice Scalia was both a man of faith and a patriot.
It was "very clear" that Scalia's Catholic faith was the "foundation of everything he was," Santorum told CNA after the Mass. "We must be fully Catholic and fully American," he said of the late justice's legacy.
"He was a very strong Catholic and a man of great integrity whose faith strengthened his public service and his love for his country," said Fr. Dominic Legge, O.P., an instructor in Systematic Theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Legge recounted to CNA how Justice Scalia visited the Dominican House just weeks before his death for an event celebrating the 800th anniversary of the founding of the order. Scalia spoke of his "reverence for the law" and prayed with the Dominicans in their chapel, which was exemplary of his character, Fr. Legge said.
And of course, there was a little controversy – never lacking with Scalia. "His talk was a little provocative for Dominicans," Fr. Legge said, noting that Scalia disagreed with St. Thomas Aquinas but did so in an "entirely appropriate" fashion. He loved a good debate.
Despite Antonin Scalia's faith and character, Fr. Scalia implored those present to pray for his father's soul. After all, although he believed, he did so "imperfectly," Fr. Scalia said. "Christ was not yet perfected in him."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"Let us not show him a false love" and allow admiration to replace prayer, he said.