That Nothing May Be Lost

by Fr Paul Scalia, Ignatius, £13.99

You may think this author’s name rings a bell. If so, you are right. Fr Paul Scalia is the son of Justice Antonin Scalia, who was appointed to the US Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan.

Fr Scalia pays tribute in the introduction to his father, who died last year. He was a man who “loved the clarity and intellectual depth of the Church’s teachings, the beauty of her liturgy, and the power of her sacraments”. During what Fr Scalia calls “the confused and confusing years after the Second Vatican Council”, his father and mother “made a point of finding a parish (often at some distance) that provided authentic teaching and reverent liturgy”.

This tribute to his father points the way towards what Fr Scalia himself provides in his new collection of short essays: 70 capsules of orthodox Catholic teaching of roughly equal strength (which is to say, pretty strong), taken from monthly Gospel commentaries, parish bulletins or blog posts.

In constructing these essays, Fr Scalia rarely strays far from the mainstays of Catholic authority and example: Scripture above all, along with the Magisterium, the Church Fathers, theology, lives of the saints and the writings of fellow priests. Mark Twain and Judge Robert Bork (a contemporary of the author’s father) creep in from the wider cultural hinterland, but that is about it. The book, Fr Scalia insists, “breaks no new ground. It contains nothing not already in the Tradition of the Church – no fresh ideas or insights.”

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