Justice Scalia: Christians seen as “cretins”

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Over 4,000 people flocked to the Archdiocese of Denver for its annual “Living the Catholic Faith Conference” held this year from March 2-3.

The two-day conference – which began as a forum for Catholic educators and has only recently opened  to the public – featured Justice Antonin Scalia and noted scientist Br. Guy Consolmango as keynote speakers.

James Cavanaugh, director of Evangelization and Catechisis for the archdiocese, told CNA that organizers added a Spanish Track and “invited speakers that would appeal to a broader audience” in order to reach as many Catholics in the area as possible.

This year was the most attended in the history of the conference, with about 1,500 participants for the Spanish Track and over 1,000 for the Teen Track, which was introduced for the first time in 2012.

During his address, Justice Scalia addressed a large crowd about how Christians are perceived as “cretins” or people of insufficient mental capabilities by “sophisticated society.”

St. Thomas More was a “prime example” of “the Christian as cretin” during his life in the 16th century, Scalia said. Although many martyrs before him died for “noble” causes such as refusing to deny Jesus or for spreading the Gospel, More – according to his peers – died for a papacy that was “corrupt and politicized.”

“But of course,” Scalia reminded the crowd, “More was not seeing with the eyes of men, but with the eyes of faith.”

“He went to his death,” Scalia said, for refusing to reject Christ’s teaching that “only the Pope could bind and loose.”

Scalia reminded conference attendees that the mentality is not new to the modern era and cited the story of St. Paul trying to evangelize the Athenians in Acts of the Apostles, but having no success due to their refusal to believe that Christ rose from the dead.

“The ‘wise’ men of Athens circa AD 50 know just as well as the men of America AD 2012 that people don’t rise from the dead,” Scalia said.

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