Justice Scalia's reverend son apologises for attending White House Rose Garden event, says lax measures were 'cause for concern'

Gino Spocchia

The son of late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalaia has apologised to his parish after he attended a White House ceremony without a mask, saying his actions contradicted his faith.

Rev. Paul Scalia, of the St James Catholic Church in Virginia, issued the statement following president Donald Trump’s diagnosis for coronavirus and admission to hospital on Friday.

“I apologise that they did not follow my own expectations, caused disquiet and anxiety, and have distracted from the work of the Gospel,” wrote Rev. Scalia, who argued that his actions at the White House “seemed reasonable at the time given the presumed controls in place”

He told parishioners that he attended the Rose Garden event for judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court because she was a family friend who once worked with the reverend’s father, justice Scalia.

The event has since been suspected of being a coronavirus super spreader event, with at least eight reported infections among attendees, according to NPR, as well as the president, who tested positive late last Thursday.

Explaining that he was directed to remove his mask following a rapid coronavirus test that came back negative, Rev. Scalia said “the lack of masks and social distancing at that event has become a legitimate cause of concern,”

“Further, and more immediate to the parish, it contradicts what I ask of those coming to Mass and other parish events,” he continued. “Please know that my actions were based not on a rejection of those practices but on the understanding that the people present had been screened as I had been.”

He has since tested negative a second time, and said the results were the same for his brother and mother, who also attended the White House event on 26 September.

The reverend is currently in quarantine, and has not carried-out mass or confessions at his church since Friday.

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