The media is abuzz this week with the revelation that Justice Antonin Scalia died while on a hunting expedition with several prominent members of a 300-year-old Bohemian secret society, the Order of St. Hubertus. The owner of the hunting lodge where he passed away is a prominent member of this order, as was Scalia’s traveling companion.
The order’s motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes” means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures.” There’s certainly a bitterness to the notion of “honoring” God’s creatures by killing them—and the Order’s practice of donning traditional European hunting attire and shooting captive-raised pheasants and partridges adds injury to that insult.
In the case of the Order of St. Hubertus, though, there is an extra layer of irony to explore. The legend of St. Hubert, champion of sport-hunters, was based in the sacred stories of a tradition that ultimately condemned the killing of animals.