2018 Commencement Speaker and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is making waves in the media for his staunch Catholic faith, discussed in length in the new film Created Equal, which examines Thomas’ life. Calling himself “decidedly and unapologetically Catholic,” Thomas goes deeper in the film into his personal journey — a journey he opened up about to the Class of 2018 during his commencement address.

Thomas, who has served as a Supreme Court Justice for nearly three decades, is examined in full in the new film, starting with his birth into poverty in the 1940s, to starting and leaving seminary (and his Catholic faith), to returning to Catholicism and excelling at Yale, and finally being named to the Supreme Court. Throughout, his Catholic faith was the “guiding beacon” for him, as he told Christendom graduates in 2018.

“This is a decidedly Catholic college, and I am decidedly and unapologetically Catholic. It is this faith that has been the guiding beacon during some difficult and seemingly hopeless times, even when I had turned my heart against Him and turned my back on [faith]. I have no doubt that this faith will do the same for each of you if you let it, and perhaps even if you don’t. It is not a tether. Rather, it is a guide — the way, the truth, and the life,” said Justice Thomas.

In the film, and during Thomas’ commencement address, his Catholic faith is pointed to often as his foundation in life. It brought him back from a place of great anger and gives him hope and peace throughout the struggles of life.

“In everyday terms, because we are created in the image and likeness of God, we are required to demand more of ourselves than our base instincts,” said Justice Thomas. “To know, love, and serve God requires that we obey His commandments and the laws of the Church. This world will tug at you and attempt to divert you. Somehow, you must stay the course. God will provide a way, give you the strength and grace to endure and overcome your failures.”

Thomas is currently the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court, known for his textualist approach and his philosophy based on originalism and natural law.

Read the entirety of Thomas’ commencement address or watch it here.

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