Watch Justice Thomas Talk About The Importance Of His Faith [VIDEO]

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the commencement address Saturday at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., where he exhorted graduates of the Catholic college to cleave to their faith.

Thomas, who spent several years at seminary as a teenager, spoke candidly about losing a vocation to the priesthood, followed by a long period of separation from the church.

“This is a decidedly Catholic college and I am decidedly and unapologetically Catholic,” the justice said. “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 it and turned my back on it.”


Thomas was educated at Catholic schools in Savannah, Ga., throughout his childhood. Between the ages of 15 and 19 he was enrolled at St. John Vianney’s Minor Seminary, a secondary school for adolescents interested in the priesthood. After leaving the seminary, he went on to the College of the Holy Cross, a Catholic institution in Worchester, Mass., where he obtained an undergraduate degree in English. (RELATED: Justice Thomas Decries Victimhood Culture In Rare Public Remarks)

The justice left the Catholic Church amidst the turbulence of the 1960s, finding institutional Catholicism apathetic to the plight of black Americans. He was confirmed in these views at Holy Cross, where the black student union often clashed with school administrators. He resumed practicing the faith some 25 years later.

Thomas is one of five Catholics currently serving on the high court. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, and Sonia Sotomayor are also Catholic.

You can watch his full remarks here.

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