Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said St. Matthew's Cathedral in downtownWashington could be used on Wednesday (Sept. 7) for the funeral ofRehnquist, a Lutheran. Rehnquist succumbed to thyroid cancer Saturday (Sept.3).
Rehnquist's pastor, the Rev. George Evans of Lutheran Church of theRedeemer in McLean, Va., will preside at the service and McCarrick willattend, said his spokeswoman, Susan Gibbs.
"Cardinal McCarrick was happy to be able to assist the family," Gibbssaid, after Rehnquist's family asked to use the 1,200-seat cathedral toaccommodate the large number of expected guests.
In 1963, St. Matthew's hosted the funeral Mass for President John F.Kennedy, who was Catholic.
Catholic churches are generally reserved for Catholic worship, but atwo-part Vatican document from 1967 and 1970 allows non-Catholics to usefacilities if they "do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessaryfor celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies."
Rehnquist regularly attended St. Matthew's for the annual Red Mass, heldthe first Sunday in October for lawyers and judges. In his 33 years on thecourt, Rehnquist missed the Red Mass only twice, Gibbs said.
Evans said Rehnquist was an active member of his congregation and alwaysmade time for church. He also called him a "genuine Lutheran Christian."
"Chief Justice Rehnquist's interests, span of knowledge, quick wit andunderstandings were large," Evans said in a news release from theEvangelical Lutheran Church in America.
"I came to regard him as a genuine `Renaissance Man.' His questions werehonest, discerning and unassuming. He kept learning and growing. He was ourbrother in Christ."