Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Response to Fr. Altman, Part 2: Answering My Critics

In Part 1, I responded to Fr. Altman's video, "You Cannot Be Catholic and a Democrat." I received a good number of comments objecting to my analysis, so in this post I will be responding to those objections. I'm going to respond to the first few here, and then the rest in future posts. The comments I'm responding to will be indented and italicized. Also see Part 3 and Part 4.

"The truth" said:
Fr. Altman is on fire with God's love and word. Those that find his words harsh may find it easier to examine and criticize his speech than to examine their own conscience.
Why is it that everyone that disagrees with you or with Fr. Altman must have a panged conscience? Mine is clear. His words were easy to criticize because they were so wrong.

No one ever said the truth would be easy or that to follow God would be without challenges. The people that Fr. Altman mentions are those that are following the culture and disregarding God's word. An impostor is a person who claims to be someone they're not. These priests and religious leaders are supposed to be leading us on a path to heaven. By following the whims of the culture rather than God's word?! If that is not an impostor or a pretender than i don't know what satisfies as an example.
I'm not criticizing him because he's delivering "hard truths." I'm criticizing him because he's wrong. Everything he said about Fr. Martin was wrong:
  • "Premeir speaker at the DNC"? Wrong
  • "Spouting off for the Democrats"? Wrong
  • "Prancing up onto the Democrat's national stage"? Wrong.
I would even contend that Fr. Martin is not "hyper confusion-spreading." I haven't meticulously researched everything Fr. Martin has ever said or written, but my sense of his message is that it's all about acknowledging that individuals with a same-sex attraction still have gifts to offer to the Church, and these people should not be marginalized or bullied simply for having that attraction. The sin is not in being tempted in that way, the sin is in acting on it. I'm not sure what is so "hyper confusion-spreading" about that message.

Also, I know what an imposter is. Fr. Altman said that every Catholic who voted for Obama was an "imposter", and that's just an absurd statement. They were real Catholics, made so by their baptism, they just disagreed with Fr. Altman on who to vote for.

I am concerned with how lightly you take the revelations of Our Lady of Fatima. Her revelation came 33 years to the day of Pope Leo XIII composing the St. Michael prayer after having a vision of the devil destroying the church from within.
I don't take it lightly, I'm just not obsessed with it like a certain segment of Catholics seem to be, and I rebuke the use of Mary and her appearances to give false arguments rhetorical flourish. "Mary warned us of this!" DUH-DUH-DUHHHHH. I'm just not going to fall for it.

The path this world has been following has lead us to where we are today. If you cannot see how our country and world are on the brink of communism, I'm not sure what else to share with you to help open your eyes.
I think all this "brink of communism" talk is a scare tactic used to emotionally manipulate people into voting Republican. Our country is not "on the brink of communism." Obama didn't usher that in, like everyone thought he would, and Biden won't either. And, supposing we were, doesn't that mean it happened under Trump's watch? Wouldn't that be his fault?

It is so sad to read this bashing of Fr. Altman, especially on a website that purports itself as Catholic. You criticize him for name calling and harshness, yet your writing is filled with sarcasm, you highlight insignificant pieces to prove your point and fail to give evidence that does exist to support everything he is saying.
My blog "purports to be Catholic" because it is. Show me where I departed from Catholic teaching, if you're so sure I don't deserve the title of "Catholic."

I'll own the sarcasm. Take this as a lesson in what happens when one follows Fr. Altman's example! ;-)

What did I highlight that was "insignificant"? My intent was to respond to all the errors I found, not just a couple of them or only the "big" ones.

Finally, you indict me for "failing to give evidence to support everything he is saying." It's his job to support his statements, not mine. I'm not going to do his work for him! ... and I should hardly be expected to.

Fr. Altman's words are so desperately needed these days to bring us closer to God. There are much darker days ahead and we need leaders like him who are not afraid to speak against the culture and the problems within our own church. May God continue to bless Fr. Altman!
I'm not real sure how name-calling and outright falsehood and lies are what is so "desperately needed" right now. You think people were "brought closer to God" by this video? I think it just riled up the alt-right against "the enemy" that is the ... dreaded Democrat. *GASP*

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"Saddened" said:

I am saddened by your attempt at an astute critique of the words of this servant of the Lord, Fr. Altman. Your piece is another example of how those within the church will be the reason for its demise.
Prove it.

If you truly were following God's word, you would not be threatened by the truth that Fr. Altman is preaching.
I'm not threatened by the truth. I love it. It's my love of the truth that compelled me to point out his errors. Show me where I said something that wasn't true.

Remember the words in the Bible-- Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…"
Show me where I called evil good or good evil.

Heed these words before you publish another piece admonishing the truth that Fr. Altman is trying to make known. Those who have an open heart and are willing to recognize their own erroneous ways can acknowledge his words as things to aspire to and repent from. They do not put blame on Fr. Altman for any poor decisions they have made in their own life.
Yea, as if everyone who disagrees with him must have a closed heart and a lack of humility. It couldn't possibly be because he's wrong.

Also, where did I blame Fr. Altman for my own poor decisions? I'm not even a Democrat, I just happen to think his arguments are wrong.

I pray that Fr. Altman continues to preach without fear.
Me too, I'd just rather he fearlessly preach the truth, instead of blatant falsehoods that take a 1-second Google search to refute (Example: "Ok Google, what is D.A.C.A.?")

You can't stand before God and say you didn't know better. Fr. Altman is making sure of that so that you can change your ways now and not be deceived by those who claim to be church leaders but whose actions will lead us astray if we follow them.
I think that creating guilt and shame in the hearts of people where there shouldn't be any is a serious sin, and I'm not going to stand by and allow him to do it to people.

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"Unknown" said:

As a Catholic I will vote for life and to protect it that should be very important to save and protect God's children. As a Catholic we have a duty to vote to save a child or the elderly. If you choose to vote otherwise I believe you are going against your faith and you will answer to God. Remember maybe you didn't dothe actually act of killing a baby butor have an abortion if you voted for someone that does you are just as guilty because you knownly know that person is committing murder. Though Shault not kill.
I agree that we should vote for life and to protect life. But, I think you missed that part of my post where I quoted Ratzinger:

“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.” (“Worthiness to Receive Communion: General Principles”)

What this means is that a vote for a Democrat is not always a vote for abortion, specifically when you're not voting for the Democrat because of his permissiveness on the abortion issue. "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" from the USCCB says the same thing:

"35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil."

Now, we can debate what "proportionate reasons" (Ratzinger) or "other morally grave reasons" (USCCB) might be. But, then we fall into the area of prudential judgment. The Church does not tell us who to vote for. She reminds us what we believe about moral issues, and then it's up to us to decide, based on a fully formed conscience guided by the Magisterium, how to apply that understanding to particular situations, and two people of equally good faith can disagree on how best to do that.

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"George K." said:

The list the critic provided for the Democratic Party and what they are for in accordance with Catholic tenants left out the most important stance -- PRO-CHOICE. This is not one of the tenants the Democrat platform has in common with Catholic teaching.
Yea, I know. It wasn't a list of everything on the platform. I was responding to Fr. Altman's ridiculous claim that the Democratic Party platform "absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches." That is so clearly not true, and to prove my point I listed the issues on their platform that do coincide with Catholic teaching.

For a "practicing" Catholic to vote for a party that is pro-choice is inconceivable. How can a "practicing" Catholic go into a polling booth and mark his/her ballet for a party that condones murder of the most innocent?
I explained how, by quoting Ratzinger. Also see my earlier quote from the USCCB in this post. It's not inconceivable. In fact, Ratzinger and the bishops provide the paramters within which it is actually possible.

God creates life and no man has the authority to end it. Simply put, cutting through a intelligent and intuitive arguments the author presents, the bottom line is a "practicing" Catholic's stance on abortion. If you are a Democrat and vote for the Democratic ticket, you are in effect condoning abortion.
Not true, according to Ratzinger and the USCCB.

Personally I would not want to respond to God's question on my judgment day when He asks me why did you vote for abortion? If very Catholic voted agains aboriton, President Trump would win 50 out of 50 states. I will vote early and often if I could.
A vote explicitly and directly for abortion is a grave sin, as I said in my post. My point is that a vote for a Democrat is not always and necessarily an explicit and direct vote for abortion. I'm glad to know you're willing to commit voter fraud, though!

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

19 comments:

  1. I'm curious to see your take on Jack DisPennett's comments as well, even though it wasn't really quite so critical or negative compared to the other comments you responded to.

    Also, even if we were to concede for the sake of argument that everything Altman is saying is factually accurate, and that everyone who votes for Democrats and everyone who is not Catholic is going to hell, what business does he have being so gleeful about it? I would probably be even more upset about this video if I were still a practicing Catholic, because if he really believes what he is saying, then, as you alluded to, he should actually be trying to persuade people to repent, not just trying to have a gotcha moment.

    Since I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I don't find this video to be threatening or upsetting. I just find it to be sad. It is almost to the point of self-parody. I found the video on the front page of my local newspaper's website and was curious to see what other people were saying about it, so that's how I found your blog.

    At this point, if it is God's will that I come back to the Catholic Church, I trust that he will make me genuinely want to come back. Otherwise, I shall remain one of those Catholics who quits going to Mass and calls myself a Protestant. But I certainly haven't repudiated everything Catholics believe-- just the teachings on sexuality and gender and the authority of the Catholic hierarchy.

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    1. Alex, I'm humbled by your plug for my comments. My journey is opposite yours. I was raised Protestant but basically came around to the view that if Christianity were true, then either Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy were the keepers of the faith. Protestant ecclesiology was just a complete train wreck (in my mind) and no longer tenable as a live option. When I read the Church Fathers, there was just no "Protestant option" once can find there. You're either with the Church or you're outside, that's what they believed. There was none of this "I'm a Christian but I don't go to Church."

      It's funny you mentioned the "teachings on sexuality and gender" as main points of disagreement. Those were actually selling points to me, because Catholic Theology of the Body was (and still is, the more I think about it) the most tenable description of authentic human sexuality. Protestant sexual theology just had too many holes--a husband and wife can basically do anything they want, but gays can't. There was no explanation for this. "Because God said so." Catholic Theology of the Body explains, in a teleological fashion, why the procreative purpose of the sexual act can never be intentionally subverted through artificial means. Is this a hard teaching? Absolutely. But it's "hard" only in the sense that we, in our weakness, too often become slaves to our appetites. And by "we" I mean all of us. Some of the worst perversions, I would suspect, come not out of the LGBT community, but out of stereotypically straight males who victimize young females in terrible ways. But as for the difficulty of the Catholic teaching, I'm contemplating marriage, and to be honest I don't think large family (i.e. more than 3-4 kids) would be good for me. Thus, the Catholic teaching would require a lot of self-control on my part. That's fine. I figure being single now is the best time to practice continence. Anyhow--I don't want to be preaching at you against your will, I'm just humbled that anyone regarded my thoughts as important enough to be worth responding to. If you are interested in dialogue on matters related to the faith, feel free to send me a private message.

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  2. Show one (just one) political issue in America that is “proportionate” to the legal, violent murders of over 60 million human children who are afforded no protection under the law? As you know, “proportionate” is the Church’s standard, so once you name something proportionate, we can go from there.

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  3. Questions for phatcatholic:
    1. Is sarcasm acceptable in discussions like this (or in any discussion at all)?
    2. Is the USCCB an unquestionable source to quote from to settle arguments like in these discussions?
    3. To you, what is a Catholic (I.e., a true Catholic)? Is a “cafeteria Catholic” a true Catholic, or a Catholic at all?
    4. Who are you voting for in this presidential/vice presidential election? Just curious. You do not have to answer this if you prefer not to.
    Thank you for answering the questions. They are sIncere questions, I assure you.

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    Replies
    1. I second those questions, esp 1 & 2

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    2. 1. I have no problem with sarcasm, as long as it's not uncharitable.
      2. Documents from the USCCB (especially those from the entire body of bishops, instead of particular committees) are an exercise of the Ordinary Magisterium. I consider them authoritative.
      3. A Catholic is someone who has received the sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church. There's no "half Catholic", or "quarter Catholic" or "quasi-Catholic" or "not really Catholic." You're either Catholic or you're not. Now, you might hold some particular beliefs that aren't Catholic, but that doesn't change your identity. It doesn't change who you were transformed into by your Baptism: a member of the Catholic Church and a son/daughter of the Father.
      4. I'd rather not say, because then that's all anyone wants to talk about, instead of the points I'm actually trying to make.

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  4. Your response about Marian apparitions sums up where you're coming from and exactly why I do not buy into your writing.
    I will let the Commandments be my guide--not some manipulation of church leaders words and sources that are bending to the culture.

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    Replies
    1. Please show me where I manipulated his words or any of my sources.

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  5. Funny how you pick the things that your claim support your argument but don't even consider other documents that refute everything you're saying.
    For example, EWTN's moral guide to voting that takes some of the same sources you use but explains how they actually do not support voting for abortion.
    "Consequentialism and Proportionalism
    In some cases, the line of reasoning that leads Catholics to conclude that the non-
    negotiables and negotiables are comparable follows from errors condemned by the Church, either of consequentialism or proportionalism. Essentially, in these moral
    theories circumstances can make an action the Church calls intrinsically evil justifiable,
    either by making the moral object good, or by weighing the good versus the bad
    consequences, and finding a greater proportion of good consequences.
    This is quite different than the Church’s uses of proportion in applying the principle of
    double effect, which depends on the moral object already being good in itself, and not
    by virtue of some clever redefinition. In these theories, abortion (adultery, homosexual
    unions etc.) are only morally wrong in non-justifying circumstances, or when the bad
    consequences outweigh the good.
    This is a view that is clearly widespread both in society and in the Church and one that
    influences how citizens view their political choices. It was condemned by Pope St.
    John Paul II in his moral theology encyclical Splendor of Truth, and also falls under
    Pope Benedict’s condemnation of moral relativism.

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  6. So the communist talk is just fear mongering?
    I guess the BLM leader traveling to Venezuela and posting photos with Nicolás Maduro is insignificant?
    The fact that BLM is calling for the end of the police is also just a coincidence that Marxist doctrine calls for abolishing the police as well?
    Social media sites completely censoring anyone that does not subscribe to the left's narrative is not an assault on our First Amendment rights?
    The fact that nearly all major media sources are all regurgitating the same press releases and not doing any real reporting sure has me wondering if this is North Korea or the US.
    Fauci and government officials at all levels talking about vaccine certificates, tracing, surveillance, the government forcibly removing people from your home who are sick (a CA health official is on record stating this in more gentle terms)...all of these things that mirror the actions the Chinese government has taken with its social credit system which we were shocked at hearing is now in our own backyard.
    These things are not coincidental and have not happened overnight. They will not be resolved overnight either, but the Democrats will only exacerbate things and bring us closer to communism.

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  7. To point out where you called good evil and evil good--your entire piece does that!
    Fr. Altman is sharing God's word (good) and you are breaking it apart rather than supporting the message he is trying to get across to save souls (the opposite of good).
    By trying to deny that voting Democrat is against the commandments and not something a Catholic of good faith can truly do, that is taking an evil and make it appear "good" by twisting words and injecting personal belief into the voting decision rather than using God's word as your source.
    You end your rebuttal by saying that a vote for a Democrat is not always a vote for abortion, which seems to be your issue with Fr. Altman's video. To try to rationalize voting for a candidate of a party that fully and completely supports abortion is preposterous! It doesn't matter how many wonderful things they may do--it does not take away from the 60 million + babies that have been murdered. The blood will be on the hands of those who vote for politicians who support this murder. I was once one of them but I have learned the errors of my ways and am repenting--just as Fr. Altman calls us to do.

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  8. When you state that it is Fr. Altman's job to prove his points, I understand what you are saying, but that was not what I was trying to say. My point of bringing to light the fact that you would rather dissect every part of his message for the purpose of tearing it down is to highlight what you are doing--you are not supporting the heart of what he is saying, which is that voting for a party that supports the murder of innocent babies is an intrinsic evil. Rather than looking at the attention so desperately needed to this issue and promoting it to guide Catholics on the right path, you are investing your time and energy into finding irrelevant things to say about his message so that "Catholic" democrats (an oxymoron) can rest easier at night knowing someone else out there is misinterpreting God's word in order to give credence to their erroneous stances. The blind leading the blind....
    I have not really seen your site before but the couple of things I have perused do seem in accordance with Church teachings which is why I cannot understand why you would be putting so much of your energies into writing this piece and following it up by trying to discredit those of us who are supporting Fr. Altman's words, i.e. following God.
    You admit that voting for abortion is a grave sin. Voting for anyone connected to supporting abortion is making you complicit. Period. There's no exception. You or anyone in agreement with you can pretend that your method of justifying a vote for the Democratic party is sound, but don't think that God will be fooled by the same manipulation of facts.
    You use the USCCB as a source to back up your claims. This is the same group that has so many bishops that handed over the keys of the churches to the government without a word throughout this alleged "crisis". The same ones who are supposed to be leading us yet are continually falling prey to the culture. Myself, and others who have commented, cannot trust this source to back up your critiques. If what they have printed is such a part of church doctrine, what other sources support this? And how do those sources compare to the ultimate word--God and his commandments? Nothing can stand up to it.

    I will add that in the interview Fr. Altman just had with Dr. Taylor Marshall, he mentions how the video had to be edited to fit social media time limits, so some of the explanations had to be cut out. But as he said, that does not deny the ultimate truth he is spreading. How said in our very own Church that a priest is admonished for spreading God's word!! It just shows how much its leaders have fallen prey to the culture. They need our prayers.

    If you ever want to take the visions of Mary seriously, as I strongly suggest you do, you will see how things that are happening around us are things that she has revealed in the past. Those that do not heed God's word always perish.

    I normally would not put so much time myself into a rebuttal but I feel very strongly about this. I hope that others who stray in their thinking after reading your piece will read the words of those of us here in the comments that strongly support Fr. Altman. I am stirred to tears hearing him speak because he is igniting a flame within me and is moving my soul.

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  9. There was a podcast that Fr. Altman was a part of recently. He told this story about a kid who asked a bishop why the Church says nothing about the death penalty. All Fr Altman and the Bishop could talk about is how there's only been a 1,000 executions in modern America therefore abortion is more important. The kid deserved an answer not being dismissed as a liberal no know nothing.

    Young people have chosen to stay in the Church despite everything including our peers. If there is an issue especially an issue as important as the nature of criminal justice we expect the Church to say something and not to dismiss our concerns.

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  10. Based on your response to our Holy Mother, I doubt the diary of St. Faustina will have any significance for you, but maybe for someone else reading the comments it will. From paragraph 153...
    153 One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music
    and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They
    reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice;
    that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their
    number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a
    path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it
    had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but
    stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled
    with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot
    all their sufferings.

    I think this summarizes the paths that two paths of the two kinds of people that hear Fr. Altman's words. Those that reject him are living in blissful ignorance of what's to come. Those that embrace him are choosing the hard path here on Earth.
    Please realize how much damage your article is doing when it comes to saving souls. Maybe the benefit is that someone will come here and read the comments arguing against your demolishment of Fr. Altman's videos but regardless--you are just putting more negativity out there no matter what which is the most mind-boggling part--WHY would you want to do this?

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  11. What's your political party, anyway? Do you support Biden?

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    1. I will not be voting for Biden. But, I support a Catholic's right to do so, as long as he is not voting for Biden because Biden is pro-choice.

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    2. The logic does not follow....
      So you recognize that Biden is pro-choice and a Catholic cannot vote for him because of this. BUT, if the reasoning of said Catholic to support Biden is anything else, then it's perfectly fine to vote for Biden?!?!
      "He's Catholic"
      "He supports the common good"
      "He seems like a nice guy"
      "I like his running mate"
      etc. etc. etc.
      None of these characteristics negates the fact that HE and HIS PARTY take actions to support the killing of babies!
      As a citizen of the United States, you may vote for whomever you please.
      If you want the honor of carrying around the true name of the Catholic Church, you have a much heavier measure to weigh your vote.
      To say that the person has to follow their own conscience does not work when their conscience has been malformed by the church leaders that failed to do their job, thus so many "Catholics" don't understand how far away they are from where God wants them to be.
      A middle of the road stance like this is just as destructive as support for pro-choice candidates and parties.

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  12. Hello Father,

    When you quote Benedict (When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”)

    I don't know if you're intending to overlook the last sentence or not, but it says, "which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

    The USCCB has declared Abortion as the preeminant issue of our time. I don't know what the Democratic Party could hold a stance on that would be proportionate to abortion.

    Furthermore, Father Altman explains that he is talking about the current Democratic platform and what it is running for. He's not dismissing pro-life Democrats. He's simply explaining the current platform of the Democrats.

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  13. I suspect that part of the problem is that, for most of Church history, the Holy Tradition never envisaged a political situation in which common folk (laypersons) who exist in a Republic in which they would elect their leaders. Representative democracy was just a quirk of Greek History and not something that Catholic Christians would probably ever participate in. Fast forward to the democratic nation states that have come about in the past few centuries, and now you have situations in which you have leaders that do all KINDS of evil things, and some good things, and you have to calculate the value of remote mediate and remote immediate material cooperation in that evil. That's rough. I don't like to have ANY contact with evil, and voting for someone whom I know to approve evil is just too close for me--it doesn't matter if it's less cooperation than the other guy does; it's still evil. At least with both Trump and Biden I feel like there's too much evil for me to wash my hands of in voting for either of them. And I don't think we have anything from Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Gregory the Great to fall back on here. Just a few recent things from CDF and USCCB voting guidance. I'm hesitant to tell anyone that it's "morally permissible" to vote for ANYONE, because I think that participating in a government is a fearsome thing. I think we should ALWAYS vote with fear and trembling, because we bear some level of responsibility, even if it's small, for what those leaders do, if we could have reasonably had an awareness that they were likely to do those things. Trump came off as a loose cannon in the '16 campaign, and he largely was one as President; thus, he was predictable. Biden came off as a pro-choice candidate, and he's now a pro-Choice president. Predictable. Although I won't break off a friendship based on a vote, I also refuse to assuage anyone's conscience in voting for either man that we had as major candidates in this last election, because I think we should be afraid when we vote, and neither of these men was objectively an upstanding human being (objectively, based on the positions they held and the things they did--not judging the state of either one's soul). Just one man's opinion. Peace.

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