Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Response to Fr. James Altman's Video, "You Cannot Be Catholic and a Democrat"



Above is a video from Fr. James Altman from the Diocese of La Crosse, WI on Catholics being Democrats and/or voting for Democrats. It's starting to gain traction on YouTube and Facebook, and more than one person has brought it to my attention. Usually I just scroll on past this stuff, but this one was so unsettling to me that I felt I had to respond.

Before I begin, I should clarify some things: I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I don't feel beholden to any party. I didn’t vote for Obama or Hillary, and I won’t be voting for Biden. I’m a Catholic and, as such, I’m concerned with Catholic teaching and with articulating that teaching as faithfully as possible. This means that when the vote-shaming emerges every election year and people start damning their opponents to hell and wiping their Catholic identity away, I feel compelled to say something.

That said, let’s begin. I’ll be quoting and responding to the portions of the video that I disagree with. I have also provided the timestamp for when the quote begins, so that you can find it in the video and hear it for yourself. I have tried to transcribe his words as faithfully as possible.

[Also see Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 where I respond to the critical comments made on this post!]

0:46 - “My dear family, we’re gonna have something right from the very beginning of the Baltimore Catechism, our basic catechism, basic foundation for our whole faith: our purpose in life, which is to know, love, and serve God.”

The Baltimore Catechism is fine and good, but I think, just as a matter of good catechetical practice, we should be using the current Catechism as much as possible. The current Catechism of the Catholic Church is “our basic catechism” now, and it contains the line about our purpose in life:
1721 God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise.
When someone uses an earlier catechism instead of the current one, that can sometimes indicate that something is amiss. As we’ll see, my hunch was right.

1:12 - “So, here’s the thing, I don’t love anyone in Borneo ‘cause I don’t know anyone in Borneo. So, I don’t get up in the morning with any inclination or inspiration to serve anyone in Borneo. But, if I do not wake up in the morning with an inclination and an inspiration to serve Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then, ‘Houston, we got a problem.’”

Houston, I think you already got one. “I don’t love anyone in Borneo” – wow. I couldn’t believe it when he said that. Has he forgotten that, as a priest, he is called to serve all of God’s children?

From the Rite of Ordination of a Priest:
14. “Priests are co-workers of the order of bishops. They are joined to the bishops in the priestly office and are called to serve God’s people

He then addresses the candidate:

“Share with all mankind the word of God you have received with joy.” [. . .] You will celebrate the liturgy and offer thanks and praise to God throughout the day, praying not only for the people of God but for the whole world.” (“Homily”)

22. “May he be faithful in working with the order of bishops, so that the words of the Gospel may reach the ends of the earth, and the family of nations [that includes Borneo], made one in Christ, may become God’s one, holy people.” (“Prayer of Consecration”)
I realize that, canonically, he’s primarily responsible for his parish. But, the ministry of priest also has a universal character, and as more and more people all over the world watch his YouTube video, his circle of influence is enlarging. Let’s hope no one from Borneo watches it.

Here’s what the Catechism says about loving and serving them, too:
1939 The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of "friendship" or "social charity," is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.

An error, "today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity."

361 "This law of human solidarity and charity", without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.
This is only the first instance in in which a lack of love is illustrated.

2:00 - “And so we can see in the many godless politicians out there, and the godless educational system, and the godlessness of so many sheeple, they most definitely are not serving Him, they are not fulfilling their purpose in life: to know, to love, and to serve God.”

I agree that there are many godless politicians, but we’re calling people “sheeple” now? There’s no indication of who that’s a reference to. Anyone who is godless? How is calling them “sheeple” going to inspire them to turn to God? How is this remotely appropriate for what is supposed to take on the feel of a homily?

3:07 - “Guess who was just a premier speaker at the Democratic National Convention: none other than the hyper-confusion spreading heretic James Martin, SJ. I guess it’s okay for James Martin to spout off for Democrats on their national stage, but God-forbid a priest speak out against their godless platform.”

“Spout off for Democrats”? That is a ridiculous calumny. Fr. Martin wasn’t even a “premier speaker.” It’s not like he delivered one of the keynote addresses. He prayed a prayer – and for the unborn, I might add.

Here’s Father James Martin – Fr. Altman refuses to grant him that courtesy – supposedly “spouting off for the Democrats”:
Loving God,
Open our hearts to those most in need:
The unemployed parent worried about feeding his or her children.
The woman who is underpaid, harassed or abused.
The Black man or woman who fear for their lives.
The immigrant at the border, longing for safety.
The homeless person looking for a meal.
The LGBT teen who is bullied.
The unborn child in the womb.
The inmate on death row.
Help us to be a nation where
every life is sacred,
all people are loved,
and all are welcome.
Amen.
What’s wrong with this prayer? Absolutely nothing. Yet, it has enraged Fr. Altman so completely that he mentions it several times in this video.

3:30 - “Here’s a memo to clueless baptized Catholics out there: you cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period.”

There’s so much wrong with this. It’s truly heartbreaking that a priest would say this.

First of all, since when did insult convince anyone of anything? “Clueless baptized Catholics” – wow. You get the sense, not only from his words, but from his tone and even his facial expressions, that Fr. Altman really can’t stand anyone who disagrees with him. This isn’t “speaking the truth with love” (Eph. 4:15), it’s just hatefulness. “Here’s a memo” – that’s not something you say out of loving concern for someone. That’s the sarcasm you use when you want to have your little gotcha moment, when you want to "pwn" someone.

As for the heart of this statement, “You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat” -- not true. Sorry, it’s just not. Show me in any of the documents of the Church where it says you can’t be a Democrat. Find me the paragraph number from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, or the CDF’s Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life where it says a Catholic can’t be a Democrat.

These documents say that Catholics can’t directly support certain issues. But, that’s different from saying a Catholic can’t be a Democrat. And if you can’t back it up with the teaching of the Church, then you should stop saying it.

Furthermore, the implication here is that once you say, “I’m a Democrat” you somehow cease to be Catholic. How exactly does that work? You check the “D” box, and all the sudden the indelible mark placed upon your soul when you were baptized and confirmed is just rubbed out? I don’t think so.

People love to say that this or that belief or action makes the people they disagree with “no longer Catholic.” I think that is imprecise, irresponsible, and offensive language. You can’t just undo someone’s sacramental, ontological identity with a wave of your hand. Certain beliefs or actions may be discordant with the teaching of the Church. Certain beliefs and actions may even excommunicate you. But they can never take your Catholic identity away. Even a Catholic who quits going to Mass, repudiates everything Catholics believe, and starts calling himself a Protestant is, inextricably, still a Catholic.

Stop being so careless with your language.

A final note on this: The Catholics who say this stuff seem to have no problem with someone calling themselves a Republican who doesn't agree with everything on the Republican platform, but as soon as a Democrat does that, they rend their garments and start damning people to hell. It’s hypocritical.

3:41 - “Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches.”

Not true. Here’s just a few positions from the Democratic Party platform that conform to Catholic teaching:
  • All Americans are equal
  • Every child should have access to a high-quality education
  • The resources of the world are for everyone and we should be good stewards of them
  • Health care is a human right
  • Human beings have the right to emigrate
  • Workers have the right to unionize
  • Workers have the right to a living wage
  • International solidarity should be prioritized over isolationism
  • Science is a source of truth that should be respected
  • Every American has the right to vote and to participate in the political process
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. Yes, there are items on the Democratic Party platform that don’t coincide with Catholic teaching. But, there are also many that do. To say that their platform is “absolutely against everything the Catholic Church teaches” is sensationalist and false.

3:46 - “So just quit pretending that you’re Catholic and vote Democrat.”

More erasing ontological identity.

3:51 - “Repent of your support of that Party and its platform or face the fires of Hell.”

If a Catholic actually embraced and supported every item of the Democratic Party platform, including abortion, then they would be guilty of cooperating in a grave evil, and if they did this with full knowledge and free consent of the will, then this support would be a mortal sin. But, this person would only “face the fires of Hell” if he persisted in that state until death. You can’t say that every person who commits a grave, or even a mortal sin, is “going to Hell.” Actually, you can’t say anyone is going to Hell, because you don’t know what transpired in that person’s heart, between him and God, before he died. You don't know anything about that person's level of knowledge or consent. You can state which sins are grave, but you can’t damn people.

Kindly stop it.

Furthermore, while I obviously haven’t polled every Catholic Democrat in the country, my sense is that most Catholic Democrats don’t agree with every item of the Democratic Party platform. They agree with the Democrats on most things, but not all things. So, it’s presumptuous and unfair to treat them as if they do.

I think the path that Fr. Altman is tracing from “Democrat” to “hellfire” is missing a few steps, which he happily leapfrogs in order to deliver a snippy soundbite.

4:17 - “There will be 60 million and counting aborted babies standing at the gates of Heaven barring your Democrat entrance, and nothing you can say will ever excuse you for your direct or indirect support of that diabolical agenda. Period at the end.”

Thank you for telling us how sentences work. *eye roll*

I'll say it again: You. Can’t. Damn. People.

From the Catechism:
1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.
Also, he’s basically saying that, regardless of if your support is direct or indirect, you are barred from Heaven. But, direct support is not the same as indirect support. According to then-Cardinal 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”)
Indirect support can be permitted, direct support cannot.

4:47 - “At the end of the day, I do research. And I actually researched and researched all the data, information, I crunched the numbers and finally came up with a pretty close approximate total of how many Catholics voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012: Zero. Wrap your minds around that, dear family. There were a lot of pretenders, a lot of imposters, a lot of people masquerading as Catholics – laity and clergy alike – there were zero faithful Catholics who voted for that godless politician”

He does … wait for it … research! Oh, I’m trembling now!

He’s basically just wiping away ontological realities again. According to him, anyone who votes for a Democrat isn’t a real Catholic. It’s simply not true, at least not as a blanket statement about every person who votes Democrat. And, of course, the name-calling returns: “pretenders”, “imposters”, “people masquerading as Catholics”. He’s not convincing anyone with language like this.

Finally, a note on Obama. To say I'm not a fan is putting it lightly. I disagree with him on many things. But, why exactly is he "godless"? Because he's for abortion? That makes him erroneous, not godless. Even people who commit serious sins are not necessarily godless.

Fr. Altman likes to throw this word around a lot: "godless politicians", "godless educational system", "godless sheeple", "godless platform", "godless organizations." It's his favorite word for anyone or anything that isn't perfectly Catholic and Republican. It's a baseless, smear tactic.

Do Trump supporters really want to start talking about "godless politicians"? With Trump's many affairs, and rating women by their breast size, and grabbing them by the p----, and talking about how hot his daughter is? When's the last time Trump went to church, except for a photo op? If you're a Trump supporter, it's probably better that you don't even go there. You have no ground to stand on once we start talking about "godless politicians."

5:53 - “In addition to thinking it’s a-okay for James Martin to prance up onto the Democrat’s national stage …”

Again, Fr. Altman calls him “James Martin” instead of “Fr. James Martin.” He does it 5 times in this video. One time and you might think, “Ok, simple mistake,” but after 5 times you have a pattern of intentionality. It’s petty not to call him “Father.”

And good grief, Fr. Martin didn’t “prance up onto the Democrat’s national stage.” They pointed the camera at him and he prayed a prayer. Fr. Altman is incensed by Fr. Martin's mere presence there. How is this not the same attitude as the Pharisees, who grumbled and complained as Jesus dined with sinners and tax collectors?

6:00 - “… certain of the hierarchy think nothing of ripping into Donald Trump, because somehow Trump has differing views about national sovereignty and national borders, no problem about stuffing things like the climate change hoax into the political arena, into the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis takes climate change and the environment very seriously. So did Pope Benedict XVI. Just a heads-up.

6:19 - “But, here in the U.S., in addition to James Martin, the St. Anthony Messenger has two major political statements: one against Trump in support of D.A.C.A., which means criminal, illegal aliens, and the other supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center, which seems to be one of the most godless, Communist, anti-American, left-wing, radical organizations in the United States.”

Again with the petty insults towards Fr. Martin. It’s un-Christian what he’s doing.

And good grief, D.A.C.A. doesn’t mean “criminal, illegal aliens.” That’s a scare-tactic and an outright falsehood and insult to the people D.A.C.A. is for.

D.A.C.A. stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” It concerns the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children in circumstances beyond their control and with no say in the matter. D.A.C.A. recipients aren’t “criminals”, they’re young adults who have grown up as Americans, identify as Americans, often speak only English, and have little to no connection with their country of origin. If you’re a criminal, D.A.C.A. doesn’t even apply to you.

As for the Southern Poverty Law Center, it seems like a stretch to call it “one of the most godless, Communist, anti-American, left-wing, radical organizations in the United States.” SPLC calls out cults and hate groups. Fr. Altman has an obvious axe to grind with them, but I don’t really know where it comes from.

6:40 - “And again, one ripping on Trump and supporting Wilton Gregory’s horrific attack on the one best pro-life president, and his Catholic wife!”

That’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory to you. He’s done that twice now.

Also, Trump as the “one best pro-life president”? I'm not convinced. He's had some gains in that area, but I'm not so sure that it springs from any kind of personal conviction. Trump was pro-choice his whole adult life until he decided to run for president. Then, magically, he had a change of heart.

In 1999, Trump told Tim Russert on Meet the Press, "I'm very pro-choice ... I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject, but still, I just believe in choice. ... I am strongly for choice." When Russert asked him if he would ban partial-birth abortion, Trump said, "No. I am pro-choice in every respect and as far as it goes, but I just hate it".

In 2013, he went on the Howard Stern show, and Howard pressed him on it: "I know you, there is no way that you personally are against abortion. [. . .] Thank God there's abortion. I know you believe it." Trump's response? "Well, it's never been my big issue Howard. Somebody asks me, and I say pro-life, but it's never been an issue that really has been discussed with me in great detail."

Even as recently as 2019, he tweeted that he’s okay with abortion in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. Add this to his support of capital punishment, his attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act without a replacement (which would have instantly deprived millions of people of health care), and the horrors taking place at the border, and it’s difficult for me to see how he’s the “one best pro-life president.”

7:00 - “And still to this day, they [the bishops] don’t say anything about the worst miscreants. Oh, but they sure will get all over a priest instantly who simply speaks the truth.”

Sounds like someone has gotten in trouble before! I think Fr. Altman has a tenuous relationship with the truth. That’s what gets him in trouble.

8:24 - “And, it continues to slap faithful Catholics in the faith [I think he meant “face”] when Notre Dame gives Obama an honorary doctorate, when James Martin takes the national stage for the Democrats, and when a pro-life president gets ripped on by an archbishop of the Catholic Church”

Again, disrespecting Fr. Martin, but at least he called Wilton Gregory an archbishop this time.

9:17 “And the reason we are seeing the signs of the times, the cataclysm that’s approaching, that we have been warned about, our Blessed Mother warned us about it, the reason why we’re seeing this is that way to many people do not know God.”

He needs to stop stoking fear in the hearts of people. Everyone thinks their generation is the worst generation ever. Take a breath. These aren’t the End Times. This isn’t the Tribulation. If it was, the whole world would know it, and we wouldn’t need “truth tellers” like Fr. Altman to warn us. Striving for personal holiness and the holiness of others is always an urgent task. But we shouldn’t talk like Jesus is coming tomorrow.

For some reason, there’s a large segment of Catholics who think the world is ending soon. All you have to do is start talking about hellfire and the 3rd Secret of Fatima and you’re a prophet sent from God.

Don’t fall for it.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

46 comments:

  1. This is a great analysis! I was also deeply troubled after listening to Fr. Altman's video because it not only lacked humility, love, and respect for God's children, it was full of personal beliefs that ran counter to what the USCCB as well as the Pope has put out. Although there are many Catholics who are way off track regarding Church teaching, there are no 'godless' Catholics because they do believe in God. I am thankful for the way you used actual Church documents to support your beliefs.

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  2. 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.
    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 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.

    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.
    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.
    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!

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    1. Speaking forcefully and passionately about something isn’t the same as speaking truthfully and honestly. Fr. Altman has plenty of the former, less of the latter. Likewise, we are taught to judge a tree by its fruit. Not quite sure what kind of fruit Fr. Altman is serving up but I’m not biting. (I am also a Catholic BTW and perplexed why we are no being told how to vote.).

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  3. Careful my friend. Millstones are quite heavy. Light your lamp and you will not be afraid.

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  4. 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.
    If you truly were following God's word, you would not be threatened by the truth that Fr. Altman is preaching.
    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…" 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.
    I pray that Fr. Altman continues to preach without fear.
    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.

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  5. Caution, millstones, trim your lamp, be not afraid

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  6. I've dealt with this guy a number of times before. He is an interesting fella.

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  7. Interesting analysis. I'm very much anti-Trump and I'm also very queasy about the Democratic Party due to it's very liberal stance on abortion. I'll be voting a protest candidate for President this time, as I did the last go 'round. I don't like Fr. Altman's rhetoric, but I think it does raise an interesting philosophical question: At what point does a political party become so toxic that a Catholic must, for the sake of his/her own salvation and that of the world, abstain from any cooperation with that party? I think the Nazi party of Germany and the Ba'ath party of Iraq would be two historical examples, but it does make me wonder what level of evil finally causes one to cross that line, at which point Catholics must absent themselves from the group? Abortion is pretty evil (it's linked with infanticide as both being "abominable crimes" in Vatican II). I also feel like the Republican Party's allowing Trump to steamroll them also makes that party complicit in evil. I don't claim to know the answer.

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  8. Ann McDonald9/06/2020 10:05 AM

    Thank you for this. Yesterday, a friend of mine posted Fr Altman’s remarks on Facebook. I listened . My response to her was that it was the biggest load of bullshit I had ever heard, and that he was a disgrace to the Catholic Church.
    You have given a much better response. If I were technologically savvy enough I would figure out how to send your response to her.
    Why is he allowed to spew such hate? Does he not have a bishop who can reign him in?

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  9. 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.

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    1. I do respect human life not just in the womb but through all phases of life. That is why I could not support a President who consistently showed a total disregard for life. To respect life means to provide shelter and food for the hungry, to clothe the naked, to respect basic human rights like quality education, healthcare, and decent wage to sustain a good quality of life. In addition that President through his disregard for science and health recommendations has allowed hundreds of thousands to die from a pandemic. He encouraged violence and endangered lives of fellow Americans. He supported lies about our elections and blatantly supported the demise of our government. I can not think of anyone who more closely resembles the devil than he. He wanted to take away health insurance from millions of Americans endangering their health.. I support Pro-Life.. but i do not forget that life does not end at birth.

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  10. Thank you so much for this! My parents sent out this link and I responded pretty much as you did, though not as eloquently! They're not really talking to me now....
    However, I was moved to reach out to Fr. Altman's bishop and received a very encouraging response.

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    1. How did you reach out to this man’s bishop? I would like to do the same. I am horrified by the hate-filled rhetoric and misrepresentations contained in this uber-dramatic offering. I have seen one of our local bishops endorse him and I am scandalized by this as well.

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  11. I am horrified that someone like Fr. Altman would be allowed to continue as a priest when he does not appear to accept the teachings of the church. He has a right to his politics and his religious beliefs, but they are not the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. My question: Will he be allowed to continue with these erroneous and hateful "sermons?" Just calling out "sinners" is so opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ!

    I am a Democrat who is pro-life. By this I mean I believe in protecting life from the womb to natural death. This is why I support leaders who are more likely to save the most lives with healthcare, gun control, peacemaking, food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless etc.

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    1. Have you heard any of his preaching other than this video? EVERYTHING he says is founded on church teaching. Did you truly hear the gospel last weekend?
      The complacency you seem to expect of your priests is the reason why we are on the brink of communism in this country. If the democrats win in November it will be here in a short time.
      The democrats are the party of peacekeeping?? Staying silent as people are rioting, looting, wanting to abolish the police (KEY step in Marxist takeover)--this is the party you are talking about?
      I had been a Democrat most my life. I CRIED the day Trump won. But as the democrats continue to indoctrinate gender ideology, abortion, and other things that are COMPLETELY against the Catholic church, i can no longer stand before God with a clean conscience if i vote for another Democrat. This change happened when the riots started at the end of May. I started listening to conservative blacks-- this that the democrats don't even acknowledge their existence-- and saw how there is now than one story to everything, despite what every news media outlet would have you to believe.
      Please don't be complsce in your decisions! Seek out the opposing view point. If you're not even willing to listen to the other side, truly listen, then you're not making an informed choice.

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    2. You are talking politics. I am reacting to the sermons of Fr. James Altman, that are NOT reflective of the Catholic Church or the teachings of Jesus Christ. That should be obvious to you. Fr. Altman himself is talking of leaving the priesthood, so he must be aware of his transgressions.

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    3. Where did you hear that he's thinking of leaving the priesthood?

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    4. In one of the articles I read online, Fr. Altman said that if he leaves the priesthood, he'd have more time for studying and writing. I'm sorry that I can't give you the exact article.

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    6. I read in an article entitled "Controversial La Crosse Priest Compares the Left to Nazis in New Video" (News 8000.com)that Fr. Altman will have time to do other things if he leaves the priesthood

      .

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  12. George K Says,

    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. 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? 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. 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.

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  13. I too, disagree with the exaggerated and absolutist nature of the Fr's comments especially his ideas about climate church and about the bishops. I think voting Democrat can be justified if like most voters the voter has knowledge only a few areas. But you make some very bad criticisms.

    The section responding to 3.41 is very silly. It's very easy to say "See, there are x-y-z which aren't bad". Your logic would mean that someone who wanted to criticise Hitler "Absolutely against Catholicism" could be met with a "Not true. Here’s just a few positions from the National Socialist platform that conform to Catholic teaching".

    Some of the more confusing things you've said, free college, free healthcare are Catholic teachings. No they are not. These are matters of prudential disagreement about how to achieve a common goal. The Democrats' plans seem good but are mathematically implausible. "Healthcare is right" this sounds good but you might be forgetting the Catholic principles of subsidiarity which the Democrats ignore while claiming to "solve" the problem by making it free. Even if you confiscated the last penny of every billionaire you'd have only 1/8th of what MfA needs. Similar is the case with free college, the solution will have to involve cutting fees. Because in the US these things are overpriced. You can easily verify that the costs of college and healthcare here are 30 times that of countries like India. The problem is about high prices which will not be solved if you make it free. Countries like the UK struggle to keep their economies afloat while maintaining an NHS.


    Regarding the other points, the fact that Trump is pro-life only for conservative votes is well noted by most conservatives. But he has produced actual results which other R presidents did not. You now start to now make absolutist statements about being pro-life: pro-life means anti-abortion according to the dictionary. You are doing the work of the pro-choicers ("prolife is hypocrisy so abortion OK") for them when you say "he isn't pro-life because he doesn't support my x policy on healthcare". Also, the (sad) fact that he allows for exceptions doesn't make him anti-life, just as Biden doesn't become an anti-healthcare fascist because he didn't support Medicare-for-All.

    It is possible for faithful Catholics to vote Democrat, but they have to rationalise how the things they are seeing as absolute compare, even in orders of magnitude, to the horror of abortion. The Fr. in the video is crazy and reflects a dangerous trend in the US Catholic Church but the space for such figures is only created when the people see the hierarchy offering funeral masses for abortion activist politicians. It is because the bishops show no leadership that people turn to people like Fr. Altman or Vigano or the like.

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  14. You can't make absolutist statements in these matters by vague things like "believe in science" (both sides claim to respect science though it is true that a portion of the grassroots MAGA movement is off the rails), international solidarity (You seem to have a view that unless we take part in the WHO, unless we listen to the UN we can't have solidarity. It is a legitimate position and not contrary to Catholicism to say that the WHO is suspiciously beholden to China and the UN is no longer working for the common good but for progressive political interests like the normalisation of abortion and LGBT ideology). Immigration is not an absolute right. Even Bernie (called it a "Koch Brothers proposal") disagrees. This is once again an area of legitimate disagreement as to how we deal with illegal immigration and mass immigration. Unlike some others, this is not even "Catholic teaching". The mistreatment of immigrants that happens at the border is because they literally have any resources to deal with the huge masses of people because Congressional Democrats keep voting to not fund the systems which deal with illegal immigrants.

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  16. I want to say something about abortion. All devout Catholics are against ending the life of an unborn baby. To me it is an abomination. That said, I am still a Democrat. Why?

    When I was a young girl, abortion was legal and I had to stand by while some of my friends went to "back alley" doctors. Some of these girls died and some could no longer have children. One of my closest friends has lived with the terrible guilt ever since. So it is definitely a bad thing, but can laws do anything to change it? Do people know that the number of abortions have gone down since Roe v. Wade? Do they know that abortion has always been with us and will continue to exist in many forms despite a change in laws? Now, especially, girls and women can go to the local drugstore and get "something" to cause an abortion. This is a genie that is out of the bottle.

    This does NOT mean that we can do nothing to stop abortion. We can help support pregnant women and their unborn and newborn babies. We can make sure the mother and child have healthcare so both can live. We can support education so that every young girl knows the facts of life.

    I am a Democrat who is also "pro life." Maybe my definition isn't the same as in the dictionary but it is consistent with the teaching of the church: All life is important therefore I support legislation that will save the most lives.

    As for Donald Trump: From what I've read, he was always pro-choice and even offered his second wife an abortion. A book just suggested that he sees evangelical Christians as naive fools and is just pandering to them to get votes. I believe that.

    People see this topic in vastly different ways and that should be understood by every adult. If I could ask anything of bishops, priests and nuns, it would be this: Vote your conscience, but when it comes to the teachings of the Church, please speak the truth. It is NOT a sin to be a Democrat!

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  17. If I had not done my own research about the truth of what is going on in the Catholic leadership, I, too, would have found Fr. Altman's words appalling. It was just a few days ago that i discovered the atrocity that took place at the Vatican, allowing a statue of Pachamama, an indigenous idol, to be worshipped on their grounds!!! If the leaders will allow this to happen and will allow churches to close while stores and abortion clinics stay open, how are we to trust them? I don't want to hear that it is our obligation to follow church leaders. If they are leading us astray, and priests like Fr. Altman are telling us so, it is our own fault if we continue to listen to them.

    The devil works so that evil things have a way of appearing to be good and justified. If you subscribe to the falsehood, you won't accept the truth, because doing so requires you to admit you were wrong.

    We must pray for all our leaders. I believe that the vast majority of people truly want to do good. They can't see how they're being used or misguided by those who want to spread evil because it's being done in the name of the "common good". They don't know better and don't know God or our faith's true teachings, so they fall prey to the whims of the culture. I was there in the recent past. It's hard to have your world view turned upside down, but you realize that the democrats are no longer the same party they once were. They are an arm of the communists now, using "socialism" to hide behind the true power desires of the few pulling the strings that you can't see.
    Fr. Altman is calling us to WAKE UP! Maybe you're not ready to hear his message but you can't say you were never warned.

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    1. I agree with you. This is election is more important than any in our lifetime. I too agree with Phat Catholic that Fr. Alman's delivery was somewhat overly dramatic and even contained some critical, over-the-top language. So as I read with an open mind, I noticed that Phat Catholic started off the article appearing independent and fair, but the longer the article went on, the more critical and dramatic they became of Fr. Altman. Guilty of the very things they stated in opposition to. The worst was their own passing judgement on and undermining of President Trump stance on pro life and as a Christian. Specifically, "Trump was pro-choice his whole adult life until he decided to run for president. Then, magically, he had a change of heart." Who cares? Didnt St. Paul have a change of heart? Augustine? Many others? God users sinners like each of us in His way, in His choosing. Doesn't the author believe this? If so, why the judgement on Trump. He has proven by actions he supports innocent unborn life moreso than his challenger. The author lost my respect with this one and proves they have an agenda.

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  18. The Vicar for Clergy is typically the one who will try to address problems with a priest first, before the bishop gets personally involved. The web page for the Vicar for Clergy of the Diocese of La Crosse has a contact form that you can use. Go here: https://diolc.org/vicarforclergy/

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    1. Why are you determined to put a stop to Fr. Altman?? Don't you see how your words and actions are further dividing the church? Obviously not or you wouldn't be doing them.
      My frustration is boiling over with your remarks and pushing people to complain about him.
      I will be doing the same by contacting those who truly want to follow God's words and commandments so that they can contact the vicar in SUPPORT of Fr. Altman.

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  19. Thank you for this analysis of the video. The level of shaming and judgement that Catholics engage in with one another is divisive and it`s sad to see a priest so wrapped up in his own world that he can`t extend compassion or understanding on a voting position he doesn`t support. We are people, and we have no place to be making judgments on others, especially when our Pope has been very critical of Trump himself, saying that he`s not a Christian. Only God can judge, because only God sees our hearts.

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    1. Please reread the gospel from last week. God can only know our true intentions and what's in our heart but we are able to and are called to guide others when we see them acting against the faith.
      This is not simply a voting position of whether to allocate money to repaving the road or installing a street light. This is an issue of the foundation of our faith-- the value of human life. Period. There's no debate on how we should be voting in that regard. However we've become too complacent from not hearing more often from our leaders on this issue for the sake of maintaining the peace.
      You're using the defense of the pope judging Trump to argue that people cannot judge each other? Do you not see the error in your logic?
      It's going to be divisive when people want to stay in their comfy corners and not want to do the hard work of examining their conscience based on TRUE church teaching--not watered down misguided words of those leaders not wanting to ruffle feathers. They will have to answer for their complacency too.
      Fr. Altman IS showing compassion and support for those erring in their ways by making these videos and publicly posting his homilies. He tells how to repent and that the Eucharist is our path.
      When the communists are coming to take your house and ration food stamps, will you be able to remember that your were warned now? Your vote for the Democrats is voting for babies being killed--up to the day before they are born and even after!! Communists have no concern for the individual

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  20. As a Catholic from communist Poland Father Altman is a true Shepherd of his flock.There is only 1 set of rules...10 Comandments.If you really know them than all of you who don’t approve of what he said are not fallowing God’s Teaching.You are not true Catholics, Rules and doctrine don’t change to help you feel better about your life or lifestyle that is not excepted by the church teaching.Watering down teachings of Jesus to fit your agenda is not being Catholic. It was Liberal Ted Kennedy and his liberal Friends and some liberal other members of Catholic Church that gave us abortion on demand as pretext to woman’s health.True Catholics need to read the scriptures,study 10 commandments and remember what Jesus said...the road to salvation is hard and the gate is very narrow.Youwant to to water it down to make feel good and anything goes....it’s not Catholic Faith.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your witness. ALL of my friends from Poland feel the same as you. Sadly people like the author want to dismiss history and the personal testimony of those that have suffered and lived through communism,
      Rather choosing to live with blinders on to the signs of everything going on. The events of today are not coincidental. The fact that our government is closing churches and most bishops are letting them is setting us up for further future control.
      Please watch/ listen to US Grace Force and Dr. Taylor Marshall. You'll find more truth with them.

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  21. Fr. Altman's bishop is aware of his homilies. I believe he will deal with this properly and not commit the mistake of silencing him like some bishops who want to be politically correct at the expense of the Gospel.

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  22. I tried to get through the article, I promise. But I kept shaking my head, wondering why we are trying to make the most evil, anti-Catholic Party Platform seem almost benign (hey, yes, they want high quality education!....Even evil dictators would say as much... so?). But then I got to this:

    'You can’t say that every person who commits a grave, or even a mortal sin, is “going to Hell.”'

    Uh, the very definition of who goes to hell is "those in a state of mortal sin."

    So, I stopped reading. This is basic.

    It's true that someone who commits a sin of grave matter might not be culpable of mortal sin (even though he would be culpable if he committed it knowing it was grave, and with full consent of the will). But that's not what you said. You literally said that we don't even know that people committing "mortal sin" are going to hell. This is just mind-bogglingly opposed to the Faith.

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  23. So I guess the aborted babies are just a casualty of vomiting Democrat,

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  24. Leila, it's too bad you stopped reading. If you had kept going you would have found the paragraph from the Catechism that fully supports what I'm saying. I'll provide it here, too:

    "1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God."

    Just committing a mortal sin doesn't mean you're hell-bound. It's not like your ticket is punched. You have to persist in a state of mortal sin until death in order to go to Hell. And, judging from the outside, when we see another person commit a grave sin, we can't say that person is going to Hell because we have the added complexity of not knowing if full knowledge and free consent are present, along with not knowing if the person will persist in that state (assuming it's mortal) until death.

    Please show me how this reasoning is "mind-bogglingly opposed to the Faith."

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    1. Are you really a Catholic?9/10/2020 8:49 AM

      All those listening to Fr. Altman's words now have "full knowledge"! No excuse! it's not this particular so-called reasoning that's opposed to the faith--it's your whole article.
      But you'd rather try to nitpick at insignificant pieces, extrapolate arguments from weak points and give irrelevant examples of how the democratic party is supposedly supporting Catholic morals (while they simultaneously support killing innocent babies?!?!) rather than focus on the important message that Fr. Altman and few other brave men are trying to preach. The fact that you are against his pro-life message, determined by this article you wrote, proves you're against God's word or maybe you don't even realize it because you are so indoctrinated by the culture.
      The truth will prevail. Fr. Altman is a prophet of our times. Will you (and all those buying into what you wrote) pull up this article on your phone when you stand before God and say "but i wrote this and this is the truth i believe in"? I prefer to use the Bible as my guide and those that follow God's true word, like Fr . Altman and the bishops that do support him like ArchBishop Strickland.

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  25. He sounds more like a fundamental baptist preacher rather than a Catholic priest, so embarrassing.... Hope he'll change his views instead of embracing schism.

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  26. In the words of the apparition of Mary in Akita, Japan:
    “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

    Is anyone going to make light of these words as well with everything going on around us? I fear things will only get worse.

    Stop being a part of the problem and follow those priests and leaders like Fr. Altman who are trying to SAVE souls! No one is going to wake up if he approached the situation with the touch of a light feather.

    The Democrats will be the destruction of this country if Biden wins. We will be on a direct path to communism. Look up videos from ex-KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov. His talks from 1984 are chilling given the climate we have today and all the exact events unfolding. It's not only our country that's been infiltrated-- it's our Church too.

    You're a supposed Catholic who votes Democrat (as i myself have done misguided for many years) and the truth that Fr. Altman speaks so passionately about because he doesn't want to see people led astray, makes you uncomfortable? Too bad. You're uncomfortable because the truth can hurt. If you don't want to hear it, then don't listen to him. But don't use your discomfort to retaliate against this innocent priest. Those of us that are sinners trying to do the right thing need his words and guidance. Just stop listening to him and your problem is solved.
    Know that if his bishop will continue to be mislead by your distorted opinions, there will be many who will come to the defense of Fr. Altman and will protect him.
    Everyone needs to be praying to save all souls!

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  27. 6) you shall not murder
    9) you shouldn't bear false witness
    Against your neighbor

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  28. Well written article but nonetheless wrong. Fr. Altman is speaking the truth for all to hear. The Democrat party of today is anti-God by evidence of removing “one Nation under God” at their convention. Being against gay marriage does not mean you are anti-gay but it is against church teaching. I have always wondered how Catholics could vote for people who promote anti-Catholic policies. A vote for Democrats is a vote for abortion and you can square that on judgement day. God Bless

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  29. Personally, I don't care what Fr. Altman has to say. We live in a free country (for now) and he, like you, can say whatever he wants. What I am opposed to is not only the abortion on demand stance of the Democrat Party, but also their concerted effort to remove all reference to God from their platform. They have a big problem with God, evidenced again this convention as at their last convention, when they voted to remove God from their platform, or as now, when they removed reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

    "...with 56 percent of Americans “professing faith in God as described in the Bible” and another 33 percent professing belief “in another type of higher power or spiritual force,” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April of 2018 — that means voters have a problem with the Democratic Party." Washington Times January 21, 2020.

    Also, for the first time since it's creation in this country, the CPUSA is not running a candidate but has endorsed Joe Biden for president. It's practically an open admission that there is little difference between the Communist Party of the United States and the Democrat Party today. That should give anyone with half a brain pause before pulling the lever or checking the box for Biden.

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  30. This post & the responses reminds me of a old story I heard many years ago, before the days of cell-phones, about a man who's is driving through town & see's a house that is burning. He stops his car and run's to knock on the door to tell the people inside. No-one is home & so he looks for a hose. Not finding one he runs to the neighbors house to ask for help. When the neighbor answers the man tells him about his neighbor's house burning & asks him to call the fire department. The man also asks the neighbor if he has a hose that he can use to spray water on the fire next door. Instead of immediately giving the man the hose, & then calling the fire department, the neighbor starts arguing about "what kind of hose does he want. I think the central point to what Fr Altman said is that you can't vote for, or co-operate in any way, with anyone or anything that supports abortion! Fr Altman's message was very direct & got everyone's attention immediately. When Jesus saw the money-changers outside the temple he didn't 'have a dialog with them'. He condemned what they did, and in fact showed his displeasure by whipping them with a cord & turning over their tables. I suppose if they had email & social media back then, the money-changers would have sent a lot of nasty messages to the local Rabbi. Fr Altman didn't say anyone had to vote Republican, or for Donald Trump. Heck, vote for someone else (who is NOT pro-abortion, or don't vote for anybody at all if you choose). Fr Altman simply said you can't be a faithful catholic and vote(ie:co-operate with/for) the democrat party because in their own platform they support abortion. By their own words they have condemned themselves. Don't join them down the path to HELL.

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  31. He was fraternally corrected by his bishop: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/la-crosse-bishop-to-correct-catholics-cant-be-democrats-priest-fr-james-altman-37520

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