Friday, November 06, 2020

Response to Fr. Altman: Part 4

It's been a while since I last posted an installment in this series (See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). To be honest, everything with the presidential election had gotten so desperate and anxiety-provoking, that I needed to just take a break from it. I debated whether or not I should even continue this. After all, by now everyone has voted. Their moral actions have been committed. Their decisions have been ratified. Aren't the words of Fr. Altman somewhat beside the point now?

I'm not so sure that they are. For one, he's already recycled his message in the form of other videos that are also gaining traction on social media. And while the ballot counting continues, you're likely to still hear from our "celebrity priests" and "prophets of doom" that you sent yourself to Hell for voting this way or that way -- especially if Trump loses. So, I think responding to that message still has relevance.

This will probably be the last installment, though. I've just about worked my way through all the negative comments on Part 1, at least the main comments. There may be some sub-comments in response to other people that I've missed. Some people may add further comments to Part 1 after I've finished, too. But, it's whatever. I'm not on a crusade to be vindicated. Someone somewhere will always think you're wrong. It's just something you live with as a Catholic apologist. By concluding things here, I think this series will certainly be comprehensive enough to have addressed the basic arguments of Fr. Altman and the like ("the like" are coming out of the woodwork, you can be sure of that), and so I think it will still be a help to people.

My critic's words will be italicized and indented. I think the next comment comes from Leila Miller:

Leila Miller [9/08/2020 8:46 PM] said:
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?).
I'm not trying to make anything "seem almost benign." I'm aware of the problems in the DNC platform (Are you aware of the problems in the RNC platform?). My only point was to show that it was sensationalist and false of Fr. Altman to say "Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches." That is clearly false. I think there are positive and negative elements of BOTH Party platforms -- which is a more clear-headed stance than the absolutist rhetoric of Fr. Altman.

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.
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 (emphasis mine):
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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"Anonymous" [9/10/2020 9:08 PM] said:
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.
Ok? I don't really know what to say. It's a private revelation, you can take it or leave it. I'm not really here to debate whether or not we're experiencing the fulfillment of what Mary is describing, although I will say that some of what she describes is present in every age. I also think that some Catholic celebrities use "end times" rhetoric to stir up their audience and rally them around whatever message they're preaching.

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.
Here's the thing: I think Fr. Altman is part of the problem. Spreading lies, and calumnies, and false moral teaching, and sensationalist rhetoric, and end-times prophecies -- it's all deeply problematic and, far from saving souls, it does a serious disservice to them.

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.
I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. This is persuasion through fear-mongering. Republicans say this about every Democrat who runs for President, yet the country marches on, remaining the constitutional republic that it's always been. I invite you to break free from this whole line of thinking. It's liberating to not live in fear of Democrats anymore.

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.
First of all, there's no "supposedly" about my Catholicism. You can't wipe that identity away just because I disagree with you. My Baptism made that an ontological reality, and no one -- not you, not Fr. Altman, not the next celebrity priest that comes along -- will take that away from me.

Secondly, I don't vote Democrat. I made that clear in the opening paragraph of Part 1. Here are my words again:
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 made that point up front because I knew people would come here and accuse me of "liberal bias." My Catholic faith compels me to respond to Fr. Altman, not my political affiliation.

Thirdly, you think I'm doing all this because someone made me feel uncomfortable? Read through my blog sometime. This isn't my first rodeo. I've been critiquing and debating people online since 2007, and, thankfully, I've heard far worse then what Fr. Altman is dishing out. This is another tactic that alt-right people use: Everyone who disagrees with them is a delicate little flower that got his feelings hurt. Yet you all are the ones who came here, all up in arms over what some random guy wrote on his blog. Soooo ....

Finally, "if you don't like it don't listen" is not a great way to live your life. Pro-choicers say that too: "If you don't like abortion, don't have one." How does that argument fly with you? It doesn't, does it? Why? Because it's too self-centered ... and so is your argument. Fr. Altman is leading a great many people astray by his teaching. An impact like that cannot be simply ignored. "Stop listening" doesn't solve that problem. It must be confronted.

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.
Have at it! I don't care. You're just as free to voice your agreement as I am to voice my disagreement.

Everyone needs to be praying to save all souls!
There, something we agree on!

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Unknown [9/12/2020 2:57 PM] said:
Well written article but nonetheless wrong.
Hey, at least it was well-written! I'll take my compliments whenever I can get them.

Fr. Altman is speaking the truth for all to hear.
I think a more accurate appraisal would be: He said some truths, but he also threw in some falsehoods and calumnies.

The Democrat party of today is anti-God by evidence of removing “one Nation under God” at their convention.
That's not true. Two caucuses left out “under God”, but the phrase was used in the Pledge of Allegiance on every night of the main program of the DNC. For more on this, see the following: Now, moving on ...

Being against gay marriage does not mean you are anti-gay but it is against church teaching.
I agree.

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
It always stings a little when people use "God Bless" as an insult.

At any rate, I think both parties promote anti-Catholic policies. What I have always wondered is how people can only see that in "the other" and not in their own party. Let me ask you: Is a vote for Republicans a vote for capital punishment (what the Catechism says is inadmissible)? Is a vote for Republicans a vote for destroying immigant families? Is a vote for Republicans a vote for abortion in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother (the position of Trump and the concession of many Republican lawmakers)? According to Catholic social teaching, immigration, health care, and social welfare programs are all human rights. Is a vote for Republicans a vote against all these things?

Neither Party gets it 100% right, even on the so-called "non-negotiables." At the end of the day, you have to either vote for the Party who will do the most good, vote for a Party that holds the right positions but is unlikely to win, or don't vote at all. And that decision is a prudential one, not one that we can pontificate on or damn people for.

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Mandy [9/15/2020 5:40 AM] said:

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.
Just because we live in a free country, that doesn't mean that someone can put out a very public video and expect no criticism. And if someone is using their platform to say things that aren't true and that are actually spiritually harmful, then you should care about that. Do you not care because you agree with him, or because you're only thinking about yourself?

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.
For the sake of truth, you should really look up these things to see if they are actually correct. The Democrats did not remove any mention of God from their platform, and they did not remove God from the Pledge of Allegiance. It takes mere seconds to Google these claims and find out for yourself.

That said, "references to God" is an arbitrary way to determine if a platform is "true" or "godly." How many references is enough? 5? 10? 50? 100? Who decides what the perfect number of God-mentions is?

Not only is it arbitrary, but it also doesn't prove anything. A platform isn't godly simply because it mentions God a lot. It's the actual policies that bear that out. Some conservatives seem perfectly content with -- and will even defend -- a whole host of atrocities, simply because their politicians use the right words. That, to me, is the real scandal.

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.
Yea, and the KKK endorses Trump. Candidates can't always help who endorses them. The CPUSA endorsing Biden doesn't make him a Communist anymore than the KKK endorsing Trump makes him a Klan member.

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oldpops [9/15/2020 7:05 PM] said:

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."
Umm, ok. You used a lot of words to say nothing just then.

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!
Your summary of his position is more refined than Fr. Altman's actual position.

He didn't just say you can't cooperate with the sin of abortion. He called people "Godless" simply because they didn't vote the way he wanted them to. He insulted Fr. James Martin by refusing to call him "Father" and spreading calumnies against him. He said the entire Democratic Party platform -- absolutely everything in it -- is against Catholic teaching. He insulted immigrants. He insulted baptized Catholics and tried to strip them of their Catholic identity. And he concluded with some good, old-timey spiritual disturbance by declaring that all of this was somehow in fulfillment of end-times prophecy.

His video is a scandal, but he said you can't vote for a Democrat, so I guess you're all for it. How is such approval even possible without prioritizing your politics over your faith?

Even what you see as the central point is not exactly correct. Remote material cooperation is morally licit under the right circumstances, as Ratzinger and the U.S. Bishops have affirmed.

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.
"Telling it like it is" isn't a virtue. You have to actually be considerate of the person you're talking to. Charity demands it. And if you are going to speak directly, you better make sure what you're saying is true. Fr. Altman has failed on that count.

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.
He might not have used the exact words, "You have to vote for Trump", but it's a stretch to say that wasn't his sincere wish for all of his listeners when he took pangs to defend Trump from his critics and to declare him "the one best pro-life president." Again, your summary of Fr. Altman's message is more nuanced than Fr. Altman's actual message.

By their own words they have condemned themselves. Don't join them down the path to HELL.
No one plans on joining anyone on the path to Hell. In its own way, the Republican Party is paving a path there as well. I pray you won't join them either.

Peace of Christ to you (and I mean that!),
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