A Man Criticized Fr. Altman’s Politically Conservative Homily, I Responded

by Steve Ray on September 9, 2020

Paul wrote a polite comment to the homily of Fr. Altman that I posted on my blog (see two days earlier on this blog). Because of his mostly irenic tone, I have moderated his comment to appear, but not without a few comments of my own.

There are a few other folks less polite that I have not allowed posting and more than a few seem to be stalkers or have an obsession with me and my website.

Even though Paul’s name and e-mail address was included in the public comment he made, due to curtesy I have removed it from this post.

Comment:   SR will be for me Steve Ray and PC will be for Paul Clementi:

PC: I have been a practicing Catholic my entire life originally from Milwaukee Wis. going to a Catholic grade school (St. Agnes Milwaukee), a Catholic H.S. (Messmer Milwaukee) and a Catholic college (Marquette Milwaukee).

SR: I have found that going to Catholic institutions is no safeguard that a person is an authentic Catholic. I will not make that judgment regarding Paul, but just to make the point, sometimes “Catholic” institutions teach the opposite of the historical Catholic Church, thus these kind of “pedigrees” don’t carry a lot of water. It is the actions and choices one makes that is the real test.

PC:  I am upset and saddened that someone, a priest no less would tell me I can’t be a Catholic if I vote Democrat.  Fr James Altman is not fulfilling his true duties as a pastor after having read his statement. A pastor is supposed to teach the word of Christ, not condemn those who don’t hold the sames views he does.

SR:  Let’s look at this a little more closely. Why would a priest tell someone they can’t be Catholic and vote Demoncrat? Is it that he doesn’t have a right to his opinion? Is it because priests have no business talking about politics? Or is it because you disagree with the priest’s rightful and a proper opinion?

If there were three parties: Democrat, Republican and “Abortion, Infanticide and Euthanasia Party” — would he be then correct in asserting his opinion that a true Catholic couldn’t in good conscience vote for the latter? The Democratic Party has moved so far to the Pro-Death position that the priest is simply saying that to vote for such abuse and sin is unconscionable and that any Catholic who believes the teaching of the Church could not vote for such a party as the “Abortion, Infanticide and Euthanasia Party” which is what the Democratic Party has proudly become.

Fr. Altman is teaching the Word of God when so many others are too cowardly to do so. The word is God is a word of truth, justice and honesty which defends life and liberty not snuffs it out.

PC: I tried to find Christ in his words above but instead I found a right wing extremist statement telling people to vote for Donald Trump. It sounded much more Evangelical than Catholic, perhaps Fr. Altman should consider changing religions.

SR: To me your words sound more secular and relativist than Catholic or Evangelical. Evangelicals have been voting for Life more consistently lately than those who claim to be Catholic, people like Biden and Pelosi.

Putting a “right-wing extremist” label on this good priest does you no favors. Rather it pegs you pretty well and that you are ready to sling pejoratives with the best of them. Even Democrats of a few decades ago would have been more aligned with the Republican way of thinking than the Democrats of today. This is what happens when people forget their history, never really learned it, or learned a revisionist view of history.

PC:  Also getting support from ONE Bishop in Texas does not sound like an endorsement from the Catholic Church on his rhetoric.

SR: Not just one bishop since I know other bishops who would agree 100%.

PC: Yes I know everyone will say he was the only one with guts to come out against the Catholic hierarchy. But what if everyone else feels the same way and doesn’t believe the pulpit should be used to condemn people or shame them into voting for a certain candidate, and still believe from past experiences it IS good to separate church and state.

SR: Unfortunately, too many of the bishops in the US have proved themselves weak on basic truths and tend to be more politicians than pastors. The USCCB has been weak-kneed for a long time. But even they pronounced prior to this election that the issue of Life, especially resistance to abortion was incumbent upon the faithful. So, if you want to be in line with your accumulated bishops, they have already basically told you the same thing Fr. Altman did, that Catholics should not vote for abortion — which is exactly what a vote for Biden will do.

One of the reasons our country has gone secular, anti-Christian and relativistic is precisely and in part because Americans, and especially the priests have had a skewed and unconstitutional view of the so-called “separation of Church and State”. Priests have every right to preach about morality and politics from the pulpit, they are just restricted from endorsing a specific candidate. Fr. Altman did not cross the line and was proper and within his legal and ecclesial rights.

PC: I know when Christ would give a sermon it wasn’t about hate and condemnation.

SR: Here we see an abysmal ignorance of Scripture. Did Jesus go around patting the Pharisees on the back and giving them hi-fives? Yikes, your words could not be further from the actual case which can easily be read in Scripture — even to the point of Jesus making a whip and using violence to chase the vendors out of the temple courtyard. Jesus did not preach hate (nor did Fr. Altman) but he did preach hard truths and the powers that be were angry with him, like you are angry at Fr. Altman.

PC: Yes I know Christ got upset several times during his life on earth, but he never lost his cool during an e-mail like Fr. Altman did.

SR: Fr Altman never lost his cool. In fact, I thought he was very cool and collect, clear and concise.

PC: I for one will vote whomever I want to vote for and my vote will not be influenced by anyone including a priest.

SR: You have made that abundantly clear. You are the final word. You are loyal to Biden and the Democrats no matter what. Even with their push for socialism and the death of babies — “Hey, I am a Democratic no matter what. Don’t try to change me.” Even the USCCB will be ignored. The 2,000 teaching of the Church on the sanctity of the unborn, that it is murder will not affect you. You are more a Protest-ant than the Protestants! YOU are the final word. Even most Protest-ants are willing to listen to Scripture, reason and the morals taught from the beginning.

From the USCCB’s recent document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” which was written to prepare for these elections. And these are just two paragraphs from many I could have copied:

  • “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” (26)
  • “Two temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life and dignity: The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.”

PC: I also will continue to be a practicing Catholic with no fear that Christ and God will judge me when this life here on earth concludes by whether of not I voted Republican or Democrat but rather on how I lived my life.

SR: And that is exactly what we are concerned with — how you live your life. Did you support the dying? Protect the unborn? Obey the word of God? Etc. How you vote is a very big part of “how you live your life.” That is why he and I are concerned.

PC: Peace

SR: And peace be with you too. I am not attacking, but could not let the above go without a response. I do wish you peace.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruthie Scheidel September 9, 2020 at 3:11 PM

I pray and hope for Paul Clementi:’s CONVERSION!

JOHN RONDINA September 10, 2020 at 1:35 AM

FATHER ALTMAN SPOKE THE TRUTH!!!

Bobby September 10, 2020 at 5:59 AM

A very evil thing came about in the ’60s during and after JFK’s presidency, when in collusion with some priests, politicians were given cover by telling them they can be personally against an issue such as abortion in private life yet were allowed to believe that as a member of government they could still support abortion while in the service of the people who elected them without incurring sin. Biden is the culmination of that policy today.

Bill912 September 10, 2020 at 8:54 AM

It is not a priest’s responsibility to make sure we get to heaven; that is our responsibility. But it IS a priest’s responsibility to make sure that, if, one morning, one of us should wake up in hell, he won’t have to wonder how he got there. Father Altman understands that.

Beth A Kaufman September 10, 2020 at 12:16 PM

Speaking, hearing and living God’s truth IS difficult. At least I think so. Life would be so much easier if we could modify God’s commandments to fit our lifestyles, our experiences, modified rules for our own convenience. But, that is not how it is. God’s commandments are not up for negotiation. God is God and his commandments are above all! I pray for Father Altman and I am thankful he is a brave teacher of the Word Of God. I pray for Paul that he can wrap his heart around God’s law and let man’s law (and his law) be secondary always. I pray Paul can see that he only has to please God. I pray for you Stephen Ray that you keep teaching us how to defend our faith. Blessings.

Gregory Delozier September 10, 2020 at 9:01 PM

“Even Democrats of a few centuries ago would have been more aligned with the Republican way of thinking than the Democrats of today.”

I think you meant decades-but it certainly feels like centuries!

STEVE RAY HERE: I think you are right :-) I did mean decades and thanks for pointing it out. I’m gonna go in and fix it now.

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