The Catholic Church is not exactly a bastion of conservative thought these days, as seen in the political attack on President Trump last week by Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, after the president visited the St. John Paul II shrine in the city.
But Father James Altman, from Saint James the Less, in La Crosse Wisconsin, offers hope for a better tomorrow.
From the pulpit, Fr. Altman took the archbishop to task for a “very publicly” making a statement, explaining “a true Catholic cannot not respond because of the rat poison it adds to the life of the faithful.”
Gregory said of Trump’s visit:
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree. Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”
Upon reading the statement, Fr. Altman told the church he had “a duty” to respond.
“After all, if an archbishop of the Catholic Church can make such a statement you, my family, might erroneously come to think that he might be right,” he said.
The remarks on Gregory begin at the 14 minute mark of the video below:
The priest then compared Gregory’s response to Trump’s actions to the response the archbishop offered to former President Barack Obama.
“I didn’t see [Gregory] make any particular complaint about another president violating our religious principles, when Barack Hussein Obama went to Georgetown and had the symbol of Jesus covered up because — the excuse was, ‘Well he didn’t want any background distracting from his message,'” Fr. Altman said.
“Didn’t want any background distracting from his message, but he had absolutely no problem speaking with a background plastered with Planned Parenthood signage,” he added.
An image of the former president speaking in front of a background advertising the nation’s largest abortion provider is then shown on screen.
Fr. Altman goes on to note that Archbishop Gregory offered no complaints about that.
“I didn’t hear Wilton Gregory make any particular complaint when Barack Hussein Obama said ‘God bless Planned Parenthood,'” Altman said. “Don’t even try to tell me, Archbishop Gregory, that Barack Hussein Obama worships the same God that I do. Jesus the Lord never would bless an organization that kills a million babies a year in the U.S. alone.”
The clergyman would later refer to Obama’s blessing a “blasphemy.”
In 2013, during a speech at a conference put on by the abortion provider, Obama said in closing, “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”
Fr. Altman also noted that in violation of Catholic principle, Obama was allowed to eulogize the late Sen. Ted Kennedy at his funeral, as he reminded the church of “that little incident at Chappaquiddick.”
Kennedy’s long history of advocating for a woman’s right to choose — see abortion — was then referenced.
“But I didn’t hear Wilton Gregory make a very public and very political statement about religious principles,” Altman said, “when a Catholic Church was used to make a very anti-Catholic public statement by a person who complained about us clinging to our Bibles.”
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano sent President Trump a letter Sunday warning him that the current crises in the U.S. are part of an eternal spiritual struggle between the forces of good and evil, and he also took exception to Gregory’s words.
In the beginning of his sermon, Fr. Altman was highly critical of those participating in the violent protests that have broken out across America.
“As of 10:16 p.m. last night, eleven deaths have been confirmed during the George Floyd demonstrations,” he said.
(The number of dead is now up to at least 17.)
“Nothing says justice for George more than another 11 dead,” the priest said. “And 17,000 National Guard troops called up to defend innocent citizens from the mayhem of criminal anarchists.”
“Criminal anarchists enabled, enabled by all those people who claim to be innocent protesters … what a joke,” Fr. Altman continues, after he imitated the “hands up, don’t shoot” motion, which has been proven to be false narrative.
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