Scott Eric Alt Gives A Defence

Scott Eric Alt Gives A Defence October 21, 2021
These sacraments are permanent and unrepeatable, and no sin cancels them: baptism, initiation, marriage, and Holy Orders.
This is not opinion; it is dogma.
(Marriage alone has a termination, but only by death.)
A laicized priest is still a priest; a separated or divorced spouse is still a spouse; an excommunicated or apostate or heretical Catholic is still a Catholic and still belongs to Jesus Christ.-Scott Eric Alt

How does a Catholic writer share his faith in a sea of  opposing viewpoints hostile to the faith. If your Scott Eric Alt you do so with patience, long-suffering, humor and a whole lot of grace. He’s been writing and defending the Catholic faith since 2013. No published books. Yet. His knowledge and defense of the faith is well thought out and worth reading. Not only does he have a strong solid foundation for Catholic belief and theology he is one of the few orthodox Catholics who adamantly defends Pope Francis with zeal and vigor. He seems to be attacked by all sides, angry protestants, angry atheists and angry Catholics. But like water off a duck’s back, he rolls with the punches and turns an attack into a informative blog post.  In an age where non-Trump supporters have been excommunicated by a certain group of conservative Catholics, he has helped me to see that one can be a Joe Biden  supporter and be a good holy and fruitful Catholic as well.

Here is a small interview with Scott and the Catholic Bard in 2020 about his time as a Patheos Catholic writer.

Catholic Bard: What did you like about being a Catholic Patheos Writer?

Scott Eric Alt: Being in the company of some of the best writers about the Catholic faith

Catholic Bard: What was the Main focus of your particular blog?

Scott Eric Alt: Catholic apologetics.

Catholic Bard: What’s your favorite article/Post you have written?

Scott Eric Alt: “Forgive Me, Father, For I Smashed A Brick Against My Face”

I have the Confession times memorized for the entire Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and I have a developed sense of which priest to go to on which occasion.  No, Fr. Cnin is too hard on commandment x; best to go to Fr. Dnin at St. Enin for that one.  Fr. Dnin has sympathy for people who have failed at commandment x. But he tends to be harsh on commandment y, so if I commit that one I’ll go to Fr. Fnin at St. Gnin.

This strategy has worked for me, and I can feel routine and complacent every time I enter and leave the confessional, as though it’s an errand to the grocery store.  Which is how I prefer it.

Catholic Bard:What is your favorite Catholic topic to write about?

Scott Eric Alt: Apologetics

Catholic Bard: If you are named a Saint, what would you be named patron saint of?

Scott Eric Alt: Just look at all of these in the past tense. Autism.

Catholic Bard: Who is your favorite Living Writer?

Scott Eric Alt: Annie Dillard

“We sleep to time’s hurdy-gurdy; we wake, if ever we wake, to the silence of God. And then, when we wake to the deep shores of time uncreated, then when the dazzling dark breaks over the far slopes of time, then it’s time to toss things, like our reason, and our will; then it’s time to break our necks for home.
There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning, the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom. The rest is merely gossip, and tales for other times.”— Annie Dillard (Holy the Firm)

Catholic Bard: If you could have lunch with any deceased writer who would it be, what would you eat and what would you talk about?

Scott Eric Alt: Charles Dickens. The pork pie that Pip steals to give to Magwitch.
What the rest of the plot in his unfinished novel Edwin Drood would have been.

The mist was heavier yet when I got out upon the marshes, so that instead of my running at everything, everything seemed to run at me. This was very disagreeable to a guilty mind. The gates and dikes and banks came bursting at me through the mist, as if they cried as plainly as could be, “A boy with somebody else’s pork pie! Stop him!” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

You can find him over at To Give a Defense by Scott Eric Alt

Here are some examples of his writings I found profound and worth sharing.

Sola Scriptura

One wonders where to begin with absurdity so vast: Adam and Eve did not have an infallible canon — or any canon — but they did have sola scriptura. Can I ask anyone who understands that to please explain? The notion that Adam and Eve were Protestants practicing sola scriptura, until Eve ruined it all with her Catholic development of doctrine, tells us only how cosmically high a Reformed apologist is willing to vault in the effort to justify his continued schism.
Did Adam and Eve practice sola scriptura? ( January 9, 2013

Symbolism of Water

God has a remarkable proclivity for accomplishing his work through the material things of this earth–but foremost among them, possibly, is water.
If human beings cannot survive without water, it would seem that God cannot do some of his greatest acts except through water. Or, he could, but he doesn’t, which suggests to me that these acts are best achieved through water.

God creates the Earth by separating the waters, and God creates the nation of Israel by separating the waters. Later, God creates the Church through another separation of water, after Christ has died but before he has been removed from the Cross: “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water” (John 19:34). The world, the nation of Israel, and the Church are all created through a separation of water. Something important–a great mystery–would seem to be involved in all that.
Through the waters of birth, we are born into life. Through the waters of baptism, we are born into the Kingdom of God. Baptism now saves you.
Baptism now saves you; remember your baptism. JANUARY 14, 2013

Eucharistic Adoration

I can tell that it has been some time since I’ve been to Adoration. The reason I know this is because I am tired. I have lacked patience, which normally is one of my rare—exceedingly rare—virtues. I am out of temperament, and morose. As water seeks its own level, so my less frequent visits to the adoration chapel can be gauged by my more frequent visits to the confessional. I can tell that I have not been to Adoration because even the word “water” sounds dry.

But I cannot handle myself, or my life, as in my maleness I do oft imagine I can. I need Christ; I need to be with Christ. The best description, in the Bible, of what it should mean to be with Christ is of John’s actions at the Last Supper (John 13:23): He laid his head on Christ’s breast. We think we are men, but before God we are children, and we need the comforter. That’s why we go to Eucharistic Adoration.
A fulcrum and a lever; chiefly on Eucharistic adoration ( November 1, 2013

Praise of a Scott Hahn Book

Readers who expect with each new book to find Scott Hahn’s trademark puns in the subtitles won’t find them here. I admit that was the first thing I noticed about Evangelizing Catholics. It was a bit disappointing — but only bit; it’s a good book. The life of the mind is not in the pun. (Someone once told me, with a grave shake of his head, that Dr. Hahn’s puns will only get him more time in Purgatory.) Scott Hahn has the rare gift of making complex ideas simple; he is a scholar who takes scholarship and opens it up, simply, for all readers. That is seldom more true than in this fine book. Evangelizing Catholics is the New Evangelization explained as only he can do so. If you’ve not read it, get it today.

The New Evangelization, sans puns: Scott Hahn’s “mission manual.” ( August 1, 2014

Notice he doesn’t despise Scott Hahn

Danger to the Latin Mass

The Catholic form of On­ly­ism says that Vat­i­can II and the Novus Ordo are in­valid, and those who ac­cept them in­fe­ri­or Catholics, even mod­ernists. But what is happening in the Catholic Church is that the Latin Mass is becoming the province of a faction of spiteful, spitting lobbyists. The Latin Mass is becoming associated with those who view Vatican II as an invalid council and think that people who attend the Novus Ordo are lesser Catholics; who act as though the Latin Mass somehow makes them better and superior and more holy, and their halo more sure, perhaps even complete. That (not the Latin Mass itself) is the “danger to your soul”.

Onlyism is  the greatest enemy the Latin Mass has. It is Onlyism that is causing bishops, including the pope, to restrict the Latin Mass. It is Onlyism that is causing Catholics who might otherwise learn to love its beauty to stay far away. A great Mass, whose beauty should be preserved, is acquiring a stink from those who reject a council and the new Mass and look down on their brother and sister Catholics.

Those who truly love the Latin Mass must save it from the Onlyists.

Why Latin Mass Onlyists are destroying the Latin Mass ( March 6, 2014

How The Holy Spirit Works

God, for example, did not dictate every word of the Bible to its authors. He could have, but he did not. Instead, he used their personalities, their writing style, and many different literary genres (including fiction and poetry), to express infallible truth in a wide range of ways. But in spite of that (or because of it), St. Paul’s epistles are a big syntactical mess. (And people say Francis is confusing.)

God heals sickness, but he sends doctors. God forgives sin, but he sends priests. God protects the Church, but he sends Catholics. He uses our intercessions. That God protects the Church from error does not mean we may put our feet up and wait for God to act.

And one of our most important intercessions is prayer. Prayer is God at work in us, and through us. Do not fear for the Church, or for the synod. But always pray.  But how does the Holy Spirit protect the Church? ( 16, 2015

Prudential Judgment and Abortion

 “Prudential judgment” does not free us from the moral law, or the duty to reflect it in our civil law. Prudential judgment is a question of how to do that, not whether to do that.

Believing that abortion may be legal, or voting to uphold and extent its legality, is not an option the Church has left open to Catholics. Not on this question. There is no such thing as being “personally opposed.”

Where Catholics can disagree is with regard to strategy: How do we best go about getting rid of abortion once and for all? That is not, however, to be confused with supporting or voting for its legality. It is good to eliminate the reasons why many women choose abortion, but the Church does not permit us to say that by doing so, one need no longer worry about whether abortion remains legal. As Mark Shea is wont to say: Catholics are a both-and people.
Yes, Virginia, Catholics can say abortion should be legal ( September 7, 2016

Social Justice

It’s true. There are more than the mere five one again and again hears proclaimed from the rooftops: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and same-sex marriage. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith lists more. I bet you did not know that.

In the same way, one must consider society’s protection of minors and freedom from modern forms of slavery (drug abuse and prostitution, for example). In addition, there is the right to religious freedom and the development of an economy that is at the service of the human person and of the common good, with [Brace yourself now.] respect for social justice, the principles of human solidarity and subsidiarity, according to which “the rights of all individuals, families, and organizations and their practical implementation must be acknowledged.”

There is it is! Social justice! A non-negotiable! I mean, to just imagine! Get a drink of water if you need to before we go on. The Church will still be here.

But it seems that we must add, to our five favorite non-negotiables, four more: social justice, peace, elimination of slavery in all its forms, and education.

There are nine of them.

Social justice is also a non-negotiable ( October 3, 2016 

Who Christ Died For

It should not be a controversy for Catholics. I know that Calvinists say Christ died only for the Elect. (Though they also say we can’t know the identity of the Elect, and would amend my title to read, “Jesus May Have Died for Castro, But We Don’t Know.”). Whereas, for Catholics (those who are rightly catechized) if we can’t know whether Castro is saved, we do know that Christ died for him. Christ died for him just as surely as he died for Mother Teresa.
At this point, it is always necessary to clarify what all of this does not mean.
It does not mean that Fidel Castro is saved. (Perhaps he’s not.)
It does not mean we can know the eternal destiny of Castro. (We can’t.)
It does not mean there is no Hell. (There most certainly is.)
It does not mean Castro did not do wicked things that merit Hell and that we ought to condemn. (He most certainly did.)
It does not mean Castro lived a virtuous life. (He most certainly did not.)

It does not mean those who suffered under Castro should not feel joy at his death. (Their joy is perfectly understandable and even just.)
It means that Christ died for all human beings, without exception, and that means that he died for Fidel Castro. End stop.
I can understand that this would be an issue of apologetic debate between Catholics and Calvinists. It should not be an issue of debate among Catholics. Jesus died for Fidel Castro. This should not be a controversy. ( November 28, 2016 

Social Sin

Segregation was a social sin, but it was a social sin of many accumulated acts of individual racism. In order for segregation to end, it was important to change laws. But consciences needed to change too.

And the same is true, by the way, about abortion. Abortion is another grave social sin. It is important that we work to change the laws. But changing laws will be, in John Paul II’s words, “ultimately vain and ineffective” unless we also convert souls.

Only when a soul is converted are social sins reduced.

Yes, there is such a thing as social sin in Catholic teaching. ( March 17, 2017

Sin of Sodom

Heb. 13:2: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” By “entertaining angels,” the author refers to Sodom, since the guests in Lot’s house were angels and the men of Sodom did not know it. They feared that any stranger who came into their midst might be a foreign enemy. (Sound familiar?) Violently raping men was a way of showing “zero tolerance.” But not every stranger is an enemy; some might be angels. That—a particularly egregious and brutal inhospitality to a stranger — was the sin of Sodom. It had naught to do with homosexual attraction.

One must also take note of what the other sins are that cry to heaven for vengeance. Murder is one. Slavery is another — the cry of the foreigner, the orphan, the widow, the oppressed. And defrauding workers of a just wage is the last. What all of these have in common is that the victims are utterly helpless against the powerful. These sins cry to God because he is the only recourse. Gay sex, understood consensually, does not fit this category. But sexual assault does.-What is the sin of Sodom that cries to heaven for vengeance? ( August 26, 2018

Pro-Life Argument

An unborn child is simply not “a woman’s own body,” and the argument needs to be retired. An unborn child is its own body, its own life, worthy of the same respect as the mother’s.-It’s not your body, AOC. An unborn child is its own body. ( 16, 2019

Much to the disbelief of his critics, Scott is actually pro-life.

Agreeing With His Detractors

It would probably be a bad idea if someone at the Vatican were to fix Pope Francis with a device that gave him a small little shock every time he used the word “justification,” or maybe squirted him with a water gun. It might condition him against saying it, but I don’t think you can do that. Maybe someone has a more ethical idea. As rare as it is for me to criticize the pope, it’s about as rare for me to agree with with Dr. Marshall. My detractors should enjoy this while they have the chance.)

Dr. Kwasniewski writes:

When listening to or reading transcripts of the homilies of Pope Francis, one often gets the sense of a man who, as soon as he speaks off the cuff, reveals the inadequacy of his own theological training and the sloppiness of his thinking.

Apart from the part about the pope having “inadequate theological training” and being a “sloppy thinker,” I think this is fair enough. I don’t think the pope has inadequate theological training, and while I agree he’s a sloppy talker, I don’t agree that he’s a sloppy thinker.

The only other thing I would say is this: Although it would be nice if popes spoke only from carefully prepared texts, I don’t suspect you’re going to get Pope Francis to do that. He is who he is. And he’s not unorthodox, or heretical; he’s just sometimes uncareful.
No, Pope Francis doesn’t teach universalism. He’s just sloppy. ( 20, 2020

He never defends Pope Francis blindly and he can even agree with those he often criticizes.

Dignity of Gay Persons

And “who am I to judge?” has got to be Pope Francis’s most misrepresented statement. When he said that, he was speaking about a hypothetical gay priest “who is of good will and seeks the Lord.” He was not talking about gay persons, or the actions of gay persons, in the aggregate. I don’t know what you presume, but I presume a priest “of good will” who “seeks the Lord” is obedient to his ordination vows. A priest ought to obey them whether he’s gay or not. One must not conflate the pope’s words about judging with the question of gay sex, or gay marriage, or gay “unions.” Even if you are a heterosexual priest, you should not be having sex, getting married, or finding a girlfriend. The pope declined to judge celibate people.

In fact, there’s no contradiction at all between affirming the human dignity of gay persons and saying that sin — any sin — is contrary to human dignity. Sin disfigures us. It is a stain upon human dignity, and that’s why there can be no “blessing” upon it. Catholics need a hospital. The Church is not a self-affirming, I’m-okay-you’re-okay therapy group. Pope Francis is consistent. Church teaching is consistent. Gay persons have dignity by virtue of being human beings made in the image of God, end stop. Washington Post says that Pope Francis “dashes hopes of gay Catholics.” ( March 15, 2021

Limits of Apologetics

I suppose that, for many Catholics and many Christians, apologetics means a great deal. And I get the tendency to want to think that the work you do is important.

But for a great many others, argument has not a thing to do with whether you come into the Church or stay in the Church. That’s why, when C.S. Lewis composed his prayer for apologists, warning them not to get cocky, he said that “thoughts are but coins” bearing only a “thin-worn image” of Jesus Christ.

The faith is not about an argument. It is about a person. And that person is not the apologist.

Caveat emptor. When it comes to apologetics: caveat emptor. ( October 5, 2021

If you recall from the interview, he loves apologetics. So this statement means alot coming from someone who writes a blog about the topic.

If you like this, read some more about some other Catholic personalities.

A Tribute to Mark Shea MAY 30, 2020
A Monk’s Writing Life Monday June 29, 2020
Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious Poem JULY 08, 2020
Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious Interview JULY 10, 2020
A Tribute to Rebecca Bratten Weiss AUGUST 10, 2020

In Defense of Fr. Casey Cole FEBRUARY 04, 2021

The Wisdom of Steve Skojec MAY 28, 2021
A Conversation With Singer Katie Curtis JUNE 17, 2021
What are people starving for, Fr. Altman? JUNE 22, 2021
The Spirituality of Fr. James Martin JUNE 23, 2021
Biblical Evidence for Dave Armstrong OCTOBER 22, 2021

Browse Our Archives

Close Ad