I had formerly recommended in this article, material by Catholic writer Scott Eric Alt, in which he defended Pope Francis from various bum raps. Upon reflection, I have regrettably concluded that his objectionable political rhetoric has unduly influenced even his attempted apologetics, and so I have now retracted my former recommendation.
I will maintain the original latter portion of this article, in which I criticized Alt’s atrociously uncharitable political polemics. It was his response to this (also seen below) that caused me to change my mind about recommending his “papal apologetics.”
Concluding Sadly Necessary Partial Disclaimer
Though I highly recommend the above series, regrettably I cannot recommend the writing of Scott Eric Alt as a whole, because — particularly on his Facebook page — he has been conducting for several years now an ongoing crusade of hyper-polemical, ultra-uncharitable, miserably divisive rhetoric against those he disagrees with, with regard to political views or pro-life strategy. I have to be mindful of the many scriptural admonitions against divisiveness, contentiousness, and factionalism.
I have nothing whatsoever against expression of diverse political views within Catholicism. I’m a somewhat atypical “bleeding-heart” conservative myself. What is objectionable is the condescending, patronizing, judgmental manner in which Alt — habitually, relentlessly — goes about it. In this respect he clearly emulates the “Orthodoxy Cop” / “Thundering Prophet” example of Mark Shea, who has been polemicizing in this fashion for more than fifteen years: utterly deaf to the troubled protests and well-intentioned rebukes of literally hundreds of former alienated fans and regular followers of his writing. Examples of his shortcoming are legion (search “Mark Shea” on my Political web page).
Accordingly, I have been urging my readers to avoid Shea’s Facebook page and unedifying, slanderous political rantings — wherever they are found — like the plague. It’s puzzling and very sad that some men can write truly excellent, eloquent apologetics on the one hand [both Shea and Alt majored in literature] and atrocious, charity-free political ravings on the other, but such is the human condition, and the devil has mightily exploited this weakness.
ADDENDUM: Alt’s Reply to My Criticism of His “Political Demeanor”
. . . an assumption that is false, namely, that Trumpism exists somewhere within a range of decent political opinion that can be respectably agreed with or politely refused over cigars.
It does not. Trumpism is fascism. That person x who advocates may not know that it is fascism doesn’t change anything. Their ignorance does not make Trumpism decent and doesn’t justify polite discussion.
Fascism is not to be reasoned with. Fascism is to be defeated. . . .
It’s how fascists behave, and it doesn’t deserve the dignity of a Socratic discussion. My goal is not to convince you you’re wrong, my goal is to defeat you.
I don’t go out for drinks to reason with injustice.
When fascists stop trying to take over my country, I’ll have the luxury of being polite. (“Why I talk about politics the way I do, and why I plan to continue.”, 10-23-21)
Photo credit: Balaam and the Ass (1626), by Rembrandt (1606-1669) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
Summary: Sadly, I have decided to no longer recommend Scott Eric Alt’s defenses of Pope Francis, due to the ultra-uncharitable & pervasive nature of his political polemics.