Scott Eric Alt Takes Apart the Cold Heartlessness…

Scott Eric Alt Takes Apart the Cold Heartlessness… September 8, 2015

of the Right’s latest Court Prophet for Cruelty to the Alien, the Orphan, and the Widow, John Zmirak.

Scott represents what is best in the Faith, as does Pope Francis:

I hope and pray his voice will be heeded and not the kind of thinking that looks at drowned toddlers and admires Pam Geller as a real hero for attacking his parents.

The desperate who are coming here, like the desperate coming to Europe, are desperate.  And they are, in both cases. fleeing nightmare at home that are, in good measure, our creation.  We have a responsibility to them in both justice and charity.

Meanwhile, in Germany, an Evangelical Church confronts Fortress Christians with a new concept: evangelism.  As hundreds of Muslims seek baptism, some of us propose this novel concept “What if, instead of treating refugees as invaders, Christians regarded them as human beings and men and women for whom Christ died? What if we tried that?  Suppose we extend to drowning toddlers (and even their other family members) the same passion for innocent human life we seem increasingly to reserve only to the unborn?  Suppose we stop using the unborn as human shields for our nativist bigotry and stop spouting filth like “Amnesty Equals Abortion” to rationalize our contempt for the desperate?”

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  • orual’s kindred

    I’m not sure why the “we shouldn’t listen to old celibates who know nothing about X” line is so popular. “Why should we listen to those old celibates about birth control? Are they the ones who will raise the children who will be born out of unplanned pregnancies? What do priests know about working several jobs to provide for kids, to make sure that they have food, medicine, good education?” (Cue the sneering at priests knowing about the making babies part.) Furthermore, I would have thought such a line would be popular mostly among self-described leftists and/or non-believers. I wouldn’t have imagined self-described conservative Catholics with published works on Breitbart would use it as well. However, apparently it’s that popular. And to think that the bishops’ tax-exempt status is specifically mentioned as a problem!

    I hadn’t thought either that trying to get people to fill the pews of Catholic churches was such a terrible thing. Or that Archbishop Chaput’s conservative leanings would be described as “seen by many”, because he “recently delivered a speech on immigration that tracks exactly with the positions of the Democratic Party and radical immigrant activists groups such as La Raza.”

    Also, considering how much Pope Francis has upheld Church teaching in regards to the sanctity of life and marriage, (in Laudato Si and other instances), I wonder whose expectations are yet to be disappointed. Some of us, I think, hold out hope that more Catholics would consider issues in light of what the Church teaches, instead on what partisans might do, say, think or perceive. And I dare say it’s something not too hard to hope for 🙂 We have Christ!

    • Spastic Hedgehog

      Ding Ding Ding! That was my first thought upon reading that line. How is it any different to use the “Celibates don’t know anything about sex/marriage” argument for something like abortion which we all know Mr. Zmirak disagrees with?

      • orual’s kindred

        This may come as a surprise to some people, but I don’t like repeatedly pointing out to Catholics the similarities of thought when partisans left and right dissent from the Church. However, the similarities are there, and strikingly so. And far too often the reaction from Catholics on both sides is denial and denunciations. How is this going to protect conservatism? How is it going to improve liberalism? How is the United States, the wider Western Civilization, and the world as a whole, supposed to benefit from this?

  • capaxdei

    John Zmirak doesn’t believe. He agrees, except where he disagrees.

    • orual’s kindred

      This observation saddens me, but I don’t see much reason to disagree. Prayers that he may recall/discover Our Lord Jesus Christ, and what it means to belong in His Church.

    • IRVCath

      Or rather, he believes in the fantasy Church of the 50s. I mean, look, I have nostalgia for the past too, but at least I don’t turn it into blood and soil style nationalism (if anything, there is something to be said of the multiethnic empires of the past).

  • Andy

    I never realized that Catholic Social Teaching was a myth, when did that happen? I also did not know that being appalled at the way we as a culture and society diminish the inherent dignity of people was a problem. I also missed the memo that says to be a Catholic I must embrace being a “republican” or a “movement conservative” – I thought that our goal was to be Catholic and ALL that it teaches and not be part of the political culture. The cry to counter-cultural is what the church teaches, it is not right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal – it is based on the inherent value of each of us as people – why is that so hard for folks to accept and understand – in the economic realm, the arena of abortion, the battle of immigration?

    • IRVCath

      Because we want to be Muricans, just like our neighbors. Blame Cards. Gibbons and Spellman.

    • Re_Actor

      it is based on the inherent value of each of us as people – why is that so hard for folks to accept and understand – in the economic realm, the arena of abortion, the battle of immigration?

      I’m sure no Catholic would dispute the principle of “the inherent value of each of us as people”. (Just as I like to think no Catholic would dispute that somewhat neglected principle of Catholic social teaching known as the Social Kingship of Christ or Social Reign of Christ the King.)

      What is eminently disputable is which specific political, social, economic &c measures best manifest the abstract principle in any given concrete situation. The undeniable fact that over the centuries popes have contradicted each other on these matters suggests that they are not to be taken as infallible guides here.

      • Andy

        To be honest I would rather trust popes, flawed as they are then political type, economists and the like. Popes in the immediate past centuries have had little to gain by being liberal or conservative – there focus rightly has been on the dignity of man and not the dignity of power or gold.
        I will not debate that men have pushed Jesus and what he taught out of our lives – we have replaced him, in the US, with the false gods of mammon and moloch and their great lie of American Exceptionalism – this is true of conservatives and liberals of todays stripe. I think there are many Catholics who would dispute the Social Reign of Christ the King, sadly.

  • Joseph

    Amnesty International = Abortion, however. Anyway, you’re right. America should take most of the refugees since they are really the cause of the refugee crisis in the first place with their incessant and psychopathic meddling in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, the US actually funded and armed the very extremist groups who are causing these people to flee their homelands. But… nah… America isn’t going to do anything about it… it’s Europe’s problem, right? America… that beacon on the hill… the light of which is obscured by so much blood. Blood is Freedom stained.

  • The Deuce

    Just repeat the word “desperate” enough and it becomes true and trumps all other considerations without any rational thought, right? Unless you’re willing to inflict this on your own family, including your own grandchildren, perhaps STFU and stop judging those who are concerned about theirs:

    And Abdullah Kurdi’s father should be condemned. He wasn’t in a war zone, he wasn’t “desperate.” He already had asylum but chose to recklessly endanger his family’s lives out of mere convenience, as part of an immigration scam, and is now provably lying about it by telling different stories to different people. “Heartless Europeans” didn’t do this to him. But apparently just speaking the truth is verboten because it conflicts with feelings stirred by media narratives? I thought “lying for Jesus” was bad, or does that only apply to Planned Parenthood stings?

    • chezami

      So important to stand tall against drowned children, Ian.

      I said nothing about heartless Europeans. I spoke of Zmirak’s heartlessness. The European response has been a hopeful sign. American Movement Conservatives, of which you are an exemplary member, not so much.

    • So important, when a man loses his wife and kids, rather than say “There but for the grace of God go I,” to immediately start looking for scams and inconsistencies.

      • chezami

        The Deuce and those like him are nothing if not vigilant for reasons to crucify a man after the death of his child–and to expand the charges until a vast population of refugees fleeing terror and oppression are all transformed into scam artists and terrorists in their minds. Thus does American worship of the Movement Conservative god face its responsibility for helping to create this nightmare. Trump is their perfect representative. Zmirak will be an excellent court prophet.

        • IRVCath

          Alas, it’s not an American thing. We see this in full display in Europe. I think a lot of it is frustration at economic dislocation, and the people targeted have the benefit, by and large, of not being able to fight back.

  • ivan_the_mad

    My goodness.

    The bishops are concerned for the immigrant because they are “eager to refill the emptying pews”? I’ve both read and heard the same explanatory motive posited by anti-Catholic Protestants, and find it no less a smear when written by a Catholic. Mr. Zmirak, before speciously blaming the bishops for everything wrong with Church, should consider the following reflection: “Through my fault. Through my fault. Through my most grievous fault.”

    “Questions … should not be decided by tax-exempt celibates who have never needed to balance a checkbook, support a family, or meet a payroll”, writes Zmirak, joining the chorus of ignorant dissent from, and opposition to, the Church’s teachings on marriage, birth control, and abortion. Further, this is a scandalous attitude towards our pastors and shepherds in their legitimate role as teacher, and rank anti-clericalism.

    “‘to the extent that they are able.’ Well, that is what we are arguing about, now isn’t it?” Perhaps, but one may be forgiven for finding stark inconsistency in the opponent of welcoming 11mn+ immigrants who is (nominally) also the opponent of 50mn+ abortions.

    • chezami

      Given the choice, Zmirak unfailingly punches below the belt and is not ashamed to use the most revolting Know Nothing tropes to shout down the Church when it disagrees with his private dogmas.

  • Re_Actor

    (Note the raised forefingers.)

  • Re_Actor

    “…It is a tragedy within a tragedy – for the people killed, and for integration. We are all shocked. … For each small step we have taken forward in terms of integration, this has put us 10 steps backwards.”

    (Eerily reminiscent of General Casey: “And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse …”)

  • Re_Actor

    [“Comments are disabled for this video.”]

  • Re_Actor

    “Half an hour ago on the border between Italy and Austria i saw a huge crowd of immigrants. With all solidarity to people in difficult circumstances I have to say that what I saw arouses horror.This huge mass of people – sorry – but it’s an absolute wilderness … Vulgar, throwing bottles, shouting “We want Germany”. So what, Germany is now a paradise?

    “I saw an elderly Italian woman in a car that was surrounded by the immigrants. They pulled her by the hair out of the car and wanted to use it to go to Germany. They tried to topple the bus i was in. They threw feces at us, banging on the door for the driver to open it, spat on the glass. My question is- for what purpose? How do they want to assimilate in Germany? For a moment, i felt like in a warzone. I really feel sorry for these people, but if they would reach Poland – I do not think they would receive any understanding from us.

    We spent three hours on the border, but failed to get through. The whole group was later transported back to Italy by the police. The bus is butchered, feces smeared, scratched, broken windows. And this is supposed to be an idea for the demographics? These big powerful hordes?

    “Among them there were almost no women and children – the vast majority was aggressive young men. Just yesterday I read the news on all the websites with real compassion, worried about their fate and today after what I saw I am just afraid. And I am happy they do not choose our country as their destination. We Poles are simply not ready to accept these people – neither culturally nor financially. I do not know if anyone is ready. A giant pathology is approaching the EU, one which we have never seen before. And sorry if anyone is offended by this entry.

    “A car with humanitarian aid came. Food and water. They just toppled it and stole everything. With megaphones the Austrians announced a message that there is consensus for them to cross over the border – they wanted to register them and let them go on – but they did not understand these messages. None. And it was all the greatest horror … From those few thousand people nobody understood neither Italian nor English, or German, or Russian, or Spanish … What mattered was the law of the fist.

    “They fought for permission to move on, but they were already allowed to do so. They did not understand that! They broke into the French bus – everything was stolen in a short time. Never in my short life, I had no opportunity to watch such scenes and I feel that this is just the beginning. On a final note, it is worth helping, but not at any price.”

    • Mike Petrik

      These are disturbing reports, Actor. Thanks for posting.

  • fsaddga

    oh look, some migrants just raped a seven year old german girl. however, police are having trouble finding the suspects because they just let in eight hundred thousand people that fit their descriptions. i wouldn’t worry though, it probably won’t take more than hearing one of francis the retarded’s sermons to convert them to devout pro-life catholics

    • chezami


    • Mike Petrik

      I can only assume you neither speak German nor read English, since the piece explicitly mentions only a single attacker, not “some migrants.” Look, if I can assume you are an American without assuming all Americans are idiots, you should be able to assume that the the rapist in question is a migrant without assuming all migrants are are rapists. Try, I know you can do it.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I think that our cbc has a reasonable analysis of what is involved in taking in refugees:


    On refugee crisis, PM must heed more than public opinion

    Canadians may feel a moral imperative to act in the face of tragedy — but good public policy demands scrutiny

    By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: Sep 09, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 09, 2015 5:00 AM ET

  • Ignorantly saying something that isn’t true with feeling and outrage does not make it true. Zmirak takes exception to an op-ed that went out over the name of Archbishop Cupich. Archbishop Cupich in that op-ed, at best, is taking liberties with certain teachings of the Church, perhaps due to space limitations. The death penalty, for example, has had a judgment made that the conditions for its just application have been made vanishingly rare by modern penal developments. This is a nuanced position that not merely marks a difference in distastefulness with the rending of the unborn in order to sell their parts but a difference in kind. There is no time and no circumstance where well developed unborn with a heartbeat have had circumstances where it is just to kill them and distribute their parts as the roman soldiers diced for Christ’s cloak. Cupich was wrong to let an op-ed be published where it is so easy to make that inference and think it Catholic doctrine.

    If you cannot defend that blurring of the difference between Planned Parenthood and the death penalty, you cannot defend Archbishop Cupich’s op-ed and if you can’t defend that op-ed then Zmirak has a legitimate point. I didn’t get past the Cupich part yet in this whole hot mess. Zmirak may be wrong on any number of other points but he’s got at least one thing right.

    • Mike Petrik

      I agree, TML. The notion that (i) the intentional killing of a child who is innocent of any wrongdoing without an iota of due process is the moral equivalent of (ii) the intentional killing of an adult who has been found guilty of a heinous crime pursuant to due process is disordered moral reasoning to say the least.
      Although I generally oppose the death penalty, the nuances of Catholic teaching are important when one considers murders that are committed in or ordered from prison, especially when death penalty opponents apply their same absolutist dogmas to solitary confinement.

      • I still await the enumeration of the penal developments that make the death penalty unnecessary which are not also under attack as being separately impermissible on different grounds. So far as I can tell, nobody has actually done the work.

        • Mike Petrik

          Me too TML, and as I said I generally oppose.

          I have no quarrel whatsoever with the “rule” summarized in the Catechism, but the “very rare if not non-existent” assertion requires a prudential assessment for which the bishops have no special charism. As such it has always struck me as nothing more that an embarrassingly gratuitous editorial.

          • I think that there might be something there. It *is* the catechism after all. But for it to really mean something, the factual assertion has to be fleshed out and proven true or false. If it’s true, we should be getting rid of capital punishment as soon as we can. If it’s false, the underlying teaching accepting capital punishment remains as valid as it always was.

            • Mike Petrik

              Perhaps, but Catechism or no it is just odd to include a factual assertion as opposed to a moral rule. Indeed the assertion isn’t even qualified qualified by region, as though all states had comparable capabilities.

              • I think it’s odd too. But that and five bucks will get me some over roasted coffee from Starbucks. The whole ball of wax of christianity is odd. It’s also true which is why I continue with it. So I don’t blink at this departure from norms of using this teaching form in the catechism. I do insist that if we’re going to do it, we avoid disaster and verify that the facts asserted are actually facts. Not doing that fact verification is a principal cause of the sex scandals and I am not up for a repeat of that tragedy on any other subject. I’m rather cross with Catholics who are.

  • I’ve now read further through both pieces. I face a conundrum. Which assumption is more charitable, that Mr. Alt does not have the brainpower to read and comprehend Mr. Zmirak’s argument or that he understands it well enough and is mischaracterizing it to smear the man? Inquiring minds want to know. Because as plain as day Zmirak is being smeared both in Alt’s piece and in this one.