The Danger of Self-Proclaimed Truth and Faithfulness

Fr. James Altman has decided that he himself is faithful and is speaking Truth (with a capital “T” for some unknown reason). When he had a conflict with his Bishop, he did not resolve the conflict and did not obey his Bishop, so he was suspended. He has stated publicly he will continue to speak the Truth and not be silenced by his Bishop. His supporters claim that he is a faithful priest, and that the Bishops are persecuting faithful priests for speaking truth.

Apart from the particulars of Fr. Altman’s situation, the same attitude has spread among many conservative or traditionalist Catholics. They are speaking truth. They are the most faithful Catholics. And when Pope Francis criticizes them, their attitude is, “Why is this happening to us? We’re faithful. Everything we believe is truth. The Pope must be the one in error.” It reminds me of the Samaritan woman at the well, who was convinced that she and her forefathers knew truth better than the Jews.

{4:19} The woman said to him: “Lord, I see that you are a Prophet.
{4:20} Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
{4:21} Jesus said to her: “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you shall worship the Father, neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem.
{4:22} You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know. For salvation is from the Jews.
{4:23} But the hour is coming, and it is now, when true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeks such persons who may worship him.
{4:24} God is Spirit. And so, those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Salvation is from the Jews, because the Jewish people were chosen by God to prepare for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. And from Christ came the Christian Church, the body of Christ, which is the sole Ark of Salvation. That Church teaches truth. The one holy catholic and Apostolic Church decides what is and is not truth on faith and morals, and what is best for liturgical form and other aspects of discipline. For Jesus is Truth.

{14:6} Jesus said to him: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

When an individual Christian or a certain Catholic subculture proclaims himself/itself to be Truth, or to be certainly speaking Truth, apart from and even in contradiction to the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops, they rebel against Christ who is “the Truth”.

The danger is that anyone who is self-proclaimed to be speaking Truth or to be faithful, is so only in his own eyes, and has in Truth before God gone astray from the truths of the Faith established by Christ and taught by His Church.

“Every true Catholic proclaims with St. Cyprian and St. Augustine: ‘He cannot have God as his Father who does not have the Church as his Mother.’ ”

Saint Bellarmine: “The Pope is the Teacher and Shepherd of the whole Church, thus, the whole Church is so bound to hear and follow him that if he would err, the whole Church would err.” [Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V (De Controversiis) (p. 162). Mediatrix Press. Kindle Edition.]

Carlo Vigano, Fr. Altman, the Coalition for Cancelled Priests, LifeSiteNews, Church Militant, Crisis magazine, OnePeterFive, and other persons and media outlets have apportioned to themselves the right, above the Supreme Pontiff and the Apostolic College (the body of Bishops), to decide all matters of doctrine and discipline. They have usurped the role of the Vicar of Christ, and have proclaimed in various ways that the Church is wrong, the Pope is wrong, Vatican II is wrong, but that they themselves not only are right, but seemingly cannot be wrong. It is as if they have the charisms which are truly only given to Peter and his successors, to speak infallibly, to be free from every grave error, and to have a never-failing faith.

When you decide that you are speaking Truth and the Church is not, when you decide that you are so faithful that you should teach and correct the Popes and Councils, instead of the other way around, when you and your peers claim to be sure and unfailing sources of true doctrine and of correct discipline, this is schism, this is heresy, this leads to apostasy. For the Lord Jesus gave to His Church alone the role to teach and guide all the faithful and all the peoples of the world.

Who is the Antichrist? He will be a mere human person in the distant future who claims to be a god. But the spirit of the Antichrist has been in the world for many centuries, in opposition to the Church founded by Christ. That spirit is all the attitudes and sins which lead eventually to the actual Antichrist. And what does the Antichrist do? He sets up a false Church, to worship himself, and to compete with and replace the true Catholic Church. It is the spirit of the Antichrist to rebel against the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops, and claim for yourselves the right to decide what is truth and what is best for believers. The most extreme version of this attitude comes to putrid fruition in the time of the Antichrist, hundreds of years from new, when he tries to replace Catholic truth and Catholic worship with whatever the most sinful and corrupt persons in the world want for themselves. For it is only by giving the sinful world what they inordinately desire that he can obtain their false worship of himself.

They who proclaim themselves to be speakers of Truth, apart from the Church founded by Christ, who is Truth; they who proclaim themselves to be faithful, while rebelling against the authority of that Church; they are like the Antichrist; they imitate him and not Jesus Christ. For they seek to replace the truths and disciplines taught and decided by the successors of the Apostles with the ideas of fallen sinful pride-filled persons.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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3 Responses to The Danger of Self-Proclaimed Truth and Faithfulness

  1. Robert L Fastiggi says:

    Dear Ron,

    Thank you for this good article. Fr. Altman claims that he’s only speaking the truth. There is, though, a serious theological error in this sermon of his from about a month ago:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St5sDCoyx38&ab_channel=ConfraternityOfSt.MichaelTheArchangel

    Between 11:17 and 11:40 of the video, you’ll see that Fr. Altman states that there have only been about 4-7 infallible statements made by the Magisterium (which is clearly wrong). He then claims that everything else is just an opinion. As you well know, this is error 22 of the 1864 Syllabus of Errors issued by Bl. Pius IX (Denz.-H, 2292). Fr. Altman’s reduction of teachings of the ordinary Magisterium to to mere “opinions” also contradicts Pius XII’s Humani Generis, 20 and Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, 25. We need to pray for Fr. Altman.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Thanks, Robert. What Fr. Altman says is a common error used to attack Pope Francis, other Popes, and even Vatican II, the error that says if it’s not infallible, you can believe whatever you want, and even that whatever is non-infallible can err to any extent.

      That quote you mentioned from Humani Generis:
      “20. Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth me”; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.”

      And Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 25:
      “For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old,(164) making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock.(165) Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra”

  2. Adam Stengel says:

    I have only recently found this blog. What a breath of fresh air!!! Actual theology and real traditional thinking in defense of our Holy Father and Mother Church. May God bless your work abundantly!!

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