Is Fr. Jim Altman a Sedevacantist?
A sedevacantist is defined as a Catholic who believes there has not been a valid Pope since 1958. Fr. Jim Altman is not a sedevacantist. I know Fr. Altman in real life. We have mutual friends who are sedevacantists and we admire them, but we are not in that camp.
To recap: Sedevacantist in Latin means empty-chair. Sedevacantist in English means one who believes no valid Pope since 1958 due to modernist heresies in them.
If you were speaking exclusively Latin, you could accurately call Fr. Altman “a sedevacantist” due to his recent video on the papacy. But while speaking English, it would be entirely dishonest and a false-accusation to call Fr. Altman “a sedevacantist” because of his recently-explained stance on the Chair of Peter.
Why isn’t it sufficient to imply the Latin for sedevacantist when speaking English? Because we have thousands of English cognates based on Latin root words where the English word means something slightly different or entirely different from the original Latin root word.
In the Traditional Latin Mass, there are many propers asking that we imitate the conversatione of the saints. Conversatione in Latin looks like the English word “conversation.” But a transliteration is not the same as a translation. Most Missals translate this as “intercourse,” but this is inaccurate, too, at least according to modern parlance. Really, the request to God that we imitate the conversatione of the saints is a request that we imitate the lifestyle of the saints. Yes, the best translation of the Latin conversatione into English is “lifestyle.” Keep in mind that those odd cognates that look like their root-word in another language but mean another thing entirely are often labeled by linguists as faux-amis.
But many conservatives and even traditionalists who know the basics about language are still calling Fr. Altman a “sedevacantist,” as if they were allowed to go on denotation without connotation. Why are they doing this? Because they are dishonest. They know that Fr. Altman believes every Pope from 1958 to 2022 was valid. Now, if you don’t agree with Fr. Altman’s view of the current Vatican right now, that’s fine. But then politely dismantle his syllogisms without calling him a “sedevacantist” if you mean that word specifically to evoke a connotation of being a “Protestant.”
If you’re doing that on purpose, keep in mind that Marxists changed Eastern European languages to promote Communism. Pro-aborts refuse to use accepted neonatology terms in discussing abortion. At a less destructive level (but perhaps because of a fear of the truth) there are Catholics today who believe they can call Fr. Altman a “sedevacantist” simply based on a transliteration and denotation of the Latin instead of a clear translation of word based in connotation, too. (Even true sedevacantists today are honest enough to admit that Fr. Altman is not a “sedevacantist” as it means in English!)
But for those who hate the Logos, it usually means hating language, too. They refrain from answering clear objections posited by their adversaries. And it’s precisely because leftists can not answer such objections that they change language to suit their foregone conclusions. Clearly, I expect this behavior from Marxists and pro-aborts. But to see such dishonesty on language from conservative and traditional Catholics should give them pause as to exactly why they are so afraid of Fr. Altman’s recent assertions.
You only change language when you’re afraid that the truth is true.