(LifeSiteNews) – In a new interview with Dr. Taylor Marshall, Father James Altman joins the many voices criticizing Pope Francis’s motu proprio Traditionis Custodes which aims at essentially abrogating the Traditional Latin Mass as it had been approved by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. According to Father Altman, this ancient rite of the Holy Mass cannot be abrogated at all because “since [the Council of] Trent and before we have known: that is the sacred worship commanded by almighty God.”
In different additional interviews, Father Altman has further discussed the problems of the Second Vatican Council, his views of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and the problem of our current bishops who do not follow God’s Command to “feed My sheep.”
On July 8, Fr. Altman, of La Crosse, Wisconsin was suspended by his bishop, William Patrick Callahan, but he told LifeSite’s editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen that he will appeal this decision. Callahan previously asked Altman to resign from his parish, because he deems him to be “divisive.” One of the priest’s prominent videos was entitled “You Cannot Be Catholic and A Democrat.”
When are Catholic bishops ‘finally going to wake up and say, our little experiment and bizarre liturgy after Vatican II has failed miserably’?
The title of Dr. Marshall’s interview with Fr. Altman is “Double Standard Bishops,” pointing to the fact that the same bishop who recently suspended Altman has the former USCCB General Secretary Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill incardinated in his diocese. Burrill had to resign from his USCCB post because he was caught using the homosexual meet-up app Grindr, but he has not been suspended for his immoral conduct.
“Sodomy is one of the sins that cries to heaven and not [the fact of] being divisive,” Marshall commented in the interview. The Ten Commandments and the express teaching of Jesus Christ, “the bishops disobey that. But then we’re told, well, you can’t have a Traditional Latin Mass because you might get a schismatic attitude, you might be divisive or whatever.” Dr. Marshall sees that “it is just ridiculous of what they insist on obedience. And then the obvious, the Ten Commandments, in the words of Jesus, are optional for them. How was this Christianity?”
Father Altman informed his audience about the Traditional Latin Mass, saying that “Vatican II never abrogated it, nor could Vatican II abrogate it, because since Trent and before we have known: that is the sacred worship commanded by almighty God.” He went on to explain what Pope Benedict XVI did with his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (freeing the use of the traditional Latin Mass): “he didn’t just grant something that then the next guy could take away and then the next guy after it give us back.”
“What Benedict did,” Altman continued, “is only clarify that bishops had to allow the Latin Mass because it never was abrogated by Vatican II, and those bishops who denied us the right to the Latin Mass actually were in error.”
It is here that Father Altman rebukes Pope Francis for his attempt at restricting once more the use of this ancient rite:
So now what the Bishop of Rome [Francis] has done is he’s taken it upon himself almost in an infallible manner and tried to restrict something to which we, the faithful, are entitled by our Baptism, to celebrate in the extraordinary form, in the traditional Latin Mass. He has no right to do that. By the way, just so you know, Bishop of Rome, you don’t have a right to do that. You pull a fast one, Bishop of Rome. You did something you weren’t entitled to do. You did something you’re not allowed to do. You’re not a little autocratic tyrant over there. Get with the program, Bishop of Rome.
Father Altman thinks that “every single Catholic,” independent of whether or not he likes the traditional Mass, “ought to stand up and say no, the Catholic Church’s truth is unchanging, unchangeable.” The Wisconsin priest continued: “Trent, which is irrevocable and is dogmatic, prescribed specifically the type of Mass we can have.” We are not divisive, he expounded, but “the divisive ones are those who tried to destroy.”
In order to prove his point, the priest stated that “since Vatican II, since these bishops destroyed the Latin Mass and created this Novus Ordo [Mass]. 80 percent of Catholics now don’t go to Mass. About 80 percent of Catholics don’t believe in the real presence, as I said, time and again.”
“At what percentage,” Altman went on to say, “are the bishops finally going to wake up and say, our little experiment and bizarre liturgy after Vatican II has failed miserably?”
“The proof is in the pudding, trying to argue with me on that one,” he concluded.
Father Altman made it clear that the responsibility for this grave failure, this loss of Faith among the faithful, lies with the bishops. “And it’s your fault because you are the ones who destroyed the sacred liturgy from being sacred,” he insisted. Instead, these modern bishops allowed or even presided over “puppet Masses,” even with a “beachball on the altar.”
Here, the priest made a direct reference to the Pachamama scandal in Rome, saying: “I remember a high-ranking prelate who brings Pachamama, along with others, into St. Peter’s [Basilica], puts it before the mother church of all Christendom, before the altar, the abomination into the temple. Really, do we really want to do want to know what divisive is with a capital ‘D’?”
Altman on the Latin Mass, SSPX, and Vatican II
Father Altman also pointed to the faithfulness of the traditional Catholics that he witnessed, saying, “if you go to a Catholic church on a Sunday and as you drive by, you see a half a dozen or more big vans there, 99 times out of 100, Latin Mass is going on inside. Why? Because families with children – that’s what the vans are for – are inside. And they want the truth and the beauty and the glory of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for their children because they understand that they’re stewards of their children. They’re going to answer to God. They’ll be held accountable to God for not bringing up the children correctly.”
In a moving part of the conversation, the priest also related how he, three years into his priesthood, in 2011, first celebrated his ad orientem Mass, that is when the priest does not face the people, but the altar. He told Dr. Marshall:
And so the first time I did it, it was all by candlelight. It came time for me to elevate the chalice [after the consecration]. As I held it up, my line of sight from my eyes to the top of the chalice was directly under the wound in Christ side on the big crucifix in the back [on the altar]. And it was like His blood was dripping into the chalice. And in that space of three seconds, I knew I could never not do this again [facing the people] because it was a prayer to Our Father for the sacrifice of his Son.
“They stole our inheritance,” Altman went on to say. “They stole it. And know that’s the First Commandment.”
“I came to discover what I was not taught the things; they didn’t teach you,” the priest went on to say. “There are no words to describe it.”
With this witness, Father Altman confirms the words of others – such as Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Don Davide Pagliarani – that the traditional Mass represents another Faith than the one created after Vatican II, also with the help of the Novus Ordo Mass.
Since his suspension at the beginning of July, Father Altman has recurrently discussed these and related matters. For example, when speaking with Dr. Marshall two weeks ago, and asked whether he would ever consider joining the SSPX, Altman explained that it is a difficult situation for him, since he might not be able even to go to another diocese should his own bishop not give him permission to do that. He declared that the fact that the SSPX had its own difficulties with some sex abuse scandals would not deter him from going there because “every diocese has had them.” But then, in light of his “notoriety” now, Father Altman continued, “what order would even accept me?”
If speaking the truth makes him cut off from serving the people in a parish, “then I have to give that up to God,” Altman explained. “I guess, what will happen in the future, I do not know,” he added, “it would be nice to be with the SSPX, with another order.” But he was also aware that other groups such as the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) are under the authority of the local bishop. Father Altman agreed with Dr. Marshall when he said that the SSPX might be one of the few options for him should the relationship with his own bishop be completely broken.
Traditional Latin Mass ‘is what has been stolen from us and continues to be stolen from us’
Moreover, in a July 9 two-hour-long video discussion called The Rundown, Altman discussed the current Church crisis as it relates to the many clerical sex abuse scandals, the Catholic Church’s collaboration with the lockdown policies, as well as certain alterations of the faith and its liturgy after the Second Vatican Council. In unambiguous terms, Altman made clear that it is the duty of the bishops now to admit the wrong course they took after the Council and to restore the faith to its fullness. In this context, now that he has been suspended from his faculties by his own bishop for speaking up against these forms of corruption, the Wisconsin priest said that it would be “valid” to go to an SSPX Mass. “They have a valid Mass and you can go there and it is valid. Go, go there, where the Church is open,” he said.
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is an international priestly society that was founded in 1970 in order to preserve the traditional Catholic priesthood and the traditional Catholic Faith – its doctrine, its morals, and its liturgy – in its entirety. They have also preserved the traditional rites of the Sacraments. While they have been looked upon for decades as being disobedient for consecrating, without papal approval, four bishops of their own in 1988, in light of the current Church crisis, more and more voices – among them first Bishop Athanasius Schneider and later Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – are coming out in their defense.
Father Altman seems now in his own way to join these voices. He was asked by Ryan Grant, one of the participants in this Rundown video discussion, whether or not, “now that you are freed up and only saying Mass in private, would you be saying the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively?” Altman’s first response to this question was: “That is a wonderful idea,” but then he admitted of only having had 24 hours time since his being suspended to think about such questions.
“I think I need to go deeper into the Latin Mass,” he then added, “because it is what has been stolen from us and continues to be stolen from us.” The priest then referred to the rumors that Rome was about to suppress or at least discourage the use of Summorum Pontificum. “The one thing, the one thing that people believe in 100%,” he added, “the Holy Eucharist, is the one thing they are trying to destroy.”
During the lengthy conversation, Fr. Altman made it clear that he is of the opinion that most of the U.S. bishops have failed their sheep by not speaking up against the sex abuse scandals, by not protecting the liturgy, and by not correcting some of the “ambiguities” that came with and after Vatican II, the Council that lasted from 1962 to 1965 and that brought forth many changes in the Church, the least of which being the Novus Ordo Mass, a simplified, if not truncated, version of the Traditional Latin Mass which then aimed at being more suitable to Protestants. Some “godless, diabolical, anti-Catholic” people, the priest added, “destroyed the Church, destroyed the liturgy” and the “smoke of Satan has entered the Church,” as Pope Paul VI himself said. Later, Fr. Altman also mentioned positively the book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church From Within by Dr. Taylor Marshall.
When discussing the changes after Vatican II and while not being specifically able to say which would be the best approach to the documents of the Council and some of their ambiguities which were intentionally placed in the documents and then later “exploited” by Modernists, Father Altman stated: “When are the bishops going to say ‘okay, our experiment after Vatican II failed miserably, we better restore what was stolen from us after Vatican II.’”
Yet, this is not what most bishops are doing right now. “Meanwhile,” Fr. Altman continued, “they are presiding over the absolute decline and end of the Catholic Church,” except for the existence of a remnant. At another point in the discussion, Father Altman mentioned this matter of a remnant, saying that “the traditional people are the remnant.”
Father Altman agreed with his host who said that in light of coronavirus, the year 2020 was “a moment of clarification” as to whom “has the supernatural faith.” One participant in the Rundown discussion mentioned that the SSPX had kept its churches and chapels open and even sued successfully in two states (New Jersey and California) against some of the lockdown policies.
Father Altman strongly opposes the coronavirus vaccine and stated during the video discussion that he believes that the bishops will be judged by God if they do not protect their sheep from this vaccine.
Father Altman also discussed the question of obedience, in light of his own case. He pointed out that there exists a “false interpretation of obedience” that led to the sex abuse scandals where no priest or bishop dared to speak up. “Silence in the face of error,” he expounded, “is complicity.”
“You don’t obey error,” was another of this priest’s statements.
The priest also pointed out that there are now “hundreds and hundreds of priests gathering” and helping each other, all of whom have been “canceled” by their bishops. “The people have enough with you, Shepherds of the Church, with your tyrant behavior,” he went on to say.
Fr. Altman also quoted Saint Maximilian Kolbe. “He [Kolbe] said that the minute a bishop strays into error, even slightly, is when you no longer have to obey him,” as he apparently summed up the words of the saint. The universal law of the Church, Father Altman continued, “is the salvation of souls,” explaining that “virtually every bishop in this country did [stray into error] by denying access to the sacraments [during the lockdown]; you no longer have to obey them.”