BREAKING: Fr. Altman’s bishop has asked him to resign
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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin, May 24, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Father James Altman, the priest whose video message last fall “You can’t be a Catholic and a Democrat” went viral and who has fearlessly criticized the U.S. bishops for needlessly shutting churches and denying the faithful sacraments during the COVID-19 pandemic, announced on Pentecost Sunday that his bishop has asked him to resign for being “divisive and ineffective.”
Bishop William P. Callahan began threatening the outspoken priest with “canonical penalties” in September, even as public support for the priest surged among rank-and-file Catholics around the country and the world.
After delivering a powerful Pentecost Sunday homily, Altman explained: “I regret to inform you, they want my head on a platter. They want my head now for speaking the truth. I apparently have created enemies in the hierarchy.”
“To paraphrase the great, great Cardinal Burke, ‘When I die, I will stand in judgment before the Lord, not any Bishop of the church, nor as the great Cardinal Burke specifically said, the USCCB,’” said the embattled priest.
Instead of getting choked up or pulling back, Altman doubled down on the truths he has been proclaiming to the chagrin of many U.S. bishops.
What really is at play here, dear family, is that other shepherds are offended because I simply state the fact that they abandoned their sheep in a time of need.
If this alleged virus was allegedly a fraction as dangerous as they said it was, it was all the more reason to keep our churches open and get you the sacraments so that you stayed in a state of grace. They put your eternal souls at risk!
They despise me for speaking that simple truth. For speaking the truth that Jesus commanded His Apostles: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you, even though I know the world is going to hate you, I send you to baptize, to forgive the repentant, and to feed my sheep.”
. . .
I do not know how any ordained priest, or bishop, or cardinal, could fail to feed his children. But I do know this. I am not the divisive one. I am not the ineffective one. I am not the one disrespecting my office.
They have done a great job being divisive. They have done a great job of being ineffective and they have done a great job of disrespecting their office all by themselves, without any help from me.
“Jesus warned the Apostles and us that if the world hated him, it would hate us, just because we are trying to be faithful. In other words, the world will be divided by the truth,” he continued. “There will be we who are faithful, who follow the truth, divided from those who are not faithful and who oppose the truth.”
“So dear family, you have to ask yourself, why is anyone accusing me of being divisive? Like as if that is a bad thing, if we know that the truth divides, exactly as Jesus said it did, and I am speaking the truth. In 14 months, no one has said I haven’t,” said Altman.
“Then why is any ‘good Catholic’ complaining about me being divisive?” he asked. “The answer, dear family, is no ‘good Catholic’ is complaining. As a matter of fact, good Catholics from around the world have been very, very supportive.”
Altman said he is working with a canon lawyer.
“In response my canon lawyer asked for clarification – asked for the justification and a chance to review what was in my file that suggested I was so divisive and ineffective,” explained Altman. “And I say all this only because, I'm no expert on canon law, but understand only that while we are contesting bishop's request — and we are — he could in theory appoint a parish administrator whilst I remain a pastor without duties until the appeal goes through Rome, which could take up to a year or more.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, offered his support for Altman via Twitter.
“Fr James Altman is in trouble for speaking the truth,” said Bishop Strickland. “I originally supported him when he spoke bold truth during the election. I continue to support him for speaking the truth in Jesus Christ. He inspires many to keep the faith during these dark days.”
“Let us pray for him,” he added.
Fr James Altman is in trouble for speaking the truth. I originally supported him when he spoke bold truth during the election. I continue to support him for speaking the truth in Jesus Christ. He inspires many to keep the faith during these dark days. Let us pray for him.— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) May 24, 2021
Father Richard Heilman, without mentioning Altman’s name, wrote on Facebook: “With tears in my eyes, I write: I have never met a more humble, kind, holy priest in my life. Those who have met him, know.”
“This is war, folks. The vipers in the episcopacy are playing for keeps, while ‘conservatives’ play for what they can hold on to ... for now,” declared Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn.
“Fr. Altman is showing priests EVERYWHERE what it means to be a MAN of God! It means putting everything on the line, and being willing to suffer whatever comes in the face of witnessing to the Truth,” continued Hichborn.
“These godless, gutless bishops, who allow the James Martins of the world to spread their festering cancerous rot, say nothing about the filth infesting the Church or those pushing it ... but they hamstring, hang, draw and quarter good Priests who dare to give spiritual and moral truth to feed their flocks!” he said.
Contact information for respectful communication:
Catholic Diocese of LaCrosse
Bishop William Callahan
3710 East Avenue South
P.O. Box 4004
La Crosse, WI 54602-4004
+1 (608) 788-7700
Very Rev. William Dhein, Msgr. Michael J. Gorman, and Msgr. Joseph Diermeier, Vicars General
+1 (608) 791-2655
Rev. Woodrow Pace, Vicar for Clergy
+1 (608) 791-2652
Online contact form