By Terry Vanderheyden

SAINT PAUL – MINNEAPOLIS, March 8, 2006 ( – Rev. Robert Altier, the priest silenced by local Archbishop Harry J. Flynn for his opposition to a controversial sex education program for children from kindergarten up, has written to explain his position, as reported on the Catholic news site, Spirit Daily (see

“The whole thing is a pure gift from God,” explains Fr. Altier, calling his silencing a “gift” that ties nicely in with the Catholic Lenten observance. “This is my take on the whole situation, but . . . this cannot possibly be about me. I am merely an instrument that God is using for a much larger purpose. So, if you want to write an article, you really do need to look at what God is doing here.”

Although Fr. Altier has said he will not divulge the contents of the Archbishop’s letter publicly, which ordered him to stop publishing his homilies on line and to stop broadcasting them, Archdiocesan spokesman Dennis McGrath surmised that “Father Altier’s contrarian position on Virtus is the issue.”

Virtus is the highly controversial Planned Parenthood-endorsed sex-ed program incorporated by the archdiocese ostensibly to address childhood sexual abuse by teaching kids how to protect themselves. As evidenced by an October homily (, Fr. Altier opposes the program because, in his own words, “I got to look at that book and it was disgusting.”

Fr. Altier describes part of the “Talking about Touching” program as revealed in course materials that accompany the course. “In this particular book, which I will spare you the details, it began by having our five-year-old children, after looking at a line drawing of a bunch of nude people, turn the page and they have anatomically correct names for all of the genitalia and the children are to repeat these out loud three times. These are five-year-olds. I had to go back and call a friend of mine who is a nurse and say, ‘Can you tell me what this word means? I’ve never heard it before.’ But our five-year-olds are supposed to be repeating it. They claim that this is not a sex-ed course, but rather they say, ‘This is a Safe Touch course.’”

“These things are nothing short of disgusting, and, if I may say, they completely violate the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church,” Fr. Altier adds. He goes on to explain the Catholic Church’s position on the innocence of children, and how sexual matters should not be discussed until a child reaches puberty.

In Pope John Paul II’s document, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, he wrote that a child, during the “years of innocence”– until pre-puberty –“must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex. So as not to disturb this important natural phase of growth, parents will recognize that prudent formation in chaste love during this period should be indirect, in preparation for puberty, when direct information will be necessary.”

Read previous coverage:
  Archdiocese Facing Parent Complaints over “Talking about Touching” Sex-Ed Program
  Bishop Silences Faithful Priest for Objecting to Graphic Sex-Ed Program

Contact Archbishop Flynn:
  226 Summit Avenue
  Saint Paul, MN, USA 55102
  (651) 291-4400

[email protected]


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