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US bishop rebukes priest over homily warning against coronavirus vaccine

Bishop Bernard Hebda also invited the Minnesota Health Department, which promotes a number of intrinsic evils, to critique Father Robert Altier's popular homily.
Mon Sep 28, 2020 - 11:55 am EST
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Father Robert Altier

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CRYSTAL, Minnesota, September 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has rebuked a priest over a controversial homily warning against coronavirus vaccines and ordered him not to speak about COVID-19 from the pulpit.

In a September 6 homily, Father Robert Altier rejected the three U.S.-backed coronavirus vaccines in late-stage testing on moral grounds and said the pandemic was started intentionally with a man-made virus and is now being prolonged to instill fear as part of an agenda by world leaders.

Posted on Complicit Clergy under the title “The Coronavirus: the truth revealed,” the homily has been viewed more than 400,000 times as well as making the national news and the front page of the Minneapolis daily paper.

On September 10, the archdiocese stated that Altier's sermon was under review.

On September 22, Archbishop Bernard Hebda sent a letter to parishes in the diocese stating that the “use of a homily to present medical or scientific speculation…could be seen as an abuse of the cleric’s position of authority to address an issue unrelated to the liturgical celebration.” 

Hebda, a Harvard graduate with a law degree from Columbia, said he had spoken with Altier who “remains firm in his opinions on the pandemic situation, but …has acknowledged that his remarks were inappropriate in the context of a homily during Mass.”

The archbishop’s letter referenced the General Instruction on the Roman Missal which direct that a homily should explain some aspect of the Scripture readings or the texts from the ordinary or proper of the Mass of the day and “take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.”

Hebda said he also consulted the Minnesota Department of Health and he included its refutation of six of the many points Altier made during his 20-minute homily. 

The archbishop consulted the local chapter of the Catholic Medical Association as well, he wrote, “and learned that they too considered some of Fr. Altier’s affirmations to be ‘erroneous’ and that they essentially shared the critique by the Minnesota Department of Health (other than the section on vaccinations).”

Altier, a St. Paul native ordained 31 years ago, said that with three coronavirus vaccines moving into final testing, he thought he needed to say something “about some of the moral implications that could be there.”

He based his homily on the reading from Ezekiel, who was ordered by God to “tell people what the truth was,” he told LifeSiteNews.

However, the archbishop “didn’t see it that way.”

Hebda asked him not to talk about coronavirus in his homilies, but did not forbid him from giving talks on the subject, Altier said.

The archbishop “obviously has got to look at things from a different perspective, and so he puts out a statement. That’s fine, but as far as his actual treatment of me, he has been very, very kind,” he added.

‘We have been lied to in a huge way’

Although the homily has been removed from the parish website, it is still available on Complicit Clergy.

“We have been lied to. We have been lied to in a huge way,” Altier, the parochial vicar for St. Raphael’s, told parishioners.

He maintained that COVID-19 was created and released “on purpose” and that there was a practice run of the pandemic in October 2019 called Event 201, and the Rockefeller Institute website details its “national COVID testing and tracing action plan.”

Although those questioning the “narrative” are censored, the data show that 99.75 percent of those who were infected with the virus recover with no side effects, he said. 

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control recently admitted only six percent of its reported Covid deaths were due to the virus alone, bringing the figure of those who died solely from it to 9,200, he said. 

“They want us to think that this is such a deadly disease,” Altier said.

“Think about the fact that most of us, if we’ve had it, the only way we’re going to know is if we went and got tested. It’s so deadly that you don’t know if you had it? Really? C’mon.”

He questioned the reliability of coronavirus tests, stating that he knew of six instances where people who registered at a site but left before getting a test received a positive result in the mail.

Altier wryly underscored the arbitrary nature of coronavirus regulations and their enforcement.

“Somehow this virus knows that if it’s in church, it’s going to make people sick. But if it’s rioting out on the streets, nobody’s going to get sick. I mean, this is a truly impressive virus to be able to know these things.”

The restrictions have taken a deadly toll in another sense, he said, noting that suicide is about the seventh cause of death in America, but many restrictions remain.

“The point is this is all engineered. This is all an agenda. And it’s pointing in a certain direction,” he said. 

“So far, like the good sheeple that we are, we’ve all put on our masks and we've stayed six feet apart. We’re doing all these things. There’s a point where we have to draw a line.”

Altier: I draw the line at a vaccine  

His line is the coronavirus vaccine, Altier said.

“The only way that they would allow it to happen to me is if they arrest me and hold me down and force it on me,” Altier said. He’s told his elderly parents not to accept a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstance.

U.S. companies with vaccines in late-stage trials are Pfizer, which is working with German drugmaker BioNTech, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna Therapeutics.

Altier said he knew one of these is without doubt derived from the cells of aborted babies but he did not know about the others and he mentioned only Moderna by name.

He described Moderna’s vaccine as “heinous” because it “is designed to change the RNA in your body so that every cell in your body then has been changed to be able to fight the coronavirus. Not your immune system anymore – the very cells in your body will be changed.”

“This is evil. This is pure evil. This is where the money is being put.”

As well as Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech is also developing a “messenger RNA” vaccine, in which, in theory, “mRNA directs cells to make a protein that works as a drug or vaccine. To succeed, the mRNA has to enter the cell, avoid degradation, and be translated efficiently,” according to Science Magazine

Children of God for Life documents that Moderna uses cells from aborted babies to procure the “spike” protein used in its mRNA technology, and Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine candidate was developed using the PER C6 cell line harvested from a baby aborted at 18 weeks gestation.

According to Children’s Health Defense (CHD), Moderna admits that mRNA technology could lead to “significant adverse effects” in clinical trials. CHD founder Robert Kennedy Jr. also blasted the corporation for moving to late-stage testing even though 20 percent of healthy individuals who were vaccinated at full dose in phase 2 became so sick they had to be hospitalized.

The Catholic Church “has long recognized that there are at times ethical questions involved in the production of vaccines,” Hebda noted in his response to Altier’s homily.

The U.S. bishops told the FDA in September that it was “critically important” Americans have access to a coronavirus vaccine that was not developed using cells from aborted babies, he said.

Hate mail telling Altier he should be castrated

Altier, whose video series on the fundamentals of the Catholic faith are broadcast on EWTN, told LifeSiteNews that he gave the homily for pastoral reasons. 

“I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor, I can’t say other than what other doctors and scientists are saying. I can repeat what they’re saying,” he said. 

“So I’m not trying to stand up there as some expert, you know, here’s what viruses are or whatever, but I’m looking at it from a pastoral point of view and saying this is damaging people’s lives, this is affecting people’s lives terribly.”

No one protested the homily, and in fact, a number of people came to the sanctuary to thank him, Altier said.

However, Hebda called him the next day to ask him what it was about, even before the homily was posted on the St. Raphael’s parish website, so someone must have been recording on a cellphone and sent it to the chancery, Altier said.

Moreover, after his homily received “twisted” coverage in the mainstream media, he began receiving hate mail in the form of “several hundred emails and some phone calls.” 

These increased markedly when the Minneapolis Star-Tribune covered the story and connected him with Father James Altman, the Wisconsin priest threatened with canonical penalties for stating in a homily that Catholics can’t be Democrats.

A doctor castigated Altier as “irresponsible” and “dangerous,” and he received vile messages wishing him dead or castrated and labelling him a pedophile.

“What does that have to do with the coronavirus?” Altier said. “It’s very, very, very sad.”

Ironically, “the media that was trying, of course, to put a bad spin on things wound up causing thousands of people to look at it or listen to it that never would have,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Meanwhile, Hebda “was getting pressure from some doctors” and “health professionals,” Altier said.  

“And so what are you going to do? You’re going to turn to the authorities or the experts and get their opinion.”

Health department has ‘its own agenda’

However, Twila Brase of the St. Paul-based Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom says there’s reason to view Minnesota Department for Health (MDH) information with skepticism.

“I do not consider the health department an unbiased source. The health department has its own agenda,” she told LifeSiteNews.

In fact, the MDH “has said things and made estimations that are not true,” notably, predicting there would be “1,400 to 2,000 people dead by the end of May,” Brase said. 

However, by May 26, 899 people had died from COVID-19, with a total of 1,988 deaths reported by MDH as of September 24.

“Now, when you make these kinds of estimates, as though you expect them to come true, you scare people.”

CCHF has exposed the poor quality of one MDH graph which “made it look like [the virus] was escalating rapidly in Minnesota, on par with New York,” added Brase. 

“If you can’t be trusted because it is discovered along the way that predictions and estimates were nowhere close to what you claimed that they would be, and because you shut down and took away people’s rights based on estimates and then you never lift them when it’s nowhere close to what you said it would be, then why should people think that you are doing anything other than violating their rights?” Brase told LifeSiteNews.

“Officials are using their positions of power and executive authority to keep the fear high,” she added.

“That said, Covid 19 is a very serious condition for those few who get a severe case. It’s a real condition that mystifies doctors. But Americans should not be put under lock and key. It’s against their right to breathe free, speak free and live free.” 

Brase said she listened to most of Altier’s homily and while she can’t vouch for the accuracy of everything he said, by and large the information he presented can be verified online.

She agrees there is misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and cited the “divergent statements” about hydroxychloroquine, or HCQ — something Altier didn’t mention – as a prime example.

Although some people allege HCQ “will kill people,” it has been approved by the FDA for 65 years and taken by hundreds of thousands of people for years “without any kind of heart complications,” said Brase.

Moreover, Yale’s Professor Harvey Risch, who looked at all the HCQ studies and issued a report, “found the evidence compelling that HCQ can work, particularly in the early stages of Covid 19,” she said. 

“So with HCQ it seems like there is a massive disinformation campaign against something that has been a rock solid medication long considered safe by the World Health Organization.”

Evidence to back Altier’s contention that COVID-19 testing is unreliable includes a New York Times August 29 report that a study of positive PCR test results in Nevada, Massachusetts and New York found up to 90 percent were “probably negative” because of the way they conducted the tests, Brase pointed out.

As for Moderna’s vaccine, Brase said she didn’t know enough of the science to comment, but to the MDH assertion that the vaccine will only affect the DNA in targeted cells, she would ask it to define “targeted cells.”

More significantly, she recalled two things in particular that Dr. Anthony Fauci said to the Senate in May.

“One is that there is no guarantee a vaccine will work. And the other is that it could backfire, making the virus more virulent in those who have the vaccine,” she told LifeSiteNews.

Brase tracked down a 1969 research study to develop a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) using human infants in which 80 percent were hospitalized and two died after being exposed to the virus following their vaccination in what is called “a challenge.”

The fatal study was mentioned in a 2012 research article (Immunization with SARS-coronavirus vaccine lead to pulmonary immunopathology on challenge with the SARS virus) that confirmed a coronavirus vaccine can increase virulence, Brase said.

“And Dr. Fauci’s agency funded this 2012 study. So I think he knows of what he speaks when he says the vaccine could backfire.”

Bishop should consult sources unopposed to Church teaching

Steve Jalsevac, co-founder of LifeSiteNews, echoed Brase’s concerns when he described Hebda’s consulting the MDH as “laughable.”

“I can’t see that any of them will be permitted to tell the truth about what is going on,” said Jalsevac. “Also, the local health authorities are in the controlled health establishment that has been co-opted into imposing the ‘evil’ ‘New Normal’ which Fr. Altier capably addressed in a previous homily here.”

Based on his own extensive research, Jalsevac found “most of what Fr. Altier says in the homily is largely credible” but conceded that “not every statement is completely accurate.”

“However, given the grave, on-going threats to our sacred natural rights and freedoms from government and health agencies’ demands, we should be thankful for any priest who makes an attempt like this to warn his flock about the real dangers they are facing,” he said.

Canon lawyer Philip Gray of the St. Joseph’s Foundation pointed out that a bishop “has an obligation to ensure that the public presentation of the Mass, of all sacraments, remains in conformity with the mind of the Church.” 

He is therefore obliged to investigate a homily, regardless of what action he may take.

Moreover, “it is not necessarily uncommon for a bishop or an archbishop to provide some kind of rebuttal to concerns he may have about a particular homily,” Gray told LifeSiteNews.

In the present circumstances, it is also not uncommon for a bishop to consult secular experts on questions involving the liturgy, he said, noting that Portland’s archbishop asked doctors about distributing Holy Communion, and was told receiving on the tongue poses no greater risk than receiving in the hand.

At the same time, “if the bishop is consulting with people, there are general guidelines that experts are to be chosen from among those who have a Judeo-Christian anthropology and at least do not oppose the moral teachings of the Church,” said Gray.

“Part of the issue is that the whole pandemic question has turned our world upside down and has raised a number of moral issues as well as very valid theological issues,” he added. “It is a very significant controversy.”

MDH promotes contraception, fornication

The MDH promotes various activities that conflict with Catholic moral teaching. 

It runs a condom distribution program and promotes “LGBTQ-sensitive sexuality education” and the broader homosexual cause. It lists as “characteristics of sexually healthy adults” the ability to “[r]espect the right of all people to enjoy and engage in the full range of consensual, non-exploitive sexual behaviors,” not be “threatened by others with sexual orientation different from theirs,” “[d]ecide on what is personally ‘right’ and act on these values,” and be “comfortable with their [own] sexual identity and orientation.”

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Screenshot of health.state.mn.us/people/sexualhealth/resources.html, accessed Sept. 28, 2020

On its webpage about “sexual health” resources, the MDH links to the pro-abortion group Advocates for Youth, as well as New York City’s “Safer Sex and COVID-19” guidance. That guidance encourages masturbation as the safest sexual activity during the coronavirus outbreak. It also “assumes that group sex, casual sex and orgies are normal,” the Ruth Institute’s Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, PhD, noted upon its initial release.

‘Majority of Catholic clergy...left their people defenseless and without any courageous leadership during the COVID crisis’

Altier should be lauded for his courage and concern for his flock, Jalsevac said.

The priest “makes it clear that it is his duty as a shepherd to present them with the truth, as far as he has been able to determine, about the massive deceptions they are having to endure. He wisely, repeatedly urges them to do their own research to verify what he has told them,” he observed.

“It takes a heroism and willingness to certainly be ridiculed and otherwise persecuted, compared to the vast majority of Catholic clergy who have left their people defenseless and without any courageous leadership during the COVID crisis.”

Altier told LifeSiteNews that he thinks this is happening so people will realize they must choose a side.

“I was trying to understand why the Lord was doing what he was doing here…and what became very, very clear to me what He’s doing is showing clearly the divide,” he said.

“This is a spiritual battle, this is a battle of good against evil, so there is no middle ground….It’s all or nothing. You have to be 100 percent for Jesus or you’re on Satan’s side,” Altier added.

“And the only thing that is ultimately important is remaining faithful to Jesus. And the best way to do that is to stay close to His Mother. Because Jesus is the one who said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’ He’s the truth. And so if we have to wonder about who’s saying what, just stick with the Lord. The truth is right there.”

Contact information for respectful communications:

Bishop Bernard Hebda
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
777 Forest Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106
USA
651-291-4400  
[email protected]
Online contact form

Father Robert Altier
St. Raphael's Parish
7301 Bass Lake Rd
Crystal, MN 55428
USA

September 30, 2020 update: This report now includes that Archbishop Hebda also consulted the local chapter of the Catholic Medical Association as well as MDH. The original story also mistakenly stated that Hebda requested the homily be removed from the parish website. 


  abortion, bernard hebda, catholic, coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, homosexuality, minnesota department of health

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