Saturday, July 10, 2021

Wisconsin bishop takes rare step of removing defiant priest

From Fox6Now:

A Wisconsin bishop has taken the unusual step of removing a priest from the ministry after he made a series of divisive remarks about politics and the pandemic.

The Diocese of La Crosse said in a statement Friday that Bishop William Patrick Callahan has issued a decree immediately removing the Rev. James Altman as pastor of St. James the Less, a parish in the city of La Crosse on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of Minneapolis. The decree will remain in effect for an undetermined length of time, the statement said.

"(The bishop) and his diocesan representatives have spent over a year, prayerfully and fraternally, working toward a resolution related to ongoing public and ecclesial concerns of the ministry of Fr. James Altman," the statement said. "The obligation of a Bishop is to ensure that all who serve the faithful are able to do so while unifying and building the Body of Christ."

Diocese officials didn’t release the decree and didn’t immediately respond to a request for a copy.

Altman didn't respond to an Associated Press email seeking comment Friday morning. The parish's voicemail wouldn't accept messages for Altman or the parish secretary.

Altman rose to prominence ahead of the 2020 presidential election with a fiery YouTube video in which he said Catholics can't be Democrats and that anyone who supports Democrats will burn in hell.

He also has sharply criticized COVID-19 vaccination efforts and pandemic-related restrictions on church gatherings as "Nazi-esque controls." His orthodox approach to Mass and sermons has driven some parish members to leave St. James but has galvanized others.

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If only they would do the same with their hundreds of pedophile priests, bishops and cardinals.

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