Rev. James Altman, a Catholic Church priest in La Crosse, Wisconsin, has been asked by the local bishop to resign seemingly over the former’s ardent opposition to COVID-19 restrictions and his pandemic and vaccine skepticism.
On Pentecost Sunday, the priest has revealed that Bishop William Callahan of the La Crosse diocese demanded his resignation.
Quite expectedly, Altman will be challenging the bishop’s demand with his canon lawyer.
As he revealed the news to his congregation amid cries of outrage in his Sunday’s mass, which is available on YouTube, Altman said the bishop told him that he was “ineffective” and “divisive”.
His canon lawyer has asked Callahan to clarify as to what precisely those epithets meant as regards the priests’ performance.
The truth divides
Altman told his “flock” that while the bishop’s demand was being disputed, he would remain a pastor without duties, and a parish administrator would be appointed to perform his duties.
The reverend argued that if he might have caused any division with his pandemic skepticism and defying of COVID-19 restrictions, that was solely the result of his calling in service of Christ, and his desire to provide his parishioners with the absolutely necessary Catholic sacraments.
Altman cited the Words of Christ from the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke that he brought division with him. (Matt 10, Luke 10), as Jesus came to divide good from evil.
Thus, pointing out that the truth divides, the priest argued that he was accused of being divisive as it was something bad.
The reverend argued further than during the past 14 months in which he had been criticized by the Catholic establishment as well as local media, nobody had ever accused him of not telling the truth, and no decent Catholics complained about him.
He further criticized the Catholic leadership for actually locking the churches to the people and denying them access to the Catholic sacraments.
Therefore, It was them who disrespected their own office even though he had been accused of such sin.
Altman insisted that “the shepherds” were being offended since he simply called out the reality that they had abandoned their flock in time of need.
Altman’s Church received numerous donations as support
He went further by reminding that in the past 20 years the Catholic Church had been rocked by “scandal after scandal”, and had paid out billions to victims.
The reverend disproved the accusation that he has been ineffective by pointing out the huge number of donations that his church received from all over the world thanks to his defiance of COVID-19 restrictions and vaccination.
The donations in question have been put to good use by improving the temple’s bathrooms and ramps and thus making it more accessible to elderly parishioners.
Even greater evidence of the priest’s efficiency has been the growing number of members of his flock, and the doubling number of new baptisms.
Altman mocks the COVID-19 vaccines as an “experimental injection”, and has cited martyr St. Maximilian Kolbe who said a superior must not be obeyed if he has given a command that may in the slightest way contravene God’s law.
The priest also said the Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, who have described vaccination as a “moral duty” for Catholics, were not infallible.
Altman is one of a number of Catholic priests to be alarmed by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in particular since its development involved using cell lines from an aborted baby.
Altman eloquently lambasted those priests suggesting a vaccine was needed to attend mass, which would be a denial of the church sacraments to those unvaccinated.
In his words, that is certainly “not Jesus’ command.”