Wisconsin bishop will take unusual move of removing defiant priest

Lisa D. Small

MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin bishop has taken the strange move of eradicating a priest from the ministry soon after he designed a sequence of divisive remarks about politics and the pandemic. The Diocese of La Crosse mentioned in a assertion Friday that Bishop William Patrick Callahan has issued a […]

A Wisconsin bishop has taken the strange move of eradicating a priest from the ministry soon after he designed a sequence of divisive remarks about politics and the pandemic.

The Diocese of La Crosse mentioned in a assertion Friday that Bishop William Patrick Callahan has issued a decree quickly eradicating Father James Altman from St. James the Considerably less, a parish in the metropolis of La Crosse on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, about 140 miles southeast of Minneapolis. The decree will continue to be in outcome for an undetermined length of time, the statement explained.

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“(The bishop) and his diocesan associates have used around a 12 months, prayerfully and fraternally, functioning toward a resolution similar to ongoing community and ecclesial worries of the ministry of Fr. James Altman,” the statement explained. “The obligation of a Bishop is to be certain that all who provide the trustworthy are in a position to do so even though unifying and constructing the Physique of Christ.”

Diocese officers didn’t release the decree and didn’t straight away reply to a request for a copy.

Altman did not reply to an Associated Press email trying to find comment Friday early morning. The parish’s voicemail would not settle for messages for Altman or the parish secretary.

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This June 2, 2021, photo offered by Marilyn J. Richmond displays St. James the Considerably less parish in La Crosse, Wis. The Diocese of La Crosse reported Friday, July 9, that Bishop William Patrick Callahan has removed the Rev. James Altman as pastor of St. James the Fewer effective right away.
(Marilyn J. Richmond by means of AP)

Altman rose to prominence forward of the 2020 presidential election with a fiery YouTube online video in which he said Catholics cannot be Democrats and that anyone who supports Democrats will melt away in hell.

He also has sharply criticized COVID-19 vaccination initiatives and pandemic-connected restrictions on church gatherings as “Nazi-esque controls.” His orthodox technique to Mass and sermons has driven some parish users to leave St. James but has galvanized other people.

Callahan questioned him to resign in Might. Altman announced Callahan’s request to his parishioners through Mass, drawing audible “Nos” from the crowd, a YouTube video of the ceremony exhibits.

Altman refused to phase down, expressing the Catholic hierarchy needs him absent since he speaks the reality and contacting U.S. bishops “cowards” and a “brood of vipers” in on line video clips. Supporters across the United States responded swiftly, boosting much more than $700,000 by Christian crowdfunding internet sites for his protection in June.

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Altman can appeal Callahan’s decree to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, which can uphold or alter Callahan’s choice. A more Vatican review is doable if the priest disagrees with the Congregation’s determination.

Requests that a priest resign aren’t unheard of but they rarely lead to these a substantial-profile refusal, Catholic observers say.

One particular of the several such situations in the U.S. came in 2002, when a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston refused to step down more than an accusation that he sexually abused a little one 3 a long time before. Father D. George Spagnolia took his case to the Vatican but was not able to overturn his suspension. He died in 2008.

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Additional recently, Father Frank Pavone, an anti-abortion activist who heads Monks for Daily life, appealed to the Vatican in excess of restrictions positioned on his ministry in 2011 by his bishop in Amarillo, Texas. Pavone succeeded in finding the restrictions eased, relocated away from Texas and remains active with Clergymen for Lifetime.

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