A Catholic priest who last summer told fellow Catholics who support Democrats that they should repent of face the “fires of hell” has been asked by his bishop to resign.
The Rev. James Altman, pastor of the St. James the Less Parish in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, announced the demand during a homily to his parish on Sunday.
Altman, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, said Bishop William Callahan told him he needed to go because he was “divisive” and “ineffective.”
“They want my head on a platter. They want my head for speaking the truth,” Altman said.
Altman has been a frequent critic of the response to what he calls “the feardemic” by the government, the media, and the Catholic church.
Specifically, Altman has repeatedly questioned the right of the “godless” government to shut down churches during the pandemic – even as government officials allowed businesses, especially companies like Walmart, to operate with few restrictions on crowds.
Yet Altman has been just critical, if not more so, of church leaders for not fighting back against such government decrees.
He did so again on Sunday.
“Over the last 14 months, so many shepherds have abandoned Catholics wholesale and denied them the sacramental grace they need to be in, or return to, a state of grace,” Altman told his parish.
“And all of us, who have been staggered by the failure we see everywhere, can only pray, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come, and clean your temple again.”
Catholics believe that being in a “state of grace” means that they are without mortal sin, in good standing with God, and will go to heaven when they die.
Altman added, “I’ve had it with anyone who says to me ‘You have to have respect for the office.’ As if we cannot complain about bad management.”
“Dear family, it is not you or I who are disrespecting the office. The shepherds who locked the people out of the churches and denied access to the sacraments have disrespected their office more than we possibly could. … Across this whole United States, even around the world, they are the ones who have abandoned their sheep.”
Altman has also criticized the “experimental” COVID-19 vaccines, and denounced the instruction, even from the Vatican, that Catholics had a “moral duty” to be vaccinated.
But Altman’s homilies in recent months have also criticized the “Marxist” Black Lives Matter protesters, the climate change “hoax” and Democrats’ support for open borders. He also has argued that the condoning of pedophile priests and the liberal bishops’ approach to church doctrine, on issues such as gay marriage, contradicts Christ’s teachings in the Gospels and is causing Catholics to lose faith in the church’s essential truths.
Altman on Sunday reveled in being labeled “divisive,” telling his parish that Christ Himself said that “the truth divides.”
“No good Catholic is complaining” about his comments, Altman said. “As a matter of fact, good Catholics from around the world have been very, very supportive. Unfortunately, in our cancel culture, if the left whines, like they do, like a spoiled brat often enough, they succeed, in canceling so many voices of truth.”
As to the specific allegation of ineffectiveness, Altman spelled out how his church has thrived since he arrived.
With a little more than a month left in the church year, and despite the pandemic, the parish’s envelope collections have already exceeded last year, and the “plate” collection has more than doubled, Altman said.
The current year’s remittance that the parish owes to the diocese has nearly doubled since over the level when he first arrived four years ago, Altman added.
Continuing, Altman said over the past 11 months he has raised $230,000 for special projects, such as replacing the leaky roofs on the church rectory and a parish school, from Catholics outside the parish who have heard his message over the internet. That was more than double the church’s
“During a time when most churches have experienced a decline in donations, our church is flourishing,” said Altman.
He also said more parishioners are joining and the average number baptisms has doubled in four years.
“Other shepherds are offended that I simply state the fact that they have abandoned their sheep in a time of need,” said Altman. “They put your eternal souls at risk. They despise me for speaking that simple truth.”
“I don’t know how any ordained priest, or bishop or cardinal could fail to feed his children,” Altman said.
Altman said he is appealing the bishop’s “request,” perhaps all the way to Rome.
The priest added that he could be elbowed aside for a church administrator, leaving him as a “pastor without duties.”
Near the end of Sunday’s homily, which drew vigorous applause from his parishioners, Altman mentioned the “rigged” 2020 election.
That hearkened back to the brief but fiery sermon Altman unleashed last August when denounced Democrats for their “godless” platform.
“Here’s a memo to clueless baptized Catholics out there, you cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period. Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches,” Altman said at the time.
“Repent of your support of that party and its platform, or face the fires of hell.”
Altman noted the Democrats’ support for abortion, and criticized “gutless” clerics who refuse to speak out about 60 million abortions done since the Roe v. Wade ruling – while also criticizing Trump, whom Altman called “the one, best pro-life president.”
Altman’s video, which remained on YouTube as of Monday, has been viewed 1.26 million times, and has recorded 46,000 “likes,” compared to 3,800 “dislikes.”
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