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Another Bishop Bows To The Culture

September 11, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By JOSEPH MATT

This past week it was both refreshing and encouraging to listen to a homily given by a priest which focused on the immorality of Catholics who vote Democrat. I am referring to the homily given by Fr. James Altman of La Crosse, Wis. (see below).


In the homily Fr. Altman boldly explains the inconsistency of the Democratic Party platform with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the consequences for Catholics who vote Democratic. One would be hard pressed to find a faithful Catholic or any member of the Church hierarchy worth his salt who would disagree with what Fr. Altman said in his sermon.

The hard-hitting sermon garnered much support among faithful Catholics on the Internet and at the same time it hit a nerve among the so-called Catholic Democrats. As we went to press, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, was the only bishop who displayed the leadership and the courage to defend the good priest. He did so in a tweet posted last weekend:


Bishop Strickland reiterated his support for Fr. Altman in a follow-up email to Catholic News Agency, stating the following:

“I support Fr. James Altman’s video because I believe, not only Catholic Christians, but ALL God’s people must ask themselves some tough questions each time they prepare to cast their vote in any local, state, or national election.

“Voting is not an easy task nor one to be taken lightly. On the contrary; it requires research, prayer, and discernment. We must ask ourselves — Do we believe in God? Do we as a nation believe in God?” Strickland wrote, adding that Catholics must also ask themselves if they believe in God’s Commandments and in Catholic Tradition.

“Are we willing to acknowledge our sins and seek repentance and reparation as individuals and as a nation? Are we casting our vote through the lens of Jesus Christ and His Teachings?

“If my support of Fr. Altman can prompt meaningful conversations and prayerful discernment about these questions, then I am at least beginning to fulfill my role as a pastor of souls and a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Pray for the bishop of Tyler who so far stands alone in his public support of this priest.

Like clockwork, as is so typical when a good priest speaks the truth and boldly defends the faith — the watchdogs of “social justice” are quick to temper the situation. In this case, sadly it is Fr. Altman’s own bishop who throws him under the bus.

As reported by CNA, Fr. Altman’s bishop, Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse, said: “I am applying Gospel principles to the correction of Fr. Altman. ‘If your brother does something wrong to you, go to him. Talk alone to him and tell him what he has done. If he listens to you, you have kept your brother as a friend. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two others with you to talk to him’ (Matt. 18:15-16).

“I have begun this process, not in the bright light of the public arena, but as the Gospel dictates, in private,” Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse said in a September 9 statement.
“Canon law indicates that before penalties are imposed, we need to ensure that fraternal correction, rebuke, or other means of pastoral solicitude will not be sufficient to repair the scandal,”
the bishop added, in reference to canon 1341 of the Code of Canon Law.


Based on the words expressed by Bishop Callahan, it is difficult to identify exactly what wrongdoing the bishop is accusing Fr. Altman of. Rather it seems more like the bishop is responding like the cowering politician who is feeling the uproar from the crowd and covering all of his bases.

From the onset Bishop Callahan violates the very Gospel principle he quotes (above), first claiming his intention to correct Fr. Altman in private, all the while chastising Fr. Altman in public as seen in the quotes from CNA (below) for simply preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Callahan emphasized that he understands “the undeniable truth that motivates his message. When we approach issues that are contradictory to the Faith and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, particularly on abortion and other life issues, we should invite dialogue and heart-felt conversion to the truth. Our approach must never seek to divide, isolate, and condemn.”

If the bishop truly understood those undeniable truths — he would understand that undeniable truths are indisputable — they do not buckle to public pressure or take a back seat to the whims and the feelings of a crowd. How does one interpret Fr. Altman’s words as seeking to divide, isolate, and condemn? Tell us, bishop, what untruths does Fr. Altman speak? Unfortunately wherever the truth is lived and spoken in our fallen world, it often leads to division because the world is usually diametrically opposed to the truth. Yes, the truth can make us uncomfortable — as sinners we know we violate the truth when we sin — that makes us very uncomfortable.

The bishop goes on to say: “That being said it is not only the underlying truth that needs to be evaluated but also the manner of delivery and the tone of his message. Unfortunately, the tone Fr. Altman offers comes off as angry and judgmental, lacking any charity and in a way that causes scandal both in the Church and in society. His generalization and condemnation of entire groups of people is completely inappropriate and not in keeping with our values or the life of virtue.”

Bishop, how can you in good faith accuse Fr. Altman of causing scandal? The only scandal here is the fact that as of this writing only one bishop has come forth to defend this good priest. Bishops need to speak up! How sad it is today when Catholics and the world in general are thirsting for the truth only to see champions and defenders of the truth like Fr. Altman being silenced — not by the angry crowds but by their superiors — when they are dutifully proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

Think for a moment about the forces of evil that Fr. Altman is confronting — partial-birth abortion alone should be enough for you to reconsider on which side scandal is taking place.

Bishop Callahan, when delivering the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if it is tone and delivery you are concerned about, you need to recall that the issues we are facing in today’s world are far too important for our shepherds to be concerned about whose feelings are going to be hurt or what group of people is offended. Truth is an equal opportunity offender. Did you forget that Christ Himself said: “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the Earth? I tell you, no, but rather division.”

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