The Roman Catholic priest who went viral for his fiery sermons denouncing the “godless platform” of the Democratic Party was removed from his position as pastor, his diocese announced Friday.
Father James Altman of St. James the Less Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, was removed from his role after gaining national attention for refusing Bishop William Patrick Callahan’s order to resign in May, according to the La Crosse Tribune.
Callahan demanded Altman’s resignation for allegedly being “divisive” and “ineffective” because of his controversial rhetoric, which was often political and included skepticism about lockdowns and the COVID-19 vaccine.
As The Federalist reported, “Altman’s homilies have gone viral over the past year, beginning with a fiery broadside against the modern Democratic Party’s pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-transgender platform, but zeroing in on failures in Catholic Church leadership to teach the catechism, keep the faithful coming to church, police sexual sins and abusers in the clergy, positively affect the culture, maintain a moral influence on politics, and most recently, simply keep their doors open amidst COVID-19 panics and secular leaders’ demands that worship end or be severely curtailed.”
In his first homily to go viral (video below), Altman warned that self-professed Catholics who support the platform of the Democratic Party are in danger of damnation, especially because of the “diabolical agenda” of abortion. “You cannot be Catholic and a Democrat, period,” he said. “Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches. So just quit pretending that you’re Catholic and vote Democrat. Repent of your support of that party and its platform or face the fires of hell.”
Altman also rebuked whom he described as “hypocrites” in the church hierarchy who accused him of being “too political,” noting that such attacks always come from people on the Left who seemingly have no issue when the Church embraces elements of the leftist political agenda.
Altman also offended some with his largely maskless services, as well as for opening his church’s doors on Easter to hundreds who received the Eucharist on their tongue. He also advised his congregants to avoid the “experimental” COVID-19 vaccines and described as “diabolical” any attempt to shame or compel people into receiving them, according to the La Crosse Tribune.
A crowdfund has raised nearly $400,000 to support him.
The diocese addressed Altman’s removal in a Friday statement, according to the National Catholic Reporter:
Bishop William Patrick Callahan 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, Pastor of St. James the Less Parish, La Crosse. 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. Bishop William Patrick Callahan, in accordance with the norms of canon law, has issued a Decree for the removal of Fr. James Altman as Pastor of St. James the Less Parish. The Decree is effective immediately and for an indeterminate period of time. During this time Fr. Altman, must refrain from exercising the function of pastor.