La Crosse WI bishop told his side of the Fr. Altman story a year ago . . .

. . . via U.S. bishops’ news service:

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, said Sept. 9 [2020] that he has privately begun “applying Gospel principles” to correct a pastor who in a video says Catholics who are Democrats must “repent” of their support for the party or “face the fires of hell.”
Indeed fiery talk.
“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,” Bishop William P. Callahan said in a statement about Father James Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Parish in La Crosse, and his video.
The priest’s nearly 10-minute YouTube video was posted Aug. 30 by Alpha News MN on its website. To date, over 389,000 people have viewed it at least once.
He’s a certifiable hit, no question.
The blow that probably killed Father A. as a priest in good standing:
“Here’s a memo for clueless, baptized Catholics out there: You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period,” the priest says.
That did it. Including the next sentence:
“Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches,” especially its teaching that abortion is a “moral evil.”
But bishops’ minds are not easily read, true.
In any case, Fr. A. was on his way to becoming another Fr. Coughlin, “the Depression’s radio priest” of the 1930s who plunged into politics until he was silenced by the bishops after Pearl Harbor.
Bishop Callahan says he has become “a social media phenomenon and is now a mainstream media story. The amount of calls and emails we are receiving at the diocesan offices show how divisive he is.”
Divisive. A familiar word in such communications. It’s a killer.
“I am being pressured by both sides for a comment,” the bishop said, identifying the jaws of his dilemma. “One side holds him up as a hero or a prophet, the other side condemns him and vilifies him and demands I silence him.”
more more more to come . . .

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