A bishop’s dilemma when faced with a recalcitrant priest with a huge public following:
. . . right now, the bishop said, he is adhering to what “the Gospel dictates,” that any means of “pastoral solicitude” in Fr. Altman’s case must be conducted in private, not “in the bright light of the public arena.”“Most people expect a decisive move from me, one way or another. Many suggest immediate penalties that will utterly silence him; others call for complete and unwavering support of his views,” Bishop Callahan said. “Canonical penalties are not far away if my attempts at fraternal correction do not work.“I pray that Fr. Altman’s heart and eyes might be open to the error of his ways [!] and that he might take steps to correct his behavior and heal the wound he has inflicted on the body of Christ.” [!]
Fr. Altman opens his video with a prayer about the blood of Christ and his sacrifice on the cross to save humanity. He also quotes from the Baltimore Catechism that God made us “to know, love and serve” him, and argues that “godless politicians” and the nation’s “godless education system” have resulted in policies and people who do not know God and so cannot love and serve him.
He included brief flashes of photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and an empty classroom. Pelosi is standing behind a sign calling for “equal access to abortion.” Both Pelosi and Biden, who are Catholic, support legalized abortion.
Those who accuse him of “just being political” need to remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI: “The Church is not a political power. It is not a party, but it is a moral power. Therefore, since politics fundamentally should be a moral enterprise, then the Church in this sense has something to say about politics” and Catholics have a duty and an obligation to speak up when politicians and politics “act in an immoral way.”
In his statement, Bishop Callahan said that after viewing Fr. Altman’s video, “I understand 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 heartfelt conversion to the truth,” the bishop said. “Our approach must never seek to divide, isolate and condemn.”
“That being said,” he continued, “it is not only the underlying truth that needs to be evaluated but also the manner of delivery and the tone of his message.”
Bishop Callahan also pointed to Fr. Altman’s tone, saying it “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,” he added.
“Pray for me as I address this issue, and pray for Fr. Altman that he might hear and respond to my fraternal correction,” the bishop added. “Finally, please pray for the Church that we might seek the truth in charity and apply it in our daily actions.”