“Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your Lord.” (Mic. 6:8)
September 10, 2020
Most Rev. William P. Callahan
Diocese of La Crosse, WI
Re: Correcting Fr. James Altman
Dear Bishop Callahan,
Many of us suffering Catholics in America have been reading, watching, and listening intently to Fr. James Altman’s homilies. He is not one to admonish but to honor and celebrate.
You are a busy man, You Excellency. I do not intend to take up much of your time. But I would hope and pray you allow me to pose these few questions to you, a successor of the apostles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I do not expect an answer from you personally or from your chancery. From me you can expect my fervent prayers. I believe I am duty bound under Canon 212, §2 and §3 to express some concerns.
What exactly did Fr. Altman do or say to violate his priestly office and to offend you? Did he not speak the truth that the Democratic Party is the party of abortion among other intrinsic moral evils? (See 2020 Democrat Party Platform). Did your brother Bishop, Ordinary of Tyler, Texas, Joseph Strictland, not endorse Fr Altman’s bold words?
“If my support of Father 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.” (CNA News, Sept. 9th)
Did our Lord and Savior admonish St. John the Baptist or did He call him the greatest prophet for speaking out boldly? (Mt. 11:11-15)
Did you really mean to counsel Fr. Altman privately which Scripture calls for before publicly taking him out to the woodshed, humiliating him while threatening canonical penalties? (Mt. 18:15-20)
What about your brother bishop, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, consistent for years in his strong message that Catholics “cannot support candidates who will advance abortions.”*
In his recent twitter meme, Archbishop Aquila had this say about the Democrat and Republican convention speakers:
“A tale of two nuns. One follows church teaching, one does not. RNC Sister Diedre [Byrne]: As a physician I can unequivocally say life begins at conception. DNC Sister Simone [Campbell]: Abortion is above my pay grade,” the meme stated.*
Should Archbishop Aquila and Bishop Tyler also be taken out to the proverbial woodshed for admonishment and correction by the bishops who comprise the membership of the USCCB?
How can Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. viscerally berate the Knights of Columbus for allowing the President of the United State and the First Lady to step foot in the St. John Paul II National Shrine a block away from the National Basilica?
He reportedly said in part:
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree.”**
Should Archbishop Gregory be censured for misrepresenting the Church and the deeply held values of his brother bishops who appreciate the President’s commitment in support
of the dignity and sacredness of all human life and in this situation his respect for the Catholic Church by visiting and praying at the national shrine? The archbishop couldn’t even acknowledge that First Lady Melania Trump is Catholic? Why shouldn’t she be allowed to visit the shrine?
Should Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Ordinary of Kansas City, chair of the USCCB’s committee on pro-life activities, also be censured for his praise of the Trump administration’s strong defense of life in domestic and international policy?*** How can one Catholic bishop (Gregory) and another bishop (Naumann) express such opposing views about the President of the United States?
It is apparent to us Catholics in the pews who are paying attention that the Catholic bishops of America are deeply divided when it comes to national politics. Are the bishops not choosing sides, many obviously hard pressed in containing their personal bias?
Whose side are you on, Your Excellency? With Christ, St. John the Baptist, and the holy archangels or the princes of the world and secular leaders? Please honor and love your priests, especially Fr. James Altman. He is working hard for the Kingdom of God.
I pray that our Lord and Savior guide you with eternal wisdom, understanding, and heavenly discernment. May you be just, merciful, and righteous in your dealings with your priests, especially Fr. James Altman, who is a great treasure and blessing to the Catholic Church.
Philip C. Sevilla
San Antonio, TX