- The Washington Times - Monday, May 24, 2021

Father James Altman of St. James Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, has been asked to resign as pastor due to his anti-lockdown rhetoric and criticism of the Democratic Party.

The priest whose popularity exploded in 2020 with a viral YouTube video titled “You cannot be Catholic & a Democrat. Period” says powerful people want him out of the picture.

“I regret to inform you, they want my head on a platter,” the priest said during a Sunday homily. “They want my head now for speaking the truth. I, apparently, have created enemies in the hierarchy, but to paraphrase the great, great Cardinal Burke: ‘When I die, I will stand in judgment before the Lord. Not any Bishop of the Church.” 

The news, first reported by the La Crosse Tribune, resulted in a legal defense fund for Father Altman as he prepares to challenge Bishop William Callahan’s request.

“Fr. Altman has been subject to diabolical persecution just for doing his job as a shepherd to his flock,” the fund’s creators wrote Sunday. “We, his flock, must rise to the occasion to support him as he has supported us all these months. Father Altman has shown courage and strength in his commitment to giving us the Truth. In a culture that celebrates deception and sin, Father Altman has been a shining light to tens of thousands of faithful Catholics worldwide.”

Nearly $100,000 has already been raised for the allegedly “ineffective” priest.

“Our parish at St. James is flourishing,” the priest said in response to the “ineffective” claim. “We’ve had 42 families and 103 people join our parish in the last 16 months, and our average baptisms in each of the last four years has been double the average of what they were over the three years previous to my arrival. … Thank you La Crosse Tribune, because your negative press actually made all of this possible. … What really is at play here, dear family, is that other shepherds are offended because I simply state the fact that they abandoned their sheep in a time of need. … They put your eternal souls at risk [by denying the Sacraments with lockdown measures].”

La Crosse Tribune did not receive a response from the Diocese when asked for a comment about its story.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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