A Catholic church in La Crosse is without a priest for now, after the bishop removed the priest from his position as the church’s pastor.
Father James Altman cannot serve as the pastor of St. James the Less Church on Caledonia Street, under a decree issued by Bishop William Callahan.
Altman did not follow the bishop’s call earlier this year to resign from his post at St. James Church. The priest claims he has been targeted by the “cancel culture” for saying Catholics should not vote for Democrats, and for defying COVID-19 restrictions.
Altman told conservative news outlet LifeSiteNews.com that he’s not surprised the Catholic hierarchy is trying to silence him.
“Unfortunately for the corrupt hierarchy, I will not be silenced by any arbitrary Decree, nor will I be cowed by any action against my priestly faculties,” he said.
Altman rose to prominence before the 2020 election with a fiery video on YouTube saying that anyone who supports Democrats will burn in hell. He also has labeled liberals as Nazis and criticized vaccination efforts and COVID-19 restrictions on church gatherings.
Callahan asked Altman to resign in May but he refused.
Here is the text of the decree released today by the Diocese of La Crosse:
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.
The Diocese of La Crosse will be working over the next weeks to arrange for the ongoing
pastoral care of the parishioners of St. James the Less Parish.
The Bishop and all the leadership of the Diocese asks for the consideration of respect, safety
and prayers at this time for all involved.