At the “Reparation Now! Uncancel The Faithful Rally”, Fr. James Altman spoke publicly, in violation of his own Bishop’s orders. Fr. Altman called his Bishop “William” and “that Miter”. Altman also called the Bishop’s decree against him “pathetic”. He then stated that his Bishop told him not to speak publicly: “I most certainly was not supposed to speak publicly again like to you here today.” So Fr. Altman openly admitted that he violated the decree of his Bishop by his talk. And the content of the talk is no defense against that act of disobedience, for he ridiculed the Bishops and the Pope, accusing them of grave sins.
At one point in the talk, found on rumble.com here [2:26:40 to c. 2:52:00], Fr. Altman refers to the Church as a body and its members as parts of the body. Then he wonders which part of the body he might be, and he says that he is “the fist”. “But a fist to knock some sense into the heads of the Miters, who are acting a little too much like another body part.”
He then spoke on obedience. He said the people who hid Anne Frank were not being obedient, and the people who killed Anne Frank were being obedient. This argument is absurd when speaking of obedience to Christ and His Church. And using a reference to the holocaust to justify his disobedience to his own bishop, and his contemptuous language toward the Roman Pontiff really makes no sense at all. Obedience to the Church is nothing like obedience to a government that kills the innocent.
Altman then stated that “obedience is not blind subservience.” Next, he cited what appears to be a false quote attributed to Saint Maximilian Kolbe said: “Our duty to obey our Bishops ends when they stray even slightly into error because then they are not doing the will of God.” I could find no such quote by any Saint, nor anything similar. And it certainly does not sound like what a Saint would say.
Here, instead, are some real quotes from Saint Maximilian Kolbe on obedience:
“Obedience is the one and the only way of wisdom and prudence for us to offer glory to God…. Let us love our loving Father with all our hearts. Let our obedience increase that love, above all when it requires us to surrender our own will. Jesus Christ crucified is our sublime guide toward growth in God’s love.” [Source]
“Life begins to make sense when we recognize and acknowledge God’s infinite goodness and our absolute dependence on him,” said St. Maximilian Kolbe. “Our response will be praise and total love expressed in obedience.” [Source]
“In order that obedience be supernatural it must not proceed from reason, but from faith.”
― St. Maximilian Kolbe, Let Yourself Be Led by the Immaculate [Source]
So that quote offered by Altman is not from Saint Maximilian. It is contradicted by his own words on the same subject. And it is of course foolish to claim that a priest need not be obedient to his bishop as soon as the priest judges the bishop to have strayed “even slightly into error”. For then the priest would never obey his bishop except when he agreed, which is not obedience at all. As Saint Maximilian actually said, obedience “must not proceed from reason, but from faith”. If you reason that your Bishop has erred, and so depart from obedience, that is not faith or true supernatural obedience, but only pride. You make yourself the judge over your Bishop, or even over the Roman Pontiff. Fr. Altman seems to have badly misunderstood holy obedience.
Fr. Altman then claimed that he and other priests are cancelled for preaching from the deposit of faith. That point is for the Pope and Bishops to judge. A priest cannot claim, by his own judgment, that he is preaching the supposed true deposit of faith in contradiction to what the Pope and Bishops are teaching. Without submission to the teaching of the Roman Pontiff and the body of Bishops, each priest would become his own unique church. That is not obedience to Christ, who founded His Church on Peter and his successors, not on whichever priests happen to have a popularity and a following.
The talk became uglier as it progressed. Fr. James Altman began to call the Bishops “monsters in miters”.
Altman: “That is the way all these monsters in miters, these sorority sisters in the USCCB…that’s the way they silence and cancel the voice of truth.” He used the term “monsters in miters” repeatedly, and he then said: “I’m here to help the priests who are unable to defend themselves against these monsters, whose miters will be their great millstones that will drag them down to the hottest bowels of Hell. Their miters are their millstones, period.”
Those words are a clear rejection of the authority of the Bishops over priests. To complain about some Bishops erring in one way or another is easy in almost any generation. But that is no excuse for disobedience, nor for a hateful diatribe that is contrary to the charity that must unite us to each Pope and to the body of Bishops. Without subjection to the successors to the Apostles, the Church cannot be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.
Then Fr. Altman said: “So let us talk now about the error and the failing to do God’s will that we do not have to obey, and I will use three clear examples: one, William Callahan, Bishop of La Crosse; two, Blaise Cupich, he’s an easy one, Bishop of Chicago; and three, Jorge Bergoglio, Bishop of Rome.” [He pronounced “Jorge” as “Hor-hey”.] He then began to complain about each of these three, the two Bishops and the Roman Pontiff. First, he said that Callahan did not allow enough persons to attend Mass at one time, during the pandemic (for a three month period). “William Patrick Callahan, repent!”
Fr. Altman also complained that Bishop Cupich wrote to Bishop Callahan to say that Fr. Altman should have sought Cupich’s permission to speak in his diocese at a previous event some time ago. Then Altman said, as if addressing Cupich, “I have a little movie quote for you, ‘I’m back!’ ” This type of open contempt, willful disobedience, and disdain for Church authority marred Altman’s entire talk.
Fr. Altman: “William, Blaise, and all the rest of you miters in America, You have wounded the body of Christ. You accuse me of doing it. Oh, no, Bishops, you wounded the body of Christ. And until you publicly repent… your miter is your great millstone and Satan is cackling with glee!”
Fr. Altman then said about Bishop Blaise Cupich, “I hardly know where to start with that monster in a miter”. He complained that Cupich said the Covid-19 vaccine (which Altman called “the jab”) was a moral duty. Fr. Altman cited Bishop Strickland of Tyler, and then he claimed that the vaccine started and was created from an aborted baby and is therefore not moral. Altman then addressed all Bishops who support the Covid-19 vaccine or who were silent, “because your silence is complicity. Publicly repent, or your miter will be your great millstone, dragging you down to the bowels of Hell that you have earned.”
Altman: “And finally, third example, Jorge Bergoglio, Bishop of Rome. No longer the Vicar of Christ, he threw out that title. As with Blaise, I hardly know where to start. But all we need to know about him is found in one word: Pachamama. But apart from that and a few other low lights of his papacy, like celebrating the 500th anniversary of heretic Luther by putting him on the Vatican stamp, like the sacrilege of putting a beach ball with a Pepsi logo on it, on the altar next to the tabernacle of the Real Presence of our Lord, and like his godless efforts to crush traditional Catholics. Just this week, it was reported that he has put out there some rat poison that the Ten Commandments are not rigid. So, memo to Jorge Bergoglio, Bishop of Rome, the Ten Commandments were written in stone, for a reason, Jorge Bergoglio! And Jesus the Lord, who you have betrayed like Judas, proclaimed not the smallest part of the law would be abrogated until He comes again. And so your pictures of Jesus embracing Judas are absolute heresy! Get those out of your office, Jorge Bergoglio, and get ’em out now! Memo to Jorge Bergoglio, repent of the Pachamama, of Luther’s stamp, of the beach ball, of attacking traditional Catholics, and from attacking the unchanging unchangeable truth of the deposit of faith, for we know as the Ten Commandments, or your miter also will be the great millstone that will drag you down to the bowels of Hell you so justly deserve, if you don’t repent.” [2:37:55 to 2:40:00]
The above diatribe against Pope Francis is particularly sinful. Subjection to the Roman Pontiff is required by Catholic teaching [Unam Sanctam and Lateran V] and refusal of this subjection is the sin of schism. Altman’s accusatory and contemptuous attack on the Roman Pontiff is contrary to holy obedience, contrary to subjection to the Roman Pontiff, and is gravely scandalous. I should also note the teaching of Vatican I, Constantinople II, and many Popes that each Roman Pontiff has the charism of never-failing faith, and that the Apostolic See is always unblemished by any grave error.
I had to look up the “beach ball” accusation. The Roman Pontiff returned from World Youth Day with the beach ball as a memento of the celebration. It represents the Youth at that event. The logo on the ball was incidental, and unimportant. The Pope was simply keeping a reminder of that event.
Altman: “So, dear family, what I said is true. But the monsters in miters don’t like to hear it. So they cancel we who speak it.”
Fr. Altman went on to claim that “William” [his Bishop] is unable to excommunicate or laicize him. His argument is that the Bishop does not excommunicate politicians who support abortion, and so the Bishop cannot excommunicate Altman. That is a faulty argument. The Church has the authority to decide each case, and She does not lose Her authority over a priest even if it were the case that another situation should have been handled differently.
Fr. James Altman’s words at this “Rally” for cancelled priests were not truth, were not the Gospel of Love taught by Jesus, were not consistent with the obligations of obedience toward the Pope and Bishops, and were clearly gravely scandalous. Many persons, during his speech, laughed and applauded, at his sinful expressions directed at the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops. He went out of his way to be particularly contemptuous at a public event, and thereby wounded the body of Christ. His offenses after his suspension appear to be far worse than his offenses before his suspension.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.