DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - As political tension and civil unrest escalate, some among the ordained are crying out in the wilderness for the good of the country and salvation of souls, regardless of temporal repercussions.
"You cannot be Catholic and be Democrat. Period," recently proclaimed Fr. James Altman of the diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
"Their party platform is against everything the Catholic Church teaches," he added. "Repent of your support of that party and that platform, or face the fires of Hell."
While his candidness triggered media dust-up and threats from his bishop, Fr. Altman is not the only clergyman decrying the Democratic Party and its multifaceted push for socialism.
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas took to Twitter Sept. 5 to add his voice in support of Fr. Altman.
As the Bishop of Tyler I endorse Fr Altman's statement in this video. My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you Fr Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation ... please HEED THIS MESSAGE https://t.co/D413G0lfQV— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) September 5, 2020
"As the Bishop of Tyler I endorse Fr Altman's statement in this video. My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you Fr Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation ... please HEED THIS MESSAGE," he said in a tweet.
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island also took to Twitter with a similar message regarding the Democratic presidential ticket.
"Biden-Harris. First time in awhile that the Democratic ticket hasn't had a Catholic on it. Sad," he lamented in a tweet.
Three duties are given to priests in imitation of Our Lord as priest, prophet and king. As priests, they have a mission to sanctify. As prophets, they are to teach and speak truth. As kings, they are sent to shepherd their flocks.
The ordained are obliged to speak truth in and out of season, with a willingness to lay down their lives in union with the Good Shepherd.
Church Militant reported in July on the overwhelming support for Indiana pastor Fr. Theodore Rothrock, suspended by his bishop for exposing the incorporated legal entity Black Lives Matter — an organization that opposes Catholic teaching on almost every topic.
Even non-Catholic Christians expressed the importance of Fr. Rothrock's message.
Brian, one of those Christians, said, "Fr. Rothrock stood up the way he stood up, and spoke out like that. I have to get behind that. Nothing he said was racist. Nothing he said was wrong."
"We are dealing with a Maoist, Marxist — whatever you want to call it — attempt to take over this country. And it's been going on for many, many, many years — 150 years at least. And we know it's satanic at its roots. Humans can't do that. We know it's satanic," he added.
The fate of our nation — of our entire way of life — will turn on developments of the next few weeks. It all has to do with politics, that is to say with government and our relationship to it. The central issue of this moment is socialism, which at various times in our history has emerged as a potent movement, and at present is being aggressively promoted.
The Democratic Party has veered farthest to the left of any time in its existence, desperately trying to ignore the radical violence and expunging any support for traditional religious and moral values from their platform.
But more than ever, we're called upon to speak the truth, not only about the kingdom of God, but about the threat which socialism poses to faithful people and the nonreligious alike.
A priest in Dearborn, Michigan joined his brother priests in preaching on the moral nature of the current political divide and riots in American cities.
Fr. Paul Graney in the Detroit archdiocese preached in a homily last weekend that "many of our own people are now out there in the streets wanting to remake America into something else by destroying what it is today."
"What we see right now seems to be the sparks of — at least the attempt of — a revolution taking place, the goal being to implement communism, a stateless, classless society," he said. These Americans want to bring down America, said Fr. Graney, "under the facade of justice, freedom and love."
"But it is all a big bunch of bologna," he added. "It's anti-Christian; it's anti-family; it's evil. Communism will never give us what we want and what we need."
Father Theodore ("Ted") Rothrock was suspended by Bp. Timothy Doherty, who capitulated to a group of three high school friends. The friends founded a group called Carmel Against Racial Injustice (CARI) and demanded Fr. Rothrock be removed from ministry for offending their sensitivities.
Father Altman's bishop, William Callahan, received pressure from opposing voices over the priest's preaching. Callahan released a statement attempting to placate both sides.
Recognizing Fr. Altman preached Catholic teaching, Callahan said:
It is not only the underlying truth that needs to be evaluated but also the manner of delivery and the tone of his message. Unfortunately, the tone Fr. Altman offers 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.
Callahan ended his reflection with a threat: "Canonical penalties are not far away if my attempts at fraternal correction do not work."
Father Bob McCabe, the pastor at the parish where Fr. Graney is an associate, removed the priest's homily from social media and apologized.
"I am so sorry that a homily given by Fr. Paul Graney at the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday has brought forth division, anger, confusion and chaos," he said. "I first spoke with a couple individuals shortly after his homily. I could sense their anger and their hurt."
"As your pastor, I want to assure you that at Divine Child we love and respect all persons," McCabe continued. "Every person is sacred in the eyes of God regardless of their race, religion or sexuality. ... The entire human family needs to unite in confronting these injustices. We must protect the lives of persons of color and be the voice for people who do not have one."
In a recent interview with Church Militant, Trey Trainor, chairman of the Federal Election Commission, explained that Catholics, including clergy, have a right to engage in political advocacy. He further charged that American bishops are abusing their authority to censor the faithful.
Trainor's commentary casts light on why so many bishops either support Biden (like Cdl. Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey), punish their priests for speaking truth or remain silent.