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Catholics are all-too-aware of heavy-handed bishops bearing down on their priests, telling them not to weigh in on politicians and their policies that run contrary to the Faith. Just a week ago, Bp. William Callahan of La Crosse, Wisconsin blasted Fr. James Altman for his tone in a recent homily on how Catholics cannot be Democrats.
As if Fr. Altman's manner of speaking was the issue — it was not! Perhaps, Pennsylvania bishops Lawrence Persico of Erie, or Joseph Bambera of Scranton — both registered Democrats — shouted out a call to Callahan to sit on Father Altman. "God forbid a mere priest tell us bishops whom we should vote for, or what party is or is not Catholic!"
The current irony of the U.S. episcopacy is that members are quick to condemn any and every priest who tries to exercise his God-given right to promote and vote for candidates like President Trump who support the Faith and the Church. Father Altman is just one of many priests whose ordinaries have sat on recently for straying from the approved party line.
Ironically, on Sept. 22, 2020, Abp. Bernard A. Hebda of the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis came down heavy on Fr. Robert Altier because of his sermon that went viral, exposing the many fallacies surrounding the Wuhan virus.
Archbishop Hebda, in his condemnatory letter to Fr. Altier, cited quite bombastically in his opening paragraph that "none of our priests or bishops, however, is an expert in public health, infectious disease, epidemiology or immunology."
How blatantly false and misleading a statement can you make, archbishop? What about the many priests and religious throughout the United States and world who, in addition to their religious credentials, have advanced degrees in medicine and work as doctors, nurses and pharmacologists?
Hebda's heavy-handed handling of Fr. Altier is lamentable but revealing of his true allegiances. God forbid a mere non-party priest speak the truth of the Wuhan virus, which forced Catholic faithful to suffer through a protracted "stay-at-home" period, locked out of their own churches.
Hebda forcibly manhandling his priests and depriving them of their civil rights is nothing new. Recall this past spring how audaciously, just before the Minnesota primary, Abp. Hebda pointedly told his priests not to vote in the primary! As if none of these men has the right to vote. At the time, many civil and canonical jurists pointed out how "off" the archbishop was in demanding priests under his jurisdiction not to vote, as no Church law or canon demands that a priest obey his ordinary in matters of this nature.
Ordinaries like Hebda get away with manhandling their priests and violating their civil rights because the typical American Catholic has been duped. The typical American Catholic believes that prelates have the right to do this, as Fr. So-and-So has made a promise of obedience to his bishop.
The truth of the matter, however, is very different than what the typical Catholic has been led to believe. Upon ordination, a priest makes a promise of obedience to his bishop "in matters of faith and morals" — he does not make a promise to his bishop to be some sort of vassal or slave to the bishop's every whim, or to kowtow to the Democratic Party platform.
As verified with Abp. Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, who taught for over 20 years at Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein Illinois: "The bishop may order a priest to jump into the lake, but the priest has no obligation whatsoever to comply, as jumping into lakes is not a matter pertaining at all to the Faith, or the moral law based on natural law."
In a similar fashion, the American hierarchy runs roughshod over the civil and canonical rights of ordinary Catholics to assemble and celebrate the sacraments in their Churches. A perfect demonstration of this is how the bishops caved to secular powers in recent months and closed churches for weeks — months! — on end, owing to the Wuhan virus. And this was done without any consultation whatsoever from parish priests or lay Catholics.
Blessedly, during this trial, many priests bucked this total shutdown of the celebration of the Church's sacraments and clandestinely celebrated home Masses and anointed the sick. Tragically, some priests who were caught doing so by their ordinary — for celebrating the sacraments they were ordained to administer — were punished, despite the bishops having dubious justification for doing so. In California, for example, a priest in the diocese of San Bernardino is still waiting for an assignment from Bp. Alberto Rojas, who removed him from his parish after deciding his celebration of home Masses was out of order.
America's modernist, pro-Democrat prelates are quick to weigh in on and silence good priests like Fr. James Altman and Fr. Robert Altier. They act not because they have any right whatsoever to do so, but simply because they get away with it. It's time lay Catholics wake up to what is playing out and demand a halt to it all.
Lay Catholics must demand in person — inside the bishop's chancery — that no more good priests be sidelined, that no more good priests be slandered. Emails, phone calls, letters and such, are all good responses to the actions of bad bishops. But these bad prelates will not respond to any of these actions if not supported by hundreds of the faithful physically showing in-person support of our good priests.
The Sunday, Sept. 13 Rosary Rally in La Crosse Wisconsin — at which over 700 came out in support of Fr. Altman against Antifa, Black Lives Matter and Bp. Callahan — is an example of exactly what action is required to get the attention of bad prelates — prayerful, devout and public disapproval by the masses of the bishops' bad behavior.
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