Catholic Church Law and Law of Love Inform Father Altman Case| National Catholic Register

Father James Altman, the pastor of St. James the Less in La Crosse, Wisconsin, was removed from public ministry after a July 7 decree was issued by his ordinary, Bishop William Callahan of the Diocese of La Crosse.  While the reasons behind Father Altman’s removal as pastor ultimately remain a matter between the Wisconsin priest and his bishop, an understanding of the obedience required of diocesan priests toward their superiors and the recourse to canon law available to both bishops and priests in such situations indicate that the situation risks oversimplification by being characterized as either an unjust “canceling” of Father Altman for his outspoken views or as just deserts for a rogue priest with a personal political agenda. On July 9, the Diocese of La Crosse issued a statement regarding the restrictions placed on Father Altman’s ministry, noting that Bishop 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.”

Catholic Church Law and Law of Love Inform Father Altman Case| National Catholic Register

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