Through his Intercession, we Humbly ask that Bishop Callahan would Retract his Unprincipled Decision about Fr. Altman
Father Walijewski, pray for Bishop Callahan!
At this moment, the eyes of the Catholic world are on the little Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, where news has recently broken that Father James Altman has been removed as pastor of his parish, and even had his priestly faculties indefinitely suspended, by Bishop William P. Callahan, O.F.M. Conv., for reasons ranging from the incomprehensible to the outrageous. Admonished for his supposedly infelicitous “manner and tone” and accused of a lack of pastoral “efficacy,” Father Altman is said to have sought—or, at the very least, to have permitted to spring up around him—a “cult of personality” intolerable in priestly ministry. All of this is mystifying at best when Father Altman himself merely insists, and demonstrates by his actions the authenticity of this insistence, that what he is trying to do is to be a good father to his spiritual family, which embraces not only the members of Saint James the Less Parish in La Crosse, but also, very specifically, the unborn children whose lives are imperiled by abortion and whose body parts are commercialized in the manufacturing of certain kinds of vaccines.
Many people correctly detect a double standard when comparing the treatment meted out to Father Altman with that given to theologically dissident priests such as James Martin, S.J. Why, they ask, does Father Altman get punished so harshly when others—seemingly much more deserving of denunciation and canonical censure—get off scot free? One reason proffered is that Bishop Callahan, in and of himself, has no jurisdiction over James Martin, and so there is no comparison to be drawn. Fair enough. Let us ask, in that case, why there does exist a flagrant disconnect between the treatment meted out to Father Altman and that given to another humble, relatively unknown priest of the Diocese of La Crosse itself—namely, Servant of God Father Joseph Walijewski.
Padre José, as he is affectionately known, was a Michigan native eventually incardinated in Wisconsin. A figure somewhat reminiscent of Saint Joseph of Cupertino in certain respects, Father Walijewski’s very vocation was threatened at the outset by the modesty of his intellectual gifts, which were considered in certain quarters to be inadequate relative to the requirements of ordination. Rejected ominously, young Joseph refused to give up and was eventually accepted by the Diocese of La Crosse, under then-Bishop Alexander McGavick. Touchingly, Father Walijewski later remarked in a letter that he considered himself an “orphan no more” as a result. “I owe my whole life’s work to the Diocese of La Crosse,” he once stated, and anyone interested in the impressive, ongoing and undoubtedly supernatural scope of that work may learn about it by viewing the EWTN documentary, “A Pencil in Our Lord’s Hand: The Padre Jose Story,” among other sources.
Father Walijewski, like Father Altman, was a man of iron-willed determination; he could not have accomplished all he did accomplish otherwise, because grace builds on nature. Father Walijewski, like Father Altman, was a priest who took his spiritual fatherhood seriously, feeding those entrusted to his care both Eucharistically and physically. Father Walijewski, like Father Altman, touched lives beyond the confines of his own home diocese in Wisconsin, taking seriously the Dominical imperative to spread the Gospel “to the ends of the earth.” So why is Father Walijewski applauded by Bishop Callahan (and others) for perseverance in doing the will of God, while Father Altman is reproached for bull-headedness and pronounced in need of a metanoia on a 30-day—or evidently, if necessary, perpetual—retreat? Why isn’t Father Walijewski--who once reflected that if you told him he would become the father of eighty children at a time, he wouldn’t have believed it—accused of encouraging, or at least of allowing to spring up around him, a “cult of personality” incompatible with priestly ministry? The difference lies, manifestly, not between Father Altman and Father Walijewski, but between Bishop Callahan and Bishop McGavick; between those whose exercise of ecclesial authority manifests the heart of a good shepherd and those whose unprincipled impositions evoke the spectre, instead, of a mitered wormtongue answerable to God knows whom.
“The obligation of a Bishop”--we find asserted (without citing or even alluding to any authoritative document of the Catholic Church, since poor Bishop Callahan and his spokespersons are clearly winging it here) in the recent Statement Regarding Father James Altman from the current, not the former, Diocese of La Crosse—"is to ensure that all who serve the faithful are able to do so while unifying and building the Body of Christ.” Is it, really, in the sense that each of those words is intended to mean in its present, anti-Altman context? One wonders if Alexander McGavick would agree. That prelate’s decision to take on young Joseph Walijewski as a seminarian in the first place would necessarily have been a “divisive” one, by today’s standards. Would Bishop Callahan’s wise and fearless predecessor not have considered the affectionate acclaim of Father Altman’s burgeoning number of parishioners, both literal and virtual, to be an authentic and indeed most effective “building up” of the Body of Christ? The filial protestations of those who have been helped in their lives and in their Catholic faith by Father James Altman, formerly of Saint James the Less Parish, are reverberating across the globe, while in La Crosse itself all cries for justice for Father Altman fall on the local ordinary’s deaf ears. Yet this same man, Bishop William Patrick Callahan O.F.M. Conv., says in the documentary about Father Walijewski, while standing right in front of that holy man’s final resting place (he is talking about the behavior of the people, when Padre José was laid to rest):
The little kids were helped by the big kids, and every one of them was as reverent as could be. They were astonishingly reverent. They came up here, and they knew who was here. They knew that Father Joe was here. It was an encounter with somebody who really did something wonderful, and it was an encounter they had with Jesus, through Father Joe.
Why is it “something wonderful” for people to encounter Jesus through Father Joe, but not through Father James? When is Bishop Callahan going to realize that his own priest, whom he himself is shutting down, is “the kind of guy who touched lives,” as Bishop Callahan says in the documentary that he eventually came to realize about Padre José? In assessing what is going on hic et nunc, right before our very eyes, one cannot avoid the impression that it is the very reverence—the astonishing reverence—of Father Altman himself, and of all whom he manifestly inspires, that is at the root of Bishop Callahan’s quashing of Father Altman’s priestly ministry and concomitant, ineluctable enabling of the powers-that-be which would rather see Holy Communion handed out both blithely and blasphemously to the Presidential and other promoters of abortion instead.
There is a prayer directed to Father Joseph Walijewski which the Diocese of La Crosse currently asks people to say, inserting their own intention at the appropriate place. Until Bishop Callahan, not Father Altman, changes his mind, let us offer it daily as follows:
Holy and good God, your servant and priest, Father Joseph Walijewski, through priestly zeal and heroic holiness, defended innocence against the sadness of evil, especially to broken families and helpless children.
Imaging the compassionate Christ, he led others to the font of sacramental life and the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their true and only Savior.
Stop for a moment of silence, ask Jesus Christ what He want you to do now and next. In this silence remember God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost - Three Divine Persons yet One God, has an ordered universe where you can know truth and falsehood as well as never forget that He wants you to have eternal happiness with Him as his son or daughter by grace. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet.
of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt
the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church
in such a situation:
"[T]he Pope... WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See."
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)
Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said "the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church."
- "If Francis is a Heretic, What should Canonically happen to him?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2020/12/if-francis-is-heretic-what-should.html
- "Could Francis be a Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2019/03/could-francis-be-antipope-even-though.html
- LifeSiteNews, "Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial
weight behind communion for adulterers," December 4, 2017:
The AAS guidelines explicitly allows "sexually active adulterous couples facing 'complex circumstances' to 'access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'"
- On February 2018, in Rorate Caeli, Catholic theologian Dr. John Lamont:
"The AAS statement... establishes that Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia has affirmed propositions that are heretical in the strict sense."
- On December 2, 2017, Bishop Rene Gracida:
"Francis' heterodoxy is now official. He has published his letter to the Argentina bishops in Acta Apostlica Series making those letters magisterial documents."
Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church by the bishops by the grace of God.
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- Will US be Venezuela?: Ex-CIA Official told Epoch Times "Chávez started to Focus on [Smartmatic] Voting Machines to Ensure Victory as early as 2003": http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/will-us-be-venezuela-ex-cia-official.html