Defiant priest removed from ministry to speak in Beloit

March 20, 2022 GMT

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A defiant priest who was removed from his ministry in La Crosse last year is set to speak in Beloit this summer.

The La Crosse Tribune reported Sunday that the Rev. James Altman will speak at the Coalition for Canceled Priests’ one-year anniversary event in Beloit in June.

Bishop William Patrick Callahan removed Altman from his ministry at St. James the Less in La Crosse in July after Altman made a series of contentious remarks, including declaring that Catholics can’t be Democrats, anyone who supports Democrats will burn in hell and pandemic-related restrictions on church gatherings were “Nazi-esque controls.” His orthodox approach to Mass and sermons drove some parish members to leave St. James but galvanized conservative members of that church.

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Callahan clarified in September that Altman remains a priest in the La Crosse Diocese and continues to be paid.

Altman appeared on a March 16 episode of the Catholic podcast “U.S. Grace Force.” He said during the episode, entitled “Are We Past the Point of No Return?” that he hopes God calls his parents to heaven “before it all hits the fan — which is coming soon.”

He also downplayed the Russian invasion of Ukraine and criticized the media for exaggerating reports of death and destruction in that country. He said the war isn’t worth the global response it has generated and the media should focus on problems along the United States’ southern border and China.