In an interview with Dr. Taylor Marshall, Fr. James Altman says that bishops censuring hundreds of priests from their parishes for speaking out against political issues. Is there evidence that many priests, besides him, have had their faculties removed or been removed from their parishes in the last year or two?
I really doubt that there are many priests who have had their faculties removed for speaking out against political issues. In most cases a priest would be reprimanded in order to force him to stop doing so, prior to being disciplined in such a manner.– Ken Graham ♦Jul 15, 2021 at 6:17
There seem to be about 35,000 priests in the US; not sure how removing a few hundreds would be relevant.– user46876Jul 15, 2021 at 7:07
1@Lucian if a few hundred spoke in these ways, and those few hundred were removed, that would seem relevant to me.– TKoLJul 15, 2021 at 11:03
@KenGraham "removed from their parishes" doesn't necessarily entail loss of faculties. For example, in Indiana last year a priest was removed for a statement he made but his faculties weren't generally removed. He was later assigned to a new parish– equesJul 15, 2021 at 14:46
1@ken either or, just some canonical penalty for speaking out against the current evil. Fr. Altman, for example, has been limited to what he can do as a priest, he hasn't been moved to another parish. I think it's relevant because it seems to have a chilling effect on priests who would otherwise be likely to preach the Gospel properly.– Peter Turner ♦Jul 15, 2021 at 15:15
Are priests being “cancelled” by Bishops all over America?
The term cancelled is a very dubious term to be employed here.
There are other issues involved here, other than Covid-19. Other priests have been subject to suspension, but there are no numbers to support that hundreds have been suspended for political reasons all over the United States within the last two years.
In the interview with Dr. Taylor Marshall, Fr. James Altman had been cancelled as a priest. However the term is truly murky at best.
The best term to be employed here would be suspension as an ecclesiastical punishment.
Can. 1339 §1. An ordinary, personally or through another, can warn a person who is in the proximate occasion of committing a delict or upon whom, after investigation, grave suspicion of having committed a delict has fallen.
§2. He can also rebuke a person whose behavior causes scandal or a grave disturbance of order, in a manner accommodated to the special conditions of the person and the deed.
§3. The warning or rebuke must always be established at least by some document which is to be kept in the secret archive of the curia.
Can. 1340 §1. A penance, which can be imposed in the external forum, is the performance of some work of religion, piety, or charity.
§2. A public penance is never to be imposed for an occult transgression.
§3. According to his own prudent judgment, an ordinary can add penances to the penal remedy of warning or rebuke.
Fr. James Altman, thus is under suspension.
Fr. James Altman, a rogue Wisconsin priest who flouted COVID-19 protocols at the height of the pandemic, derided liberals as "left-wing fascist Nazis" and warned that Catholics who support the Democratic Party could "face the fires of hell," has been removed as pastor of his parish and restricted from ministry.
According to a new decree issued by La Crosse Bishop William Callahan, Altman is only allowed to celebrate Mass in private and is barred from preaching. He has also been instructed to take a 30-day spiritual retreat to "give him the possibility to spiritually heal and recharge and address the issues that caused the issuance of this decree."
The latest developments come less than two months after Altman announced that he would fight a request by Callahan to resign as pastor of St. James the Less Catholic Church where he has served since 2017.
The priest turned conservative firebrand has made national headlines for his controversial and incendiary remarks in recent months. Altman earlier told his parishioners that the bishop had labeled him as "divisive and ineffective" and in response, he raised nearly $700,000 through online crowdfunding campaigns in support of his appeal efforts.
Nicholas Cafardi, a civil and canon lawyer and a professor and former dean at Duquesne University School of Law, had previously told NCR that under the church's canon law, a pastor has particular rights and responsibilities and in order to be removed, the bishop must have a proper cause and follow a particular process.
"The cause here is for disturbing ecclesiastical communion," Cafardi said, noting that Altman has the option to appeal the bishop's decision to the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy.
The La Crosse diocese did not immediately respond to an NCR query as to whether a new administrator has been named to Altman's former parish.
Despite the efforts of Callahan to limit the priest's public ministry, Altman has received the backing of Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who has repeatedly praised Altman's ministry and endorsed his viral video claiming faithful Catholics cannot be Democrats.
"Fr. James Altman is in trouble for speaking the truth," Strickland wrote on Twitter on May 24. "He inspires many to keep the faith during these dark days. Let us pray for him."
Both Strickland and Altman have flouted COVID-19 protocols and voiced opposition to vaccines, while both the Vatican and the U.S. bishops' conference have made repeated efforts to encourage Catholics to get vaccinated. - Wisconsin bishop restricts ministry of firebrand priest Fr. James Altman
Fr. James Altman has not lost his status as a priest in good standing or lost his of clerical state whatsoever. Nor has he been defrocked.
It is true that he is no longer pastor of St. James Parish. Perhaps, this is what is meant by their use of the term ”cancelled”. Generally, speaking pastors do not remain longer in a particular parish for more than 10 years nowadays. Priests get transferred to other parishes all the time, so that is not a big issue. Fr. Altman may still say mass, but only in private. I have personally known of some priests being disciplined in similar ways, but it is extremely rear. Usually, the issues involved get cleared up easily. Fr. Altman being so popular will make it that much more difficult for him.
Back in the days of the Cure of Ars, priests were commonly pastors of a particular parish church for much longer and often for life.
As for the them saying that as your question assumes ”bishops [are] censuring hundreds of priests from their parishes for speaking out against political issues,” can not be supported.
I find that there is little evidence that many priests, besides him, have had their faculties removed or been removed from their parishes in the last year or two!
If hundreds of priests are being censored and having their faculties removed does not add up. There are 196 dioceses in the US. That means in general more priests are being disciplined than there are dioceses. That would make new!
The Catholic Church in the United States has a total of 196 particular churches — consisting of 32 territorial archdioceses, 144 territorial dioceses, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (serving members of the US Armed Forces and Diplomatic Corps, and those in facilities of the Veterans Administration and their dependents), and the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (serving Catholics who were formerly Anglicans) within the Latin Church; and two archeparchies and 16 eparchies in the Eastern Catholic Churches — in the 50 U.S. states and the US Virgin Islands. - List of Catholic dioceses in the United States
Please keep in mind that with Fr. James Altman has the right of appeal to Rome. That is has privilege. Remember also that his platform contradicts Pope Francis and the U.S. bishops' conference by encouraging Catholics not to accept the Covid-19 vaccine. Both the Vatican and the U.S. bishops' conference have made repeated efforts to encourage Catholics to get vaccinated.
"Remember also that his platform contradicts Pope Francis and the U.S. bishops' conference by encouraging Catholics not to accept the Covid-19 vaccine." Which HE is entitled to do. Things which are not dogma or for that matter long-held doctrine can absolutely be disputed.– equesJul 15, 2021 at 20:08
@eques True, but he is creating much confusion and notoriety. This is only one of the issues that are in question here. This is really only a secondary issue in response to the actual question: Are priests being “cancelled” by Bishops all over America?– Ken Graham ♦Jul 15, 2021 at 20:15
I can't agree. The episcopacy has created far more confusion by not teaching things which are clear and insisting on things as though they were clear (E.g. the vaccine, immigration, capital punishment, etc)– equesJul 15, 2021 at 20:20
1catholicworldreport.com/2020/07/09/… and Fr. Z was apparently kicked out of my diocese wdtprs.com/2021/07/d-richmond-another-cancelled-priest (although I've seen him around a bit). Covid put all these priests on youtube in the first place, I don't think they were asking for notoriety.– Peter Turner ♦Jul 15, 2021 at 20:21
1Also, there's no Covid in Wisconsin.– Peter Turner ♦Jul 15, 2021 at 20:21