The leader of the Diocese of La Crosse has asked Catholic priest Father James Altman to resign amid continued controversial rhetoric over politics and the pandemic, Altman says.
Altman announced the news during his sermon Sunday, which was recorded and posted to YouTube later in the day, stating that his lawyer is challenging Bishop William Callahan’s request.
“As the Bishop has stated to me: I am ineffective. So for the record dear family, Bishop Callahan has asked me to resign as pastor as of this past Friday, two days ago, because I am divisive and ineffective,” Altman said.
Audible “no” sounds from the crowd can be heard during the video.
“In response my canon lawyer asked for clarification,” Altman continued, “asked for the justification and a chance to review what was in my file that suggested I was so divisive and ineffective. And I say all this only because, I’m no expert on canon law, but understand only that while we are contesting Bishop’s request — and we are — he could in theory appoint a parish administrator whilst I remain a pastor without duties until the appeal goes through Rome, which could take up to a year or more.”
The Tribune reached out to the Diocese spokesperson for comment but did not receive an immediate response.