Controversial La Crosse priest says bishop asked him to resign

Fr. James Altman You Cannot Be Catholic & A Democrat. Period. Frame 1944

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A La Crosse priest who has drawn both harsh criticism and fervent support said this week that he has been asked to resign his post.

Father James Altman of La Crosse said Sunday that Bishop William Callahan of the Diocese of La Crosse has asked for his resignation.

Altman made the announcement during his homily at St. James the Lesser Catholic Church, saying, “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 has been at the center of several controversies in the area when he said that people could not be both Catholics and Democrats, compared the political left to Nazis, and encouraged people not to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, deeming COVID protocols to be “godless.”

Altman went on Sunday to say his canon lawyer asked for clarification on what made him divisive and said he was contesting the bishop’s request.

A legal fund set up in his name has raised nearly $75,000.