Skip to comments.ARCHBISHOP EXPLAINS ACTIONS WITH FATHER ALTIER
Posted on 03/21/2006 6:40:33 AM PST by NYer
The following e-mail was sent to viewer Mary Grace Westman, who inquired as to why a Minnesota priest, Father Robert Altier, was no longer allowed to conduct a radio and internet ministry. The move by Archbishop Harry Flynn caused a heated controversy two weeks ago, for Father Altier had a significant following in conservative and Marian circles. The archbishop's explanation:
To interested party
Thank you for your recent note. I appreciate that you have benefited spiritually from Fr. Altiers homilies. He has done much good work and is not being silenced.
Fr. Robert Altier is a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in good standing. He wrote to ask me for permission to extend his radio ministry. I reviewed the situation and discerned that a break from his multi-media apostolates might be beneficial to him and to the parish of Saint Agnes. His primary responsibility has been and continues to be as assistant to the pastor there in ministering to the parishioners. The specific reasons for this decision are within the context of a bishops relationship with his priests. It would be most inappropriate to discuss them with others.
Many people have leaped to inaccurate and unkind conclusions. They do a disservice to Fr. Altier and to me. I pray that Lent will be a time for them to examine their consciences and grow in charity. They would be well-advised to listen to or read some homilies about the perils of rashly judging others and about the respect owed to the successors of the apostles.
Some people have mentioned concerns with regard to the safe environment programs for children. Let me assure you that pastors in this Archdiocese have a number of options from which to choose and that parents always retain the right to withhold their children from any program to which they object.
I hope that you may avail yourself of some of the other good spiritual resources on the radio, Internet or in good, old-fashioned books. I personally enjoy the insights of the periodical missal Magnificat. You are also free to visit Saint Agnes where Fr. Altier continues to actively minister.
With every good wish, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, D. D.
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
A very dignified way to say "None of your Business".
"Archbishop Doesn't Explain Actions With Fr. Altier.
Dear Nyer and Fellow Freeper in Christ,
I received a similar note as a "General Email" from the Office of the Archbishop of Minneapolis late last night (Indian Standard Time).
I asked Freeper Salvation to post it on Catholic Caucus 3-20-2006 Solemnity of Saint Joseph as I was having some trouble posting it on the Forum last night. I am quite sure it is Comment 22.
Check it out. It is essentially the same stuff that you have posted on this thread.
In Jesus and Mary,
Quite an explanation, I must say.
Isn't is wonderful to have such a charitable Abp. I wonder if his excellency would be as charitable with these good folks?
It's all right here.... the boss doesn't like being upstaged by the subordinate.
Uhh, he wasn't running the apostolate. Some parishoners had the apostolate. A family was writing down his homilies and posting them on the internet.
What doubt? The Bishop silenced Fr. Altier, halted his ability to communicate, and now chooses not to explain why by citing "...this decision are within the context of a bishops relationship with his priests. It would be most inappropriate to discuss them with others.
Ha, ha, ha, ha! That's a thigh slapper.
The benefit of the doubt here ought to go to Fr. Altier, whose words obviously touched a raw nerve in the chancery. Maybe you should read Fr. Atlier's words and judge for yourself why anyone could find offense rather than defending a bishop who only wants to protect his own "authority" and prerogative for pushing a good priest around while allowing all manner of other transgressions to float on by...
* sigh *
Like I said, I know that my suggestion was highly politically incorrect around here at FR.
Riiiight...this is why he made him pull all his past homilies and writings from the internet...gotcha, bish.
Thanks for the link.
I agree with you. It is important too, that no matter how we view the situation that Father A. does not become a cult hero or the Bishop a caricature for villiany.
The priest took a vow of obedience. The vow was not optional on the Bishop having to be 100% right in all his decisions.
We should remember that God will not be silence because a radio minsitry ends. We should remember that examples of faith, humility and patience and trust may bring more to the Gospel than any fine words.
Thanks for the link on rash judgement AB:
"TURN your attention upon yourself and beware of judging the deeds of other men, for in judging others a man labours vainly, often makes mistakes, and easily sins; whereas, in judging and taking stock of himself he does something that is always profitable.
We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.
If God were the sole object of our desire, we should not be disturbed so easily by opposition to our opinions. But often something lurks within or happens from without to draw us along with it.
Many, unawares, seek themselves in the things they do. They seem even to enjoy peace of mind when things happen according to their wish and liking, but if otherwise than they desire, they are soon disturbed and saddened. Differences of feeling and opinion often divide friends and acquaintances, even those who are religious and devout.
An old habit is hard to break, and no one is willing to be led farther than he can see.
If you rely more upon your intelligence or industry than upon the virtue of submission to Jesus Christ, you will hardly, and in any case slowly, become an enlightened man. God wants us to be completely subject to Him and, through ardent love, to rise above all human wisdom."
Sorry, but I'll continue to make judgements based on the incomplete facts available to me. Maybe I'll change my mind later; that happens.
Translation: I AM THE BISHOP! HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY DECISION?
Gosh, I'm not getting the feeling this guy is true "shepherd" material. Anytime a bishop has to ask us to examine our conscience re the "respect owed to the successors of the apostles" makes me think he's a little defensive. Even less respect for him now. If he's so concerned about the bad press, why not just tell the truth? Oh, wait, I forgot. He's a bishop...they don't have to tell the truth.
IIRC. Padre Pio was obedient to his bishop and was not able to hear confession for years. This must have been very difficult. and was exonerated in the end.
Even though some may suggest that Bishop Flynn's decision in this case was "rash judgement" against a well intentioned and worthy priest, I wouldn't be so bold as to suggest it.
PS I love Thomas a Kempis and read him often. Thanks for posting a link to his work.
I really love FR, but for a forum of supposed conservative and orthodox people, many of us somehow place ourselves in a position to sit in judgment of a bishop who has exercised his perogative as a man endowned with apostolic authority. His office and reputation demand that we give him the benefit of the doubt. Remember, passivity and receptivity are chief virtues of lay people.
"Because I said so, that's why" always worked for my mom and dad when I was young. It should work for us now. After all, the Archbishop is a spiritual father who in a special way bears the image of God the Father.
Feel free to grant the benefit of the doubt, but at times doing so is to ignore a bit of the reality. There is lots of history here, and this Bishop has a temper. The suggestion he is doing this silencing for the benefit of the priest is BS.
Perhaps the bishop is preventing Fr Altier from being in a position to be a vocal opponent of his policy, thus safeguarding his promise of obedience. Perhaps he is preserving Fr Altier from giving scandal and fostering hostility toward legitimate authority. Perhaps he is preventing Fr Altier's words from motivating an agenda contrary to the spirit with which the words were spoken. There are a number of valid reasons that the bishop may exercise his perogative. Unless the bishop is behaving in a manifestly immoral way, we must accept his decisions. Fr Altier, it seems, has.
I don't even think (despite the fac that I wrote earlier) that we should give him the benefit of the doubt. The bishop has the right to more than that. It is not a question of the benefit of the doubt. It is a question of divinely constituted authority.
By the way, I am a fan of Fr Altier. So I do not write this as a backhanded attempt to smear him in any way. I have friends who have been very strengthened in faith because of having heard his homilies. I hope that a Fr Altier fares well despite the pain that fidelity to his solemn promise may engender.
>>> There are a number of valid reasons that the bishop may exercise his perogative. Unless the bishop is behaving in a manifestly immoral way, we must accept his decisions. Fr Altier, it seems, has.
It strikes me that you do not see a difference between obedience and questioning. Yes, Fr. Altier must take down the website, etc., in obedience. I am not, by my criticism, disobeying the bishop in any way. Nothing I've said violates obedience or implies I do not accept the bishop's authority to do the wrong thing. That proper duty of obedience hardly immunizes the bishop from criticism. They are two different things. Here, the criticism is entirely appropriate, entirely accurate, and entirely within the rights of the faithful. All the "perhaps" in the world won't change that.
Pretty sad that a bishop has to demand the "respect owed to the successors of the apostles." Did Bernard Law live up to the respect owed to him?? What about the respect that that bishop owes to his priests??
Passivity and receptivity as "chief virtues of lay people"?? Wow! Right out of the 19th century! Suggest you take a look at the Vatican II documents, especially Chapter 4 of Lumen Gentium.
Would tend to agree. Strange email.
A Voice in the Desert
| The Archbishop's Response - with a commentary
Response of Fr. Altier and Fr. Welzbacher, pastor
Do not surrender your confidence;
Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn
Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
This action of the Archbishop is not related to any scandal
We regret any inconvenience and humbly ask for your prayers.
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn