Friday, July 21, 2006

Fr. Altier, "the embattled"?

The "Definitive" word?

Sort of a quasi-official response to all the rumors about the reassignment surgery in the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese involving Fr. Altier by Dennis McGrath. (Very much towing the 'party-line'.) Although - truth be told, Elizabeth Schwaub would have the more accurate account of all the happenings - there is an email from her included in Mr. Abbott's piece.

My understanding is that Fr. Altier is doing very well in his new assignment, he has not been silenced in his ministry; he preaches and teaches and helps out at St. Augustine's in South St. Paul. He's getting new, decent vestments and appointments for his chapel at the hospital, and bringing the liturgy into line, and generously offering confessions. He's doing what he alawys has, serving tirelessly with devotion in this present assignment. He is a faithful, dedicated, and obedient priest. I know several pastors who would give their eyeteeth for such an assignment - parish life is "embattled" these days. Altier will not be in this position forever - remember how God let Elijah rest only for a short time under the broom tree, and then He sent him on to continue his mission? Fr. Altier will be back, just wait!


  1. Anonymous10:15 AM

    I find McGrath's comments DISGUSTING. I am so sick to the death of the Archdiocese response to their filthy "Talking about Touching" program which is in place in all but what 34 Parishes and schools here??
    They will defend that progam to their desths! UGH. They can do whatever they want to Father Altier...blow and blow hard, but it won't touch Father will it? There might be some inconveniences and such, but I bet it won't touch Father in any real or lasting way, but it will touch US and leave a lasting impression. I will NEVER give to another CAMPAIGN etc in my life to any Archdiocese...I will give to those who are Christian in every way --at least that I can tell by what leaves their mouths. I will NEVER forget how they personally reached into my family's PRIVATE life and tried to tell me lies and my children lies. I have lost my "innocence" through this whole scandal about Father Altier...I am so torn--grateful for what Father did
    and yet I miss the time I really thought the Archbishop was someone I didn't have to SUSPECT... I will have to SUSPECT all clergy from now on. They have proven as a group to be SUSPECT--I mean what else can I do? I cannot take for granted they are for my good. Only God is.

  2. Anonymous9:28 AM

    I never quite understood Fr. Grabner's role at St. Agnes. Is he assigned to the school and helps out at the parish? I ask because the following is in today's St. Agnes bulletin:

    As you know, Fr. Welzbacher is on sabbatical while preparing for his new assignment at St. John of St. Paul on the East Side beginning in October. For the past number of months, Fr. Robert Grabner has been living in the rectory at St. Agnes as a guest of Fr. Welzbacher. It is Fr. Welzbacher’s intention to move out of the rectory by September 2006 to prepare for his new duties. After reviewing the current situation with the Archdiocese, it was determined that it would be best for Fr. Grabner to look for a different living situation at this same time as well. When this decision was conveyed to Fr. Grabner, he decided not to wait until September, but has already moved out of the rectory. Any questions in this regard should be directed to Most Rev. Richard Pates, Vicar for Clergy at the Archdiocesan Chancery at 651-291-4400. We wish Fr. Grabner our best in his next steps.

    Regarding the article, it was interesting to read McGrath's comment on Fr Altier:

    Father had indeed frequently and inappropriately (if not disobediently) criticized the archbishop and archdiocesan leaders (and not simply on the VIRTUS child protection/education program).

    I always thought that there was more to it than his views on VIRTUS. I suspect it has much more to do with his outspoken views on the one subject that always seems to in the forefront of this diocese.

  3. Dear Anonymous,
    Fr. Gaebner was not assigned in any capacity to St. Agnes. He is a very good, humble priest who was once pastor at St. John's on the East Side of St. Paul. Evidently some parishoners there had not appreciated him and got him removed from his position. Nothing untoward in his behavior at all, it was a question of style - as I understood it. He remained a priest witout assignment and helped out at St. Agnes as a guest of Fr. W. (Free agent priests in STP/MPLS are not that uncommon - especially when their views are traditional and they may be a bit outspoken about abuses and discrepencies in ecclesial matters of faith, morals, doctrine and liturgy.) In the meantime, he appealed his case to the Vaatican, the Vatican ruled in favor of Fr. Graebner. The Chancery here, supposedly did not like the fact he had gone over their heads and said they would review his case after he went through some psychological tests or counseling? I don't know which. Nevertheless, he is a good priest who has done nothing wrong and he is as sane as anyone else. The whole affair reminded me of KGB style harrassment. Fr. G. is the model of humility and obedience, although this trial is very difficult for him. Please pray for him.

    As with Fr. G., there are many of Fr. Altier's peers who do not like him and never have liked him from his seminary days. There was more to the story than VIRTUS. People did not like his conservative, albeit orthodox, approach to Church teaching, his deliverance ministry, nor his take on the devil, mariology, and criticism of dissenting priests, teachers, and parishes. People - religious sisters as well as priests have complained about him for years - documenting just about every word or action of his. It's pretty much been a silent campaign to have him silenced. They finally won when Fr. A. publicly criticized the NCCB for their support of the sex-ed policies to be imposed upon unsuspecting Catholic families, VIRTUS one of them. He was right of course, but it put the Archbishop in an awkward position, he had to save face in front of his peers.

    Well, I think that just about covers it, huh? The Archdiocese and everyone else can put whatever spin they want on the subjects covered - I just call 'em as I see and hear 'em. Ecclesial and religious authorities can drag out all the decorum and canonical procedures and smooth talking they want - it never covers up the truth.

    These guys will be back, and many more like them - there is so much hope in the new vocations (and youth) who are truly Catholic and love the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.

    I read the notice in the bulletin at St. Agnes as well, already having known about it. Fr. G. accepted this humbly and without murmur. He is a faithful traditional novus ordo priest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with him. He is a model of charity and humility, and in many respects he reminds me of Ven. Fr. Solanus Casey. Much like Solanus, Fr. G. may still celebrate Holy Mass, albeit it privately. I urge everyone to pray for this holy priest.

  4. Anonymous6:17 PM

    Thanks for the information. I have been at a couple of Masses offered by Fr. Grabner and had been wondering if he might take over for Msgr. Schuler at the 5:15pm daily Mass. I guess not.

    Isn't it odd that some bishops (not Arbp. Flynn) had no problem moving abusive priests from parish to parish, but get labeled an orthodox/conservative priest and you're not allowed contact with the faithful.

  5. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Who are the young priests? Interesting studies:

    Also, forgive me for nitpicking Terry, but the phrase is "'Toe' the line." As in putting your toe on the line.

  6. Anonymous: Very astute, yet both expressions are acceptable:

    "The “lining up for a race or fight” metaphor has been obscured, and a new, nautical imagery has been grafted on the expression, thus changing the spelling. In particular when a blend with compounds like party line occurs, the original metaphor slips farther into the background: a party line is not the kind of line that can be toed. And then it is but a step towards towing the line in a particular direction."

    As for the "young priests" I looked over my post and comments quickly and did not notice any place where I refer to "young priests".

    Thanks for reading and your comments.

  7. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Well, I must have read something about young priests that day in a blog... getting older. Sorry. Interesting study though. Supports the anecdotes.

    There are many more important things in the world to dabate, however, I must add that to "toe the line" is to conform to a rule or standard, to stay within a boundary. Something that can be easily done with respect to a party or organization.

    I like the boxing origin best, but the House of Commons is the most entertaining.

    God Bless

  8. All right already! "to toe the line" I get it, I got it right in the first place - both are acceptable - you've got to be a priest.


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