Christopher White reports:
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, has endorsed a video that includes anti-immigrant remarks and homophobic slurs by a priest of Wisconsin in which the priest claims, “You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat.”
The video was released Aug. 30 by Fr. James Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and has since received more than 298,000 views.
In the 10-minute video, set to ominous music and dark lighting, the priest slams Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington D.C., for his criticism of President Donald Trump’s photo-op and appearance at the St. John Paul II National Shrine earlier this summer. He also criticizes Jesuit Fr. James Martin and his closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention; refers to participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects immigrants who entered the United States as minors from deportation, as “criminal illegal aliens”; and calls climate change a hoax….
On Sept. 5, however, Strickland took to Twitter to share the video and thank Altman for his “courage.”
“If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation…pleases [sic] HEED THIS MESSAGE,” wrote Strickland….
As for Strickland, who in recent years has emerged as one of the most partisan members of the U.S. hierarchy, endorsement of Altman’s video does not mark his first foray into promoting fringe or extremist clerics.
In 2018, when a former papal nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, issued a letter against Pope Francis charging that he mishandled clergy abuse claims and called for the pope’s resignation, Strickland issued his own letter saying he found Viganò to be credible and asked his priests to read his letter in all Sunday Masses that week in August 2018.