At the age of 45, Father Altier has served 17 years in the priesthood, 14 of those as Assistant Pastor at the world-renowned Church of Saint Agnes, and now Archbishop Flynn has decided it is just and proper to relegate him to a nursing home. This is a priest who generously spends long hours in the confessional bringing souls back to God, who has been responsible for guiding numerous young people to offer their lives in religious vocations, who for 17 years has painstakingly given instruction through his Fundamentals of Catholicism course to over 150 people each year and brought hundreds of converts into the Catholic Church, who is renowned for his skills in spiritual direction, who acts as board member and advisor to several orthodox Catholic organizations, and who up until recently had been preaching to a worldwide audience via A Voice in the Desert website and Relevant Radio broadcasting.
Since March 1, Catholics worldwide have been asking the following questions: Why did Archbishop Flynn silence Father Altier? Why did he shut down a Catholic website known for its fidelity to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? The first clue came when Archdiocesan spokesman Dennis McGrath told the Star Tribune, "I surmise that Father Altier's contrarian position on VIRTUS is the issue." VIRTUS and its related program Talking About Touching (TAT) are the answers proposed by the Bishops of the United States to the sex-abuse scandal which broke out in 2002. Unfortunately, these graphic sex-ed programs are in direct violation of Vatican teachings on human sexuality and do nothing to stop predators but instead place the burden of protection on young children themselves. Archbishop Flynn served as chairperson of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse which developed these programs and he chose to proliferate it throughout his archdiocese beginning in the 2006-2007 school year, with pilot program testing to start in the spring of 2006. As the material content of these programs became more widely known, concern grew over their appropriateness. And because many aspects of VIRTUS and TAT are contrary to Church teaching (see sample lessons at http://www.primaryeducators.org/lessons.php ), Father Altier felt it was his duty to inform parents in an effort to protect the young children who would have their innocence irrevocably shattered by such programs. -from The Desert Voice
Personally, I wouldn't mind being reassigned to a nursing home for a few years myself. I could use the time to catch up on projects. My perspective on this is that, for Father Altier personally, it may not be such a bad thing as long as he doesn't spend the rest of his life there. The humbling experience and time given to reflect should produce some excellent homilies. The question is-for how long? Is this a respite before a triumphant return to St. Agnes', or a depot stop on his way to a more distant locale?