Priest silenced

A number of people have alerted me today to this notification about the silencing under obedience by Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis of Fr. Robert Altier. Altier is a noted orthodox priest, who has a program on the Relevant Radio network, and is an advisor to Catholic Parents Online, a group opposed to the implementation of Talking about Touching in Minneapolis.

I have hesitated to post anything about it because no one can tell me why he was silenced. The Archdiocese is not talking and neither is Father Altier. Some people are speculating why, which is fine for them, but I’d rather wait until there is more information.

(As longtime Bettnet readers know, I have been burned in the past by jumping the gun. Maturity means we learn from our mistakes, right?)

So if anyone has anyone information, please either email me or post a comment. I will respect requests for anonymity and information that is either off the record or on background.

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  • Domenico:

    I applaud your caution on this.  One can draw any number of inferences, which may seem to explain it, and they could prove to be very wrong.

    It is natural for us to want to know; assuming, reflexively, that we have some right to know (which we probably don’t).

    Speculation about this matter most likely will result in unfavorable suggestions about either the bishop, or the priest, or both—and that is terribly unfair.

    So better to practice discipline and wait . . .

  • Here is, I believe, the last published homily by the good priest.  Interesting how its emphasis on persecution and obedience is prophetic.  Knowing how Fr. Altier is usually obedient to a fault, I can understand how he wouldn’t respond.  Fr. Fessio, call Fr. Altier!

    (this publication I obtained from the archives of another Catholic information e-mail list – not from Desert Voice)

  • A tragedy.  Fr. Altier’s homilies are the best available on the ‘Net, better than EWTN in fact, and less controversial or political. 

    My spiritual life will be disrupted by this.

  • Just a note about Fr. Altier. This holy priest has nourished my soul for such a long time, and I am sure I am not the only one.  In seeing that he had been silenced when I checked in at his home page today I felt a lead ball in my heart.  How can this be?  What is going on when such wonderful priests are so persecuted, and others bring nothing but scandal and remain in place.  Mother Mary, please intercede for your beloved son, Fr. Altier, and for us all!  Anyone read Fr. Elijah!!

  • Padre Pio was silenced. John of the Cross was brought before the Inquisition. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

    I’ve never heard of this Priest, but if he is what you say he is, he’s in good company. Bishop Flynn must have his reasons. Hopefully he acts with prudence and wisdom.

  • If you have FrontPage, the MS web tool (probaby any web publishing tool will work), you can import his homilies onto your computer by pointing to the following directory,

    His examination of conscience on the Catholic Parent’s webpage is one of the best I’ve seen.

  • During the few years as residents in the southern suburb of the Twin Cities, My family were parishioners of St. Agnes, taking the great joy of weekly 40-min commute to the 10 o’clock Latin Mass, even though drive wasn’t always easy for Minnesotan winter months on I-35E. Fr. Altier baptized my third child, tested my daughter on catechism before she made her first Holy Communion. We always enjoyed his homilies and the gentle voice. His Saturday afternoon confession line was long. So many people longed for his spiritual directions. I am saddened upon reading the news. Please pray for Fr. Altier!

  • I realize that this article does not encompass the entire personality of the archbishop or other actions he may have taken, but it does give an idea of perhaps the expanse between the way each personality here operates and how, from the experience and knowledge of this priest by many, one may draw certain conclusions:

  • Saint Athanasius:“The floor of hell is covered with the skulls of bishops.” Problematic bishops apparently are nothing new.

    We should all pray for Archbishop Flynn as his judgment seems to become more and more imprudent regarding the leadership of the people of God in Minnesota. His leadership style is one of oppression and silence.

    Fr. Altier, who seems to be a good and holy priest as his writings suggest, is having a penitential Lent, purifying his soul. He will be fine in the long and short term. I fear for the Archbishop, not for this action but for the collection of all of his actions that seem contrary to prudence and contrary to the good of souls.

  • Note to downloaders: please limit your downloading to one connection at a time.  Some Comcast user in Florida is reading five files at a time and consuming my home machine’s limited bandwidth.

  • Pamela Miller had an article in the Star Tribune over the weekend that indicates exactly what happened to Fr. Altier.  Here’s the quote from AB Flynn’s spokesman:

    “Father Altier is an honored priest, and has not committed any
    improprieties,” archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath said. He said Flynn
    will not discuss the issue publicly because it is a “personnel matter,
    but I surmise that Father Altier’s contrarian position on Virtus is the

    This was inevitable in view of the fact that Flynn was the head of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on sex abuse.  He is a primary architect of the misguided policy of implementing even the most graphic “touching” programs into the classroom. Virtus calls for babies of 18 months to be taught the correct terms for private body parts.  After all, they need to be able to use them in court. Don’t we all know lots of parents who want their children’s first words to be potty language?

    I hope everyone will pray for Fr. Altier and write RESPECTFUL protest letters to AB Flynn. (I know it will be hard, but it’s Lent.)  And while you reflect on the unjust treatment meted out to Fr. Altier visit to see the gay parish that continues to promote sexual deviancy very publicly in the Twin Cities. When is AB Flynn going to censor the St. Joan of Arc website?

  • Here is some clarification from the webmaster of DesertVoice.

    From the Webmasters to the Friends and Visitors of DesertVoice,

    It has recently come to our attention that a rumor is circulating which states that Father Altier himself created the DesertVoice website and has been responsible for loading up his own material onto the Internet, thus promoting himself. We would like to correct this misconception.

    We are a Catholic family who have been parishioners at the Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, Minnesota for seven years. Having listened to Father Altier’s inspired homilies and experienced many graces through his ministry, we felt called by the Holy Spirit to make his homilies available to Catholics everywhere. Thus, “A Voice in the Desert” was born. The first homily was recorded and uploaded to the Internet on February 26, 2001, and the website recently observed its 5 year anniversary.

    Both my wife and myself are Secular Discalced Carmelites with a background in computer technology, and our two children have also assisted us in many ways throughout the years in providing this spiritual service to the People of God. Following the Carmelite spirituality, we have devoted ourselves to a wholehearted support of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and her beloved priests, particularly Father Robert Altier. Throughout this time, we have sought to remain hidden, not seeking any notoriety for ourselves, but only wanting to be humble servants in Christ’s flock. We regret that recent events have warranted that we step forward to clarify this situation, but we are deeply saddened by what Father Altier is enduring at this time and desire that his honorable reputation not be soiled by false notions.

    On the morning of Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006, Father Altier received a letter from Archbishop Harry Flynn requesting that his homilies and spiritual presentations cease to be published on the DesertVoice website and that he refrain from participating in any radio broadcasts through Relevant Radio. That very afternoon, Father Altier contacted us and asked us to “shut down” the website. As laity operating this website, we are not bound by Archbishop Flynn’s request legally or technically. However, in the spirit of obedience, we are complying with the Archbishop’s wishes because this is in accord with Father Altier’s own desire to be obedient. In addition, Father Altier does not have access to either update, change, add, or delete any part of this website. Our family alone continues to retain complete control of the website.

    We thank all of you who have supported with your prayers and sacrifices these past five years. You are as much a part of this as we are, hidden yet fruitful, and it could never have been done without you. God bless you for your faithfulness. In these difficult days, we remain united always in the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

  • And I just spoke with Barbarann Marian, Drew Mariani’s (the Relevant Radio program also forbidden for Fr. Altier) mother who hosts the local daily radio program, “As the Spirit Leads”.  She talked with Fr. Altier this morning since she used to interview him weekly before this notification came out.  Nothing was specified by Archbishop Flynn re: her program but of course Fr. Altier is being obedient in all details.  She said that he said he was not at all disturbed; that he had a deep peace; and that “they” (I don’t know if that means he or the archdiocese) were hearing from people from all over the world in his behalf.  May our Lord and His mother straighten this out very soon.

  • For the Kind Attention of RC who is hosting Father Altier’s Homilies

    I am a new member of Bettnet. I signed up today.

    I am an Orthodox Catholic from South Asia and I have been reading Father Altier’s Homilies for the last 4 years.

    However, I have realized now to my great dismay that his site has been taken down.

    Father Altier’s Homilies have helped me immensely in my Spiritual Journey.

    Is there anyone who can send me his Homilies from 2001-2006 in the Written Format or Text Version as a WinZip File as well as any talks that he had done in MP3 Format or Text Version?

    I would be most grateful if that could be done, to the email address that I have provided. 

    I have logged on today to but all the time I am getting this message that the Server is down or that the page cannot be displayed or cannot find Server.

    Please Help as Father’s Homilies helped me a lot at a very critical juncture in my Life.

    I am extremely depressed that his Homilies are not available anymore and that the site “A Voice in the Desert” has been taken down.

    I would love to have his Homilies in the form of a WinZip File if it is possible for you to send them to me whenever.

    In Christ