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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Father Altier in the media-- UPDATE!

My good friend and faithful reader, Ray, sent me this info this afternoon, from the local StarTribune newspaper.

A St. Paul priest's opposition to an Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis anti-sex-abuse curriculum has led to a request by Archbishop Harry Flynn "to take some time off" from his radio and web ministries, the archdiocese's spokesman said Friday.
The Rev. Robert Altier of St. Agnes Catholic Church has condemned the children's component of the Virtus program, which is mandated for all Catholic schools and religious education programs.

Altier's "Voice in the Desert" website, which on Friday bore a new address with a commentary embedded -- -- said he has chosen "obedient compliance" with Flynn's request to refrain from posting commentaries or broadcasting them on Relevant Radio, 1330 AM.

"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 issue."

Altier and the St. Agnes office did not return phone messages Friday.

The Virtus program, for adults who work with children, and its children's component are being implemented in the archdiocese's 220 parishes to comply with a 2003 mandate by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of the clergy-sex-abuse scandal.

Along with Oregon Bishop Robert Vasa, Altier has gained a national following among curriculum foes, many of whom are associated with Catholic Parents Online, based in St. Paul. They believe that the program violates Vatican teachings (the magisterium) and that only parents should talk to children about sex.

Darrel Kloeckner, of Marine on St. Croix, who is associated with Catholic Parents Online, said he has closely followed Altier's web and radio ministries and is "very disappointed" that they're on hold. "What it comes down to is we're trying to be faithful to the magisterium," he said. "We believe Archbishop Flynn has been misled on this issue."

He said he was heartened to hear that parishes that object to the program can petition Flynn for an alternative program that is more home-based.

My question is: did the writer, Pamela Miller, get this info about the REASON for the silencing from an actual informed source, or is it as much speculation as that in the blogosphere?

I called the reporter, Pam Miller, and left her a voice mail inquiring as to whether she actually confirmed this information. I'll update if she calls back.

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