Earlier this month, Father Robert Altier gave a 20-minute homily at the Church of St. Raphael in Crystal. In it, he claimed COVID-19 was a “man-made” virus developed in a North Carolina lab, finished in China, and unleashed intentionally on an unsuspecting world—and that the forthcoming vaccines were either “heinous” or “pure evil.”
It got the attention of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which got “in contact” with Altier and announced the matter was “under review.” The recording of the homily was removed from the church’s website.
Bad news: There’s another version of it on YouTube, and it’s got over 450,000 views so far.
Good news: The Archdiocese is done reviewing the matter. Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced last week he’d gotten in touch with Altier and informed him this wasn’t a suitable subject for him to tackle from the pulpit.
“The Archdiocese… is blessed with many fine priests,” Hebda's letter begins. “None of our priests or bishops, however, is an expert in public health, infectious disease, epidemiology, or immunology. It would be a mistake to attribute any expertise in these areas to us simply on the basis of our ordination.”
Hebda went on to say that Altier “remains firm in his opinions on the pandemic situation,” but “acknowledges that his remarks were inappropriate in the context of a homily during mass.”
“In the context of the liturgy, no member of the assembly, even if the world’s greatest expert in this area, would have been in a position to contradict Fr. Altier or to offer alternative points of reference,” Hebda continues.
The letter goes on to address the points Altier raised individually, with the help of the Minnesota Department of Health. The seemingly sinister “2019 Global Pandemic Exercise” Altier mentioned is explained as a fairly routine exercise used to plan for adverse health events at the local, state, national, and international levels.
A coronavirus was chosen for the exercise because both SARS and MERS, other members of the coronavirus family, have been public health problems in the past. It was not, as Altier claimed, a dry run for a pandemic anyone knew was coming.
The alleged “lab in North Carolina” Altier said played a hand in manufacturing the virus was actually a research lab studying other viruses in COVID-19’s family. It was one of the first stateside labs to receive a sample of COVID-19 this year, for research purposes.
As for “heinous” vaccines made using “cells from aborted babies,” it’s a liiittle more complex than that. Some vaccines do use cells descended from the tissues of select fetuses aborted many decades ago.
The Vatican, however, issued a statement back in 2017 that the use of such vaccines is a “moral obligation” individuals must take on for the safety of others, especially those who cannot safely be vaccinated themselves. Using embryonic cells in vaccine production is still actively being discussed and debated in the Catholic Church.
For more detailed versions of these and other points Altier brought up in his homily, you can check out those comments here.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died of coronavirus nationwide, including over 2,000 here in Minnesota.