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Bishop Strickland's Priestly Letter - Feb. 29, 2024

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My Dear Brother Bishops,


I am compelled to speak to all of my brother bishops around the world, including Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome.  In many ways, I am the least among you, but I share with you the anointing as a successor of the apostles and the call to guard the Deposit of Faith, and I speak to you in this spirit.

Photo credit: Kate Macate

Photo credit: Kate Macate

Highlights

By Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
2/29/2024 (1 month ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Bishop, Strickland, Letter, Priestly

I beseech you, let us return to Christ and His Way, and let us be bold like our predecessors from the first, second, and third centuries, many of whom followed the Lord to death, bearing heavy crosses in His name. Let us stand with our brothers, who in the 20th century, were strong enough to speak against despotic rulers even though they were a minority voice in their time. Let us, in the 21st century, be vigorous in knowing and proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Light of the World and the Lord of Truth. Let us proclaim with deep conviction the fullness of the message of Jesus Christ, and resist any temptation to share only the portion of His Truth that the world accepts in order to avoid the ire of a world that still hates Him.

Let us speak with full-throated support the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture and proclaim that it is truly God's word, revealed to us and imparted to us as a sacred treasure, that leads us from darkness into light. Let us share the gloriously Good News that Jesus Christ is the Sacred Word incarnate, and that reverence for His Word is reverence for His real and sacred Presence among us, just as He promised. Let us call for a worldwide Eucharistic Revival that proclaims with tidings of great joy that Jesus Christ is truly present -- Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Holy Eucharist at every Mass, in every tabernacle and at every altar of Eucharistic Adoration. Let us teach our flocks that all the sacraments are Jesus Christ, present and working among us, calling us to repentance, healing, and peace, and strengthening us with sanctifying grace so that we may reach out to the poor, the marginalized, and the despised to share His Good News. Let us boldly adhere to our ancient faith that Jesus Christ is the only Way, Truth, and Life, sent to us by our Heavenly Father. Let us call the world to the one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism which guides us through His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church to eternal life with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Brothers, let us be strong and clear regarding all the teachings of our Catholic faith which speak of the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. The Bride of Christ proclaims the truth that God has created us male and female. The Church, the mystical Body of Christ, proclaims the truth that marriage is a sacred bond between one man and one woman, committed for life and open to children, and that this model ordained by God will guide humanity until the end of time. Let us pledge never to leave those caught in sexual sin of any kind to wander in the darkness of a sinful lifestyle. Let us be the Church that welcomes all, but never abandons any to sin and the dark ways of the world. Let us open wide the doors of Christ's Church and welcome all to the sacred path of grace and life, teaching that the sacrificial love that Christ models for us is the only real love.

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My brothers, may our calling to shepherd and feed the Lord's flock never fall prey to compromise with a world which attempts to diminish the force and vigor of the Gospel, and to render our Faith irrelevant and empty. Christ has called us to be in the world but not of the world. Let us resist the currents of our time which seek to create a world in ‽our" image and to eliminate God from His place at the center of creation. Let us resist the voices that too often come even from within the Church herself, calling us to abandon the truth that Jesus Christ proclaimed, and instead seek to twist, alter, and update this truth until it is unrecognizable and no longer rooted in reality.

We must recognize that we stand at a precipice of devastation, the likes of which the world has never seen. Let us open our eyes to the evil forces that bring division and darkness, even as they claim to offer a new way for humanity. Let us have the audacity to say ‽no" to these trends that seek to erase God and to annihilate our God-given right to choose right from wrong in personal freedom and autonomy. Let us simply say ‽no" to the voices that whisper for the dethronement of God and seek to install a global state in His place.

My brothers, all things are possible with God, and His Mercy is always focused on granting us new opportunities to turn from darkness to light. It is not too late, but the time is short for us to do our job. Let us together take up the mantle we received at our episcopal consecration and proclaim Jesus Christ anew!

Let us be shepherds.

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland,Emeritus of the Diocese of Tyle

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