Pope Francis 'Cancels' Bishop Strickland - Now, What is the Plan to Protect the Flock?
Yesterday, November 11, Pope Francis removed Bishop Joseph Strickland from his role as the shepherd and bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. This decision, conveyed through the Holy See's bulletin, appointed Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin as the Apostolic Administrator for the now-vacated diocese.
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What is the plan for us, and for Our Holy Mother Church?
Bishop Strickland, a staunch defender of the faith and a messenger of truth, is widely recognized a valiant soldier in the Church Militant. Throughout his tenure, he has fought tirelessly to uphold the Teachings and Traditions of the Catholic Church. His commitment to doctrine related to the sanctity of life, family values, and moral principles have earned him widespread support and praise within and beyond his diocese. More importantly, he has demonstrated immense courage under fire from secular and evil forces.
The Pope's move followed a formal request for resignation sent via Cardinal Cristophe Pierre, the papal nuncio, which Bishop Strickland initially declined. Per Canon 416, the Pope can vacate a diocesan see through resignation, transfer, death, or a "privation" declared by him. This legal nuance becomes crucial in understanding the circumstances surrounding Bishop Strickland's departure.
Canonist Edward Peters emphasizes the precision of language in Canon Law, highlighting that the Pope's authority lies in issuing a "privation," not outright removal. This legal intricacy sheds light on the gravity of the decision to remove a bishop from office.
The diocese had been under scrutiny since an apostolic visitation in June 2023, led by retired bishops Bishop Dennis Sullivan and former Bishop Gerald Kicanas. This scrutiny added an additional layer to Bishop Strickland's leadership. Despite the obvious pressure applied to him, Bishop Strickland did not waver from preaching truth.
Bishop Strickland's honest, courageous, and public stance on issues such as abortion and marriage, among other truths, made him a central figure for attention and criticism, underscoring the clash between traditional teachings and fact, versus something else that many fear is moving among the flock. He had, and still has, the backbone to tell basic and fundamental truths. Among them, abortion is an intrinsic evil, marriage is between one man and one woman, for life, and we must repent of our evil. He has clearly explained, that only through Christ can we be saved, and that means acceptance of God's Law and God's Will, which absolutely does not change with the zeitgeist. What was true in the time of Jesus Christ remains true today, no matter what statements capitualted clerics, politicians, and pop culture media outlets parrot from demons that whisper in their ears.
As we reflect on this development, we should not ask why Bishop Stickland was removed from his post under immense secular and evil pressure. Every man and woman of faith knows why. Instead, we should ask what is the plan to reinforce the Gospel teaching of Christ, to preach the Truth and Tradition of Christ's Church? Who will pick up and carry the cross now that the price of entering the fray is clear? Who is the next leader that will carry the cross and lay down their sacrifice upon the sacred hill?
Let us pray for Bishop Joseph Strickland, for our Holy Church, for Pope Francis, for all those who are lost and wander, for those who assume they are right in spite of God's Law, and justice upon those who mislead. We believe it will come, right soon. Let us pray for the conversion of hearts to Jesus Christ.
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