In a significant announcement on November 11, the Vatican confirmed the removal of Bishop Joseph Strickland from his leadership role in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. The Holy Father appointed Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin as the apostolic administrator, bridging the transition until a new bishop is named.
The decision follows a series of events, including a Vatican apostolic visitation earlier this year, prompted by Strickland’s vocal opposition to Pope Francis and his pastoral decisions. Known for his staunch conservative stance and open criticism of the current papacy, Strickland has not shied away from accusing Pope Francis of heresy.
Through various platforms, including social media, a radio program on Virgin Most Powerful Radio, and his website (bishopstrickland.com), Bishop Strickland has frequently addressed LGBTQ+ issues and criticized Pope Francis’s Synod of Bishops on Synodality. His public opposition extended to condemning the ethicality of COVID-19 vaccines, despite the Vatican’s approval for Catholics to receive them during the pandemic.
In an August 22 pastoral letter, Strickland went as far as labeling the Synod of Bishops on Synodality as “schismatic” and warned against perceived threats to fundamental truths of the faith. Despite the controversy and the Vatican’s intervention, Strickland had previously declared his refusal to step down from his position.
The ousted bishop, known for his uncompromising views, has not issued any public statement about his removal. His last social media post on X encouraged followers to;
“Rejoice always,” emphasizing the eternal nature of Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
As the Vatican undergoes this leadership transition, the broader Catholic community awaits further developments and the appointment of a new bishop to the Diocese of Tyler.
Bishop Strickland has launched a series of critiques against the Pope’s efforts to modernize the Church’s stance on social issues, encompassing abortion, transgender rights, and same-sex marriage.
In a July statement, he cautioned against challenging what he deemed “basic truths” of Catholic teaching, particularly efforts to “undermine” the God-instituted concept of marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Strickland labeled as “disordered” the endeavors of those rejecting their inherent, God-given biological identity.
His letter warned of an irreversible schism in the Church if attempts were made to change “that which cannot be changed.” Strickland asserted that those advocating for change were the true schismatics.
Subject to Vatican investigation, Bishop Strickland, having previously rejected the option to resign, openly challenged the Pope to dismiss him in a letter issued in September. Read Similar Story