June 21, 2024

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In very rare move, Pope dismisses conservative U.S. bishop Strickland

2 min read

Catholic bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas walks during a procession to protest the Los Angeles Dodgers honoring the pro-LGBTQ+ group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence during LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 16, 2023.

Usa Today Sports | Via Reuters

Pope Francis has dismissed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, one of his fiercest critics among U.S. Roman Catholic conservatives, a Vatican statement said on Saturday.

It is very rare for a bishop to be relieved of his duties outright. Usually bishops in trouble with the Vatican are asked to resign before submitting a resignation, which the pope accepts.

Popes make such moves, considered drastic, when a bishop refuses a request to resign. Strickland is 65, 10 years shy of the usual retirement age for bishops. Strickland had said earlier this year that he would refuse to resign if asked.

Strickland, a prolific user of social media who was named to the diocese by the late Pope Benedict in 2012, tweeted earlier this year that he rejected Pope Francis’ “program undermining the Deposit of Faith”.

He has been particularly critical of the pope’s attempt to make the Church more welcoming to the LGBT community and attempts by Francis to give lay people more responsibility in the Church and opposed a recent synod.

The dismissal followed a Vatican investigation earlier this year into the administration of the Tyler diocese, which Catholic media reports said included a review of his handling of financial affairs.

It was announced simultaneously by the Vatican and the U.S. Bishops Conference. Neither statement gave a reason.

There was no immediate response from Strickland. A recording on the diocese’s telephone said they were closed for the weekend.

Strickland had become one of the most vocal standard bearers of the ultra-conservative wing of the U.S. Church and has a national following far beyond the small diocese of Tyler in eastern Texas.

Last August, the pope lamented what he…

2023-11-11 12:22:00

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