Texas bishop who strongly criticized Pope Francis is removed from office | ET REALITY


Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, one of the loudest American voices against Pope Francis within his own church, recently responded to a Vatican investigation into his leadership and spoke of his possible resignation with a public letter that said: “ “I cannot resign as bishop of Tyler because that would mean I would abandon the flock.” He added that he would step aside only if the Pope removed him.

On Saturday, Francis did just that.

In a rare move that is a measure of both Bishop Strickland’s outspoken criticism of the high pontiff of his faith and Francis’ frustration with ultraconservatives in the United States who have emerged as the financial center and media megaphone of resistance to his papacy, the Pope removed the prelate from office.

“The Holy Father has relieved himself of the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Tyler,” the Vatican’s Bishop Strickland said Saturday in a routine statement about global personnel changes. He added that Francis had appointed Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin as apostolic administrator of the vacant see., or temporarily vacant seat, Tyler.

Francis’ supporters, who viewed Bishop Strickland’s frequent attacks on the Pope as unacceptable and indicative of his extremism, would likely welcome the dismissal. Unlike his predecessors, who had a history of censuring prelates with opposing ideological views, Francis has generally allowed dissent within the ranks of his church for the sake of debate. But Bishop Strickland, 65 and well below the age of automatic resignation, tested the limits of that tolerance.

Last year he accused the Pope of undermining the catholic faith, questioned whether Vatican officials even qualified as Catholic, and warned that the global meeting of bishops and laity in October, which is key to Francis’ vision for the church, was a vehicle to threaten the “basic truths” of the doctrine. Catholic. But even among disaffected conservatives, who feel that Francis is watering down church teachings and rules with his overly inclusive approach, Bishop Stickland went further, as he did with his public refusal to resign in September. .

However, Bishop Strickland’s supporters in the more conservative corners of the Church will surely see his dismissal as another piece of information in their argument that Francis, for all his talk of tolerance and mercy, was a totalitarian ruler, a “Pope.” dictator”. he called him, who crushes the opposition.

Bishop Strickland, now a martyr to frustrated traditionalists, has an unusually powerful platform from which to express that view. He has a weekly radio show that is popular with conservatives and has more than 145,000 followers on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. This is more than the number of Catholics in a diocese that will now be led by a bishop more in line with Francis’ vision.

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