Traditional Catholics have undoubtedly heard the news this past weekend that the Bishop of Tyler, Texas, Joseph Strickland, was personally removed from apostolic assignment by Pope Francis. The removal came after an Apostolic Visitation in June investigating Strickland and the administration of his diocese. The Vatican gave no specific reason for Strickland’s removal, a pattern that is becoming all too familiar under the leadership of Francis. It was reported that the Pope first requested Strickland’s resignation, which he refused because he could not abandon the flock he had been given. It was then he was relieved of his leadership.
Before his removal, Bishop Strickland was one of the only prelates in the world speaking out about the progressive forces within the Church who are bent on changing the teachings of Christ and the moral tradition bequeathed to her for over two thousand years. Bishop Athanasius Schnieder posted on his X account, “ There seems to be a ‘purge’ of bishops faithful to the immutable Catholic Faith and the Apostolic discipline.”
The removal of Bishop Strickland made headline news due in part to his national influence, most recently when he was the only Bishop in the United States to have the courage to pray in front of Dodger Stadium in June in response to the planned pride night with the evil group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgences openly blaspheming Jesus and his Church.
Strickland also used social media to preach against abortion, transgender, and the validity of marriage between a man and a woman. In one of his famous quotes, he stated, “I believe Pope Francis the Pope, but it is time for me to say that I reject his program of undermining the Deposit of Faith. Follow Jesus.” Strickland’s previous statement becomes even more relevant with the recent document from Francis indicating a transgender person could be baptized and when it would or would not be possible for LGBTQ+ Catholics [sic] to serve as godparents or witnesses at a Catholic wedding.
The cancellation of Strickland is noteworthy because the tactic has only been used with one other Bishop, Daniel Fernández Torres from Puerto Rico, who defended a person’s right of conscientious objection to the vaccine mandates. You may recall how shortsighted Catholic leaders were when they preached to the faithful that the vaccine was a moral imperative for Christians. Cardinal Dolan of New York finally admitted months later how incorrect the church leadership was in making that pronouncement.
Long before the removal of Strickland and Torres, the cancellation strategy of the progressive bishops in the United States was implemented against traditional priests throughout the country. The procedure is used because it is effective. It is the same strategy used in the secular world by isolating and eliminating any person who does not bow to the progressive ideology.
The canceled clergy are obedient to Mother Church and do not fight their cancellation because of their love of the Church and the obedience to authority that all Christians must have. Those virtuous characteristics are now being manipulated by the progressives in the Church wishing for a radical transformation of how the faith is lived out, questioning centuries of doctrine and revelation as misunderstood or outright wrong for the times. Jesus’ example of living a holy life and his proclaimed truths never require transformation.
Bishop Strickland recently concluded that he was removed because there are forces in the Church who want to change the teachings of Jesus. Now more than ever, Catholics must pray for the Pope and Bishops to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and defend the teachings of Jesus with their life, if necessary, instead of changing them.
The war on truth has another casualty, but fear not; Jesus is the way the truth and life, and it will always prevail.