The Vatican has removed an American bishop from his post. Conservative theologian Strickland is considered one of Pope Francis’ fiercest critics.
Pope Francis has fired one of his staunchest critics among American bishops. According to the Vatican press office, he removed the leadership of Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas. He appointed Austin Bishop Joe Vasquez as interim administrator of the diocese.
The Vatican has not yet announced the reason for the removal. There was no immediate comment from the diocese, and the US bishops’ conference released only an English translation of the Vatican’s statement detailing the size of the diocese.
Suspicion of financial irregularities
In June of this year, the Pope ordered an ecclesiastical survey (view) of the diocese located in the east of the state of Texas. With about 100,000 Catholics, it is one of the smallest dioceses in the United States. At the time, the American media suspected financial irregularities.
It is very rare for a Roman Catholic bishop to be completely relieved of his duties. Typically, bishops with problems at the Vatican are asked to resign before submitting a resignation request that the pope accepts.
Strickland wants to stay in office
Texan Strickland was ordained by Pope Benedict XVI in late 2012. Appointed Bishop of Tyler. According to media reports, the Dicastery for Bishops, the Vatican authority responsible for bishop appointments, reportedly discussed removing Strickland from the post in early September. At the time, Strickland announced that he would not resign his post even if the Pope recommended him. He got it from the late Pope Benedict XVI. This responsibility cannot be accepted.
Harsh criticism of Francis
In recent years, Strickland has repeatedly made headlines for his sharp criticism of Pope Francis’ church politics and theology. In May, he asserted in a tweet that while Pope Francis is the right pope, he is undermining the traditional teachings of the faith.
On October 31, the Rome Life Forum, a forum of conservative Catholics in Rome, accused Strickland of a letter from a friend that Pope Francis usurped the papacy and excommunicated the rightful pope. He was particularly critical of Francis’ recent meeting on the future of the Catholic Church, which discussed, among other things, ways to better integrate LGBTQ+ Catholics. Ahead of the meeting, Strickland said it was a “joke” that such matters were being discussed.
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