Bishop Strickland is, to put it mildly, a MAGA jackass. This made me very happy to see this. Via the Associated Press:
Pope Francis on Saturday forcibly removed the bishop of Tyler, Texas, a conservative prelate active on social media who has been a fierce critic of the pontiff and has come to symbolize the polarization within the U.S. Catholic hierarchy.
A one-line statement from the Vatican said Francis had “relieved” Bishop Joseph Strickland of the pastoral governance of Tyler and appointed the bishop of Austin as the temporary administrator.
Strickland, 65, has emerged as a leading critic of Francis, accusing him in a tweet earlier this year of “undermining the deposit of faith.” He has been particularly critical of Francis’ recent meeting on the future of the Catholic Church during which hot-button issues were discussed, including ways to better welcome LGBTQ+ Catholics.
Earlier this year, the Vatican sent in investigators to look into his governance of the diocese, amid reports he was making doctrinally unorthodox claims.
If you watch the video, you’ll find out just how unorthodox he is. This move is highly unusual. Change does not usually come quickly in the Catholic church, but in this case, pretty damn quick:
In comments to Portuguese Jesuits in August, Francis blasted the “backwardness” of these bishops, saying they had replaced faith with ideology and that a correct understanding of Catholic doctrine allows for change over time.
Most recently, Strickland had criticized Francis’ monthlong closed-door debate on making the church more welcoming and responsive to the needs of Catholics today. The meeting debated a host of previously taboo issues, including women in governance roles and welcoming LGBTQ+ Catholics, but in the end, its final document didn’t veer from established doctrine.
Ahead of the meeting, Strickland said it was a “travesty” that such things were even on the table for discussion.
In the past year, he has accused the pope of undermining the Catholic faith, questioned whether Vatican officials even qualified as Catholics, and warned that the global meeting of bishops and lay people in October, which is key to Francis’ vision of the church, was a vehicle to threaten “basic truths” of Catholic doctrine. But even among unhappy conservatives, who feel Francis is diluting the church’s teaching and rules with his overly inclusive approach, Bishop Stickland pushed the envelope, as he did with his public refusal to resign in September.
Strickland thought even discussing these topics was horrible? Bet he doesn’t like this:
Vatican says transgender people can be baptized and become godparents
From the National Catholic Reporter:
Pope Francis axes firebrand Texas Bishop Strickland, darling of right-wing Twitter
Remember, kids: Don’t trust religious people whose main complaint is that God just isn’t mean enough!