Pope removes US conservative Texas bishop Strickland
Pope Francis removed a conservative Texas bishop who criticized him. The bishop refused to resign, so Francis fired him.
Pope Francis made a significant decision on Saturday to remove the bishop of Tyler, Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland, from his position. This action was taken due to Strickland's outspoken criticism of the pontiff and his refusal to implement certain restrictions and changes proposed by Francis. The Vatican sent in investigators to look into Strickland's governance of the diocese and found that there were complaints about his leadership. Despite being asked to resign, Strickland declined, prompting Pope Francis to forcibly remove him from office.
This move by the pope has sparked a strong reaction from conservatives and traditionalists who supported Strickland's opposition to Francis' progressive reforms. The Vatican conducted an exhaustive inquiry into Strickland's governance and leadership, ultimately leading to the recommendation that he be removed from office. This is a rare occurrence, as bishops are typically required to offer to resign when they reach the age of 75, and the Vatican usually seeks to pressure them to resign for the good of their diocese and the church.
Pope Francis has been vocal about his concerns regarding the right-wing faction of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, which has been split between progressives and conservatives. Strickland was associated with the most extreme of these conservative bishops and had criticized Francis' efforts to make the church more welcoming and responsive to the needs of Catholics today. The diocese of Tyler announced Strickland's removal but assured that the church's work would continue in Tyler.
The incoming temporary administrator for Tyler, Austin Bishop Joe Vásquez, expressed his intention to assess the needs of the priests, staff, and lay faithful in the diocese. He asked for prayers for his work and the people of Tyler during this time of transition. This decision by Pope Francis has brought to light the polarization within the U.S. Catholic hierarchy and has sparked strong reactions from both supporters and critics of Strickland's removal.