According to reports, Pope Francis is considering requesting the resignation of Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. The Pope met with Vatican officials on August 9 to discuss the matter and the results of an apostolic visitation of Strickland’s diocese conducted earlier this year.
The bishop has emerged as a vocal opponent of the Pope, having accused him of undermining the Deposit of Faith. An official close to the dicastery responsible for recommending candidates for episcopal appointments to the Pope said that the expectation was that Pope Francis would request the bishop’s resignation, though he was unlikely to depose him.
The official cited concerns in the diocese about governance, financial matters, and basic prudence, as well as Strickland’s criticisms of the Pope. If Strickland is encouraged to resign, it is unclear how he will respond.
Bishop Strickland, who has been in his post since 2012, is known for his defense of human life and opposition to abortion. He has also been critical of the Holy See’s approach to vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic, taking a stricter position on ethical questions surrounding vaccine testing and embryonic cell lines.
In May, he tweeted that he “rejects” Pope Francis’ “program undermining the Deposit of Faith.”
Dear Jesus, we ask for your protection and wisdom to surround Pope Francis and Bishop Strickland. Guide them through their leadership roles within the Catholic Church, and protect them from those who wish them harm. May they continue to spread your love and teachings throughout the world.
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