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Bishop Joseph Strickland’s Letter To Faithful

Articles | April 19, 2024 | by Catholics for Catholics

Friday, April 19, 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Jesus Christ is the fullness of the revelation of supernatural truth which guides humanity to our eternal destiny. He is the cornerstone on which our lives must be built because, as He reveals supernatural truth to us fully and completely, He reveals who we are and that for which we were created. Jesus commissioned His Apostles to share His supernatural truth with the world, and this is also our mission. If we recognize and embrace this mission, bringing this truth to humanity, then we must acknowledge that, after nearly two thousand years, we have only just begun. When Christ prayed “that all may be one,” He prayed that all humanity might be unified in Him, thus bringing them also into unity with His Father and His Holy Spirit – one God in Three Persons.

The entire Judeo-Christian story (which begins with the supernatural truth revealed and recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament) is the story of God revealing supernatural truth to those created in His image and likeness. These earliest books of the Bible offer numerous theophanies, manifestations of God’s supernatural presence, but Jesus Christ is beyond a theophany.  He IS God among us, Emmanuel. It is critical that we note how Jesus came to us – He came in profound humility. The humility of Jesus Christ is not only a profound manifestation of His goodness; His humility is the blueprint for how we who are created by God should embrace the supernatural truth He has revealed to us. Jesus tells us that we must “become like children” if we wish to follow Him and to live the supernatural truth He manifests.

In order to incorporate the supernatural truth that is Jesus Christ into our human reality, He knew that we needed a vehicle, a vessel, that would guide us. Thus, Christ established His Church which is made manifest in the world as the Catholic Church. Throughout Christian history, many have attempted to return to Christ in a pure and original way, but if in this laudable desire for purification we leave His Church, then we have truly lost our way.

The ultimate purpose of the Church which Jesus Christ established is the salvation of souls.  This fulfills the divine mandate with which this letter begins – that it is our mission to bring Jesus Christ, Truth Incarnate, to humanity as the revelation of supernatural truth.  We see also that His Church is essential as the instrument that Christ has ordained to guide humanity in the supernatural truth that He reveals.

It is of the utmost importance that humanity embraces Jesus Christ and His Church. However, the tremendous challenge of this is seen clearly in these times as His chosen vessel, the Church, which is plagued with human weakness and sinfulness, struggles against the One who has brought her into being – God’s Divine Son. The Church is holy, yet composed of sinful human beings, and although guided by supernatural truth, she often gets bogged down in and even corrupted by things of this natural world. The image of the statue in the Book of Daniel comes to mind; the statue with feet partly of clay and partly of iron is an apt image of the Church. She has the iron of supernatural truth, but she also has the fragile pottery of the world, which often falls to dust. In our time, it appears that the overwhelming presence of fragile clay in the Church threatens to obliterate the supernatural truth that is her heart and soul. Christ has promised us that the Church will not be obliterated by the powers of Hell, but we must make it our daily choice to live the supernatural truth that is Jesus Christ.

It is imperative that we also acknowledge that this tendency for the Church to be dominated by the fragile clay of this world – to the detriment of her true mission to build supernatural faith – has been gaining momentum for more than a century.  More than one papacy is seriously implicated in the lack of supernatural faith necessary in order to push back against the tidal wave of apostasy.  The Oath against Modernism promulgated by Pope St. Pius X in 1910 was the best (and perhaps the last) papal attempt to oppose the dominance of “fragile clay,” and since his death, support for this has weakened, until it has now been all but discarded like so many other aspects of this intention that did not promote a cozier relationship with the world.

As devastating as all of this is to the mission of the Bride of Christ – the salvation of souls – we face an even greater challenge to this mission in our time.  Too many prelates not only exhibit a lack of supernatural faith on their part, but they are also “hell-bent” on eliminating every vestige of supernatural faith from the Church. This has been building momentum over many decades, but we must open our eyes to the crescendo of apostasy that we are now witnessing.  Whether in liturgy, doctrine, or simple everyday piety of Catholics, too many prelates and powerful forces in the Vatican are doing their best to dismantle every vestige of supernatural faith, as well as any understanding of the supernatural truth that Jesus Christ has revealed to us. 

One indication of the blitzkrieg against supernatural faith that has been evident in this time is that when purportedly supernatural manifestations of God’s presence appear among us, they are ignored or immediately declared false without any real investigation by the shepherds. The Church in the past has acted as a safeguard, as is her sacred responsibility, against any alleged supernatural manifestations which parade as truth but which may instead be the work of Satan and his minions.  However, we now find ourselves in a situation where some (if not many) of the shepherds in the Church, upon the occurrence of a possible supernatural work in their diocese, would attempt to immediately shut it down or proclaim it as false with no investigation, in the fear that it might shine a light into the darkness, especially when they themselves are “bottom-dwellers” and, therefore, dwellers in this darkness.

In these times, God has not left us alone.  Throughout the history of the Church, He has manifested Himself through supernatural works outside the boundaries of this physical world to remind us that He is present among us, and these supernatural works have not ceased.  Furthermore, in the darkness that has now infiltrated His Church, He continues to send, as He did of old, warnings and admonitions through the mouths of “modern-day prophets and saints” to call His people back to Himself.

We must, however – with due diligence and supernatural faith – pray, discern, and be ever on guard against that which parades as good but is indeed an evil deception.  We of course have looked, and still look, to the Church and her shepherds to keep us safe from evil deceptions and to point us to what is good, but what do we do in this time when many of the shepherds who are charged with guarding the flock are now in league with the wolves?  In a time such as this, it is of the utmost importance that we walk close to Christ, that we abide in His Sacred Heart, and that we sit often with Him, so that we might come to know Him well.  Of course, what is most important of all is that we worthily partake of Him as often as possible Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – in the Holy Eucharist.  Belief in the real, supernatural presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the heart and soul of our faith.

May the greatest manifestation of supernatural truth, the Holy Eucharist, provide us the strength we need for the continuing journey of Christ’s disciples in the twenty-first century. Let us be invigorated by our Eucharistic faith so that supernatural truth is really present among us, and may His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity nourish us and guide us deeper and deeper into His Sacred Heart – the Heart of supernatural truth.

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland

Bishop Emeritus of Tyler

You can read the original version of the letter on BishopStrickland.com.

 

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