TYLER—Conservative Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has been forcibly relieved of his post as the Bishop of the archdiocese of Tyler by Pope Francis.
Strickland has a history of speaking out for pro-life issues and traditional family values.
In a letter to the church in August, Strickland wrote, “The Sacrament of Matrimony is instituted by God. Through Natural Law, God has established marriage as between one man and one woman faithful to each other for life and open to children. Humanity has no right or true ability to redefine marriage. ”
This has led him to criticize the Pope’s leadership as the Pope embraces LGBT unions.
In a meeting with Portuguese Jesuits in August, Francis blasted the “backwardness” of conservative U.S. bishops, saying they had replaced faith with ideology.
However, the issues between Rome and Tyler have been ongoing. In May, Pope Francis initiated an apostolic visitation—a critical visit from a papal representative—because Strickland had endorsed several controversial videos and repeatedly called out the Pope for poor leadership.
According to the Catholic News Agency, “Strickland’s removal on Nov. 11 comes after the Texas bishop refused a Vatican request for him to submit his resignation two days prior, according to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston.”
However, the Vatican did not provide a reason for Strickland’s removal.
The Tyler diocese released a statement following the announcement:
Our work as the Catholic Church in northeast Texas continues. Our mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to foster an authentic Christian community, and to serve the needs of all people with compassion and love. We strive to deepen our faith, promote the common good, and create a welcoming environment for all to encounter the loving God – Father, Son, and Spirit.
Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin has been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Tyler diocese in the interim.