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Vatican investigates diocese of Bishop Strickland

June 26, 2023

The Vatican has conducted an apostolic investigation of the Tyler, Texas diocese, and the leadership of the outspoken Bishop Joseph Strickland.

The investigation, which was conducted by two American bishops, reportedly focused on the governance and financial affairs of the Tyler diocese, rather than on the controversial public statements of Bishop Strickland.

However, the timing of the Vatican investigation— which took place just after Bishop Strickland led a prayer rally outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, to protest the baseball team’s honor for an anti-Catholic hate group— lends support to suspicions that the Vatican is targeting the bishop because he has broken ranks with other American bishops. (The Los Angeles archdiocese pointedly announced that it was not supporting the prayer rally.)

Although he leads a relatively small diocese, with only about 55,000 Catholics, Bishop Strickland has acquired a high public profile because of his statements questioning the policies of Pope Francis and demanding respect for traditional Catholic teachings. In perhaps his most controversial statement, issued in a Twitter post, he said: “I believe Pope Francis is the Pope but it is time for me to say that I reject his program of undermining the Deposit of Faith.”

Supporters of Bishop Strickland cast doubt on the suggestion that the Vatican investigation was prompted by management problems. They pointed out that the finances of the Tyler diocese appear secure, and the little diocese has a remarkable large number (21) of young men currently preparing for the priesthood.

The Vatican inquiry was conducted by Bishop Gerald Kicanas, the retired head of the Tucson diocese; and Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey. They interviewed clergy and lay Catholics in the Tyler diocese, and concluded their visit by meeting with Bishop Strickland. The results of the investigation will be forwarded to the Vatican.

An apostolic visitation could provide the justification for a decision by Pope Francis to remove Bishop Strickland from office.


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  • Posted by: jdesiderio1032 - Jul. 02, 2023 8:26 AM ET USA

    How many Vatican Apostolic Investigation Visitations have been made to German dioceses?

  • Posted by: dcnmthompson7484 - Jun. 28, 2023 9:56 AM ET USA

    I understand that we need to welcome all sinners into the life of Christ, but we are not to conform to them. It seems that we are targeting a cultural trend rather than the mission of Christ, when we silence the faithful for acting faithful.

  • Posted by: Tim S. - Jun. 27, 2023 4:23 PM ET USA

    I would not be surprised to learn that a certain liberal US cardinal who has the Pope's ear was behind this. Or maybe more than one.

  • Posted by: rfr46 - Jun. 27, 2023 11:23 AM ET USA

    The goon squad will do what goon squads do: what they are told to do while causing maximum intimidation.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Jun. 26, 2023 11:33 PM ET USA

    It appears that there are no flak jackets that can stop Pope Frank's bullets. If you speak up for the faith, get ready for incoming fire. Our leader is shooting at his own men.

  • Posted by: Retired01 - Jun. 26, 2023 8:26 PM ET USA

    Even if nothing happens to the good bishop, the message to bishops and priests is clear to me. Do not make waves, do not criticize Pope Francis, and do not obsess about abortion or the LGBT+-&* thing.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jun. 26, 2023 4:35 PM ET USA

    It's significant that Bp Kicanas was picked by the Vatican to investigate Bp Strickland. In 1996, then as rector, Kicanas recommended for ordination a known active homosexual Daniel McCormack. Kicanas then said that his acts of sodomy were "experimental and developmental." Whether Kicanas was sincerely naive or not, McCormack cost the Church in Chicago over $100 million in lawsuits, he ended up in prison, and was removed from priesthood.