Conservative American bishop Joseph Strickland Van Tyler (Texas, USA), one of Pope Francis’s harshest critics, has retired. It is very rare for a bishop to be removed from office in this way. Strickland turned 65 on October 31.
The church leader from rural, conservative Texas, who was known as a fierce opponent of abortion, was widely respected in Republican circles for his open attacks on Pope Francis’s pleas to protect the environment, relax immigration rules, fight poverty and welcome more immigrants. Women and the LGBTQ+ community. He hosted a radio show that reached 160,000 listeners, and in which his views became more aggressive and radical. This is what the Pope described Francis Most recently as a “diabolically deranged clown”. According to commentators, this has polarized the Catholic Church in the United States.
Strickland responded to his dismissal in an email to The Wall Street Journal. He says he is very saddened by the harm done to the “believers.”
Removal of the pastoral position of bishop as punishment is extremely rare.
Since 1995, only eight bishops have been removed from their positions, the most famous of whom is French Bishop Jacques Guillot.
The Diocese of Tyler announced the dismissal on its website, without giving a specific reason. It is reported that the bishop Joe Vasquez Austin was appointed interim administrator of the diocese.
The dismissal was certainly not unexpected, after last summer’s visitation due to all sorts of shortcomings in his diocese. This criticism is not only related to his distinctive management style, but also to financial irregularities. Visitors had already reported that the continuation of his office in the diocese with barely 100,000 faithful had become impossible.
At the end of March, Strickland was one of the people who caught the eye at the Forum for Life in Rome, where he attacked Pope Francis again. But the procedures for removing him from Department of Bishops In Rome, according to insiders, it began long before. Rome may have already insisted that he should ask for his succession. But Strickland then announced that he would not leave his post. This question was also asked on Thursday. If the bishop refuses to obey, the pope can depose him as a disciplinary measure.
However, some of his loyal supporters describe the dismissal as “personal revenge against the Pope,” whom they describe as a tyrant and dictator.
This summer, Pope Francis publicly criticized conservative (American) Catholics who are “driven by nostalgia and who place their ideology above church doctrine.”
source: Lacroix/The Washington Post/Kathpress.at
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