Pope Francis has fired the Texan Bishop Joseph Strickland, a fierce critic who has questioned the Pope’s leadership and decisions to allow gays and transgenders in the Catholic Church. Bishop Strickland is one of the leading voices opposed to the Pope’s reforms.
The Pope who said he believes same-sex attraction is not sinful but same-sex acts are, has tried to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to the LGBT community.
The bishop, who has launched a series of attacks on the Pope’s attempts to make the Church more conformed to social matters and inclusion, including abortion, transgender rights, and same-sex marriage, warned that many “basic truths” of the Catholic teaching were being challenged, including what he called attempts to “undermine” marriage “as instituted by God” being only between a man and a woman. He also criticized as “disordered” the attempts of those who “reject their undeniable biological God-given identity”.
Strickland letter suggested that attempts to change “that which cannot be changed” would lead to an irrevocable schism in the Church. Those seeking change, he warned, “are the true schismatics”.
The Vatican said the bishop would be “relieved” of his duties as a result of investigations at his Diocese of Tyler.
“The decision to fire him came after an apostolic visitation ordered by the Pope last June in the Diocese of Tyler,” the Vatican said.
Bishop Strickland was under investigation by the Vatican and had previously declined the opportunity to resign, and in an open letter in September challenged the Pope to fire him, according to BBC news.
“I cannot resign as Bishop of Tyler because that would be me abandoning the flock,” he said.
The right-wing “Coalition for Canceled Priests” held a conference earlier this year to support him during the investigation.
Bishop Strickland, 65, was appointed bishop in 2012, while Benedict XVI was pope.
Recall that the Vatican last week said the Church will allow transgender people to become godparents at Roman Catholic baptisms, witnesses at religious weddings, and receive baptism themselves.
The Vatican gave this response to some doctrinal questions from Bishop Jose Negri of Santo Amaro in Brazil regarding LGBT people and their participation in the sacraments of baptism and matrimony. The response which was signed by the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, and approved by Pope Francis on October 31, said transgender people could be godparents at a baptism at the discretion of the local priest as well as a witness at a Church wedding, but the local priest should exercise “pastoral prudence” in his decision.
Responding to the publication on BBC News, many people expressed their surprise and disappointment on the church’s decision. Below are some of the comments:
“This pope seems to be legalizing what God Himself loathe.”
“Just like that of the old, when Abraham was pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah, if God should ask Abraham again, can we even find 5 righteous people in this world.”
“Pray for the catholic Church in same manner as you pray for Ukraine, Russia, Israel and Palestine.”
“Word of advice: don’t depend on man. Depend on God’s words and his teachings, know your Bible inside out. So that you can stand firm at all times for the end time is near!!!”
“It’s now obvious that this whole LGBTQ nonsense is orchestrated by the enemy to bring corruption to our mortal bodies. The devil’s time is short so he is firing on all cylinders trying to drag human souls to his final abode. Brethren, as we await the glorious appearing of the son of man, let our hearts not be moved. He is coming to restore the eternal order and bring forth our sanctification. We can only say “Amen” come Lord Jesus.”