Pope Francis, arguably the most left-leaning pope in the history of the Vatican, recently removed a conservative Texas bishop.
The Vatican removed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, a self-described “red-pilled” bishop, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, as reported by the Blaze.
Bishop Joe Vasquez from Austin, Texas, will serve as Strickland’s replacement as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Tyler.
In June 2023, the Vatican ordered an investigation into Strickland, which was handled by Bishop Dennies Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, and Bishop Emeritus Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.
In a statement, Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo wrote, “After months of careful consideration by the Dicastery for Bishops and the Holy Father, the decision was reached that the resignation of Bishop Strickland should be requested.”
On Nov. 9, 2023, the Vatican formally requested Strickland resign from his role, which he denied doing. Two days later, at the behest of Pope Francis, Strickland was forcibly removed from his pastoral governance.
Strickland, 65, was always a critic of Pope Francis’ liberal ideology and governance.
The National Catholic Reporter reported that Strickland said the church was “weak” and “not clear” under Francis’ tenure. The outlet added that Strickland has even taunted Francis to “fire him.”
In May 2023, Strickland urged fellow Catholics to “Follow Jesus” instead of Pope Francis.
On X, formerly known as Twitter, Strickland wrote, “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. Follow Jesus.”
Please allow me to clarify regarding, “Patrick Coffin has challenged the authenticity of the Pope Francis.” If this is accurate I disagree, 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. Follow Jesus.
— Bishop J. Strickland (@BishStrickland) May 13, 2023
Strickland’s removal is a rare occurrence in the Vatican, per the Associated Press.
“It is rare for the pope to forcibly remove a bishop from office. Bishops are required to offer to resign when they reach 75. When the Vatican uncovers issues with governance or other problems that require a bishop to leave office before then, the Vatican usually seeks to pressure him to resign for the good of his diocese and the church,” the outlet reported.
Strickland’s ousting from the church comes after the Vatican approved baptisms for so-called “transgender” people — an idea demonstrating the leftist ideals of Pope Francis.