The Vatican Investigates Bishop Strickland
June 25, 2023 / 11:39 p.m.
The Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops has concluded a formal investigation into Msgr. Joseph E. Strickland and the Diocese of Tyler, located in the state of Texas, according to multiple press reports confirmed by EWTN News.
The inquiry, known as an apostolic visitation, signifies an uncommon but not unprecedented intervention by Rome in a US diocese. It suggests potential disciplinary action against Msgr. Strickland, a bishop who is widely popular but also polarizing due to his strong defense of pro-life values, traditional marriage, the Latin Mass, and Catholic orthodoxy.
A Controversial Figure
Since 2012, Bishop Strickland, 64, has faced criticism for his social media posts, which some consider reckless for an American bishop. One tweet from May 12 implied that Pope Francis was “undermining the Deposit of Faith.”
Recently, he played a prominent role in a Eucharistic procession and prayer session in Los Angeles on June 16. The event aimed to protest the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team for honoring an anti-Catholic group during their “Pride Night.”
While some praised his leadership in joining the protest, others viewed the participation of a bishop from another diocese as a breach of church protocol. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which condemned the Dodgers’ actions, emphasized that it did not endorse or approve the day of prayer.
Opposition to Synodality
On June 21, Bishop Strickland criticized the working document of the upcoming Synod of Synodality, called the Instrumentum Laboris. The document includes topics for discussion such as women’s access to the diaconate, married priests, and greater inclusion for LGBTQ+ individuals.
He tweeted, “It is a farce that these things are even proposed for discussion. I pray that all who truly know Jesus Christ are not deceived down this path. The Gospel welcomes all to repentance and holiness, if there is no repentance the barriers to holiness remain.”
The Vatican Investigation
News of the Vatican investigation began circulating on June 24 among Catholic media, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
According to a diocesan source who spoke to EWTN News, the apostolic visitation involved interviews with diocesan clergy and laity over the past week. It concluded on Saturday morning with a meeting between the investigators and Bishop Strickland. The investigation was led by Msgr. Gerald Kicanas, the Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, and Msgr. Dennis Sullivan, the Bishop of Camden, New Jersey.
The investigation addressed not only the bishop’s use of social media but also issues related to diocesan management.
The outcome of the apostolic visit remains uncertain. While a source close to Bishop Strickland stated that he does not want to make a big deal out of it, interviewers have already begun discussing potential replacements for him.
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Translated and adapted by the ACI Prensa team. Originally posted on CNAs.
What potential consequences could Bishop Strickland face as a result of the Vatican’s investigation into his conduct and leadership
P and willingness to speak out on controversial issues, others have criticized his actions as divisive and detrimental to the unity of the Catholic Church.
The Vatican’s investigation into Bishop Strickland and the Diocese of Tyler is said to have focused on allegations of misconduct, including possible financial impropriety and questionable pastoral governance. The probe reportedly involved interviews with various individuals within the diocese, as well as a review of financial documents and administrative procedures.
The apostolic visitation is part of the Vatican’s efforts to ensure the proper functioning of dioceses and hold bishops accountable for their actions. It is conducted by a team of experts appointed by the Holy See, who gather information and make recommendations to the Pope based on their findings.
While the details of the investigation have not been publicly disclosed, it is speculated that the Vatican’s inquiry could result in disciplinary action against Bishop Strickland. This could range from a formal rebuke to removal from his position as bishop.
If disciplinary measures are taken, it is likely to further fuel the ongoing debate within the Catholic Church over issues such as the authority of bishops, orthodoxy, and the role of social media in church leadership.
Reactions and Implications
News of the investigation has evoked mixed reactions within the Catholic community. Supporters of Bishop Strickland view the investigation as an attack on a faithful and outspoken bishop who upholds traditional Catholic teachings.
However, critics argue that the investigation is necessary to address concerns regarding Bishop Strickland’s conduct and leadership. They see it as an opportunity for the Church to maintain its integrity and hold bishops accountable to their responsibilities.
The outcome of the investigation and any subsequent actions taken by the Vatican will likely have wide-ranging implications for the Catholic Church in the United States, as it grapples with issues of division and ideological differences.