(ZENIT News / Rome, 11.11.2023).- The bulletin from the Holy See Press Office on Saturday, November 11, revealed, in the ‘resignations and appointments’ section, the removal of the Bishop of Tyler (United States) and the appointment of an Apostolic Administrator for that diocese.
The removed bishop is Monsignor Joseph E. Strickland, and the apostolic administrator for the vacant diocese is the Bishop of Austin, Monsignor Joe Vásquez. The succinct statement from the Holy See does not disclose the reason for the dismissal, an action provided for in the Code of Canon Law but reserved for very serious situations.
Thanks to a statement from the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, it is known that on November 9, 2023, the Pope asked Bishop Strickland to resign, but he refused. Following this refusal, the Pope removed the Bishop of Tyler.
This turn of events began with the Apostolic Visit to the Diocese of Tyler, which the Pope sent in June 2023. The Visit was carried out by the Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, Gerald Kicanas, and the Bishop of Camden, Dennis Sullivan. According to Cardinal DiNardo, after an exhaustive investigation into the governance and leadership aspects of the Diocese of Tyler, they recommended to the Pope that Bishop Strickland’s continuation in office was not feasible.
The removal has sparked mixed reactions in both the press and among individuals on social media: some are surprised that a bishop faithful to the Church’s Doctrine is removed (contrasting treatment with, for example, heterodox German bishops), while others are pleased with the removal, considering Bishop Strickland disrespectful towards the Pope in his direct or indirect references, especially on Twitter.
Monsignor Strickland granted an interview to LifeSiteNews, stating, ‘There are forces that we must acknowledge are behind this, driving this kind of removal of a bishop for defending the Gospel.’
The Diocese of Tyler comprises 23,443 square miles in the state of Texas and has a total population of 1,436,247, of which 119,168 are Catholics.
Monsignor Joseph E. Strickland was appointed Bishop of Tyler by Benedict XVI on September 29, 2012. He was the first native Texan to lead that diocese.”