Pope Francis at the weekly general audience on November 7, 2018, at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican. — AFP Bishop Joseph Strickland of Texas, a scathing opponent who questioned the Pope’s authority and attempts to modernise matters inside the Catholic church, has been dismissed by Pope Francis.
The Vatican said that the bishop will be “relieved” of his responsibilities due to the Tyler Diocese’s investigations.
Leading the charge against the Pope’s reforms in US Catholicism is Bishop Strickland.
Francis’ remarks against the “backwardness” of some US Catholic church officials prompted his ouster.
The Pope’s attempts to modernise the Church’s stance on social issues and inclusivity, including abortion, transgender rights, and same-sex marriage, have been met with a barrage of criticism from Bishop Strickland.
He issued a warning in July about the challenges being made to several “basic truths” of Catholic teaching, including attempts to “undermine” the idea that marriage is only “as instituted by God” between a man and a woman.
The attempts of individuals who “reject their undeniable biological God-given identity” were condemned by him as “disordered”.
In his letter, he warned that attempting to alter “that which cannot be changed” would cause the Church to irreversibly split. He issued a warning, saying that those who want change “are the true schismatics”.
In September, Bishop Strickland dared the Pope to remove him from office in an open letter, despite being under investigation by the Vatican and having turned down the chance to step down before.
“I cannot resign as Bishop of Tyler because that would be me abandoning the flock,” he said.
Earlier this year, the right-wing “Coalition for Cancelled Priests” organised a meeting to assist him while the probe was underway.
His dismissal “came after an apostolic visitation ordered by the Pope last June in the Diocese of Tyler,” according to the Vatican. The probe also examined how the diocese handled its financial matters as well, according to Catholic media.
While Benedict XVI was pope in 2012, Bishop Strickland, 65, was consecrated.
Everything comes after the Pope’s major endeavours to advance the Church’s progressiveness during his pontificate.
As long as there is no controversy or “confusion” surrounding the baptism, transgender persons may be baptised in the Catholic Church, according to a Vatican announcement on Thursday.
In October, Francis told a group of cardinals that “we cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude,” implying that the Church would be willing to bless same-sex marriages.
The Pope indicated that many people’s backwardness was “useless” during a conference held in conjunction with the World Youth Day events in Lisbon.
“Doing this you lose the true tradition and you turn to ideologies to have support. In other words, ideologies replace faith,” he added.
His pontificate has also placed a strong emphasis on climate change, as seen by his seminal environmental report from 2015 and his latest dire predictions that the globe is “nearing breaking point” as a result of climate change.
Additionally, he has denounced climate doubters with great vigour, and later this month, he will attend the United Nations Climate Summit (COP28), which will be the first time a pope has participated since the summit’s founding in 1995.
Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin will serve as the temporary administrator of the Diocese of Tyler, according to the Vatican.