In very rare move, Pope dismisses conservative US bishop Strickland

In very rare move, Pope dismisses conservative US bishop Strickland
In very rare move, Pope dismisses conservative US bishop Strickland

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Pope Francis smells a rose which he received as a gift during a meeting with participants of an international convention of rectors and shrine workers, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, November 11, 2023. ― Reuters pic

ROME, Nov 11 ― Pope Francis has dismissed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, one of his fiercest critics among US Catholic conservatives, a Vatican statement said today.

It is very rare for a Roman Catholic bishop to be relieved of his duties outright. Usually bishops in trouble with the Vatican are asked to resign before submitting a resignation, which the pope accepts.

Popes make such moves, considered drastic, when a bishop refuses a request to resign. Strickland is 65, 10 years shy of the usual retirement age for bishops.

Strickland, a prolific user of social media who had been bishop of the diocese since 2012, tweeted earlier this year that he rejected the pope’s “program undermining the Deposit of Faith”.

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The dismissal followed a Vatican investigation earlier this year into the administration of the Tyler diocese, which Catholic media reports said included a review of his handling of financial affairs.

The dismissal was announced simultaneously by the Vatican and the US Bishops Conference. Neither statement gave a reason. There was no immediate response from Strickland.

Francis named the bishop of Austin, Texas, Joe Vasquez, as the interim administrator of the diocese, the statement said. ― Reuters

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