The Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops has completed a formal investigation of Bishop Joseph Strickland and the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, according to multiple media reports and confirmed by EWTN News.
The inquiry, known as an apostolic visitation, marks a rare though not unprecedented intervention by Rome into a U.S. diocese and points to possible disciplinary action against Strickland, a widely popular though polarizing Texas firebrand viewed as a culture war champion by many U.S. conservatives for his staunch defense of the unborn, marriage, the traditional Latin liturgy, and Catholic orthodoxy.
The leader of the eastern Texas diocese since 2012, Strickland, 64, has faced criticism for what some see as intemperate social media posts unbecoming of a prominent U.S. prelate, including a May 12 tweet that suggested Pope Francis was “undermining the Deposit of Faith.”
Not one to sit on the sidelines, he recently played a prominent role in a eucharistic procession and prayer rally in Los Angeles on June 16 organized to protest Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers for honoring an anti-Catholic drag group at the team’s annual Pride Night game.
Though he was hailed for his leadership in some circles for joining the Dodgers protest, others saw the involvement of a bishop from another diocese as a breach of ecclesiastical protocol. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which condemned the Dodgers’ actions, emphasized in a statement that it had not given “backing or approval” for the rally.
More recently, on June 21, Strickland criticized a newly released Vatican document that suggests topics for discussion at an October assembly tied to the ongoing Synod on Synodality — including questions related to women deacons, married priests, and calls for greater inclusion for LGBT people.
“It is a travesty that these things are even proposed for discussion. I pray that all who truly know Jesus Christ will not be deceived by this path,” he tweeted. “The Gospel welcomes all to repentance & sanctity, if there is no repentance the barriers to sanctity remain.”
News of the Vatican investigation began to circulate among Catholic outlets on Saturday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
According to a source in the diocese who spoke with EWTN News on background, the apostolic visitation consisted of interviews with diocesan clergy and laity throughout the preceding week before concluding on Saturday morning with a meeting with Strickland. Bishop Emeritus Gerald Kicanas of Tucson and Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, led the inquiry….
From Catholic News Agency