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Pope Francis removes US Bishop for criticising his reforms

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Pope Francis has removed Bishop Joseph Strickland from his position in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, citing investigations into the bishop’s conduct and management.

The Vatican announced the decision, stating that Bishop Strickland would be “relieved” of his duties following an apostolic visitation ordered by the Pope.

Bishop Strickland, a Texan bishop, has been a vocal critic of Pope Francis, particularly in matters related to the Church’s stance on social issues.

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He has opposed the Pope’s efforts to modernize the Church’s positions on topics such as abortion, transgender rights, and same-sex marriage.

The bishop has been part of a faction within US Catholicism that challenges the Pope’s reforms.

In July, Bishop Strickland expressed concerns about the challenge to “basic truths” of Catholic teaching, including attempts to redefine marriage and reject traditional gender identities. He warned of a potential schism in the Church due to these disagreements.

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The Vatican had been investigating Bishop Strickland, and he had previously rejected calls to resign.

In September, he openly challenged the Pope to dismiss him, stating, “I cannot resign as Bishop of Tyler because that would be me abandoning the flock.”

Recently, the Vatican announced that transgender individuals can be baptized in the Catholic Church, and the Pope suggested openness to blessing same-sex couples.

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The Vatican mentioned that the apostolic visitation also examined the financial affairs of the Diocese of Tyler.

Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin will temporarily administer the diocese following Bishop Strickland’s removal.

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