Rumors of a forced-resignation attack on Bp. Joseph Strickland from ROME

In about mid-August I had heard that perhaps Bp. Strickland would be ousted by Rome in the first part of July. “I’ll believe it,” quoth I quietly but pretty much believing, “when I see it.”

We heard about the visitation conducted by Bps. Kicanas and Sullivan of Camden, no doubt two of the very finest bishops available. They were looking into finances, although financially the diocese seemed to be doing well. BTW…how many dioceses have declared bankruptcy? MONETARY, not moral, of course. Tyler doesn’t seem to be one of them.

On 9 September, I had a “bad feeling” HERE. The (American) Prefect of Bishops and the Nuncio to these USA met with Francis.

Bp. Strickland has been outspoken regarding efforts to undermine the Deposit of Faith, for which he has drawn the spittle-fleck ire of the vociferous papalotrous left. We know the cliches about “women scorned”.

The Pillar and LifeSite are indicating that soon Bp. Strickland may be pressured to resign. He should not, I think, resign, and he probably won’t. I suspect that he doesn’t see himself merely as a branch manager of wannabe NGO. After that someone may make him an offer he can’t refuse… which I suspect he will refuse. Bp. Strickland, we have learned not too long ago, spends upward of a hour before the Blessed Sacrament each day. I suspect he is made of sterner stuff as a consequence.

At National Catholic Register we find today something from Ed Pentin:

Exclusive: Archbishop Fernandez Warns Against Bishops Who Think They Can Judge ‘Doctrine of the Holy Father’

Striking down Strickland would be a monumental blunder, in my opinion.  Both tactically and strategically counter-productive.

Someone asked in a comment elsewhere, “What can we do for Bp. Strickland?”

Allow me to be completely unoriginal.

  • Be sure your own house is in order so that what you do is meritorious: GO TO CONFESSION! THAT’s FIRST! (Yes, we believe in that stuff, and so does Bp. Strickland, which is partly why they want his chitlin’s).
  • Got to Church and pray for him, that he be strong and have the courage and the insight in the maze of outcomes, to do the right thing.
  • Chose a mortification in reparation for those who are out to get him. And we know who they are and WHY.
  • FATHERS! IF you have a slot open, say a Mass for Bp. Strickland.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Coming Storm, The Drill. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Comments

  1. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    “Exclusive: Archbishop Fernandez Warns Against Bishops Who Think They Can Judge ‘Doctrine of the Holy Father’”

    Translation: “The Pharoah has spoken!”

    I remember converting to Catholicism, not a Calvinist Caricature of Catholicism… but this apparently seems to be the religion of many in the heirarchy.

  2. BeautifulSavior says:

    I have mentioned this before here, but I think it is opportune to mention it again; Archbishop Daniel from Puerto Rico had the same thing happened to him. To this day it is not known why? We are still grieving over his situation. He knows exactly how his brother Bishop Strickland must feel!

    That this is happening again makes me feel sad. I keep staring at a picture of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns, and keep wondering what is He thinking about us! Penance and reparation comes to mind!

  3. Bosco says:

    “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” – Thomas Paine (1776) Thetford England/Virginia, USA

  4. Lurker 59 says:

    @TheCavalierHatherly

    Hey, you’ve noticed that too? I often describe things as someone cribbing notes on how the papacy works from a Jack Chick track.

    Archbishop Strickland, I pray, will follow in the footsteps of the great bishops who have been raised to the altars for their stalwart defense of the Faith in the face of heretical brother bishops.

  5. summorumpontificum777 says:

    I will pray rosaries for good Bishop Strickland… that he may continue to fearlessly stand for the truths of the Catholic faith.
    And for his for tormenter(s) in Roma, please join me in praying Psalm 108:8: “Fiant dies eius pauci, et episcopatum eius accipiat alter. “

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    This has all the earmarks of a pivot point. There has been so much to deal with. At some point the dissonance overwhelms, and it becomes impossible to reconcile things any longer. In our house, we’re there. We won’t hold out much hope the bishops are going to finally stand up, there doesn’t seem to be enough real bishops left. It would be delightful if they did, of course. They are accountable to God, and Catholics as well, who will have to decide things for themselves.
    We all have to come to as much of an understanding about God and His expectations, for us to think critically about things. It’s as weighty as it gets. But on no level I can think of does it seem logical that God asks us to be persecuted by demons inside the church, abused day and night, as we watch the church and the faith be decimated. I can’t say those words anymore, and be more a hypocrite than I already have been. Rome is despicable. I can’t pretend it is anything else.

  7. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    This both saddens and angers me. I’m so very tired of abuse from those in power in the Church. The corruption among them runs deep. Their lust for power and money is endangering countless souls, including their own.

  8. kurtmasur says:

    Somehow I have the feeling that this is one of them situations in which the unHoly See should remember to be careful for what it wishes because they may get it. Sure, in their eyes they may be ousting a bishop they don’t like, but I doubt that somebody who is as outspoken as Bp. Strickland is going to suddenly stop speaking the truth as a result of losing their ecclesiastical position. If anything, it will only be a blessing in disguise as it would only free up Bp. Strickland to concentrate on even more preaching, administering traditional sacraments where needed, etc. The unHoly See forgets that evil deeds eventually backfire.

  9. BeatifyStickler says:

    Shameful. We will win the long game.

  10. TonyO says:

    I agree that Bp. Strickland should not resign. If Francis decides Strickland has to go, make it be all on Francis’s shoulders. By no means should a bishop resign merely because he is told he should: if he has done something that he himself has come to believe merits resigning, then sure, he should resign on his own cognizance. But other than that, if Francis or the Vatican says “resign or else” he should stick to his guns and tell them to stuff it. (I also would be interested to see what happens if a bishop who really has done nothing to merit being removed to resist being removed. That is, by using all the (civil) legal means he has available within his country to make it difficult or impossible for any new bishop to take over. While I think that (in most countries), eventually the Vatican would probably succeed, it’s not a given that it would be easy or quick. It might be years, it might be never. And popes die, too. E.G. If the Vatican refuses to follow canon law that is made for removing a prelate for cause, does that prelate have grounds to refuse to acknowledge the “removal” that is based on false premises? (Of course, I don’t advocate a bishop doing something that gets him excommunicated. Of course, Joan of Arc was excommunicated, too – by a very bad bishop.))

    Furthermore, I strongly think the canon law that says bishops must tender their resignations at age 75 is wrongheaded and wronghearted, and should go. If a bishop needs to go because he is a bad bishop, the pope should get rid of him as a bad bishop, not just let him stay on and on and on for “just 6 more years until I can get rid of him…”. If a bishop is OK and probably has 3 or 4 more good years, then giving the Vatican rope to say “we don’t like him so get rid of him” at 75 is bad policy. There are other ways to handle bishops who get too old to be bishop. Introduce those.

    But far more important are the means of GETTING good bishops. Manifestly, we have been suffering under at least 70 years – probably more – of bad mechanisms for choosing bishops, and it does not appear to have turned any corners toward improvement. At this point, I don’t see any ordinary human hope of fixing this: it’s easy to come up with potential ways we could have better methods than what we have now, but there is no clear way we could get into place someone who WOULD WANT to do that and make it happen.

    How about an exclusive: “God warns against bishops and popes who think they can judge whether the Bible is sound”?

  11. Pingback: TVESDAY MORNING EDITION – BigPulpit.com

  12. ChrisP says:

    A thought did strike upon hearing this news.

    Liberals have often made use of the court process to get their way or slow things down.

    Here in Christchurch, New Zealand, liberal elements in the diocese have successfully launched a canon law challenge now sitting with Vatican, that has effectively stopped the diocesan pastoral plan dead in its tracks. The Bishop can do nothing.

    Can not a canon law challenge be made against any one – or all – of the actions and perpetrators from the Vatican including the visitors, the advisors or the Pope himself, in order to nullify any request or slow down a process?

    One has the feeling there will be no doubt rule bending or blatant deception will have taken place here, on the part of the Vatican.

  13. Not says:

    Not surprised by this. This is the world we live in now. Not to get political but we see the same attacks on Conservatism in our Country . A Marxist take over. If you can’t shut down those who speak the truth then remove or prosecute them.
    They continue to tell us we are a minority. That is another lie. We are the strong majority. The Fifth Column of the press lies daily about us.

  14. L. says:

    “….It is perilous striving with princes. And therefore, I would wish you somewhat to incline to the King’s pleasure. By God’s body, Master More, the anger of the prince means death.”

    – Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, to Sir Thomas More,1534

  15. Cornelius says:

    In refusing to resign he can insist on his canonical rights to trial, I suppose, but you know how far that goes in the Church these days – just ask Bishop Fernandez of Puerto Rico. We’ve ceased to be an organization run by laws, but by the despotic will of one man, who runs roughshod over canonical rights when it suits him.

    Vatican I created an absolute monarchy (or tyranny) – which is a fine system of governance when the monarch is God, but when it’s a fallen human creature . . . oy vey, you’re just asking for trouble.
    There are just no checks and balances in the governance of the Church against this sort of despotism.

    I suppose the council fathers of VI thought that God was the ultimate “check and balance” for a rogue Pope but we’re 10 years into this mess and the Almighty has been conspicuously quiescent. How long, oh Lord??

  16. Archlaic says:

    If a request to resign is put to Strickland, he should of course refuse… it will be very interesting (not in a good way) to see what they might then threaten to do in order to either make him more compliant or as a pretense for his removal…

  17. jpmanning70 says:

    I don’t think it would be worth Francis to incur that headache. Then again, the way things have been going, who knows?

  18. Alex says:

    When the time comes, how many American bishops will support +Strickland publicly? Of those, how many will persevere in public support when the pressure comes down on them?

    He has a very lonely road ahead of him. It’s a narrow road with faint-heartedness on one side and vainglory on the other.

    +Strickland’s courage has meant so much to a lot of us when seemingly everywhere else we look in the episcopacy we see cowardice and head-burying. In this time of synodality, does anyone have an idea of how we can best provide him our public support?

  19. sjoseph371 says:

    “Striking down Strickland would be a monumental blunder, in my opinion. Both tactically and strategically counter-productive.” – Fr. Z. – that’s cute that you think that they would care. When cornered, the snake will lash out, many time, regardless of whether or not it will help it.
    The other reason is that this would “send a message to other ‘American Problems'” . . . sometimes the process IS the punishment.

  20. marymargaretmiller says:

    I will be praying the Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception daily for Bishop Strickland. The chaplet is associated with a very holy Saint, John Berchmans, a Jesuit.
    Thank you Father Z for your suggestions. I was very troubled at the news and now I am prepared to pray and sacrifice for our church.

  21. Ages says:

    @Cornelius

    Remember what God did when Israel asked for a king. “A king you shall have.” And most of them were bad.

  22. B says:

    This is to discredit him before the Synod as they fear his reach of complaint.

  23. teomatteo says:

    Bishop ‘The Baptist’ Strickland

  24. Northern Ox says:

    Perhaps if just one bishop stands up, it really will “encourager les autres” — in a good way.

    Courage can be easier to find when you see it lived out by someone else. Isn’t that one reason we remember and venerate the Saints?

  25. BeautifulSavior says:

    I call our Bishop Daniel Fernandez, Bishop Daniel because he told us that during his visitation he felt like the prophet Daniel in the den with the lions. He earned his name. Imagine what both of them had to go through! Rosaries going up for all the “misericordiados” (those who have received “mercy” from this pontificate are called misericordiados in the Spanish world).

  26. TonyO says:

    Can not a canon law challenge be made against any one – or all – of the actions and perpetrators from the Vatican including the visitors, the advisors or the Pope himself, in order to nullify any request or slow down a process?

    You can try. But as Cornelius says,
    you know how far that goes in the Church these days – just ask Bishop Fernandez of Puerto Rico. We’ve ceased to be an organization run by laws, but by the despotic will of one man, who runs roughshod over canonical rights when it suits him.
    If Francis decides to go around the rules in canon law and just tell you flat out that “you are dismissed from your see”, then you have no appeal. Canon law constrains others, not the pope (if he decides to act outside of them).

    That said, it’s still worth a shot, at least until Francis steps in. And (probably), it is also worth it even if Francis does decide to step in and flatten you as bishop, because that exposes what he is about all the more clearly, and might make the next conclave pick someone a little less like a loose cannon.

    Vatican I created an absolute monarchy (or tyranny) – which is a fine system of governance when the monarch is God,

    I don’t think it is quite accurate to say VI “created” the monarchy: the constitution of the Church was laid down by Christ, we can’t alter that. And it is Christ, not the pope, who is the actual monarch. It’s just that Christ’s vicar bears much of the (delegated) authority that Christ has. Did VI designate more power for the pope than Christ actually gave Peter?

    “Striking down Strickland would be a monumental blunder, in my opinion. Both tactically and strategically counter-productive.” – Fr. Z. – that’s cute that you think that they would care. When cornered, the snake will lash out, many time, regardless of whether or not it will help it.

    It’s odd to use the metaphor of them being “cornered”: they have all of the visible power in their hands, and can shut down a bishop going through official channels if they choose to. Also, they are the ones that initiated this confrontation with Bp. Strickland. If they didn’t want a fight with him, they could have just kept quiet and let him go about his business, like they have for the last several years. Presumably, they thought this was a good time to take on this particular fight, and at least someone probably thought about that strategically.

    I think Fr. Z’s point is that such strategic planning was in error: we know that Christ will eventually win, but we don’t know how that win will come about in detail. From what Fr. Z offers, I think he is suggesting that we can expect that the seeds of their destruction, when all is accomplished, will be found in mistakes like this where they thought canceling a prophet made sense, but in reality it damages their plans. God allows the evil of evil plans to undermine those plans so that they ultimately come to failure. But the time scale might be far longer than any of us now alive will see before death.

    I don’t think it would be worth Francis to incur that headache. Then again, the way things have been going, who knows?

    In the short run, canceling Strickland might well look like a successful ploy for whoever in Rome is pushing this (and it might not even be Francis, though one has to wonder). I hope that you are right, though, that any attempt to cancel Strickland ends up as an enormous PR nightmare for the Vatican, but I don’t have much expectation of that: Francis and the curia are not beholden to voters to keep sending them back into office, there is no specific mechanism by which bad PR actually harms them, other than a drop in Peter’s Pence, and frankly that is not much of a cog in the drivers of motivation for them. Also, the machine has been picking the bishops for generations now, crafting them from seminary days to shut up and do what you’re told, and then molding them as they move up, so that by the time they take a miter they have had their spines surgically removed. There is a dearth of bishops that one can even imagine “standing with” Strickland if he is removed from his see. And their doing so wouldn’t do any concrete good anyway, so why would they try it?

  27. Cornelius says:

    TonyO, yes, Our Lord instituted the papacy. . . and one could reasonably construe it as monarchical in form, but he left its limits largely undefined. Perhaps I should have emphasized the word “absolute” more.

    Remember the example of St. Paul who “withstood him [Peter] to his face”. Surely this is a clue from the Lord that the papacy is not an absolute monarchy. Perhaps He intended something more along the lines of a constitutional monarchy, where the monarch is constrained by constitutional principles from acting any old way he pleases, in short despotically and capriciously.

    But this is all moot because VI pushed the papacy firmly in the absolutist direction. If there’s one good thing that comes out of these 10 years it’s perhaps the realization that Church must take more seriously the possibility of a truly rogue, heretical man in the Chair and put in place practical ways to address it and limit the damage he can do.

Think, proof read, preview BEFORE posting!