(LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò took to social media on Thursday to encourage Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, to continue his “heroic” ministry despite reports that the latter will soon be asked to resign from his position by Pope Francis.
“Eleven years ago, on this very day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, I had the honor of informing Msgr. Strickland – as I was then Apostolic Nuncio to the United States – that Benedict XVI had appointed him Bishop of Tyler,” Archbishop Viganò posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Eleven years ago, on this very day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, I had the honor of informing Msgr. Strickland-as I was then Apostolic Nuncio to the United States- that Benedict XVI had appointed him Bishop of Tyler.
The time has come to rediscover the sense of the… pic.twitter.com/egjsW3ET8x
— Arcivescovo Carlo Maria Viganò (@CarloMVigano) September 14, 2023
“The time has come to rediscover the sense of the ‘fullness of the Sacred Order’ by exercising the Episcopate to the point of heroism: Our Lord will judge us, not those who abuse their power to destroy the Church and persecute Her good Pastors,” continued the archbishop.
Keeping his comments brief, Archbishop Viganò concluded his words of encouragement with a quote from Scripture: “Proclaim the Word, insist at the proper and untimely time, admonish, rebuke, exhort with all magnanimity and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2).
Archbishop Viganò’s defense of his brother bishop comes just three days after The Pillar reported that Francis met with Vatican officials last weekend to float the idea of requesting the outspoken prelate’s resignation as bishop of his Texas diocese.
Bishop Strickland and his diocese have been the subject of much scrutiny among the Catholic media ever since it was revealed that he was subject to an apostolic visitation in June 2023. His visitation was conducted by two retired bishops: Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, and former Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.
Bishop Strickland, 64, is well known among LifeSite readers for his unequivocal defense of Catholic teaching, teaching that is often cast in confusion by papal statements or messages.
The Tyler bishop’s more public positions on moral and doctrinal issues include urging Francis to deny Holy Communion to former U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over her support of legal abortion, accusing the pope of a “program of undermining the Deposit of Faith,” and condemning the prominent pro-LGBT “blasphemy” of Father James Martin, S.J.
He has also been notably forthright on moral controversies in U.S. politics and culture, including the Biden administration’s spying on Catholics and public displays by self-described “Satanic” groups. This summer, he spoke at a protest against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ hosting an anti-Catholic drag queen troupe called the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” who style themselves as grotesque nuns.
But the apostolic visitation is believed to have been particularly prompted by a May 13 X post in which he explicitly stated: “I reject his [Pope Francis’] program of undermining the Deposit of Faith.”
Bishop Strickland has received support from other prominent bishops in addition to Archbishop Viganò since the news that he may be asked to resign broke, including a personal letter of commendation from Bishop Athanasius Schneider that LifeSiteNews published in full earlier this week.