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TYLER, Texas (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Joseph Strickland has issued a warning that the Synod on Synodality might seek to change or “innovate” Catholic truths and that Catholics who adhere to Tradition and oppose novel changes may be labelled “schismatic.”
Undeterred by the recent apostolic visitation into his Diocese of Tyler, Bishop Joseph Strickland has released a pastoral message in which he warns of potential dangers to the faith as part of the Synod on Synodality, ahead of the October meeting of bishops and laity.
“In this time of great turmoil in the Church and in the world, I must speak to you from a father’s heart in order to warn you of the evils that threaten us, and to assure you of the joy and hope that we have always in our Lord Jesus Christ,” Strickland began.
An “evil and false message that has invaded the Church” is that “Jesus is only one among many, and that it is not necessary for His message to be shared with all humanity,” Strickland wrote. Such an idea, he added, “must be shunned and refuted at every turn.”
Presentation of Catholic truths
Drawing from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Strickland stated that “any attempts to pervert the true Gospel message must be categorically rejected as injurious to the Bride of Christ and her individual members.”
He outlined a series of seven truths consistently taught by the Catholic Church, namely:
- The nature of the Catholic Church as the only true Church.
- The necessity to be in a state of grace to receive the Eucharist.
- The divine nature of the sacrament of Marriage, which man cannot alter or “redefine.”
- Man is created in the image and likeness of God, which does not permit for a rejection of biological reality.
- The complete immorality of sexual activity outside of marriage, which cannot be blessed or condoned by the Church at all.
- The “belief that all men and women will be saved regardless of how they live their lives” is “false and dangerous.”
- The necessity to bear sufferings in order to follow Christ and unite suffering to His redemptive death.
“The Church exists not to redefine matters of faith,” noted Strickland, “but to safeguard the Deposit of Faith as it has been handed down to us from Our Lord Himself through the apostles and the saints and martyrs.”
Warning of synodal changes
However, having presented such Catholic truths, Bishop Strickland warned that such truths “will be examined as part of the Synod on Synodality.”
He did not directly suggest that the Synod might change, or attempt to change, such teaching, but rather warned Catholics to “hold fast to these truths and be wary of any attempts to present an alternative to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or to push for a faith that speaks of dialogue and brotherhood, while attempting to remove the fatherhood of God.”
The regularly vocal bishop warned that attempts to “innovate upon what God in His great mercy has given us” leads to “treacherous ground.”
Strickland, having outlined the truths that Catholics must cling to, warned that proponents of innovation would seek to attack those who refused to follow a process of change away from the faith:
Regrettably, it may be that some will label as schismatics those who disagree with the changes being proposed. Be assured, however, that no one who remains firmly upon the plumb line of our Catholic faith is a schismatic. We must remain unabashedly and truly Catholic, regardless of what may be brought forth.
“We must be aware also that it is not leaving the Church to stand firm against these proposed changes,” he added.
On the contrary, the bishop described the unspecified proponents of change and innovation as “schismatics,” stating that “those who would propose changes to that which cannot be changed seek to commandeer Christ’s Church, and they are indeed the true schismatics.”
The Texas bishop’s warning comes on the same day that a book was released similarly warning of synodal dangers.
Co-authored by researchers and theologians José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue, the book received a foreword by Cardinal Raymond Burke, who described the terms “synodality” and “synodal” as slogans being used to “change radically the Church’s self-understanding, in accord with a contemporary ideology which denies much of what the Church has always taught and practiced.”
Entitled The Synodal Process Is A Pandora’s Box, the book is, the authors write, “a cry of alarm” in the face of the “heretical voices within the Catholic Church” who are promoting a “radical agenda” via the Synod on Synodality.
Bishop Strickland himself has only recently warned that the current attempts to restrict the Church’s ancient liturgy — namely, the Traditional Latin Mass — constitute an attack on “the Deposit of Faith.”
Without naming any particular individual or document, Strickland appeared to take aim at Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis Custodes and Cardinal Arthur Roche’s subsequent Responsa ad dubia and rescript. “The traditional Latin Mass is rooted in the vine, robust with truth & bears much fruit,” he opined. “Any attempt to sever the traditional Mass from the Church is an attack on the unbroken link to tradition as received from the apostles, & an attack on the Deposit of Faith.”
Christ is the vine. The traditional Latin Mass is rooted in the vine, robust with truth & bears much fruit. Any attempt to sever the traditional Mass from the Church is an attack on the unbroken link to tradition as received from the apostles, & an attack on the Deposit of Faith. pic.twitter.com/W5CKeLNT4b
— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) August 1, 2023
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