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Bishop Joseph E. StricklandAmerican Life League/YouTube screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Joseph Strickland returns for this week’s episode of The Bishop Strickland Show, in which he discusses abiding in God’s love, respect for authority, and unity in Christ.

Strickland begins the first part of the show with a commentary on part of the Last Supper Discourse from St. John’s Gospel. The bishop says Christ’s statement that if we keep the commandments we will remain in His love is important for us to recall in our time. He notes that living the commandments is how we “live out” our love for God and go deeper into His love for us.

“Jesus makes it clear if you wish to follow Him, there is no separation,” Strickland says. “Living the commandments is remaining in His love.”

“John’s Gospel tells us that God is love, and Jesus is amplifying that in His words to tell us exactly what that means,” he continues. “To remain in the truth that Jesus has revealed is to be in relationship with God.”

To ignore the commandments of God, the bishop notes, is not to love as God is love, but is instead a worldly feeling that typically goes away. God being love, however, is eternal love. Further, as Christ says several times in the passage that we should remain in His love, Strickland believes that Christ is calling us to abide in His love for eternity, to remain in His love in this life, so we may abide in God in the next.

Turning his attention to Christ’s statement to the apostles about abiding in His love so His joy might be in them and theirs complete, Strickland observes that joy in this life is fleeting and incomplete. While the joys we experience give us a glimpse of the joy discussed by Christ, we are too “distracted” to see it completely. We are, he says, too sinful to completely respond to it, and there are many obstacles to its full completion in our lives. However, we can look to the saints to see where we can truly find joy.

“Their joy wasn’t complete in this world, but they knew where they could find complete joy, and they were willing to make the sacrifices, and many of them literally gave their lives in order to embrace that joy,” says Strickland.

Later in the first part, Strickland addresses his recent pastoral letter on obedience. For Strickland, the letter encompasses a deal of what he has already written about supernatural faith, reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and devotion to Our Lady. The letter on authority and obedience, however, he considers to cover “truly … one of the most critical issues that we face,” the subject touching not only the Church but “every human institution.”

The “erosion” of respect for authority, he says, at least sped up during his childhood, if it did not begin then. Poorly exercised authority, meanwhile, “often undermines” the respect for authority that one should have. For example, that disrespect sometimes appears when parents do not properly exercise authority in the home. Authority itself, no matter where it is, ought to be respected.

“The ultimate authority is God,” Strickland asserts. “And therefore the ultimate obedience is to God.” Noting that St. Thomas Aquinas said that we must be obedient to God in all things and obedient to men in certain things, the bishop lays out the distinction by saying that one must disobey men when we must choose between obeying men and obeying God. We should also pray for those in authority to realize this. True authority calls people to what they could be, but what we see today is that authority is not performing its function, and hence has not gained the respect of those under it.

In the second part, Strickland offers a commentary on Christ’s prayer to the Father after the Last Supper Discourse, noting that Christ’s prayer for unity is one of the strongest He prayed. Strickland laments that Christians are “tragically far from unity,” with divisions in various Christian groups and in the Catholic Church, the Church that Christ established. Just as Christ prays for unity, we too should pray and work for unity, a unity attained by living in the truth, that is, keeping the commandments.

“We hear a lot … in the Church about fraternity and community and unity among the bishops, but too often it seems that Christ is left out of that picture,” the bishop says. “We will never have unity if it’s not based on the Oneness of our One Redeemer, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the one Lord, one faith, one baptism that is Jesus Christ.”

Strickland further touches upon how Christ says that the apostles were not of the world any more than He was. For Strickland, the matter is one of the most “critical” truths of the Gospel and that the Church must be “strong” in it: that we do not belong to this world and need to rejoice in being called to a different one. This does not entail a rejection of or the ability to abuse the present world, but to “treasure” it as the road to the one to which we belong. As our home is in heaven rather than earth, we must give thanks to God for every day and live according to His commandments.

Later in the second part, Strickland offers commentary on a quote from Ven. Fulton Sheen about finding the true Church as the one that is hated by the world.

After noting that scriptural truth is eternal no matter when it is stated, Strickland says that any church that is “cozy with the world” cannot be the true Church, with those in the world appreciating that the “cute little religious people” will not challenge their dominion. The Church is hated, he observes, because it proclaims the truth to the world. Since hate is a strong word, we need to take Christ’s use of it seriously.

It is in this light that Strickland analyzes the recent “Be Human” event at the Vatican that sought to emphasize human fraternity in the spirit of Pope Francis’ 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

“They’re forgetting to be salt and light,” he says of the Vatican, agreeing with show host Terry Barber that the Vatican’s failure to proclaim the Gospel at the event is contrary to the Gospel. While a secular group, he says, can indeed hold a meeting and attempt to solve the world’s problems through the natural sciences and the like, if the Church is to host such an event and fails to mention Christ, then it is failing to be the Church and is misusing the buildings given to it by people of faith.

“If they’re ignoring the Gospel, they need to be called on the carpet for misusing the tools, the buildings, the resources, everything that’s been offered to them by people of faith,” the bishop asserts.

Towards the end of the second part, Strickland offers commentary on the Chicago priest who blessed the lesbian couple as “spouses,” using Fiducia Supplicans as justification.

Strickland brings up a call he made on X (formerly Twitter) to pray for the priest and the lesbians involved, as they are “caught in a fog of darkness that is not the Catholic Church,” and that they need to be corrected for their own sake, even if they likely won’t be. He also says that it is “infuriating” since the blessing contradicts the explanations given by the Vatican for Fiducia Supplicans, namely that the blessings are not “liturgical” and should be no longer than fifteen seconds. However, Strickland opines that the final point of the matter is that someone is lying.

“Somebody’s lying,” he asserts. “And for the faithful of the Church, for any of us to just roll over and say, ‘Well, they’re saying this but doing that and contradicting themselves,’ we don’t need to stand for it. We need to say, ‘Either you’re confusing further explanation of this document is not the truth, or this needs to be corrected,’ but it won’t be corrected because this really points out what their intention was: ‘We’ll lull people into a complacency, and then we’ll allow sin to be blessed.’”

To watch all previous episodes of The Bishop Strickland Showclick here to visit LifeSite’s Rumble page dedicated to The Bishop Strickland Show.