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Bishop Joseph StricklandSt. Philip Institute / YouTube

(LifeSiteNews) — On this two-part episode of The Bishop Strickland Show, Bishop Joseph Strickland discusses the Eucharist, a recent letter to the faithful, and the need for Catholics to be “warriors of truth.”

Beginning the episode, Strickland offers commentary on John 6:30-35, part of the Eucharistic Discourse. After noting that the manna the Israelites ate in the desert is a type of the Eucharist, Strickland observes that while we are in the midst of the Easter season and have witnessed the greatest sign of Christ’s divinity in His Resurrection, we live in a time when faith is weak and seems to be declining, adding that one can become despondent upon reading about the crises in the Church, citing the Jews in the Gospel asking Christ for a sign.

“I think this Gospel reminds us that the world hasn’t changed that much,” the prelate says. “And the sign that changed the world, that changed humanity, changed human history, when Jesus Christ came to us and then ultimately suffered, died, and rose for us – here we have the greatest sign of all, and people are still looking for the sign, looking for the answers.”

Using the recent solar eclipse as an example, Strickland calls it a manifestation of what God gave us and is a sign that He is Lord of the universe. Although today we can understand the phenomenon scientifically, whereas our ancestors would have reacted to it with fear and the belief that the world was ending, people still ignore the signs of faith while yet searching for them.

Touching upon the Eucharist itself, Strickland says it is a basic belief. He recalls an observation by apologist Ralph Martin about how over the past half century there has been a “bracketing” of Scripture’s more “challenging” passages by Church authorities. Strickland applies Martin’s observation regarding this passage to Protestantism and then turns his attention to the Church, noting that the Gospel is always new and never in need of updating. “It’s a living word, speaking to humanity in every age,” he asserts.

“People look for a sign, and there’s Christ, the one they’re talking to,” he continues. “He is the Sign of signs. He is the Sign of God’s love, God’s Eternal Son becoming Incarnate among us. People were looking for a sign and didn’t welcome Him. The same thing is happening in our time.”

The bishop encourages people to return to the basics of the faith and “not get lost in the fog of so much false teaching and so much confusion that really isn’t new,” opining that the problems in the Church began with the Enlightenment, when men believed they could explain everything naturally.

Responding to a question about suffering, Strickland discusses a letter he released to the faithful during the Octave of Easter, in which he noted that Christ’s crucifixion was ultimately a rejection of the truth.

Suffering, Strickland observes, is “woven into our human journey.” All will suffer, he says. Meanwhile, we live in a time when people suffer but act as though they could eliminate suffering altogether. This is perhaps a reason why Christ’s Passion is “so powerful,” with Strickland recalling the image of Pilate standing before Christ and asking what truth is – the question is the question of our age, Strickland says.

However, the prelate looks at the question “more deeply,” adding that in our time people will ask if truth exists at all. To him, “too many,” and even some in the Church, would respond in the negative by saying that there is no “essential, eternal truth.”

Looking to an attitude of some theologians since the French Revolution that dissuades an examination of the past and to look instead to the present, Strickland says that the principle makes sense only if no truth has been discovered. Applying the principle to our time, Strickland says that every age would be a “new opportunity” to discover what would be true for it. Strickland answers the principle by noting that what was true in the first century is true in ours.

The second part of the episode begins with Strickland reacting to an article by Fr. John A. Perricone in Crisis Magazine titled “Catholicism is About Swords,” arguing that we must convert to Christ and then fight the evils in the world, recalling also how Sr. Deidre Byrne referred to the Rosary as a weapon at the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Looking first to the negative responses Byrne received for her statement on the Rosary, Strickland opines that the weapons of war used by the world do not constitute strength, but that the truth does. The criticism Byrne received for her statement – that Catholicism is a religion of peace – does not touch upon real truth. “The truth is, when we fail to defend the innocent, when we fail to speak up the truth in the face of false messages, when we take pacifism to an extreme, then we fail to … be living the truth,” he says.

When one fails to defend the truth, further, “false messages” may dominate, messages themselves that “easily become violent.”

Immediately following, Strickland offers further commentary on the Eucharistic Discourse from John 6. For Strickland, the Gospel fits with the discussion immediately preceding. When Christ says He is the Bread of Life, the bishop says, He is reminding us that nothing else in the world can be the Bread of Life – nothing else nourishes. “When we soften the truth, we begin to lose touch with Christ,” he says. “I think we’re seeing that in too many ways.”

Furthermore, John 6 gives Catholics the strength to be “warriors of truth.” Comparing the concept of “warriors of truth” to the image of St. Michael holding up a flaming sword, Strickland says “too much of Christianity these days is wimpy and weak and not having the strength that it needs, the strength that Christ showed us, when He carried a Cross, when He easily could have just given up and died before he ever got to the crucifixion hill.”

“When Truth Incarnate is our bread, then we are truly alive in the truth that He has shared with us,” he adds. He further connects the issue with suffering as discussed in the first part. “When we’re not strong in the truth, and warriors for the truth, then the darkness becomes stronger and it begins to eliminate that very peace that people are claiming to be for,” Strickland asserts.

“To be for the peace is not to say, ‘We just lie down and let ourselves be trampled over,’ because that becomes a violent encounter that we see too often throughout human history.”

Once his commentary is completed, Strickland continues his discussion on the Crisis article, focusing on the article’s treatment of the crisis in the Church over the previous half century. Fr. Perricone used the analogy of the Trojan Horse to describe how those in the Church effected change.

Strickland references a quote by then Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, who said, “I hear around me reformers who want to dismantle the holy sanctuary, destroy the universal flame of the Church, discard all her adornments, and smite her with remorse for her historic past.”

For the bishop, we have seen the maladies spoken of by that future pontiff play out before us. Since his time the maladies in the Church are “reaching a crescendo like never before,” noting that he and show host Terry Barber saw the “dismantling of the holy sanctuary” as children. While he suspects some would accuse him of caring only for “statues and altar rails,” Strickland says that what Pius XII referred to was the Church herself promoting an attack on the sacred and the supernatural faith.

“It all becomes natural. It all becomes horizontal. It all becomes about us, and it’s not about looking to God and humbling, kneeling before God Almighty and His Son, Truth Incarnate,” Strickland says, adding that he applauds priests who are willing to speak the truth and at times get in trouble with their bishops for doing so, noting St. Paul’s observation that truth is a double-edged sword.

“The truth has a sharp edge that’s going to affect us one way or the other,” he says. “It’s either going to clear away the weeds of false teaching, or it’s going to come back at us and teach us a lesson that the truth will prevail.”

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