(LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews has learned that Bishop Joseph Strickland has been barred from saying Mass in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.
At a recent staff meeting, employees were reportedly informed that while Strickland cannot offer Mass in the diocese, he may do so elsewhere. The source is known to LifeSiteNews.
The source also confirmed to LifeSiteNews that employees were informed of the decision in order to answer questions from the public.
LifeSite has also learned that Bishop Strickland is currently on retreat at a Benedictine Abbey in Oklahoma. It appears he was not informed of the decision.
BREAKING: @BishStrickland barred from saying Mass in Diocese of Tyler, Texas
— John-Henry Westen (@JhWesten) December 7, 2023
Catholic author Dr. Peter Kwasniewski was disgusted by the decision to forbid Strickland from saying Mass in his old diocese.
“The Church at this time is being run like a mafia organization,” Kwasniewski told LifeSiteNews. “Canon law is being trampled under foot by those who are supposed to set the example of lawfulness. Power has replaced authority, and there is only one crime: being too orthodox.”
Strickland was unceremoniously dismissed from his post as the ordinary of Tyler on November 11 after refusing Pope Francis’ request to resign. He had been serving in that role since 2012.
The decision prompted massive outcry from faithful Catholics not just in the United States but across the world due to Strickland’s reputation for being an outspoken defender of Church teachings.
Strickland told LifeSite co-founder John-Henry Westen in an exclusive interview last month that “forces in the Church right now don’t want the truth of the Gospel. They want it changed.”
WATCH: My exclusive interview with Bishop Strickland, where I ask him all the questions on everyone’s heart in the midst of his unjust cancellation.
— John-Henry Westen (@JhWesten) November 12, 2023
Bishop Joe Vasquez was named Apostolic Administrator of Tyler by Pope Francis following Strickland’s firing. He served as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston from 2001-2010. He has overseen the Diocese of Austin, also in Texas, since 2010.
Strickland and his diocese came under intense scrutiny by hostile Catholic media after it was revealed that he was subject to an apostolic visitation in June 2023. The visitation was conducted by two retired bishops: Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, and former Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.
As previously reported by LifeSite, according to Canon 416, a diocesan see is normally made vacant by a bishop resigning, transferring, dying, or having a “privation” made known to him by the Pope. Respected canon lawyer Edward Peters has argued that commentaries on Canon 416 suggest a “privation” occurs when “guilt for ecclesiastical crimes” is implied, and Strickland has not been accused of such behavior.
Strickland told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that he did not implement Francis’ motu proprio Traditiones Custodes, which called for placing undue restrictions on the Latin Mass, and that his failure to do so may have led to his dismissal. He also noted that all of the U.S. bishops who were associated with disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick are still in active ministry.
Strickland has previously said that he believes Francis “is the Pope but it is time for me to say that I reject his program of undermining the Deposit of Faith. Follow Jesus.” He has also praised the priestly Society of St. Pius X for “[continuing] to hold Tradition out for the Universal Church.”
After initial publication of this article, another outlet has reported that sources in the Diocese of Tyler have told them that Strickland was “asked to consider temporarily refraining from publicly celebrating Mass,” in the diocese. Strickland has also reportedly told another outlet that he “received no such instruction” regarding being banned from offering public Masses.