(LifeSiteNews) — Jack Maxey, Father Charles Murr, John-Henry Westen and Liz Yore return for this week’s episode of Faith & Reason, where they discuss Bishop Joseph Strickland’s dismissal, the death of Indi Gregory, the Vatican’s China deal, and more.
Last weekend, Pope Francis deposed Bishop Joseph Strickland as bishop of Tyler, Texas, a post he held for 11 years. While Strickland told Westen hours after his removal that he is “at peace” with Francis’ decision, an official reason for the deposition has yet to be given, and several prelates, including Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Archbishop Emeritus Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina, have voiced their support for Strickland.
Yore compared the Pope’s treatment of Strickland with that of disgraced former Jesuit Fr. Marko Rupnik, who was reconciled with the Church after being excommunicated for credible accounts of sexual and psychological abuse of religious sisters. Fr. Rupnik has since been incardinated in a Slovenian diocese.
She also noted that Strickland was “the only bishop to show his face” after the McCarrick scandal broke out at a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting in 2018. She also pointed out that the USCCB, whose annual Baltimore meeting is currently underway, has not mentioned the “unfair, capricious, arbitrary” treatment of Strickland at the hands of Francis, and said that it was “unmerciful” for Cardinal Christophe Pierre to tell Strickland not to attend the meeting.
Maxey, meanwhile, compared the apparent silence of the American episcopate in the face of Strickland’s removal to the presence of good men in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “living in fear of the hierarchy, and the punishment is true and the punishment is swift.” On account of their silence, he contends, the bishops are “effectively betraying their oaths to Christ and their oaths to their faith.”
Fr. Murr rhetorically listed what the charges that caused Strickland’s dismissal could be and said that the Vatican may be hiding the charges because they would face scorn: “What would that list possibly include? Because he believes in God? Because he believes in Jesus Christ? Because he holds the faith of the Catholic Church that has been in existence for 2,000 years and will be in existence until the end of the world? Are those the charges? Ridiculous.”
He also compared the situation Strickland finds himself in with that of St. John Fisher, the only bishop in England to resist King Henry VIII’s attempt to separate from Rome, opining that there is little difference in either situation and that the silence of the bishops is based on fear.
Murr also responded to a question from Westen on whether silence on the part of other American bishops was a matter of prudence. Looking to Nazi Germany, Murr recalls that Cardinal Blessed August Graf von Galen, known as the Lion of Münster for his resistance to Hitler, would see five or 10 of his priests arrested for every denunciation, and so he had to denounce Hitler prudently.
“Still, even with that threat constant, when he needed to speak, he spoke,” he states. “It’s not that it was worth it, you’re talking about human lives being lost, but the truth is more important, and he had to be a good pastor.”
Applying the analogy to the American Church in the wake of the dismissal, Murr admits that although he is not comparing Francis to Hitler, he is unsure what the cost would be for them to stand up to the Pope and defend Strickland. He also spoke to the old saying that one should choose their battles, but that if the defense of the deposit of faith is not “the hill to die on,” he doesn’t know which hill it would be. In his opinion, it would be imprudent for the bishops not to defend the existence of the deposit of faith.
Yore, however, said that a prudential judgment on the part of the episcopate is “not good enough” and that “this is the time to speak truth to power.”
“The fact is, is the more numbers of bishops that come together, the stronger is their voice,” she said. “To echo to the world the truth of the Catholic faith, when it is been suppressed and rewritten by this Vatican, is needed at this moment to speak the truth about this radical LGBT ideology that is sweeping not only the world, but is taking over the Catholic Church with the blessing of Francis.”
“It is now and only now when the voices of the good holy bishops must be heard,” she continued.
Early Monday morning, Indi Gregory, a terminally ill baby suffering from brain damage caused by congenital mitochondrial disease, died after a British court prohibited her from accessing life-saving care at an Italian hospital. Gregory’s father Dean says that while he is not religious, he had Indi baptized because the court’s actions were like hell, he wanted Indi to get to heaven, and Christian volunteers played a significant role in helping his family. She is now a saint in heaven, and Dean and his surviving daughter are preparing to receive baptism.
Both Fr. Murr and Yore stressed that Gregory’s case highlights that parents know what is best for their children. Yore further posited that the Gregory case shows the importance of life and that it should be treasured, valued, and protected at all costs.
Maxey noted that the Gregorys’ crisis brought them closer together. “Now their union is an eternal one, rather than … restricted by the temporal world that we suffer through on our way,” he opined. “To bring the whole family closer to Christ through this child, it’s just magnificent, it’s miraculous.”
For more from Maxey, Fr. Murr, and Yore, tune in to this week’s episode of Faith & Reason.
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