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Bishop Joseph Strickland visits Catholics rallying outside USCCB meeting Nov. 13, 2018.Doug Mainwaring / LifeSiteNews

TYLER, Texas, July 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An American Catholic bishop is calling for an investigation into a Vatican whistleblower’s most recent allegations concerning the Vatican and Pope Francis covering up of clerical sexual abuse. 

Bishop Joseph Strickland, the ordinary of Tyler, Texas linked on Twitter to a recent LifeSiteNews article containing material cut from an interview Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò gave the Washington Post

“Faithful Catholics who believe in the Eucharist & pray the rosary need to demand an investigation of this & a clear reporting of the truth,” Strickland tweeted.

Twitter users responded with both agreement and disagreement, some indicating that they believe Viganò and others strongly expressing antipathy for the former papal nuncio. 

The bishop responded to one Twitter user who demanded to know how ordinary Catholics could demand an investigation into Viganò’s allegations.  

“How do sheep demand it?” asked John Lewandowski. “Our bishops do nothing to get to the truth and our Pope remains silent,” he continued, adding: “Faithful shepherds, bishops who believe in the Eucharist & pray the rosary need to join and together force the truth be shared while preaching the Christ’s Gospel, not another gospel.” 

Strickland replied by saying that Lewandowski was right, but that the faithful also have “a strong voice.”  

Like others who responded to the Bishop of Tyler, Lewandowski asked for suggestions for concrete action. 

“First pray, then write letters: keep them brief and to the point,” Strickland answered.

Viganò had told the Washington Post that Pope Francis is “doing close to nothing” to expose and bring to justice leading churchmen who have covered up clerical sexual abuse. The former nuncio named Cardinal Donald Wurel as an example. He also detailed a “horrible case” in which a Polish seminarian wrote to Pope Francis to complain of sexual aggression he had witnessed at a Vatican pre-seminary. 

Viganò alleged that leading prelates including the then-Bishop of Como, Diego Coletti;  Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis for Vatican City; and Cardinal Coccopalmerio, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, tried to quash an investigation into the complaints. Ultimately the whistleblower, Kamil Jarzembowski, was expelled from the seminary, and the seminarian he accused of abuse was ordained in 2017. 

The former nuncio also stated that Francis had “essentially ignored a terrifying dossier” outlining crimes allegedly committed by Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the pontiff’s choice as the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State. 

“You ask me if I see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse,” Viganò said to his Washington Post interviewer. 

“My answer is simple: Pope Francis himself is covering up abuse right now, as he did for McCarrick.”

After LifeSiteNews published Viganò’s first testimony last August, Bishop Stickland wrote to all the priests of his diocese saying that he found the allegations against Pope Francis and some senior cardinals to be “credible,” and called for a “thorough investigation.” He asked his clergy to include his letter in the masses on August 26,  2018, and to post it on their websites and other social media.

“Let us be clear that they are still allegations but as your shepherd I find them to be credible,”  Strickland wrote. “Using this standard the response must be a thorough investigation similar to those conducted any time allegations are deemed to be credible.”

“I do not have the authority to launch such an investigation but I will lend my voice in whatever way necessary to call for this investigation and urge that it’s findings demand accountability of all found to be culpable even at the highest levels of the Church,” he added.