Editor’s Note: The following is the official English statement from Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, in response to the news that Pope Francis has removed Bishop Joseph Strickland from his Diocese of Tyler. A Spanish version can be found here.
(LifeSiteNews) –– “The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers.” These words of St. Basil (Ep. 243) can most aptly illustrate the deposition of the Bishop of Tyler, Texas, U.S.A., His Excellency Joseph E. Strickland.
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
The deposition of Bishop Joseph E. Strickland signifies a black day for the Catholic Church of our day.
We are witnessing a blatant injustice towards a bishop who did his duty in preaching and defending with parrhesia the immutable Catholic faith and morals and in promoting the sacredness of the liturgy, especially in the immemorial traditional rite of the Mass.
All understand, and even the declared enemies of this Confessor Bishop, that the accusations brought against him are ultimately insubstantial and disproportionate and were used as a welcome opportunity to silence an uncomfortable prophetic voice within the Church.
What happened to the bishops during the Arian crisis in the 4th century, who were deposed and exiled only because they intrepidly preached the traditional Catholic Faith, is again happening in our day.
At the same time several bishops, who publicly support heresy, liturgical abuses, gender ideology and openly invite their priests to “bless” same-sex couples, are not in the least importuned or sanctioned by the Holy See.
Bishop Strickland will probably go down in history as an “Athanasius of the Church in the USA,” who however, unlike St. Athanasius, is not persecuted by the secular power, but incredibly by the Pope himself. It seems that a kind of “purge” of bishops, who are faithful to the immutable Catholic Faith and the Apostolic discipline, and which has been going on already for some time, has reached now a decisive phase.
May the sacrifice, which Our Lord asked from Bishop Strickland, bear plenty spiritual fruits for time and eternity. Bishop Strickland and other faithful bishops, who were already asked to resign, who are currently marginalized or who will be the next in the row, should say in all sincerity to Pope Francis:
Holy Father, why are you persecuting and beating us? We tried to do what all holy Popes asked us to do? With fraternal love we offer the sacrifice of this kind of persecution and exile for the salvation of your soul and for the good state of the Holy Roman Church. Indeed, we are your best friends, Most Holy Father!
+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Mary in Astana