Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, TX – a rising star among tradservative laity and clerics alike – has issued a pastoral letter. Before we get to its contents, some background…
As regular readers are aware, I’ve written critically about Bishop Strickland numerous times in the past, challenging him directly on countless occasions via his Twitter account (which he uses frequently), over his unwillingness to warn the faithful about the dangers of Amoris Laetitia, and worse, for publicly praising it.
“A beautiful teaching from our Holy Father Francis on the splendor of Christian marriage and the family” [that] “recalls the essential aspects of the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family, which are based on Divine Revelation found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”
This glowing assessment of Jorge Bergoglio’s Love Letter to Satan was written and published by Bishop Joseph Strickland on his website shortly after Amoris Laetitia was released in 2016, and there it remained until, at long last – praise God! – he deleted it several weeks ago.
On August 7, Fr. David Nix, who also urged Bishop Strickland to amend his treatment of Amoris Laetitia, alerted me to a tweet that Bishop Strickland had posted that day linking to a Crisis Magazine article that is critical of Bergoglio’s Apostolic [sic] Exhortation, along with a comment suggesting that he was reconsidering his public stance.
It was then that I discovered that Bishop Strickland had decided to delete his public praise for Amoris Laetitia. He still has a long way to go with respect to denouncing its blasphemous errors, especially in light of his previous position, but that said, he is to be commended for taking steps in the right direction.
With that background out of the way, let’s now turn our attention to his recent pastoral letter, written as a warning to his flock about the potential dangers associated with the upcoming Synod on Synodality.
There can be no doubt that the letter will receive effusive praise from the tradservative crowd for whom Strickland is the Hero-of-Heroes du jour.
Very much like Strickland’s walk back on Amoris Laetitia, his pastoral letter is a step in the right direction. That said, he has a very long way to go. As it is, the laudable statements to be found in the text plainly demonstrate that he suffers from either an extreme case of conciliar cognitive dissonance or worse.
In paragraph one, Strickland, who has been anointed “America’s Bishop” by his tradservative groupies, warns:
The evil and false message that has invaded the Church, Christ’s Bride, is that Jesus is only one among many, and that it is not necessary for His message to be shared with all humanity. This idea must be shunned and refuted at every turn.
OK, this is true, but it’s enough to make one wonder if Bishop Strickland has ever bothered to read the documents of Vatican Council II, most specifically, the following:
– For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them [the heretical and schismatic communities] as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church. (Unitatis Redintegratio 3)
– The brethren divided from us [the heretics and schismatics] also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion … These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation. (ibid.)
– Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able to acquire the state of perfect liberation. (Nostra Aetate 2)
– The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth… (ibid., art. 3)
– Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews [that is, the Jews of “our time” (nostra aetate), who thumb their nose at the Cross and Our Lord] and Gentiles, making both one in Himself. (ibid., art. 4)
How is it that Joseph Strickland does not realize that the evil and false message that numbers the Church and her Founder as just one path to salvation among many is enshrined the Second Vatican Council?
Perhaps he does realize this. Only he can say for sure one way or the other.
If pressed, however, given that he does not impress me as a stupid man, I would wager that he most certainly does realize that Vatican II is the source of the evil he is decrying, but similar to the Amoris Laetitia dust up, he is being careful to avoid inviting the repercussions that would be brought to bear if he spoke out about it plainly.
Add to this the humiliating fact that he’d be forced to reevaluate the allegedly saintly status of Paul the Pathetic and John Paul the Great Ecumenist, as well as BXVI, all of whom labored mightily to implement the Almighty Council.
In other words, it’s one thing to issue a warning about a synod that has yet to take place. It’s quite another, however, to “shun and refute at every turn” a false ecumenical council that has already taken place and just so happens to be the magna carta for the counterfeit church that has been headquartered in Rome ever since.
So, while Strickland’s tradservative cheerleaders will no doubt hail the man for his alleged bravery, cowardice and cunning may very well be closer to reality.
Bishop Strickland went on to state seven points representative of the “true Gospel message,” the first of which reads:
Christ established One Church-the Catholic Church-and, therefore, only the Catholic Church provides the fullness of Christ’s truth and the authentic path to His salvation for all of us.
Maybe I’m just on high alert given Strickland’s history vis-à-vis Amoris Laetitia, but it seems rather obvious that the words “authentic path” were very carefully chosen. Is there an “inauthentic path” to salvation? Of course not. There is one path. Period.
The Catholic Church is the only path to salvation for all.
Simple enough. So, why would Strickland deliberately avoid stating as much plainly?
I invite readers to examine the pastoral letter in its fullness via the hyperlink provided above. From there, you can draw your own conclusions.
For my part, while I welcome whatever steps Bishop Strickland may be taking toward Catholicism, at this point, he remains a textbook example of the blind leading the blind.