Over 44K people sign petition standing with Bishop Strickland following his ouster

Bishop Joseph Strickland
Bishop Joseph Strickland | Screengrab: Cross Catholic Outreach

More than 40,000 people have signed a petition standing with an ousted Catholic bishop days after he was removed from his post. 

Bishop Joseph Strickland, who oversaw the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Texas, until his dismissal by the Vatican over the weekend, has received support from Catholics in the form of a LifePetition. The petition, launched Saturday and titled “Stand with Bishop Strickland as Pope Francis removes this faithful shepherd who loves the Church,” has accumulated nearly 44,513 signatures as of Wednesday morning. 

The petition amounts to a pledge to pray for Strickland as well as a “prayerful response” to the “merciless attack on Catholic orthodoxy by Pope Francis.” LifeSiteNews, which spearheaded the LifePetition, added that it will be "presenting Bishop Strickland with your prayer pledges."

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“Bp. Strickland has led the diocese for over ten years and has been lauded by faithful Catholics for his promotion of love for Christ in the Eucharist and traditional Catholic teachings,” the petition continued. “But he is now being cancelled for, among other things, defending the Catholic Church against terror. The Vatican has had Bp. Strickland in their crosshairs for quite some time, not least because, like St. Paul corrected St. Peter, Strickland publicly corrected several heterodox statements from Pope Francis.”

The petition praised Strickland as “America’s bishop” and “America’s most faithful shepherd” in addition to lamenting that he was “cruelly removed from his diocese by Pope Francis.” It noted that “he has been outspoken in defending life and family, and has insisted that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament be respected, which led him to refuse to give pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion.” 

“We stand with Bishop Joseph Strickland, his love for Christ in the Eucharist, his devotion to Our Lady and the selfless work he has undertaken to foster greater fidelity among the clergy and even the Pope,” the petition concluded. “His unwavering dedication to promoting Jesus Christ and His Truth has had a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals.”

As the petition repeatedly suggested, Strickland’s dismissal follows an ongoing feud between the pontiff and the ousted church leader. Specific areas of disagreement include the ability of pro-abortion Catholic politicians to receive communion and the degree to which outreach to the LGBT community is acceptable in the church. Like the LifePetition, the Diocese of Tyler called for prayers for Strickland as it announced his ouster Saturday. 

In an interview with LifeSiteNews six hours after he was removed from his position, Strickland expressed confidence that “the Lord is with me” and assured concerned Catholics that he was “strong in the Lord.” According to Strickland, those who worked to advance his dismissal “want to be rid of the truth that is gloriously not going to go away.” 

Strickland, like other critics of Pope Francis, sees some of the pontiff’s actions as an affront to traditional Catholic teaching. Most recently, the Vatican made headlines for approving a document explaining that trans-identified people can be baptized and serve as godparents in some cases. 

The document also asserted that children of homosexual couples, including those conceived via surrogacy, can be baptized if there is a “well-founded hope that he or she will be brought up in the Catholic religion.” At the same time, the guidance stressed that trans-identified people should not have the ability to become godparents “if there is a danger of scandal, undue legitimization, or confusion in the educational sphere of the ecclesial community.”

Following Strickland’s removal from his post, Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin has become the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Tyler. Vasquez will serve in that role until a permanent replacement for Strickland is named. 

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, another critic of Pope Francis, derided Strickland’s dismissal as a “cowardly form of authoritarianism.” While the Vatican initially asked Strickland to resign Thursday, his refusal to do so prompted his ouster two days later. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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