Pope forcibly removes leading US conservative, Texas bishop Strickland


ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Saturday forcibly removed from office the bishop of Tyler, Texas, a conservative active on social media who has been a fierce critic of the pontiff and some of his priorities.

A one-line statement from the Vatican said Francis had “relieved” Bishop Joseph Strickland of the pastoral governance of Tyler and appointed the bishop of Austin as the temporary administrator.

Strickland has emerged as a critic of Francis, accusing him in a tweet earlier this year of “undermining the deposit of faith,” and particularly his recent meeting on the future of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican earlier this year sent in investigators to look into his governance of the diocese, amid reports he was making doctrinally unorthodox claims.

The Vatican has not released the findings of the investigation, and Strickland had insisted he wouldn’t resign voluntarily. He has said in media interviews he he was given a mandate to serve by the late Pope Benedict XVI.

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