The Wandering Bishop (Guest: Bishop Joseph Strickland)

June 07, 2024 00:58:08
The Wandering Bishop (Guest: Bishop Joseph Strickland)
Crisis Point
The Wandering Bishop (Guest: Bishop Joseph Strickland)

Jun 07 2024 | 00:58:08

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Seven months ago Bishop Joseph Strickland was removed as the bishop of Tyler, Texas. What has he been doing since then, what does he think of the current state of the Church and her bishops, and what advice does he have for faithful priests and lay people today?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:11] Speaker A: Bishop Joseph Strickland was removed as the bishop of Tyler, Texas, about seven months ago. What has he been doing since then, and what does he see for the future of the church and how we can respond to it? That's what we're going to talk about today on crisis point. Hello, I'm Eric Simmons, your host editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before I get started, I just want to encourage people to like this podcast to subscribe to the channel, let other people know about it. Also, please subscribe to our email newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com, put in your email address, and you'll get our article sent to your inbox every day, two articles a day. We really do appreciate that. That's how you can keep up with what's going on in church and on catholic commentary on that. Okay, so we have a great guest today. It's Bishop Joseph Strickland. Thank you for coming, your excellency. I really appreciate it. [00:00:56] Speaker B: Thank you, Eric. [00:00:58] Speaker A: So I think the first question I just have is, what have you been up to lately? You know, back in November, I actually know exactly the date that you were removed because it was the date of my daughter's wedding. [00:01:10] Speaker B: Okay. [00:01:11] Speaker A: And so I told myself, I'm not getting on twitter to comment about this. It's my daughter's wedding today. That is far more important to me. [00:01:18] Speaker B: A good decision. [00:01:20] Speaker A: Yeah, right. Exactly. So. So what have you been up to since then? [00:01:24] Speaker B: Well, since then, as you can imagine, when it first happened, my very busy calendar became empty, but very quickly got filled up again differently. But I've been very busy, mainly with a lot of travel, things like we're doing this morning. And I do. Eric, I want to say how much I appreciate Crisis magazine. You know, I don't know how that name came about, but it certainly is appropriate for this time. And I think we need to acknowledge the crisis, but also keep the faith and know that in Jesus Christ, Christus Vinci, all of that, that it's Christ's church, it's God's world, God, Father, son, and holy spirit, really. I guess that kind of segues into what I've been doing, is speaking about the treasure of our catholic faith, especially Eric. I've been invited, and I'm honored. I just got another invitation this morning for a pro life group, and I definitely, I do believe that is the preeminent issue of our time regarding life. I would say the preeminent catholic issue is the Eucharist. And do we believe what Christ told us? What has been our catholic heritage? That bread and wine become the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. I think those are two preeminent issues. And so that's what I speak about in various conferences and various settings. I'm not, you know, some bishops have been welcoming and some haven't. That's just the reality. We're in a very politically divided church. And, you know, I always argue that it becomes political when we fail to simply be proclaiming the truth of the gospel. And we have other agendas. Whether it is a political candidate, I don't really. I mean, our, our country is in a very serious crisis as well. I believe we don't have the kind of candidate we need. Certainly some are better than others, but none are the caliber that this nation really needs to pull us out of what we're going through. So I talk about all those things with a lot of travel. I just had the chance to be on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and Fatima. Beautiful opportunity. And I know many people are busy, that it's expensive. They don't have the opportunity to go to Lord Zen Fatima. But I would encourage all of us to be aware of those treasures we have in our catholic faith, places where Mary has come and like a good mother, just repeated herself over and over again, children turn from sin. Follow my son. That's Mary's message. Whatever apparition approved or not, that's Mary's message. And sadly, we aren't listening the way I believe we should. [00:04:33] Speaker A: I have a technical question. I think a lot of people don't really know is that you mentioned about bishops, some in support, some not. Do you have, are there rules about, when you travel to another diocese, what you're allowed to do, what you need to get permission to do from the local ordinary there. [00:04:50] Speaker B: Well, there really is. Isn't a rulebook for this. Being a retired emeritus bishop, but still very active, there really isn't a rulebook for this. Certainly out of courtesy. I mean, as a bishop, when you visit another bishop's territory, you know, the courtesy is to. Basically, for most of the time, it's simply an acknowledgement that you've been invited to the territory of the diocese for various groups or to say a mass or celebrate a sacrament, whatever that invitation may be. In my situation, it's a little more complicated, and I've tried to respect that, that some bishops, I mean, the way it works when someone contacts me and wants me to come and speak or do anything that's officially catholic, I would say celebrate Mass in a church, celebrate a sacrament beyond mass, or give a talk in an officially catholic situation, a conference or whatever. In those situations, the bishop would typically be alerted that another bishop is visiting. I mean, it's happened many times when I was bishop of Tyler. I mean, Tyler is not a place that a lot of bishops visit, but even in a rather small diocese, bishops would come for various reasons. Maybe they knew somebody in the area or whatever. And as a courtesy, you let the presiding bishop, the bishop of that territory, know about your visit, that you're coming. In my situation, basically, I honestly resist the idea of getting permission. I guess technically that's what it is. But as a bishop in the church, I'm still a successor of the apostles. So it really is a bit inappropriate to say, well, I have to ask permission. I guess the way I would approach it is that I am in a position where I ask. I consult the bishop's office to see if. If it's okay if I come. Sometimes it is, and sometimes they basically say, no, we don't want you coming to function in the diocese. So that, to me, is just part of the reality of the church. It shouldn't be that way. We're all successors of the apostles, but that's the reality. I think I just have to navigate that. And I think, really, honestly, Eric, I believe the preference of sort of the, you know, for lack of better terminology, of the official church, the organization of the church, they would prefer that I didn't do anything, that I just went away. But I feel an obligation, and I love the faith. I love the priesthood, and I feel an obligation to continue to speak. I want to do so respectfully, but also clearly. And sometimes, you know, in my experience, when you speak clearly, the message of the church, it's not my message. I don't want it to be my message. I want to simply be a conduit of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ. But these days, when you speak that truth, if some deem it to be politically incorrect, including the sanctity of the life of the unborn issue, the other life issues, the sexuality issues, certainly with homosexuality, but also just the approach to marriage. And what is marriage? All of those things. We're sadly a divided church that some of the crisis that your magazine deals with. And again, I appreciate the respectful but clear tone of your magazine. I'm sure some don't like it, but some don't like the truth in our time. And really, that's the reason. The only reason that I was removed is that I was speaking about the truth of the gospel, the truth of the church. Proclaims. But some want a different narrative in this time. And I love to quote Galatians one where St. Paul says, neither he nor an angel from heaven can come and bring a different gospel, and if they bring a different gospel, let them be anathema. Those are strong words, but they're not getting a lot of play in the mainstream church right now. [00:09:50] Speaker A: Yeah. And we also know what happens in Galatians two when he confronts Peter. So that also, unfortunately, has to happen sometimes without having to. I don't want you have to name any names, but after you were removed as the bishop of Tyler, did any other brother bishops kind of reach out to you and say, I'm sorry this happened to you, I support you, or anything like that? [00:10:11] Speaker B: Yeah, some bishops did. Did reach out a good number. I wouldn't say. It's certainly not a majority, but the men that, through the years, when I would be there at the meeting, sometimes they would come up quietly and say, thanks, Joe, for speaking up. I guess I've honestly always had the question of, why aren't you publicly saying that? But everybody has their own reasons, and I think it really is a whole menu of reasons that bishops don't speak up. Some of them are in very difficult situations, not because of what they've done, but maybe because of a predecessor, maybe just the tone of the community they're in. I mean, some places are so LGBTQ friendly, they're unfriendly to anything else. And so bishops have to navigate all that. I don't want to judge anyone, but the answer to your question, a number of bishops did reach out quietly. I really wish a few of them had gotten together and said what some said quietly because there was no canonical process. [00:11:24] Speaker A: Right. [00:11:25] Speaker B: I think that that is something that really isn't. I'm not important. I mean, as a successor of the apostles, I have a very important job, but I don't want to fight for my rights or my position. That's not what I need. I don't believe I need to do. But since there was no canonical process, I think that the church really needs to look at that. And we have canon law for a reason. I mean, it's. I studied canon law, and it developed through the centuries as bishops answering critical questions and then popes ratifying and saying, yes, that's the correct answer. And gradually that was compiled into what we know is the code of canon law right now. But for that process to basically be ignored, I don't think that's good for any bishop. And honestly, one of the bishops that contacted me, asked me if there was any canonical process. I mean, there was an apostolic visitation, but there was really no process to it. I mean, there was a visitation, and then several months later, I was removed. There were several reasons that I was given, but all of them had to do with not falling in line, basically. It wasn't. I mean, there were things that were put out there on the airwaves that. Oh, it's administrative problems or financial issues, really. Honestly, the. The diocese was in great shape financially, not because of me, but because of generous people. We had a good number of seminarians. We had a stable priesthood. The priests, you know, priests are never perfectly happy, but they were in a good place. There wasn't an open rebellion against me or anything. So I think the reality continues to be, and I continue to be a voice, that I try to be respectful. But also, we have to have respect for Jesus Christ, and if we are allowing ourselves to be guided down a path that's contradicting what he said. I mean, just recently, Notre Dame University put out a tweet, and I guess it was Facebook also, about how we're Catholic and we're welcoming. Absolutely. Catholic means universal. The whole world, all of humanity is welcome to follow Christ, but with a change, with a conversion, with a turning from sin. There was nothing in that about what Notre Dame put out, about the welcoming this month of the focus on the LGBTQ community, which we absolutely treat everyone as brothers and sisters. And if that isn't happening, we need to address any injustice. But the deepest injustice for me is to tell people, oh, you're living a lives of sin. Don't worry about it. I mean, as I've said through all of this, really, if you really logically run with the agenda of this month, it's the month of the sacred heart. That's what I keep emphasizing. But if you run with the other agenda, why not have embezzler's month? Why not have every kind of sin of the Ten Commandments? You get a free pass. Because we know that you were created by God to be an embezzler. Okay, well, I mean, it just contrary to the gospel. It's not attacking any individual. It's not attacking a group of people. But they need the gospel. We need the gospel. Every human being needs the good news of Jesus Christ to set us free from sin. And to me, it's really a travesty. It's a lack of love to tell people. I mean, parents that have children, if they say out of love, they're not going to warn their children about the poisons in the world and the dangers in the world. And when they see their child on a dangerous path, to just say, oh, Johnny, go ahead, we love you. That's not love, but that's really what it comes down to. [00:15:50] Speaker A: Yeah. Now, I know how much you loved being the shepherd of your flock there. And Tyler, that was. I mean, it was very obvious to everybody how much you love that, knowing kind of what you know now, do you think you would have done anything differently than you did? Because, you know, obviously, we all sometimes regret some things we do or whatever, but would you have done anything differently? [00:16:13] Speaker B: No, I have to say. I mean, I pray about it. I have asked myself, should I have, when I was told to be quiet, should I have obeyed that order? I don't believe I should have. Because the greatest service, even though I'm no longer bishop of Tyler, the greatest service I can give to the flock of Tyler or to anyone is to share the truth of Christ and not allow that to be changed and twisted by different agenda. I mean, you know, the church has always had to deal with the reality that it's human beings that make up the church. We're called to be the mystical body of Christ. But I'm a sinner. I acknowledge that. I go to confession often, and so I tell people, not because I'm some holy guy, but because I'm not holy enough. We're all called to holiness. That's one of the beautiful gifts from Vatican II. Yeah. There's some things problematic about the council, but I think we need to emphasize the good things and the universal call to holiness that's emphasized. Reminds us that all the baptized, all are called to be baptized, to be welcomed into baptism, which is that first conversion, that first change, that indelible character that we believe is placed in our soul to guide us in the Holy Spirit for the rest of our lives. So the universal call to holiness absolutely welcomes everyone. But it's a call to holiness and not a call to be homogenized and just say, well, love is love, and let you do whatever you want. That's not what Christ said. I mean, over and over in the gospel, he says, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. And so I continue to shepherd whatever flock is willing to listen. And there are many people in the diocese of Tyler. It's a tough time for the people in Tyler, you know, really, because that I've been removed as a shepherd, and they're. They're without a shepherd right now. There's an administrator. But that really, that word is appropriate because they don't have a shepherd, they have an administrator making sure the business side of things continues. And he's a good man. But the, the people are suffering some. You know, honestly, I think it was in the minority, but really, we're not about a popularity vote in the church. But I think even in the case of my removal, I've certainly heard from a lot of people, Catholic and non Catholic, that are, were upset that I was removed as bishop because I was very much a part of the non catholic community, too, and trying to bring the truth of Christ to our brothers and sisters that aren't catholic. But the good thing about East Texas, many are christian. Probably the majority of people are baptized. And like anywhere else, we're not all living it as well as we should. But so the people here, I guess my greatest regret at this time is that I don't have a local flock that I can ministered to on a regular basis. And I think from the side of a lot of the flock, they don't have a shepherd that they can see at, you know, a potluck supper or at a mass or an ordination or whatever the bishop would typically be doing. They don't have that right now. And so it is. It is difficult. But going back to your question, Eric, you know, sometimes you have to do difficult things because it's the truth. And that's where I find myself. I certainly, you know, as far as the details of running the diocese, I'm sure maybe handling a priest, I could have done a better job or handling a parish situation, but I really don't have any regrets as far as doing my best to speak the truth in a time when even people in the church don't want it. I'm sure you are aware of many priests that have spoken clearly and have gotten in trouble for it. I guess I'm in that category. And just to be clear, because a lot of people ask, am I getting financial support? Yes. I'm getting a salary as a bishop emeritus. The diocese has an obligation to provide the basic support, and they're doing that, and people need to be aware of that. But as far as having a community to minister to, that's what I don't have. So I travel a lot. I continue to speak the truth. Anyone who wants me to engage with them and speak about our catholic faith is beautiful. Just having been in Lourdes, amphatuma, wonderful saints, wonderful messages of Mary. And I guess another thing I would say, eric, I know that people can feel alone and isolated. And the message from the Vatican is confusing, if not downright wrong, and that's disturbing to people. They can feel very alone. One of the blessings of me traveling as much as I have it has been to see faithful people all over the world. I mean, there in Portugal, there were people, groups of seminarians or missionary groups, faithful people. There were 300,000 people there on May 13 for the anniversary of the beginning of the apparitions of Fatima. May 13, 300,000 people. That is significant, and I think that's a sign of hope. It was for me, and I know it was for the people there. There's something uplifting about brothers and sisters there out of love for the blessed Virgin Mary, love for her son Jesus Christ, love for his church, and a willingness to sacrifice whatever to continue to live the path of Jesus Christ to the best of our ability, converting from sin and living the gospel. That's what it's all about. [00:22:51] Speaker A: Now, one of the trips you took, our friend Kevin Wells wrote about for crisis, and that was down to Mexico for the girls town. And it was a beautiful piece and I'm going to link to it on this show so people can read it. But can you tell us a little bit about what you did down there and like what you saw and your apostolic work down there? [00:23:12] Speaker B: Well, really, Eric, it was a great trip. It was the second time I've been there to the girls school there in Chalco, Mexico. And it just, it really, that's a perfect question as a segue from what I was just saying, because that was another beautiful sign that the truth that Jesus Christ lived, died and rose to share with humanity. It hasn't gone away, it hasn't gotten confused, it hasn't gotten deluded. It is still powerful and wonderful for these young girls from about twelve to 1617, more or less, middle school or, and high school, we would call those ages. These are young girls that come from troubled past. They're not orphans, but they come from being trafficked or being abused or being neglected in various ways. In the joyful atmosphere there shows what the light of Christ and his truth brings to us. One of the beautiful aspects of the time that I was there, these young girls, the older ones, were having the opportunity to go home for a home visit. Like I said, they're not orphans. They come from troubled homes, but they still have parents, or at least a parent, and they were going to visit family for, I believe, a week or maybe a weekend, not a long time, but to have a family visit. And these girls were being instructed and strengthened in their faith to go home lovingly to bring the gospel and to ask mom and dad if for whatever reason, their marriage isn't blessed in the church. Mom and dad, you really need to take care of that. Or maybe whatever the situation, if their family wasn't living according to the gospel, they were being catechized and strengthened to share that catechism. I thought that was a beautiful echo of what they've experienced. Their lives are joyful and ordered and meaningful. They go on to great careers after they finish at this school. And I think one of the best signs of the good work that the Sisters of Mary, that's the congregation there, they're all over the world, these schools, and you can read about it, like you said in Kevin Wells article. But one of the great signs of the success and the importance of what they're doing is a number of the sisters. There were girls in the school themselves who have come back because they received so much value and they've heard the Lord's call of a religious vocation. And so they've joined the religious community that is there. The Sisters of Mary. Beautiful, joyful, peaceful sisters, guiding these young girls away from the darkness that they've encountered. Really, it's a microcosm of what the church needs to do in our culture of not rejecting ever, but not saying, come on, girls, go ahead and continue your sins and we'll give you a place to be. No, to free them from the sin and darkness, whether it was their own sin or the sinful world that was imposed on them. But this school is a place where daughters of God, sisters of Jesus Christ, can really be formed to know who they are, to know their gifts and their talents, and to transform the world. Not all of them return to be religious sisters. Some become educators, some become businesswomen, lawyers, doctors. I mean, they go on to productive lives nurtured in the way of Jesus Christ. So to me that school was an inspiring place to be. And I would encourage, if people are looking for hope and looking for a way to make a concrete difference in their lives, I'd encourage them to organize a group. The sisters love for Americans to come and visit. And the girls have a beautiful love. They sang the Star Spangled Banner as a group of 3000 girls. After the mass we celebrated beautiful. And they also sang some popular songs like take me home, country roads. But it was a beautiful experience of seeing what God's plan is for us, if only we will listen to his truth and be guided away from the darkness of sin. [00:28:09] Speaker A: Brian, you know it's interesting because obviously, I run Crisis magazine. We focus on the crisis, which inevitably means we focus a lot of times on bad news, what's going on in the church, in the world. But I don't know about you, but I feel like lately there's just been an increase in signs of hope. I mean, obviously what's happening down there in Mexico. But, like, just as an example, we just celebrated feast of Corpus Christi. I saw so many processions online. People like saying the procession here all around the world, much more than I remember in previous years. We have some pretty high profile converts recently, like a Candace Owens and people like that who are coming into the church or exploring becoming Christian, becoming Catholic. And I feel like there's just this. Of course, we've seen it with the growth of traditional latin mass parishes, a lot more people flocking to them. Are you seeing, since you travel a lot more than I do, are you seeing this as well? Kind of like what seems to be almost like a response to a lot of the crisis happening organically within the church? [00:29:12] Speaker B: Absolutely. Groups and organizations and individual families seeking holiness. Again, that universal call to holiness. It's uplifting to see so many people engaged in taking that seriously. I mean, I meet with individuals here. I still, since I'm still in the Tyler area, I have the opportunity privately, in private homes or in private situations, but to interact with a lot of people. I know young men that are seeking holiness as the husband and father of their household. So there are many good signs. And that has always been the case, as you know. Well, Eric, if you look through church history in the darkest times, that's when some of the great saints have risen to the forefront. I mean, I was there in the place where Joan of Arc was hundreds of years ago, a teenager, a teenage woman that really heard God's call and was able to influence kings and a whole nation. One of the great signs we saw recently was the pilgrimage to sharch that happened. We were in Chartres the day before that pilgrimage got there with about 20,000 people on a difficult pilgrimage, but a beautiful reminder of what pilgrimage is, to walk with the Lord and to walk with the truth. So they're like you said, Eric and I appreciate the tone of Crisis magazine, because we do need to face the darkness, but we face it with the light and the hope, and that's what we always need to bring. I think that what I see too much of, I believe in the church, is a tendency to pretend there's no problem, everything's fine. We're just humming along. But I think the proper response is to acknowledge the crisis. Acknowledge the darkness, but acknowledge it always with the hope that the light of Christ brings. And there are many individuals, there are many families and parishes. There are many organizations that are doing that. And I think we need to encourage each other and not feel isolated, because maybe the louder voice is still, oh, things need to change, and we need to change the morality of the church. But those who are staying with tradition, those who are staying with what is tried and true, that those are numerous and strong and joyful, I think it's important to note, like, going back to the. It seemed like ages ago now, the Dodger Stadium, it was like, it was a year ago, basically. Almost exactly. I hadn't even thought of it. But in June of last year, we went to Dodger Stadium and I was the only bishop there. I'm glad I was there. Many people were saying, how dare you be there? And, and, but I bring that up because that was one of the signs to me of goodness. It was people who gathered peacefully, prayerfully, to support the wonderful, committed, religious men and women that were being mocked at that Dodger stadium event. And I think that was a good example of, we do need to respond. We don't need to attack. That's not christian. We don't go out and, you know, and have some sort of a violent protest in the name of Jesus Christ. That's contradictory. But I think what that group did at Dodger Stadium, a couple of thousand people at least, there, quietly praying the rosary, strong in faith, and opposing darkness with the joyful but peaceful light of Christ, I think that's a model of what we need to do, whether it's in our own hometown or in the nation or in the world, we don't attack anyone. Anyone that we would be attacking is beloved of God, and we always need to remember that. But because they're beloved of God, we need to call them back to the truth if they're promoting darkness and sin. And there's a lot of that going on. So I think that, as your question, I think we do need to see the hope, see the light, and never be so caught up in the crisis that we just rail against the darkness without seeing those single candles and sometimes numerous candles that are already lit and shining brightly. [00:34:08] Speaker A: Yeah. And, you know, Mother Teresa said that, you know, we're not called to be successful, but just faithful. But the truth is, is that I think that the Dodger Statham incident and some others like that last year were successful as well, because there has definitely been a decrease since last year of the pride stuff. I mean, obviously it's all over us. I'm not claiming it's gone, but like, for example, eleven NFL teams did not promote Pride month this year on June 1 last year. Every single one did other things. Like, I just can tell certain other sports teams, like baseball team, are toning it down a bit from previous years. They're starting to see that, okay, I can't just walk all over these people's faith, act like it doesn't matter because it's bad for business. I mean, that's what the crazy part about it is. Like, it is bad for business. And so I do think there has been, like, last year was that first year where there was a real pushback. And like you said, it was a pushback done charitably and not violently or anything like that, but it was a true pushback. Like, no, we're not going to just allow you to attack. For example, in that Dodger case, religious are religious. I mean, they're our most beloved people in our church. Frankly, everybody loves religious sisters. And so you go after them. We all have to stand up for that. And so I do think, like I said, I know you don't do that thinking like it's not just all like figuring out how can be most successful. But I mean, at the same time, I think it has been successful at least leaning towards that direction of now. There has been a pushback. There's Ignati. And I think more and more people, in fact, I know, like, for example, here in my town last year, we went for the first time and prayed at the pride parade because they start literally next to our cathedral church. And so we prayed and we're hoping to do it again this year. And I think that was like a good thing for people to see that. Okay. There are people who are going to at least stand up for the faith and be public about it. So. And your example, though, going to the Dodger stadium and others there, I think was an example to a lot of us to say, okay, I need to do something as well. Now, what I want to ask you about, though, another thing I want to ask you about was you had an article this week on your website, a sacred pause. And I. Could you kind of talk about. I thought it was very beautiful, by the way, but could you kind of talk about. And I'll link to it so people can read it. But what, what you're talking about, because I was, I honestly, when I saw the title, like, what's he talking about. I had no idea. So it's like, it was a good title because, like, I have to read this to see what he's talking about. [00:36:38] Speaker B: Yeah, well, I think that, I guess the heart of that article literally was the sacred Heart of Christ. To really, for myself, I have a great devotion to the sacred Heart of Christ, to the immaculate heart of Mary. And I mean, the heart is an image that pervades our culture. It is such a human image. When we speak from the heart, I mean, there are all kinds of. In our language, we talk in heart language a lot. And I think that really, the sacred heart of Christ and that phrase from the Old Testament, be still and know that I'm God. To me, I guess that was the bottom line message that I wanted to share as the article acknowledges. And I believe what I said. I believe the storm will get worse because there are too many in leadership that are promoting the storm rather than promoting the truth of Jesus Christ. So I think we're in for more crisis. But again, we don't despair. We look to the light. I mean, the image of St. John Bosco's vision with the church in a terrible storm, with the pillars of the Eucharist, our Lord in the Eucharist, and the blessed Virgin Mary, those are the pillars of faith that strengthen us in whatever time. And like I said, I think we're in a time when we really need to look to those pillars, but also look to the saints. Every day we're celebrating saints. I mean, we celebrated yesterday, St. Boniface from the 6th century, and I love the story of him. They're worshiping a tree and attributing this tree to its image of the God Jupiter. I believe St. Boniface chopped it down and built a church to show people that isn't God. I'll show you God. That's the boldness that we need in our time as well, because the light of Christ is undimmed. I mean, there's some that would say, thank God Catholicism's on the way out. No, it isn't. Yeah, it's going through a struggle, as it has before, but the light of Christ is the light of the world. And I think that's the attitude that we need to hang on to and stay clear about. That's what this article is about, acknowledging the storm. Like we said earlier, acknowledge the crisis, but look to the hope. And I talk in the article about my own reflection on the sacred heart of Christ. And it's a beautiful image that really has helped me in my prayer as I pray before. The Eucharist and eucharistic adoration to think about the heart of Christ continuing to beat. I mean, we know that Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, is not a dead Lord from the past. He is alive. He's with us. He's present in the Eucharist. And many of the eucharistic miracles. I just had the opportunity to being in Santarem, Portugal, where a eucharistic miracle there, the host that began to bleed, things don't bleed, that are just images and symbols. A living reality is necessary for blood to flow. And that's what we've seen in numerous eucharistic miracles. And I think it's significant. And that's what I tried to allude to in the article, too, that the eucharistic miracles, so often as the scientists examine them and we experience them, they connect us to the sacred heart of Christ. We know that the eucharist is the complete reality of Jesus Christ's body and blood, soul and divinity. But in our human reality, to know the heart of, of someone is to know them deeply, beautifully in love and significance. I mean, we use the word sweethearts for a man and a woman that are committed and loved for each other. That heart language is woven into our church as well. And I think it beautifully speaks to us of what the incarnation means. That God took on a human heart that died on the cross, but also rose from the dead. That human heart began to beat again. And the great mystery of our risen Lord. I think we need to pay attention to that imagery and know that as, as our hearts beat in our chest, that the Lord's heart is beating. A message of love for all humanity that will never cease. And that's what we need to do our best. That's what you do at Crisis magazine and doing your best to live your life. That's what we're all called to. That call to holiness is to share that there's a heart of love calling us away from the false messages of the world, calling us deeper into the truth that is God incarnate among us, Jesus Christ. [00:41:59] Speaker A: You know, I got to talk about the storm in just a little bit, although I don't want to dwell on it, but being June and with what's news lately out of the Vatican when it relates to homosexuality has been, I mean, confusing is like a generous word, because we had the pope, you know, he says a derogatory word towards, you know, homosexuals. But then he also reportedly encouraged a young man who was homosexual to continue with his supposed vocation to the priesthood. You know, he endorsed Father James Martin's latest book. And, you know, Father James Martin is obviously a wolf in sheep's clothing or in Shepherd's clothing. And then we have. And then he had just appointed, they just appointed three more bishops to, I think, with the DDF, who are basically weak, at least, or at least pro homosexual. And it really is. I mean, it does come across very discouraging to us laypeople, and I'm sure to bishops and priests, too. But as laypeople, it can be very easy to get discouraged because, you know, when the pope says something that seems like it's okay, like, pretty good, it's like, it literally seems like a day or two later he does something the opposite, and it just. It's discouraging. And so, I mean, how do you kind of look at these, these different things coming out of the Vatican, particularly as it, as it relates to the homosexuality and the clergy and just endorsing the behaviors? [00:43:26] Speaker B: Yeah, well, Eric, obviously that is a sad reality that we need to look at. And the best answer that I've had, many people, as I travel have said, bishop. I mean, it's kind of like they get me in the corner over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and say, okay, now I have the chance to get the answer. I'm sorry, just a guy. But I do believe, you know, and it sounds sort of trite, but it's not. It's just the truth. But in those situations, what I've encouraged people to do, look to Christ, his words in the gospel and his example. I mean, yes, the great documents of the church through the ages, the catechism, all the scriptures, but look to what Christ says and does in the gospel and use that as the criteria to judge what is going on and without. Without judging anyone. I mean, no, we're not to judge others, but we are to make judgments. And I think that's what gets so confusing. We're not to judge anyone else, thankfully, that's up to God for you and me and all of humanity, but we are to make judgments. Is this true? Is this good? Is this right? Is it wrong? We have to. That's our human, that's being in the image and likeness of God. We've got to make judgments about what's happening. And the best way I can do that, and that's what I do myself, is look to the words of Christ. When an organization says, oh, we welcome everyone, what does Christ say? He says, deny yourself, take up your cross and be welcomed by me. That's what Christ says. And deny yourself is one of the toughest things for a human being to do. And in our time, I mean, you could call this month, don't deny yourself month, because that's really what it's rooted in, is a willful ignoring and a desire to even manipulate the word of God by some in order to say, it's going to be my way, I'll follow God, but he's going to march to my tomb. That is blasphemy. Ultimately, we can't not speak up in those kind of terms, and that's the confusion we see. We need to pray for Pope Francis, all the cardinals and bishops, but pray for true and deep faith. And my prayer for Pope Francis is, Holy Father, be clear. Be clear in Christ. Stop confusing us. Maybe it's, you know, and people say, oh, it's just the media and how it all gets twisted. The pope is a smart man. He can cut through that if he's willing to. I mean, he proclaimed that in September. He's going to write a document on the sacred heart of Christ. Wonderful. But some of these other actions, in everything I could see, deeply wound the heart of Christ. So, Holy Father, be consistent, be true to Christ. Guide us with clarity, please. I pray for that. And when it's not clear, when it's confusing, again, look to Christ. What did he say? What did he do? Yes, he ate with sinners, but he didn't go and visit them and say, ah, great, you're an embezzling tax collector. Don't change a thing, and I'll have a glass of wine with you next week, too. Christ called them to conversion, and that's what happened. People's lives were changed. So absolutely, reach out to everyone, welcome the sinner, but call them to follow Christ, to be changed by him, not by me, not by some agenda, but by Christ himself. So Christ is the answer to the crisis, really? [00:47:51] Speaker A: Absolutely. I just have a couple last questions. The first one is, as you, you and I both know, there are a lot of good and holy priests in our church today, and they're, they're doing good work, but they. What do you say to them? Because there is this desire upon many of them. They want to speak the truth of Christ church, but either for emotional reasons or, like, you know, real legitimate kind of reasons or whatever, they don't want to, frankly, become like you. They. In the sense that they don't want to be canceled. I mean, I don't try to say that. I could say that more delicately, but. But honestly, they see what happened to you, and it's happened to other priests as well. And they say, I really want to stay with my flock, but at the same time they do feel like I have to speak out. I mean, the whole reason I'm a priest is to be a priest, to speak out for God's truth. What is kind of your advice to these good and holy priests? I know a lot of them listen to this, and that's why I kind of want you to be able to speak to them because they're trying very hard, but they don't exactly know what to do. [00:48:58] Speaker B: Well, Eric, and I know they're all in different situations, but, and I've talked to many priests as I travel and they contact me through email and other ways, and I invite that. I mean, I want to, I feel a ministry to priests is part of what I'm supposed to do because we love our priesthood, we love being priests of Jesus Christ, and we need to be strong and clear and joyful and loving in all the ways that Christ is. My advice to priests is, you know, in a sense, maybe be smarter than I was, but don't be so smart that you allow yourself to compromise the truth. If it comes down to that, stick with the truth. And really, Eric, you've kind of opened a door for me. I'm going to say something that may be a bit controversial, controversial, but I urge my brother bishops, quit being silent, quit ignoring all of this. Come out, don't join me, but come out and clearly speak the truth of Christ. And if that lands a bishop where I am, if that happens to enough, things will begin to change. That I believe needs to happen. Shepherds of the church, we are all successors of the apostles with all respect to the papacy and to Pope Francis, as the current pope doing our job is to say, I'm going to stand for the truth of Christ and there's too much compromise out there. There are too many bishops that aren't speaking up. I don't want them to defend me or speak up and support me. Speak up in the truth of Christ and quit compromising that truth in order to keep your position. I believe the real serious question is to the bishops, to the priests as well, really, where the church lives is in parishes and parish priests. So again, I would instruct the priest, if it comes down to being forced to compromise the truth in order to keep your position, speak the truth. I guess really it's the same message to the bishops, but there's too much compromise, there's too much of the corruption of the mecharic reality and all of that. Bishops need to stand up and say, I am a man of Christ and this is his truth, and come what may, otherwise. [00:51:36] Speaker A: Yeah. And I wish bishops would realize how much support they would get from the laity if they, I'm sure you feel it. If they do speak up, we're begging them frankly to speak up for the truth. I mean, anytime a bishop does anything that is, does that, like, you know, when Archbishop Cordleon spoke out very bravely about Nancy Pelosi, there was a huge, I hope he felt, I hope he realizes that there was a huge support for that because we recognize he's doing his job, frankly, is what he's doing, and he's doing a very difficult situation. And if bishops knew that, like, we're there for you, and honestly, I mean, this might sound a little harsh, but it's kind of like there's a reason why we have celibate priesthood and bishops is because you don't have a family to support. And so, like, you're not risking that by losing your job, so to speak, because you do. You don't have to have a family to support. And so it's like, speak out and we'll support you if, however we have to. If, like, some bishop gets thrown into the corner for speaking the truth and he doesn't get any type of financial support, will support you. I guarantee the lady will support them. So there's no, if there's fear of that or whatever. But that is a big thing that we, the laity are just begging our, we're not asking you to be like crazy or anything. Just speak the truth. You know, in the hard things. I mean, obviously, you know, it's on, the easy thing is one thing, but like during pride month, speak out against it and things like that. So I really feel like that. And so one last thing I just wanted to ask you was kind of, what's your message to the laity who, you know, we don't have a lot of power in the church, which is good. I'm not, I'm not, I don't think we should, I'm not trying to be protestant here. I don't want to have a lot of power in the church, frankly, but we don't have, you know, we just have to look to our bishops and our priests and we see this confusion. But what can, what should the lay person do? What's your advice to them? You know, the father, the family, the mother who's taking care of her kids, just trying to live out their catholic faith. And maybe they don't have a great parish nearby and so they're kind of on their own in a lot of ways. What can they do? [00:53:39] Speaker B: Well, again, it may sound trite, but it's the best answer that I have is for every one of us, all of us are baptized to seek holiness. And doing that, if you're really, I mean, that's what the saints show us. If you're seeking holiness, if you're really doing your best to turn from sin and live the truth of the gospel. And some of sin is sin of omission. I mean, I have to admit that in my life, what do we not do because we're afraid or we're too busy or whatever, but seek holiness. And in that context, I believe as people, and I see people doing that and it calls you. I mean, I love that you brought up the reality of families because that is something I've thought about. I didn't have, I know my approach would have been different if I had had a wife and children that I knew that I had to take care of. And I mean, and that is part of the gift of celibacy. I mean, all of the flock is our family, but we, they don't depend on us for their food and clothing and housing like they depend on a father of a family. So, but I would ask every father to just really buckle down and seek holiness in their own life. If they have bad and sinful habits, turn away from them, seek to be holier, seek to make sure that you live your faith, going to mass and fulfilling the obligations of the basic catholic obligations. So I believe really, if we're seeking holiness, then frankly, it's sort of, you reap the whirlwind if you get serious about it. I've talked to a lot of people, a lot of pushback, a lot of trouble at work, a lot of rejection, even by family. But if we're seeking holiness, that I believe is what we have to do, and then that's the first step. And then the things that come along again don't compromise the truth because that seeking holiness puts you in a position that maybe isn't as comfortable as you would like but continue to seek holiness that I think will guide you daily in making decisions about how you financially support the church. We're obligated to do that, but we shouldn't support organizations that we know are corrupt. So seeking holiness will help to give you the light to make those decisions. [00:56:23] Speaker A: Well, I think that's a great thing to end it on because I think that's great advice for us. I really appreciate, your Excellency, all the work you're doing. Continue to do it, really. I just want you to know that we're very encouraged by it. It does help us. It gives us a little extra boldness in our own lives to know, okay. This guy's willing to do what harmed him in a lot of ways, but he still did it. And so that does give us a lot of encouragement. I encourage people to go to your website. I'll link to it. You know, read your most recent article, but you continue to do it, obviously follow you on Twitter. I know you're active there. And are you on Facebook now? [00:56:58] Speaker B: Yes. [00:56:59] Speaker A: Okay. I got. I got a friend request and I was kind of like, is this really him? Because you know how that is. [00:57:03] Speaker B: And sometimes you're not some fake Facebook, but there is an authentic. It's just to let people know it's just Joseph Strickland. [00:57:13] Speaker A: Okay. [00:57:13] Speaker B: You see a Facebook of me, that's bishop something. Or it's just Joseph Strickland. That's the authentic one. So, yes, I'm on Facebook. I have a, what they call it a substack of the article that I've written. I have my website, bishopstricklin.com. there are various things that I'm using in the media to try to share the truth. It's glorious. It's joyful. The world needs it. [00:57:42] Speaker A: Okay. I will link to all that. And I really appreciate all the work you're doing. Again, thanks. Okay. Yeah. God bless you. That's it for now. Until next time, everybody. God love.

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