Pope Francis is “undermining the Deposit of Faith”!

undermining the Deposit of Faith

A controversial US Catholic bishop has expressed concerns about Pope Francis, alleging he is “undermining the Deposit of Faith.”

Bishop Joseph Strickland (pictured) of Tyler, Texas, is a vocal critic of the current pontiff.

He gained notoriety for his contentious relationship with Francis, even inviting the pope to dismiss him in the past.

However, while acknowledging the validity of Francis’ election, Strickland urged, “Follow Jesus.”

The bishop’s comments sparked a strong reaction on Twitter, with priests, deacons, and Catholic intellectuals accusing him of flirting with schism and violating his vow of obedience to the pope.

Deacon William T Ditewig, former director of the US bishops’ Secretariat for the Diaconate, called on Strickland to resign if he believed his conscience led him away from the pope.

The following day, Strickland appeared to backtrack slightly, expressing his belief in the significance of unity and condemning schismatic movements and sedevacantists who deny the pope’s legitimacy.

However, he later retracted his statement labelling the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) as “schismatic”, instead stating that the SSPX upholds Tradition for the Universal Church.

Strickland also appeared to distance himself from the far-right podcaster Patrick Coffin.

The bishop participated as a guest speaker for an online “summit” hosted by Coffin’s organisation, “Hope is Fuel,” on March 18.

Still, on May 15, the website no longer named Strickland among the featured speakers.

It still mentioned that “a respected Catholic bishop” had participated in the event alongside “six mental health experts” and a former professional athlete.

In recent years, Coffin has veered to the hard right and accused Francis of being an “anti-pope.” He has also argued that Pope Benedict XVI’s February 2013 resignation was invalid.

“Strickland appears to have finally crossed the line”

When Benedict died, Coffin tweeted that the See of Rome was “now vacant.”

He prayed that the cardinals who elected Francis in the March 2013 conclave would “do the right thing and avoid yet another anti-pope.”

Fr Robert Spitzer, a respected Jesuit theologian, who was the guest on a May 2 episode of Coffin’s show, distanced himself from Coffin. He stated that he does not share Coffin’s views on the legitimacy of Francis’ election.

Spitzer said he had just learned of Coffin’s statements questioning the validity of Francis’ election.

“I do not hold this position and would never hold this position,” said Spitzer, who added that he had asked that his interview with Coffin “be withdrawn from the series.”

On May 12, Strickland quote-tweeted Spitzer’s statement, adding that he “fully” endorsed Spitzer’s stance “regarding any statements from Patrick Coffin regarding Pope Francis.”

But then he added in a separate tweet: “Please allow me to clarify regarding ‘Patrick Coffin has challenged the authenticity of the (sic) Pope Francis.’ If this is accurate I disagree, I believe Pope Francis is the Pope but it is time for me to say that I reject his programme of undermining the Deposit of Faith. Follow Jesus.”

“With this tweet, Bishop Strickland appears to have finally crossed the line into direct and explicit opposition to Pope Francis and his teaching authority,” wrote Mike Lewis in a post published on the pro-Francis website, Where Peter Is.


National Catholic Reporter

America Magazine

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News category: World.

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