Bishop Strickland says he will not resign if pope asks. What comes next?

Firebrand Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland, who has been subject to a Vatican investigation over his leadership style and right-wing comments on social media, has recently vowed not to resign or “voluntarily abandon” his diocese, even if Pope Francis asks him to do so.

But the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law leaves Strickland little to no room to resist if the pontiff demands his resignation, several prominent canon lawyers told NCR.

Canon law makes it clear that the pope has “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power” in the Catholic Church and that any final decree he issues is binding and cannot be appealed.

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