Why Is The Vatican Investigating A Conservative Bishop In Texas?

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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A Texas bishop with a history of conservative activism and criticism of Pope Francis received a Vatican-ordered “visitation” that ended on June 23, but the reasons behind the investigation remain uncertain.

An apostolic visitation is a rare procedure that can be invoked by the Vatican to review a diocese’s leadership and can lead to disciplinary action, according to the Catholic News Agency. A spokesperson for the Tyler Diocese confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the meeting with Bishop Joseph Strickland had taken place but declined to comment on whether Strickland’s public comments on social issues and the Pope were the cause for the visit. (RELATED: Liberal Faith Groups Are Using Religion To Challenge Red-State Abortion Bans)

“So, it was a visitation, a visitation did happen but the whole process is confidential so out of respect for all those involved we’re not really able to say anything beyond that,” the spokesperson told the DCNF.

The spokesperson also confirmed that the visitation had concluded by Friday but declined to comment on what the aftermath would be.

Strickland accused Francis of “undermining the Deposit of Faith,” which is a reference to the scriptures given to the apostles by Jesus, on Twitter in May, and has also been a staunch critic of same-sex marriage and abortion, according to the Catholic News Agency. The bishop attended a rally protesting the Los Angeles Dodgers for honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of queer “nuns,” at their annual pride night this year, prompting concerns about his involvement in the issue.

Other reports suggested, however, that the visit was regarding concerns about Strickland’s use of authority, according to an anonymous priest who spoke to The Pillar, a Catholic media outlet.

“It was not even primarily about his ‘rants’ about Pope Francis,” the priest explained. “The questions really focused on years of governance issues, which have had us priests concerned. We had two finance officers removed before their five-year terms were expired, and that’s not typical at all.”

The Vatican did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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