An official report of that investigation was never published, nor has the Vatican disclosed why Strickland was removed from office.
“I really can’t look to any reason except I’ve threatened some of the powers that be with the truth of the Gospel,” Strickland said in an interview with LifeSiteNews following his removal.
Strickland served as bishop of Tyler since 2012 and has been fiercely outspoken on certain Catholic social issues such as abortion and gender ideology. The firebrand bishop has gained a sizable social media following, where he has railed against the political agendas of elected officials who blatantly disregard the sanctity of the unborn.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, of which the Tyler Diocese is a suffragan, said following Strickland’s removal that the investigation focused on “all aspects of the governance and leadership” in the diocese, which ultimately concluded with a recommendation being made to Pope Francis that “the continuation in office of Bishop Strickland was not feasible.”
Speaking to CNA, Strickland didn’t provide any details about what administrative issues may have contributed to his ouster.
“Yeah, there are allegations, but we had the bishop’s appeal that was $3.1 million, larger than ever in the history of the diocese,” he said.
Strickland also touted the number of the diocese’s seminarians — 21 — now in formation, as well as “a presbyterate with great priests.”
“So yeah, you can make allegations of anything. But I think if you just look at the record of the diocese, it’s grown. People are moving in. It’s a happy place. It’s not perfect. It’s not heaven, but it’s in good shape,” he said.
Asked if any reasons were given for his removal, Strickland said that there were “verbal reasons” given by Pierre that were “quite extensive,” one of which was that he was too outspoken.
One notable example is a May 12 tweet in which he suggested that Pope Francis was “undermining the deposit of faith.”
“There were things that, yes, I did. I’ve raised a lot of questions. I’ve tried my best to guard the deposit of faith. And, you know, I feel the same commitment,” he said.
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“Some say maybe I’ve spoken up too much, but how can we speak too much for the truth of Christ? It’s a treasure. It’s a beautiful light that the world desperately needs.”
Another reason he was given was “the fact that I didn’t shut down the Latin Mass in my diocese because, you know, I felt as a shepherd, I couldn’t do that,” he said, referring to the restrictions Pope Francis imposed on the old liturgy in his July 2021 motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.
Strickland said that the document “wasn’t really clear” and could be debated upon but added that “many bishops haven’t shut down the Latin Mass in their diocese.”
Ultimately, his removal was the result of “an accumulation of things,” he said, adding that he’s “committed to Jesus Christ” and loves the Church.
“I love every aspect of the Church, but I think we’d all agree the Church needs to be stronger in Christ, and that’s what I’ve encouraged through all of this. My prayer is that every bishop, every faithful Catholic, can be drawn closer to the Sacred Heart of Christ,” he said.