Retired Bishop Joseph Strickland has been advised to leave his former Diocese of Tyler, Texas, but has not been told he can’t say Mass publicly there, he told the National Catholic Register, CNA’s EWTN News partner.

“I have received no such instruction,” Strickland said by text Thursday night, responding to a report that he has been barred from saying Mass in the diocese. 

Pope Francis removed Strickland, a critic of the pope, as head of the Diocese of Tyler in East Texas almost four weeks ago, on Nov. 11. The pope named Bishop Joe Vasquez, the bishop of nearby Austin, the temporary administrator of the Diocese of Tyler until a new bishop is appointed.

“Bishop Vasquez said it might be a good idea for me to leave the diocese; it was a suggestion,” Strickland told the Register.

Strickland, who is on retreat, referred further questions to Vasquez, saying: “He’s the one in charge.”

The Register contacted spokesmen for the Diocese of Tyler on Thursday night and for the Diocese of Austin early Friday, but as of this writing had not heard back. This story will be updated if the Register receives further comment.

On Thursday afternoon, LifeSite News reported that Strickland “has been barred from saying Mass in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas,” citing an unnamed source as saying that diocesan employees were told during a recent staff meeting “that while Strickland cannot offer Mass in the diocese, he may do so elsewhere.”

Strickland has frequently criticized Pope Francis, which many observers believe led to his ouster. He also delayed in implementing the pope’s restrictions on the Latin Mass.

In May, Strickland made a public statement saying he believes Pope Francis is the rightful pope, but adding: “… I reject his program of undermining the deposit of faith. Follow Jesus.”

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In late June, the Vatican sent two other bishops to the Diocese of Tyler to investigate Strickland’s tenure there.

About four and a half months later, Strickland was removed, without public explanation. His current status is retired bishop without assignment, though at 65 he is 10 years younger than the canonical age for retiring.

Senior Vatican contributor Edward Pentin contributed to this story.