Strickland said he believes the issues regarding McCarrick, Vigano, and the lack of any real investigation into either can be traced to what he describes as a drifting away from the main job of a bishop: a need to promote the salvation of souls.
"We need to worry about the salvation of Theodore McCarrick's soul, as bishops," he said.
"We need to be focused on the salvation of the victims and the abusers. That, to me, is the core issue."
Strickland pointed to the events of the past summer, primarily the reaction to what he called the "Vigano question," as proof that this primary concern has fallen out of focus among some of his brother bishops.
"All of what's happened this summer. It's 'Oh, well, we've got to worry about global warming.' That's not our job," he said, in an apparent reference to comments made by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. In August, Cupich dismissed the nuncio's allegations as a "rabbit hole", saying Pope Francis has a "bigger agenda" to worry about, including defending migrants and protecting the environment.
Strickland said that there is certainly a need for "good people, good laity," working on various issues such as global warming, immigration, and general injustices in the world, noting that he's on the board of a Catholic charity.
But he expressed concern that an overemphasis on these kinds of works is serving as a distraction from the ultimate call of a bishop: bringing people to holiness, promoting the sanctity of life, and "living the virtues."
"I think we've got it flipped," he said. "As bishops, our first job is the holiness of the people of God. The salvation of souls."
In every situation he encounters as a bishop, Strickland said, he tries to consider how his actions may affect the salvation of souls.
Looking ahead to the future of the Church, Bishop Strickland said he believes there needs to be increased accountability among bishops, improvements in teaching the various facets of the faith - especially in terms of sexuality - continued state investigations into abuse, and reforms to ensure that seminarians will be protected throughout the formation process.
"We need to make sure that seminarians are not victimized," he said, adding that a man who is called to seminary should not be at risk of "having his life destroyed by the people who are supposed to be forming him for the priesthood."
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One area where Strickland expressed confidence was in regards to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Although he said there are loopholes that need to be tightened, he is "fairly confident" that the appropriate steps to "revamp and strengthen" the charter will be taken.
As a bishop, however, there are responsibilities that go along with his roles as a spiritual father and shepherd to a diocese, he told CNA. He cannot "just sit in a corner and go and pray" - during times of controversy and upheaval, he has to prioritize what he does first.
"I'm a shepherd. I've got sheep," he said.
"And sheep are bleeding, and getting slaughtered, and wolves are attacking. We can't be worried about what color we're going to paint the barn...Deal with the most important (things) first, then get others to figure out the barn."