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Vatican removes conservative Texas bishop who was critical of Pope Francis

A view of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, March 11, 2020.
Andrew Medichini
A view of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, March 11, 2020.

The Vatican removed from office Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas — an outspoken, conservative bishop who had openly opposed Pope Francis' reforms and accused the pope of "undermining the deposit of faith".

Strickland was asked to resign on Thursday, which he refused to do, according to Vatican News. Francis later made the decision to remove the bishop and appoint the bishop of Austin, Texas to temporarily oversee Strickland's former diocese.

The move came months after a "visitation" by a committee of U.S. bishops which inquired into Strickland's governance and leadership.

"The recommendation was made to the Holy Father that the continuation in office of Bishop Strickland was not feasible," Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo, Vice President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement Saturday.

Strickland regularly criticized the pope's work to make Catholicism more inclusive and welcoming to the LGBTQ community and divorced Catholics.

He used social media, his radio program and his pulpit to criticize the pontiff for the nature and tone of a recent month-long meeting at the Vatican that included discussion of women in ministry.

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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.
Jason DeRose is the Western Bureau Chief for NPR News, based at NPR West in Culver City. He edits news coverage from Member station reporters and freelancers in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii. DeRose also edits coverage of religion and LGBTQ issues for the National Desk.