Bishop Strickland relieved of pastoral governance of American diocese

The Vatican has published the Pope’s decision on the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, following an apostolic visitation by two American bishops.

Vatican news

The Holy Father has removed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland from the pastoral leadership of the Diocese of Tyler, USA, and has appointed Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin as Apostolic Administrator of the same Diocese, making sede vacant.

The decision came after an apostolic visit ordered by the Pope last June to the Diocese of Tyler, which was entrusted to two American bishops, Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden and Bishop Emeritus Gerald Kicanas of Tucson.


Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo, Metropolitan Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, released a statement noting that the prelates who made the visit, Dennis Sullivan, the Bishop of Camden, and Gerald Kicanas, Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, “conducted an exhaustive investigation of all aspects of the governance and management of the Diocese of Tyler by its Ordinary, Bishop Joseph Strickland.”

“As a result of the visitation,” the statement continues, “the recommendation was made to the Holy Father that the continuation in office of Bishop Strickland was not feasible. After months of careful consideration by the Dicastery for Bishops and the Holy Father, it was decided that Bishop Strickland’s resignation should be requested. After being presented with this request on November 9, 2023, Bishop Strickland declined to resign from office.” Pope Francis then decided to remove the bishop.

“Pending more permanent arrangements for the Diocese of Tyler,” Cardinal DiNardo said, “the Holy Father has concurrently appointed Bishop Joe Vasquez, Bishop of Austin, as Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Tyler.”

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Cardinal DiNardo concluded his statement: “Let us keep Bishop Strickland, the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Tyler and Bishop Vasquez in our prayers.”

This story was updated on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 13.45.

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