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Pope Francis fires Texas bishop who criticized the pontiff over Vatican’s LBTQ stance

A bishop in Texas who has been one of Pope Francis’s staunchest critics among American Roman Catholic conservatives was dismissed on Saturday, the Vatican said, according to a report by the Guardian. The development is a rare move because bishops in trouble with the Vatican are usually asked to resign before being ordained, which the Pope accepts.

Such a step is taken by the Pope only when a bishop rejects a resignation request and is considered harsh.

The bishop of Texas, Joseph Strickland, said earlier this year that he would refuse to resign if asked.

Named head of the diocese by the late Pope, Benedict XVI, in 2012, Strickland tweeted earlier this year that he rejected Francis’ “program that undermines the deposit of the faith.”

According to the report, Strickland, 65, has been particularly critical of the pontiff’s efforts to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community and Francis’ efforts to give more responsibility to the laity in the church, and in a recent Has opposed the religious assembly.

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Saturday’s dismissal follows an investigation by the Vatican earlier this year into the administration of the Tyler diocese, which Catholic media reports said included a review of its handling of financial matters.

Strickland’s dismissal was carried out simultaneously by the Vatican and the US Bishops’ Conference, but neither of them explained the reason behind their decision.

The report also states that Strickland is a strong supporter of former US President Donald Trump and is viewed as a hero by conservative American Catholic media outlets aligned with Trump.

He was one of the few US bishops to side with ultra-conservative US anti-abortion priest Frank Pavone, who was defrocked by the Vatican last year for his “blasphemous” social media posts and defiance of bishops. Joe Vasquez, bishop of Austin, Texas, has been named interim administrator of the Diocese of Tyler by Francis, the Vatican said.

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