BALTIMORE (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Joseph Strickland, whom Pope Francis removed from his diocese over the weekend, will lead a Rosary rally this week in Baltimore as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) conducts its meetings for its biannual plenary session.
At noon on Wednesday, November 15, Bishop Strickland will recite the Rosary publicly at the plaza on the waterfront side of the Marriott Waterfront Hotel Inner Harbor East, where the bishops are gathered for their meetings.
Bishop Joseph Coffey, Auxiliary Bishop for the Military Services, will also recite the Rosary at the plaza on Tuesday, November 14. The faithful are asked to join and to invite their own bishop to join Bishops Strickland and Coffey. For more information, Catholics may contact Jack Ames at (410) 961-2008 or [email protected].
Bishop Strickland has regularly led the Rosary outside the bishops’ conference meetings in Baltimore in the past over such issues as protesting the giving of Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, a subject that the bishops have wavered on for decades. In 2021, he was the only bishop to join Catholics outside the bishops’ assembly. At the time, he stated, “When it comes to the Eucharist and the sanctity of life, I must speak. The most important thing I must speak about is the presence of the Lord and fighting the atrocity of abortion.”
Given Bishop Strickland’s removal from the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, over the weekend by Pope Francis, he will not have voting rights at the bishops’ conference but will still be able to attend.
Only active bishops are allowed to vote in the bishops’ meetings, so with his removal from the Diocese of Tyler, Bishop Strickland is now an emeritus bishop without voting rights at the bishops’ conference. However, an emeritus bishop can still attend the meetings.
The USCCB website states that at plenary assemblies, “Decisions ranging from election of Committee Chairmen and Conference Officers to subject matter of pastoral statements and revisions to liturgical books, require either a simple majority, or a vote of two-thirds of the member bishops in order to be approved. Active bishops, ordinary and auxiliary, both Latin and Eastern Rite are eligible to vote on particular items. Emeritus bishops are welcome to attend the Assemblies and participate in discussion and other activities, but they are not eligible to vote.”
Commenting on the silencing of his voice as an active voting member of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Strickland expressed his hope that other bishops would have the courage to take up the message he raised five years ago when confronting the McCarrick scandal and the promotion of homosexuality within the Church.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the Texas prelate said, “I stand by these words from 5 years ago. My voice has been removed from these gatherings but I hope someone, anyone will take up the message. The world needs the Truth of Jesus Christ, His Good News, now more than ever.”
I stand by these words from 5 years ago. My voice has been removed from these gatherings but I hope someone, anyone will take up the message. The world needs the Truth of Jesus Christ, His Good News, now more than ever. https://t.co/m2Tec1CPAV
— Bishop J. Strickland (@BishStrickland) November 13, 2023
In 2018, in the wake of the McCarrick scandal, Bishop Strickland called out those bishops who were openly or effectively questioning Catholic teaching on the grave sinfulness of homosexual activity. Without naming pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin, he questioned why bishops were allowing the priest to publicly contradict Church teaching on homosexuality.
Calling for a clear reiteration of and adherence to Catholic teaching on the matter, the courageous bishop received a round of applause from the assembled bishops. His 2018 address to the bishops’ conference can be viewed below.
In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen on November 11, just hours after his removal, Bishop Strickland said that he believes he was removed because he “threatened some of the powers that be with the truth of the gospel.”
When Bishop Strickland was asked by Westen why he was removed from his position, he said, “The only answer I have to that is because forces in the Church right now don’t want the truth of the gospel.”
“They want it changed. They want it ignored. They want to be rid of the truth that is gloriously not going to go away. The truth that is Jesus Christ, His Mystical Body, which is the Church, all the wonders that the martyrs died for and the saints lived for through almost 2,000 years since Christ died and rose.”