BUFFFALO, New York (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic laity in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, assembled Sunday, November 12, at St. Joseph Cathedral for a public rosary in support of Bishop Joseph Strickland and to pray for him and Pope Francis.
While praying for Strickland and the Pope, Catholics in Buffalo held signs in protest of the bishop’s removal. Signs read: “Punished for being Catholic,” and “Stand with Bishop Strickland,” and, “Reinstate Bishop Strickland! He committed no crime.”
“This was the initiative of newly formed Buffalo Catholic Beacon, a FB group that strives to keep diocesan laity informed of issues that demand our attention and public prayer, both in Buffalo and in the greater Catholic world.” New York laywoman Liz Zilbauer told LifeSiteNews. “Having more than 20 respond to the call to pray the rosary publicly only one day later shows the affection we have for shepherds like Bishop Strickland, the vehemence of opposition to an unjust removal, and our desire for his brother bishops to stand with him.
“We will have a second public rosary in solidarity with the Tyler, Texas March for Bishop Strickland on Saturday, November 18 at 11 a.m. (Maple Road in front of St. Gregory the Great) and hope other dioceses around the country join us as we pray for Bishop Strickland and the Pope. We believe Bishop Strickland committed no crime. We protest the seeming criminalization of Bishop Strickland’s ardent defense of the Faith. We love you, Bishop Strickland!”
In a move that shook the Catholic world and drew global mainstream news coverage, Pope Francis removed Strickland from his position at the Diocese of Tyler in Texas on Saturday, November 11, after Strickland’s increasingly public opposition to what he has called Pope Francis’ “program of undermining the deposit of faith.” The Vatican has not provided an official explanation for Strickland’s removal.
In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen on November 11, just hours after his removal, Strickland said that “if you want it [the truth of the gospel] to change, then I’m a problem.”
When 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.”
Strickland will lead a rosary rally on Wednesday in Baltimore as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) holds its biannual plenary session. As an emeritus bishop now, Strickland can attend the meetings but does not enjoy voting rights within the assembly.
Strickland has been notable for raising his voice at the bishops’ meetings confronting fellow prelates on such issues as denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians, accepting Catholic teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts, the scandal of allowing priests such as Fr. James Martin to promote homosexuality openly within the Church, and other controversial issues of faith and morals.