Editor’s note: This episode was recorded prior to the announcement of Strickland’s removal as bishop of Tyler, Texas.
Strickland says he gave his talk in the context of the meeting two of Christ’s disciples had with Him on the road to Emmaus, explaining that “we are all the unnamed disciple” in the narrative. Like them, Strickland explains, Christ reveals to us the meaning of the Scriptures, our hearts burn when we encounter that truth, and we recognize Christ in the “breaking of the bread” that is the Eucharist.
He also explores the issue of providence, arguing that people of faith should “speak of providence more than coincidence.” Citing as an example the letter he read in his talk, Strickland recounts that he was going to talk about St. Ignatius of Antioch and several other saints, and the letter providentially quoted the Apostolic Father multiple times.
Commenting on the image of Christ on the road to Emmaus, Strickland explains that Christ discussed the Scriptures and revealed truths with the disciples he met on His way, beginning with the time of Moses to His own. In his view, Christ on the road to Emmaus is a good image of the call to conversion.
“I think that what we have to remember [is] this truth has been revealed to us,” His Excellency also explains. “It’s not just something that we formulated ourselves. It didn’t grow up out of the people. It came from God.”
“When we have a true relationship with Christ, when we know Him, then we are very comfortable,” he observes. “We long to know Him more deeply and to know His Truth more deeply.” Strickland also posed a question about those that call themselves Catholic yet are “trying to take things in a totally different direction”: “Where does Christ fit into the picture? Do they know him?”
“If you don’t know Christ, how can you know the Father, because He says very clearly that He reveals the Father, or the Father reveals Him?” he continues. “I think that the real point for humanity is that Christ has come to reveal God and reveal to us who we are as those created in the image and likeness of God.”
Later in the episode, Strickland comments on a quote by St. Pius X, who said that he trembled at the thought that “souls can be punished for all eternity on the account of the negligence of their pastor, that innocent people can be led from the path of truth, because the words of the inspired text were never preached to them, and that the spirit of the world, and of our time especially, should pour into ill instructed minds for want of a firm hand to check its tide.”
“I have a sacred duty to defend the truth openly, for God will ask me to render an account for all those souls who have strayed into the way of perdition,” the saintly pontiff concluded.
Strickland, reacting to the quote, says that it was a “different way of expressing” a sentiment that he has expressed before – that he has a duty before God to preach the truth as a successor of the apostles.
“I think that there’s a responsibility to speak the truth, to speak it with charity and clarity, as we say, not to attack anyone, to recognize that … people are being used as instruments of … false messages, but the false messages come from the father of lies,” he declares.
“He’s trying to lead us into perdition, and so we’ve got to speak against that, because the voices of the world are very powerful and very tempting to people, but very often they’re the voice of sin and evil,” he continues. “The father of lies is the one inspiring those voices.”
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