Bishop Strickland: ‘The Church is Called to be a Divine Organization,’ Not a Democracy

Evan Poellinger | February 27, 2024
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Catholic Bishop Joseph Strickland has offered his insights into the challenges facing the American Catholic Church and stated that he believed that the problems facing the Church are paralleled by America’s political woes.

The former bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas spoke with CNSNews at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 22. His Excellency opined that the biggest problem facing the Church was “a lack of clear embracing of the truth that God has revealed to us.” Bishop Strickland said that the truths of faith are not simply matters of the world, but are divinely revealed and not subject to changing political whims.

“We are a religion based on a revealed truth,” Strickland explained:

“It’s not based on something we formulated, it’s not something we figured out. It’s a truth revealed to us beginning with the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible, the Old Testament, and then fulfilled in Jesus Christ, truth incarnate. It’s a revealed truth, it’s not something we vote in or out.

“The Church is not a democracy, not because a democracy isn’t a good way to run human organizations, but the Church is called to be a divine organization guided by divinely revealed truth.

“I think there is a sort of waffling on that, which does not have any future. The truth is not going to change; the truth does not change.”

Strickland added that another important consideration forgotten by many Christians is the call to repentance, which accompanies reaching out to sinners. “That call to repentance is being ignored by too many,” he told CNSNews. “We need to repent of our sins. Yes, Christ welcomes the sinner, but he welcomes them, he calls them to change their lives, to repentance from sin.”

America, like the Church, is losing touch with its founding principles, the bishop said:

“I see a lot of parallels between what is going on in the Church and what is going on in the nation. It’s basically losing touch with the guiding truth that created this great nation and allows us to be a Church that Christ established.”

Strickland also noted that the funeral of an atheist, transgender activist at New York’s St. Patrick Cathedral represented a strong example of false mercy decoupled from repentance.

“It was acknowledged from the media that I read, the person whose funeral was being celebrated there was an atheist!” Strickland claimed. “So, out of compassion for that person, to pretend that a church is an appropriate place for them to have a funeral, that is a false compassion. Because this person doesn’t believe in the God this house is for.”

“We need to take it as a wake-up call to be aware, because there were people in that congregation that were clearly there gleefully mocking what we believe is sacred. And that shouldn’t be allowed for their sake and for the sake of the sacred,” Bishop Strickland said.

Despite the grim state of affairs highlighted by the scandal, Bishop Strickland offered recommendations for Catholics experiencing tribulation. “Pray, go to mass, go to confession, pray the rosary specifically, read sacred scripture, come to know that revealed truth of the Bible more deeply.” Strickland advised:

“There are a lot of ways we can be strong and counteract some of the false messages we’re hearing. We shouldn’t despair. Christ is the light of the world. His light is undimmed. But, we need to be stronger in seeing he is the light that guides us.”

Indeed, some Catholics are already making acts of prayer and reparation and mobilizing to prevent future blasphemies, such as the one that took place at St. Patrick’s.

Thus, even in the midst of so much turmoil, both in the Church and in American politics, there’s hope springs eternal, Bishop Strickland said.

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