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Pope Francis forcibly removes conservative Texas bishop
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Pope Francis forcibly removes conservative Texas bishop

Pope Francis forcibly removed a conservative bishop based out of Texas on Saturday.

The Vatican removed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.

To replace Strickland, the pope appointed Bishop Joe Vasquez from Austin, Texas, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Tyler.

The Vatican ordered an apostolic visitation in June.

According to Vatican News, the investigation was handled by Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, and Bishop Emeritus Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.

Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo – Metropolitan Archbishop of Galveston-Houston – issued a statement that read: "After months of careful consideration by the Dicastery for Bishops and the Holy Father, the decision was reached that the resignation of Bishop Strickland should be requested."

The Vatican asked Strickland to resign on Nov. 9. However, Strickland refused.

Two days later, Pope Francis removed Strickland from office.

Strickland was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

Strickland, 65, was a leading critic of Pope Francis and often challenged his leadership over social media.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Strickland said the church was "weak" and "not clear" under Francis' leadership. The outlet added that Strickland even dared Francis to "fire him."

In May, Strickland wrote on the X social media platform, "I believe Pope Francis is the Pope but it is time for me to say that I reject his program of undermining the Deposit of Faith. Follow Jesus."

Strickland – a self-described "red-pilled" bishop – once described President Joseph Biden as an "evil president.

According to the Associated Press, "It is rare for the pope to forcibly remove a bishop from office. Bishops are required to offer to resign when they reach 75. When the Vatican uncovers issues with governance or other problems that require a bishop to leave office before then, the Vatican usually seeks to pressure him to resign for the good of his diocese and the church.

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