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Bishop Joseph Strickland, of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, is under formal investigation by the Vatican after he accused Pope Francis of "undermining" the Catholic faith, a diocesan spokesperson told the National Catholic Reporter this week.
Strickland, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, has become a controversial figure for speaking out against leftism, even referring to himself as "red-pilled." He has frequently challenged the Catholic Church for failing to stand against harmful woke ideology.
Strickland wrote a Twitter post in May questioning Pope Francis' leadership.
"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," he stated.
According to NCR, in an October 2020 interview, Strickland called the church "weak" and even challenged the pope to "fire him." He also shared a video on Twitter that referred to Pope Francis as a "diabolically disoriented clown," the outlet reported.
In January, the bishop accused President Biden of "fake Catholicism" for supporting taxpayer-funded abortion. Strickland has previously referred to Biden as an "evil president."
Similarly, Strickland referred to failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as an "evil woman" following her remarks supporting abortion.
"Her lies and immorality need to be silenced for the good of humanity," he stated.
Despite the recent probe, Strickland continues to post on social media.
Earlier this week, Strickland spoke out against a recent Toronto Pride parade where naked men attended the march in front of a crowd of children.
"It's imprudent to speak out against this wonton evil? I disagree, I believe the imprudence is that their is not a might roar from people of faith saying, 'These atrocities against our innocent children CANNOT be tolerated,'" Strickland tweeted.
According to Elizabeth Slaten, the communications director for the Diocese of Tyler, the Vatican held an "apostolic visitation" last week with Strickland. Slaten did not clarify the purpose of the Vatican's investigation.
"The whole process was very confidential," Slaten told NCR. "The whole thing was conducted by the Holy See. We respect their processes. I'm not free to speak on behalf of Mother Church and the nuncio."
According to EWTN News, the visitation included interviews with clergy and laity throughout the week, followed by a meeting with Strickland on Saturday. A source reportedly stated that the investigation involved Strickland's social media posts and questions regarding diocesan management.
The Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to a request for comment, NCR and Fox News Digital reported.
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.