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By Michael R. Heinlein, Our Sunday Visitor, September 24, 2019
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, wouldn’t label himself as “bold.”
“Talk to one of my siblings; I’m No. 5 of six kids,” Bishop Strickland recently told Our Sunday Visitor in an interview. “If you talk to my older brother, Paul, and ask, ‘Would you describe your little brother Joe as a bold man?’ he’d probably say, ‘Joe’s a nice guy, but I don’t think bold would be the word.’”
But Bishop Strickland’s staunch defense of Church teaching and strong advocacy for transparency in the wake of the recent clergy abuse scandals — more widely pronounced in recent years thanks to social media — really can’t be described as anything but. While he speaks simply and almost understatedly, Bishop Strickland also manages to be both blunt and direct.
“Honestly, I guess I’m bold enough to just say what I think,” he said. Even “if it gets me in trouble — sometimes it does — I’m going to be true to what I believe. It really saddens me to be considered bold for simply reading the Catechism out loud.”
“When I was ordained a bishop almost seven years ago, I said I’d guard the deposit of Faith entire and incorrupt,” Bishop Strickland said. “That’s what I’m trying to do. It shouldn’t be considered bold to simply uphold my promises. It’s a basic job description.”
In a wide-ranging conversation, Bishop Strickland shared many of his thoughts about the Church today, including internal divisions, the challenges and joys of living the Faith, the ongoing clergy sex abuse crisis and the path toward healing. ….