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A Miter With Beef . . . A Shepherd Who Shepherds

November 1, 2019 Frontpage No Comments
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By JOSEPH MATT

Wanderer readers will be quite pleased and excited with this announcement. We have been blessed with a couple of additional contributors to our catechetical section “Our Catholic Faith,” and we are starting their columns this week (see page 1B in print edition). One of those columnist should be very familiar to Wanderer readers — a man whose devotion and witness to the Catholic faith is both inspiring and refreshing at this critical point in our Church’s history.

There is a saying in Texas, “All hat and no cattle,” a phrase that might be applicable to much of the hierarchy in the Catholic Church today — “A lot of Shepherd but not much shepherding.” Well, that phrase most certainly does not apply to one of the leading orthodox prelates of today, who presides over the little Diocese of Tyler, Texas. A Texas expression that might serve this man is “that man is double-backboned” — a saying that describes a man of courage — a much-needed commodity today, where spines are in short supply, especially within much of our Church leadership.

No Spine Shortage Here

Bishop Joseph Strickland, bishop of Tyler, Texas, has fast become a leading voice in the proclamation of and the defense of the Catholic faith. His passion for his job as bishop and guardian of the Catholic faith is bigger than the state of Texas — and the seriousness with which he takes in his calling is evidenced in this quote from his first edition of his weekly series Guard The Deposit Of Faith:

“As a Catholic bishop, a successor of the Apostles, it is my responsibility to teach the full truth and to protect my flock from an inaccurate or heretical catechesis which could endanger or even impede their salvation. I have been charged to guard the deposit of faith and to be a good steward of God’s investment, the deposit of faith, Jesus Christ.”

When was the last time we have heard something like this from a bishop?

Just this past week we witnessed his unshakable conviction in action as he corrected LGBTQ activist Fr. James Martin, SJ, for implying that biblical moral teaching could be questioned. One is very hard pressed to find any bishop who has addressed the gospel of errors and dissent Fr. Martin consistently spews on a regular basis. It is action like this that emboldens and gives great hope to the leadership-starved faithful laity to see that there are still bishops who stand tall in defense of the Catholic faith.

Recently when the bishop from Texas was asked about his blunt and bold approach to the Catholic faith in an Our Sunday Visitor interview, his humble response was: “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.”

The bishop is a familiar presence on social media where he is quick to quote Church teaching and correct those who err in its interpretation — posting a multitude of quotes from Scripture or from the Catechism reminding us of our purpose in life — a true shepherd.

The recently published statistic by a Pew Research poll, showing that only 31 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence, is shocking evidence on its own — that our Church is in a major crisis, and cries out for leadership from our shepherds.

It is at these times, when the demonic forces of evil seem to be at a fever pitch and the Catholic Church seems to be at its weakest, that the Lord has sent us great leaders and defenders of the Faith — this age is no exception. We must look to those shepherds who preach the true Gospel of Christ and follow their lead. Bishop Strickland’s column will surely contribute to the cry from the laity to provide us, “the sheep,” with the much-needed clarity and interpretation of the rich treasures that our Catholic Faith has to offer.

We thank Bishop Strickland for the opportunity to publish his weekly column. We encourage our readers to support this man of God with their prayers and words of encouragement and we look forward to his weekly words of inspiration and defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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