The putative leader of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, 86, has forcibly removed a conservative bishop based out of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.
The red pope removed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland and appointed Joe Vasquez from Austin, Texas, in his place.
The investigation was reportedly conducted for the Vatican by Bishops Dennis Sullivan of Camden, New Jersey, and Emeritus Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, according to Vatican News.
Two days after the pair completed their report, pope removed Strickland.
“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,” said Cardinal Daniel Nicholas DiNardo – Metropolitan Archbishop of Galveston-Houston.
The pope had demanded that Strickland resign, but he refused.
The 65-year-old Strickland, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, has challenged Pope Francis’ leadership repeatedly over the years.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, Strickland said the church was “weak” and “not clear” under Pope Francis and he even dared Francis “fire him.”
“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 wrote in May.
Strickland is a rare case. In most instances, when a pope decides he must be rid of a bishop, the bishop will voluntarily resign after being told he no longer has the confidence of the church’s leader.
But Strickland has been particularly opposed to this pope who is often called the “Red Pope” for his constant left-wing proclamations. Francis has variously called for gays and transgenders to be accepted by the church, blasted capitalism, and touted the left-wing religion of global warming.