Now that the growing tyranny of our government and the media have developed a “cancel culture,” the title of a recent article from The Pillar criticizing Bishop Joseph Strickland for his views on the COVID-19 vaccines is remarkably tone deaf: “Will the Vatican address vaccine confusion, and the bishop at its center?” The Pillar—a new Catholic media outlet founded by former Catholic News Agency journalists JD Flynn (the author of this piece) and Ed Condon—is calling on the Holy Father basically to “cancel” a bishop. But not a bishop engaged in sexual or financial misconduct, or a bishop espousing heresy, but a bishop willing to take an unpopular stand against vaccines—vaccines that are problematic for several reasons.
It is hard to read this article without concluding that Flynn has some kind of odd vendetta against Strickland. He begins by resurrecting an old charge against Strickland for supposedly misunderstanding what the U.S. bishops were voting on in respect to the language regarding abortion and the election as a “preeminent priority.” I have reread Flynn’s article on this charge several times and find it confusing. Strickland may have been confused during a confusing exchange on the floor of a USCCB meeting, but Flynn had a lot of time to get it right; I have no idea what happened as Flynn reports the situation.
What is important is that Strickland stood up to make an important point about abortion and voting—one it seems the bishops really don’t get, given their failure to denounce Joe Biden during the campaign for his extreme advocacy for the availability of abortion. Strickland was one of the few to denounce Biden’s stance on abortion before the election. Why return to this nit-picking criticism of him as though it reveals something disturbing about him? Is there some kind of peculiar glory in going after one of the better bishops?
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