Editor’s note: Bishop Joseph Strickland has shared with LifeSiteNews a letter sent to him by Bishop Athanasius Schneider encouraging and thanking him for his witness to the Catholic faith. Bishop Schneider says that it is because of this faith that Bishop Strickland is now threatened with being removed from his diocese in Tyler, Texas, but insists that future popes will thank him for his fidelity. The full letter, dated August 2, 2023, is printed below.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Your Excellency, Bishop Strickland, dear and esteemed brother in the episcopate!
It is for me a privilege and a joy to express to you all my gratitude and appreciation for your intrepid dedication to uncompromisingly keep, transmit, and defend the Catholic faith, which the apostles handed over to the Church and with which all the generations of Catholics, especially our ancestors, our fathers and mothers, our priests and religious sisters-catechists, were themselves nurtured. In all truth we can apply to you, dear Bishop Strickland, what St. Basil once stated in his time: “The one charge which is now sure to secure severe punishment is the careful keeping of the traditions of the Fathers.” (Ep. 243)
Let me share with you the following highly timely words of the same great and saint bishop:
The doctrines of true religion are overthrown. The laws of the Church are in confusion. The ambition of men, who have no fear of God, rushes into high posts in the Church, and exalted office is now publicly known as the prize of impiety. The result is that the worse a man blasphemes, the fitter the people think him to be a bishop. Clerical dignity is a thing of the past. There is a complete lack of men shepherding the Lord’s flock with knowledge. Churchmen in authority are afraid to speak, for those of them who have reached power by human interest are the slaves of those to whom they owe their advancement. Faith is uncertain; souls are drenched in ignorance because adulterators of the word imitate the truth. The mouths of true believers are dumb, while every blasphemous tongue wags free; holy things are trodden under foot. (Ep. 92)
We are living indeed in such a time, as described by St. Basil with such a striking similarity.
The words of St. Basil in his Letter to Pope St. Damasus, in which he was asking the pope’s help and efficacious intervention, are fully applicable to our situation today:
The wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes in the Church and has rejected the glory of the cross. Shepherds are banished, and in their places are introduced grievous wolves hurrying the flock of Christ. Houses of prayer have none to assemble in them; desert places are full of lamenting crowds. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived. (Ep. 90)
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