Bishop's Blog / A Prayerful October

By Joseph Strickland
Friday, October 04, 2013

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As we begin the month of October with its focus on the Sanctity of Life I encourage all of us to refocus on the core values that guide us in our Catholic faith and that we are called to live and proclaim as leaven in our society.

I've had numerous questions from the faithful in the diocese regarding Pope Francis' recent interview reported in America magazine and other Jesuit periodicals.  The secular press and even at times certain Catholic periodicals tend to take brief quotes out of context when it comes to interviews like the one Pope Francis has given.  I would encourage anyone who is unsure or concerned about what the Holy Father is saying to read the interview in its entirety.  This is always a good principle in our age of sound bites but it is especially important when something addresses Catholic teaching.  After having read the text of the Holy Father's interview some may still have questions but they can be dealt with much more effectively in the context of his whole message.

What the Holy Father is saying in regard to the sanctity of life issues is especially important during the month of October when we traditionally pray and work for a greater respect for life.  Clearly the Holy Father is not calling for a retreat from the importance of these issues but instead he is reminding us that they make sense when we are deeply rooted in our relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord of Life.  Too often secular society rejects our beautiful Catholic faith as a list of thou shalt nots.  I understand Pope Francis' words as a reminder that when we come to know and love Jesus Christ then who we must be and what we must do becomes very clear.  As a consequence what we must not do also gains a greater clarity and becomes part of our relationship with Him and His powerful love.  Then we are able to say from deep in our hearts.  I will not violate the sanctity of life or commit any grave sin......because I LOVE HIM.


Joseph Strickland

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland was named the fourth bishop of Tyler in September of 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to being named bishop, he served a number of roles in the diocese, including vicar general, judicial vicar, and pastor of the Cathedral parish. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1985.
Next: Jan. 22: Sanctity of Life Announcement