This weekend, we will conclude the Easter season by joyfully celebrating together the great solemnity of Pentecost, when the loving God fully revealed himself as the Holy Trinity, and through the Spirit gave birth to the Church and opened the kingdom to all who believe in Christ.
Sadly, too many people have lost faith in Jesus Christ and his Church and I believe the crisis the Church has experienced over the past several months is a direct result. This loss of faith impacts every aspect of the life of the Church. At the same time, the faith of many in Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church grows stronger each day, including my own as I shepherd my flock through these confusing and difficult times.
Once, again, I will join with my brother bishops of the United States in Baltimore for our biannual meetings beginning June 10. We will focus on norms for the protection of the faithful from abuse by clerics and protection from any attempt made by the hierarchy to cover up such abuse. These norms are critical and essential to the health and life of the Church. Prior to my departure for Baltimore, I want to renew my pledge to the Lord, first and foremost, and to you, my flock:
I pledge to govern and adhere to these norms with strength and clarity. Moreover, I restate my call for any victim of any sort of abuse to come forward so that we can seek Christ’s justice and mercy.
I pledge to refocus my efforts in living up to the promise I made when I was ordained as your shepherd on November 28, 2012; to “guard the Deposit of Faith, entire and incorrupt.”
I pledge to fervently study, teach, and follow the Catholic Church’s teachings contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, handed on in the Church from the time of the Apostles, from which the Magisterium, of which I am a member, draws all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed.
I pledge to always joyfully and lovingly promote these teachings as the truth; the Gospel - the good news; because it is within these teachings the Church finds her guidance in fulfilling her purpose: to win souls for Jesus Christ and to build up the kingdom of God.
Please pray for me, the Holy Father, and all the bishops of the Church. May fidelity to Jesus Christ always be the source of our unity as shepherds.
Sincerely in the love of Christ,
+Most Rev. Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler