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Inside the VaticanNovember 16, 2023
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, and other U.S. Bishops from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas concelebrate Mass in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Jan. 20, 2020. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis made headlines on Nov. 11 for his decision to oust one of his most vocal critics, Bishop Joseph Strickland, as the head of the Diocese of Tyler, Tex., following the bishop’s refusal to resign upon request.

In this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell dive into this rare but decisive move by Pope Francis. They explain the Vatican-mandated investigation into the governance of the archdiocese that ultimately led to Bishop Strickland’s removal. They consider whether or not this marks a “breaking point” for Pope Francis, who has faced plenty of criticism from other bishops but has only removed Bishop Strickland.

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In the second half of the show, Gerry and Colleen review Gerry’s recent interviews with a host of cardinals and bishops from around the world, including American Cardinals Cupich and McElroy, India’s Cardinal Gracias, Amazonian Cardinal Pedro Barreto, Australian Archbishop Costello, the Chinese Jesuit Cardinal Stephen Chow, and the French Cardinal Christophe Pierre, who serves as apostolic nuncio to the United States. Across the interviews, Gerry observed that “everybody recognizes [the synodal process] is a work in progress,” but despite some hiccups, “they all saw that something new had been born with this synod.”

Colleen and Gerry then trace out how synodality is still developing. Gerry goes on to say of his interviewees, “I think all of them see this as a real transformational moment in the history of the church.”

Gerry and Colleen conclude with Pope Francis’ continued appeals for a ceasefire in Gaza and for his adamant call for all Catholics to “take only one side… that of peace.”

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