Bishop's Blog / A statement on Sedevacantism

By Joseph Strickland
Thursday, May 09, 2024

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Statement from Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
Recently, as I have endeavored to faithfully defend the Catholic Church and uphold the Sacred Deposit of Faith, a small number of people have begun to falsely label me as a sedevacantist. Let me be clear that sedevacantism is a claim within the Catholic Church that there has been no valid pope since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. The term sedevacantist is derived from the Latin word sede which means “seat” or “chair,” and vacante which means “vacant” or “empty.” Sedevacantists, therefore, hold to the position that the Chair of St. Peter has been empty for over 60 years. Most sedevacantists reject the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and, therefore, they believe that following the changes implemented as a result of Vatican II, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is now no longer valid. Thus, according to this errant belief, any priest or bishop ordained using the post-Vatican II reformed rites is not a valid priest or bishop. That would include myself, as well as a vast majority of all Catholic clergy throughout the Church today.    I want to make it clear that I am not and have never been a sedevacantist, as most people who have read my pastoral letters should know. I love the Church and I have the utmost respect for the office of the Papacy—the Vicar of Christ—and I regularly quote the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as well as other popes who have occupied the Chair of St. Peter since Vatican II. 
Our Lord established the Catholic Church and chose St Peter as the rock upon which the Church would be built. Let us pray therefore that this enduring office will stand always as a visible sign of truth, clarity, and unity to Christ and to the faithful.
Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Tyler

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.
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