CV NEWS FEED // In a new pastoral letter released Tuesday, Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, TX, warned that “some” are planning to use the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality to betray Catholic doctrine and promote the tenets of the LGBTQ movement.
The “confusion and the harm that come from forsaking our biological and God-given identity are rooted in the modern tendency to deny the sovereignty of God,” Strickland wrote, “and for many, to deny even His very existence—thereby making ourselves into ‘gods’ in our own minds.”
“In today’s culture, there is a preoccupation with one’s own identity, which speaks to a deeply held longing in the heart and soul of each person to find meaning in his or her life,” the bishop explained:
Although there is a wide diversity of human experience, and although every life offers something unique and unrepeatable, we all share one simple, clear, and yet inconceivably profound truth: we are the Beloved, which means we are in a relationship with the One Who Loves.
The letter emphasized the charity and welcoming attitude Catholics must show to those suffering from same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, but also warned that “the transgender movement” and the rest of the “LGBTQ agenda” are “at odds with the Catholic understanding of the human being.” Transgenderism, in particular, “seeks to fundamentally alter the way our world views the biological and God-given identity of each person,” Strickland wrote:
It is important to note here that we must ALWAYS, ALWAYS treat all people with respect, compassion, and recognition of their intrinsic dignity. Therefore, men and women with homosexual tendencies or with gender dysphoria must be treated with love and compassion, and should always be respected as the precious children of God that they are. This includes telling them the truth in charity.
“All of this brings us to the upcoming Synod on Synodality,” Strickland added,
which is emerging as an attempt by some to change the focus of Catholicism from eternal salvation of souls in Christ, to making every person feel affirmed regardless of what choices they have made or will make in life.
“One of the topics that reportedly will be discussed during the Synod is the blessing of same-sex relationships,” Strickland warned:
Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated in July 2023, when asked about blessings for homosexual couples: “If a blessing is given in such a way that it does not cause that confusion, it will have to be analyzed and confirmed.” However, we must look to the perennial and unchanging teaching of the Church—such a blessing would not be licit and, therefore, would undoubtedly cause confusion.
Strickland warned against the possible confusion that could come during the upcoming synod, and pointed to a 2021 Vatican statement that reasserted Catholic teaching on marriage:
In this Responsum, the previous Prefect of the Congregation, Luis Cardinal Ladaria, stated that God “does not and cannot bless sin” and that, “For the above mentioned reasons, the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex in the sense intended above.” Because truth cannot change, we must acknowledge that the Dicastery cannot come to a different conclusion now which would overturn the original statement of truth from the same office.
Strickland pointed out that “this is not an attempt in any way to discriminate against those who carry the burden of same-sex attraction,” but only “a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the nature of the sacramentals.”
“We cannot honor God who is truth by attempting to offer blessings which run counter to His truth,” he explained.
“In closing,” Stricland concluded:
I would like to say to those with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, Christ loves you and the Catholic Church welcomes you. We are all struggling to grow in holiness. I invite you to come and sit with us, pray with us, worship with us, and experience the overwhelming power of God’s love and mercy with us.
Readers can find Bishop Joseph Strickland’s full pastoral letter here.