Since Bishop Strickland was unceremoniously removed from his post in Tyler, Texas, there have been some reactions that have been a bit nutty. Those who are aptly called “popesplainers”—someone who “splains” or explains for the pope, no matter what he does—have been having a victory parade online. Cries of “far-right extremist” and “extremist election denier” have made the rounds. These men are having a field day with a lot of “splaining to do,” and it is nauseating to witness.
One popesplainer named Rich Raho, who calls himself a Catholic theologian, cited the pendragon of sanity and virtue Rachel Maddow and tweeted that Bishop Strickland called for an “overthrow of the [2020 presidential] election.” You might be thinking to yourself, “Does this mean that this man is publicly accusing the good bishop of calling for an act of civil usurpation and an overthrow of the governmental system of the United States?” Well, it seems that he is at least implying it.
Amazing. Not only is Bishop Strickland a big old meanie who likes the Latin Mass and has the clarity of mind to call a spade a spade when it comes to Pope Francis, but he is also, apparently, a leader in an insurrectionist movement hell-bent on a revolution that would shake the United States to the core!
Move over Mussolini, Strickland is here to outdo your March on Rome and lead his own March on Washington with a bunch of gun-toting Texans.
As an aside, it is amazing that people with this level of cognitive dissonance are allowed to obtain a driver’s license, let alone vote in an election…that apparently Bishop Strickland is planning to overthrow.
Now, if you thought that this reaction would qualify as the craziest reaction to the sad news out of Tyler, you would be wrong! In fact, not only is Bishop Strickland supposedly a would-be dictator in a miter, he might even be a murderer, or at least an advocate of the needless death of innocent people. At least according to the king of popesplainers, Austen Ivereigh.
Pope Francis’ very own George Weigel wannabe one-upped Raho and quote tweeted his post, adding:
Plus +Strickland’s pastoral letters opposing the Covid vaccines as unethical (despite Vatican making clear it was right to use them) had consequences. A priest of Tyler told me that in his mostly migrant parish many families suffered deaths as a result of obeying their bishop.
As the kids say today, this tweet was “wildin.” Let us break this fit of mental instability down for a moment, leaving aside the whole Covid debate and the debate about vaccines in general and whether or not this particular hot-off-the-press jab worked as advertised. (Spoiler alert, it didn’t!)
First, Ivereigh makes no distinctions and gives no context to what Strickland actually said. In November 2020, he tweeted that the Moderna vaccine “is not morally produced. Unborn children died in abortions and their bodies were used as ‘laboratory specimens.’ I urge all who believe in the sanctity of life to reject a vaccine which has been produced immorally.”
Was he wrong? Of course not. While the different vaccines available were produced with more or less direct cooperation with abortion, it is a fact that the mainline jabs available were produced or sent to market only after at least some cooperation with abortion, even if remote. Furthermore, did Strickland say one should not receive a vaccine that was ethically produced? No, he did not.
There is no record of Strickland saying that someone should in principle reject, for example, the Novavax jab, which was not produced with the same links to abortion. Again, I am not going to get into spike proteins and the question of vaccines in general; I only use this as an example of a vaccine that was in some way “pro-life friendly” and that Strickland did not tell his flock that Catholics should reject vaccines on principle.