October 10, 2018
Today, the Catholic bishops of Texas jointly announced our intention to release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. I fully support this important act of transparency, and the names of Diocese of Tyler clergy from our founding to present will be released no later than January 31, 2019. They will be posted on the diocesan website and made available to each parish. This list will be updated as often as necessary.
We have all been deeply hurt and saddened by the recent scandals in the Church. Please know that I will do everything possible to protect the faithful of the Diocese of Tyler from abuse, most especially, our children and vulnerable adults.
This is not the time for business as usual. As your bishop, I will do my part to ensure that our clergy, including myself, are held accountable to the high standards demanded by our ordination. While we are all sinners, bishops, priests, and deacons are called to be models of holiness and virtue. For your part, please pray for the clergy. They are special targets for attack by Satan and his forces. Your support is essential.
On a day-to-day basis, we ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in the Diocese of Tyler through sound policies and procedures which promote a safe environment. I will ensure that these continue to be carefully observed and updated as needed. While the challenges faced in the Church are, above all, spiritual in nature, tools like background checks, training of clergy and volunteers, sound reporting mechanisms and outreach to victims are critical in the process of reconciliation, healing, accountability and prevention of future acts of abuse.
As Christ’s Bride the Church, we are all called to return to the Gospel virtues of humility, chastity, and obedience, and Church leaders must take the lead in this quest. As your bishop I am personally committed to this and I will support our priests as we seek to joyfully live out our priesthood in Jesus Christ. We must all be held to the standards of Gospel virtues proclaimed by God’s Divine Son.
May God, who is all loving and all merciful, watch over his Church and protect all of his people, especially the children and the vulnerable – the “little ones” for whom Christ the Lord has a special love.
+Bishop Joseph E. Strickland